After President Idriss Deby gave Paris an uncomfortable choice after the death of the war, France defended the Chadian army’s power on Thursday.
Although the opaque political and commercial ties between France and the former colonies of Africa have been shattered over the past decade, interests are still intertwined. Under Derby’s rule, Chad is a key ally in the fight against Islamists in the Sahel.
Le Drian told France 2 TV: “There are special circumstances.”
Derby’s son, Mahamat, took control of the country and its armed forces on Wednesday, disbanded the parliament and suspended the constitution. According to the Constitution, Haroun Kabadi, the Speaker of the National Assembly, should have taken over.
Opponents called the move a coup.
Le Drian said: “Logically, it should be Mr. Kabaddi… but he refused, because of the special security reasons needed to ensure the stability of the country.”
President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly stated that he wants to break the past that France seemed to have played the leading role in its former colony, and he urged the older generation to hand over to young African politicians.
However, after the coup in Mali, Paris was forced to accept the fait accompli, and the current presidents of Ivory Coast and Guinea returned to power. This policy has been increasingly tested.
In the Sahel, 5,100 French soldiers (including a base in N’Djamena, Chad) are still entrenched fighting organizations supported by Al-Qaida and the Islamic State, but there is almost no possibility of withdrawal.
Idriss Deby was killed on the front lines of the battle with the invading Libyan Front and the Chadian Concord Army (FACT) rebels from the north.
The dictatorship has a history of more than 30 years, but he is still a key figure in France’s security strategy in Africa. Two years ago, Paris came with his help and sent fighter planes to stop the advance of the rebels supported by Sudan.
Nathaniel Powell, a research assistant at Lancaster University and author of The French War in Chad, said: “France’s interpretation of national interests requires them to support a transition that is as continuous as possible.”
“Mahamat’s military committee may be the best example of this situation. The French just hope that military and internal dissatisfaction will not cause too much damage to the transition.”
The key to Paris in the short term is to ensure the deployment of 1,200 soldiers in the tri-national border theater between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger earlier this year. It is believed that it is essential to enable France and other forces to redirect their military missions to central Mali and target Islamic leaders with ties to al-Qaeda.
Le Drian will travel to Chad on Friday with Macron to attend the funeral in Derby and hold talks with military leaders. He said that the primary task of the Security Council is to ensure stability, then focus on peace and make a transparent transition to democracy.
The FACT rebels, composed of dissident officers, rejected the military’s plan and vowed to resume hostilities.
Military and diplomatic sources say that Paris will pay close attention to the offensive and assess whether the group is prepared to talk.
Mahmat said the army hopes to restore power to the civil government and hold free and democratic elections within 18 months.
Le Drian did not mention the 18-month time frame.
French diplomats said: “Eighteen months is too long.” Macron relayed the message to African presidents in the region so that they in turn would put pressure on Mahmat to not become idiots. “
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