Déby’s Spring Fall: How an Unlikely Rebellion Toppled Chad’s Dictator

Jérôme Tubiana

'The first time I saw Idriss Déby was in 2014 at the first Dakar Forum, the now yearly event organized by the French Defence Ministry in Senegal’s capital to strengthen ties with African allies, in particular the-then brand new G5-Sahel coalition (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. The Chadian army’s reputation as the best in the lot allowed the unusually jovial Déby to tease both the older Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta from Mali (since then toppled by a military coup), calling him by his initials, and French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian (now Minister of Foreign Affairs). The latter didn’t laugh much when the Chadian ruler half-jokingly suggested that, since the ongoing chaos in Libya and its repercussions on the Sahel were due to the removal of Qaddafi by a NATO-operation largely inspired by France, Paris now needed to ‘provide after-sales service’ and send troops to Libya again. No matter how embarrassed his French guest felt, Déby was running the show...'

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Keywords: Idriss Déby SANA