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Cablegate: How to Think About Chad: Assessing Chad's Progress

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL EAID PREF EU FR US CD
SUBJECT: HOW TO THINK ABOUT CHAD: ASSESSING CHAD'S PROGRESS
REGARDING USG STRATEGIC GOALS FROM 2007-2009

REF: A. YAOUNDE 971
B. NDJAMENA 406

NDJAMENA 00000591 001.4 OF 004


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The Chad of December 2009 is not the Chad of
December 2007. Much has happened in the intervening two
years and the Chad's overall trajectory has generally been
positive, when viewed in terms of USG bilateral and regional
strategic goals. Any punctual assessment of USG policy
toward Chad should be informed by appreciation of Chad's
progress over the past two years across the range of U.S.
strategic policy goals, which include humanitarian
assistance, regional stability, democracy and good
governance, human rights, and
counter-terrorism/anti-extremism. Chad's progress has not
been uniform in all areas and much remains to be done to
satisfy all USG goals and objectives in Chad and the region.

2. (SBU) Chad's annus horribilis was 2008; the country's
political system reached its nadir in February of that year,
when armed rebel attacks, barely repulsed by the GOC, exposed
at once Chad's diplomatic isolation, the weaknesses of the
Chadian political system, and the vulnerability of the Deby
regime. Since then, partly due to lack of alternatives and
partly in response to international demands, including those
of the USG, Chad has made strides in areas relevant to USG
strategic interests:

-- HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND PEACEKEEPING OPERATIONS: Chad
hosts 250,000 Sudanese refugees, 110,000 IDPs, a massive
humanitarian assistance operation and the UN PKO MINURCAT.

-- REGIONAL SECURITY AND STABILITY: Chad has pursued every
available multilateral approach aimed at normalizing
Chad-Sudan relations and ending the proxy war. Chad has
reconciled with major elements of the armed rebellion and
former regime opponents, including Soubiane and Goukouni.
Chad has patiently pursued a bilateral track with Khartoum
also aimed at normalization with Sudan and ending the proxy
war. The GOC has distanced itself from JEM rebels in Chad.

-- DEMOCRACY AND GOOD GOVERNANCE: The GOC has broadened its
base to include senior opposition party leaders. The August
13 political and electoral reform process has progressed to
where Chad is poised for credible legislative and municipal
elections in 2010. President Deby has put the full weight of
the GOC and his own personal prestige behind the goal of the
2010 elections. The GOC has reestablished normal relations
with IFIs and improved its public revenue management and
budgetary postures. The GOC has invested heavily in basic
infrastructure projects and is conducting significant
campaigns aimed at fighting official corruption and promoting
environmental protection and food security.

-- HUMAN RIGHTS AND RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: While its overall
human rights record remains poor (with impunity still the
major problem), Chad has improved adherence to some
international standards, particularly with regard to child
soldiers and gender-based violence. The Chadian press is
effectively free of GOC interference and criticizes the
government and President Deby freely and pointedly, despite
the continued existence of "Ordinance Five," an emergency
measure that could limit press freedom and that has outlived
whatever usefulness it may once have had.

-- COUNTER-TERRORISM AND ANTI-EXTREMISM: The GOC's record on
religious tolerance is excellent. Chad remains a willing and
forthcoming partner in USG efforts to ensure that terrorism
and extremism do not become rooted in the Sahelian region.

3. (SBU) Chad's generally and incrementally positive
trajectory over the past two years is no accident, and the
GOC deserves credit for what it has accomplished -- albeit
starting from a low base line. Such progress, however

NDJAMENA 00000591 002.4 OF 004


limited and incomplete, should not be taken for granted in
the region, to say the least. Neighboring Cameroon, for
instance. has drifted or gone backward in areas that involve
USG strategic interests in that country, according to Embassy
Yaounde (Ref A), which regards the country's trajectory as
generally if not irretrievably retrograde. Embassy
NDjamena's reporting over the past two years amply documents
the incremental progress that Chad has made, as well as the
many and serious deficiencies that still need be addressed in
order that USG strategic goals can be more fully achieved,
both bilaterally and regionally. We supply references to our
past reporting below. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------
HUMANITARIAN AND PKO ASSISTANCE:
COOPERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL
(AND OUR) EFFORTS
--------------------------------

4. (SBU) Despite the internal political and socio-economic
stresses involved, and especially over the objections of
influential neighboring states, the GOC welcomed Sudanese
refugees from the beginning of the Darfur crisis: Chad has
never refused to accept Sudanese refugees and has never tried
to return them to Sudan against their will. The GOC adapted
its refugee coordination mechanism -- CNAR, established in
1996 to manage pre-Darfur refugee crises -- to the needs of
the Darfur refugees. It has consistently worked closely with
the international community to improve conditions of refugees
and IDPs.

5. (SBU) Also over the objections of influential neighbors,
Chad has closely cooperated with the desire of the
international community to provide security for civilians in
Chad, including refugees and humanitarian workers. It has
welcomed two peacekeeping operations under UN mandate, the EU
force EUFOR in 2008 and the UN's MINURCAT in 2009. The GOC
established a new coordination mechanism, CONAFIT, to ensure
effective collaboration with international peacekeeping
efforts. In addition to other duties, MINURCAT trains
Chadian police officers, the DIS, who provide security inside
refugee camps. The GOC has recently promoted local
coordination councils in Eastern Chad to conjugate the
efforts of local officials, police, gendarmes, nomad patrols,
sultans and village/tribal elders with those of MINURCAT and
DIS to improve security for humanitarian aid workers.
(References: Ndjamena 588, 542, and 539).

------------------------------
REGIONAL SECURITY: CHAD-SUDAN
------------------------------

6. (SBU) Chad has pursued every available multilateral
approach aimed at normalizing Chad-Sudan relations. Chad
participated seriously in the Dakar Accord process and with
AU, Libyan, and Qatari attempts to mediate between Chad and
Sudan. Chad has patiently pursued a bilateral track with
Khartoum also aimed at normalization and ending the proxy war
through confidence-building measure to assure both sides that
the other's territory will not be used by respective
anti-regime rebels. In preparation for this, the GOC has
distanced itself from JEM rebels in Chad, including by moving
to close the primary JEM recruiting center in Chad and by
pressuring JEM to join international negotiations aimed at a
peaceful solution in Darfur. (References: Ndjamena 562,
536, 485, 479, 462, 466, and 447.).

7. (SBU) Chad has reconciled with major elements of the
armed rebellion and former regime opponents. Chad's National
Mediator, whose mandate involves crisis resolution and
negotiation with leaders in exile, has worked assiduously to
encourage return of former rebels opposed to GoC and ensuring
that Chadian Diaspora and former regime opponents are
reintegrated into political life. Most recently, armed rebel
leader Ahmat Soubiane and former president and regime
opponent Goukouni Oueddei returned to Chad and vowed to
participate peacefully in efforts toward complete "national

NDJAMENA 00000591 003.4 OF 004


reconciliation." The total number of returned and reconciled
rebel fighters is in the three to four thousand range,
significantly weakening the military effectiveness of those
who remain in Sudan. (References: Ndjamena 503, 457, and
353).

------------------
DEMOCRACY AND GOOD
GOVERNANCE
------------------

8. (SBU) ELECTIONS: Chad is now poised to hold credible
legislative and municipal elections in 2010. The process of
implementing the August 13, 2007 Accord has produced positive
results, and many of the essential building blocks for
elections are in place. On December 4 President Deby put the
full weight of the GoC -- itself long broadened to include
senior opposition figure -- and his own personal prestige on
the line behind the goal of credible 2010 contests. The
Chadians have gotten this far thanks to the willingness of
their international democratic partners -- the USG, France,
the EU, the UN and others -- to advise and support them,
politically and financially. Continued commitment on the
part of these partners will be essential to reaching the goal
of credible legislative/municipal elections in 2010.

9. (SBU) PUBLIC REVENUE MANAGEMENT: The GOC has
reestablished normal relations with IFIs and improved its
public revenue management and budgetary postures. President
Deby met with senior officials at both IMF and World Bank on
the margins of the UNGA in September 2009. The IMF is
engaged and supportive of Chad's efforts to increase control
over extra-budgetary spending. Despite the GOC's poor
performance under previous programs, the Fund has offered to
allow Chad more time to meet targets and continues to be
supportive of helping Chad achieve Highly-Indebted Poor
Country debt relief. In October 2009, the World Bank
announced commitment to restart development programs in Chad.


10. (SBU) ANTI-CORRUPTION: The Ministry of Morality is
aggressively investigating many allegations of official
corruption; senior GOC officials including Ministers and
those close to President are detained and being questioned.
There has been considerable media focus on corruption,
reflecting broad public buy-in for the GOC's anti-corruption
efforts. (References: Ndjamena 557 and 431).

11. (SBU) INFRASTRUCTURE, ENVIRONMENT, FOOD SECURITY: The
GOC has invested heavily in basic infrastructure projects and
is conducting significant campaigns aimed at fighting
deforestation, climate change, and promoting environmental
protection and increasing food security. (References:
Ndjamena 586, 501, 467, 461, 460, 458, 448, 441 and 424).

------------------------------
HUMAN RIGHTS: CHILD SOLDIERS,
AND GBV, PRESS FREEDOM
------------------------------

12. (SBU) While its overall human rights record remains
poor (with impunity still the major problem), Chad has
improved adherence to some international standards,
particularly with regard to child soldiers and gender-based
violence. Responding to international concerns, the GoC
conducted reviews of military camps to eliminate use of child
soldiers and sensitize military and law enforcement personnel
to human rights standards. UNICEF, the GOC's main partner in
addressing child-soldier problem, has praised GoC efforts.
With assistance of UNFPA, GoC has launched recent public
campaigns to address underage marriage, rape and other
violence against women, FGM, sexual harassment, and
exploitation of girls, and to promote keeping girls in
school. (References: Chad Country Report on Human Rights,
Ndjamena 576 and 362).

13. (SBU) Chad's press enjoys considerable de facto

NDJAMENA 00000591 004.4 OF 004


freedom, and devotes much energy to free and pointed
criticism of President Deby, as well as other national and
international targets. Ordinance Five, an emergency measure
enacted during period of rebel activity in 2008 giving the
government power to restrict freedom of press related to the
violent rebellion, remains on the books, although it has not
been used against journalists. Draft legislation to modify
or rescind Ordinance Five is pending among various Chadian
Ministries. (References: Chad Country Report on Human
Rights, NDjamena 576, 409, 362, and 260).

---------------------
COUNTER-TERRORISM AND
ANTI-EXTREMISM
---------------------

14. (SBU) The GOC's record on religious tolerance is
excellent. Chad remains a willing and forthcoming partner in
USG efforts to ensure that terrorism and extremism do not
become rooted in the Sahelian region. The GOC strongly
encourages and defends religious tolerance and pluralism
among Chad's 54 percent Muslim/44 percent Christian
population. (Reference: Chad Religious Freedom Report.)

NIGRO

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