Posted by: africanpressorganization | 23 March 2010

Libya / Chad: Beyond Political Influence





Libya / Chad: Beyond Political Influence



BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, March 23, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Libya’s peace diplomacy in Chad has met with some success, but lack of follow-up to implement the deals suggests Muammar Gaddafi is less interested in the country’s long-term stabilisation than in asserting his regional influence. 

Libya/Chad: Beyond Political Influence,* the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, examines the evolution of Tripoli’s policy towards its neighbour from open imperialism to support in peace negotiations with armed rebels and with Sudan. Libya has been the most important country for Chad since Gaddafi came to power in 1969, but its approach has had mixed results.

“Gaddafi makes no secret that he wants his mediations to advance his geostrategic ambitions”, says Daniela Kroslak, Deputy Director of Crisis Group’s Africa Program. “Even though Libya has the financial means and regional authority to bring the protagonists to the table, it does little to assist the implementation of the agreements it chaperones”.

In one way or other, Gaddafi has been involved in almost all the internal Chadian negotiations, most notably those at Syrte in 2007. Because of Chad’s internal political crisis and the deterioration of its relationship with Sudan, Libya has been able to solidify its position as a powerbroker. It has used its links to the armed opposition on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border to become the principal mediator between the rebel factions. It also helped to re-establish contact between N’Djamena and Khartoum, in the process perhaps preventing what could have been a direct war between the two regimes with disastrous regional consequences.

Still, Libya’s successes have been short lived, due to a lack of focus on longer-term reforms that would further the stabilisation of Chad. Tripoli rarely uses its authority to force the parties to stick to the deals it brokers, and those parties always suspect a hidden agenda behind Gaddafi’s diplomacy. At the same time, the Chad government uses Libya’s good offices to co-opt armed opponents, who in turn try to make the most personal profit out of the peace deals. Lack of coordination between Libyan and other peace initiatives has led to a struggle for influence that allows the protagonists to play the several interlocutors against each other. If Libya were to engage politically in structural reforms necessary for the stabilisation of Chad, it would be able to capitalise on its mediation efforts while maintaining its regional influence.

“Gaddafi’s efforts provide the financial and political underpinnings for Chad President Déby’s strategy of buying off his opponents with positions and money”, says François Grignon, Director of Crisis Group’s Africa Program. “But it thus hampers any serious internal reform that might eventually lead the country out of its lengthy political crisis”.



International Crisis Group


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