November 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 October 2008
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Expected Council Action
A report by the Secretary-General is expected by 15 November on progress towards the full deployment of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) and the Chadian police force Détachement Integré de Sécurité (DIS). It will include an update on planning for the proposed UN military component to follow the EU Mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR), including options on size, structure and mandate of a military component in the Central African Republic (CAR).

An accompanying briefing, possibly by Victor da Silva Ângelo, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Chad and CAR, is expected in late November. This should shape Council deliberations on the proposed UN military component. In resolution 1834 the Council expressed its intention to adopt a resolution on the matter by 15 December. MINURCAT’s mandate expires on 15 March.

Key Recent Developments
Despite the deployment of MINURCAT and EUFOR, the security situation in eastern Chad continues to deteriorate and undermine the capacity of humanitarian workers to deliver assistance. Between January and September, humanitarian organisations suffered 107 attacks, including six fatal incidents. As many as 700,000 civilians in eastern Chad require humanitarian assistance. Few of the 290,000 refugees and 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDP) in camps have returned home. Civilians in eastern Chad are exposed daily to physical attacks, theft, rape and forced recruitment to fight. A further increase in violence and insecurity is expected after the end of the rainy season in October.

Progress on political reconciliation in Chad has stalled. It is unclear whether the slow implementation of the 13 August 2007 agreement on electoral reforms will further postpone legislative elections currently slated for 2009. The African Union announced on 10 October it was dispatching a fact-finding mission to Chad led by former president of Burundi Pierre Buyoya. This mission will investigate the situation on the border between Chad and Sudan and the tensions in relations between the countries. This follows the meeting in September of the AU Dakar Agreement contact group, which failed to agree on details of the joint monitoring force along the border between Sudan and Chad as agreed in the Dakar accord of 13 March. Chad and Sudan’s undertaking in September to exchange ambassadors has been agreed for November.

After reaching its initial operating capability in March, the EUFOR deployment reached its full operational capability in mid-September with approximately 3,300 troops, 200 of which are located in CAR. Four Russian transport helicopters are scheduled to arrive in November, boosting the number of air assets by one-third. The deployment has been hampered by a shortage of helicopters.

By 16 September, MINURCAT had trained approximately 324 DIS officers. A further 116 suitable candidates have been selected for training. Once deployed to eastern Chad, DIS officers will conduct routine patrols in IDP camps, refugee camps, and towns. The presidential decree enabling the deployment of DIS to eastern Chad was issued on 27 September after almost two months’ delay. The first contingent of 100 DIS officers began deploying to eastern Chad on 24 October. The Chadian government has requested the total strength of DIS be raised from 850 to 1,700 officers.

Limited local infrastructure, poor roads, the delayed deployment of DIS and the volatile security environment continue to contribute to delays in the deployment of MINURCAT in eastern Chad. Advance judicial advisory and corrections units were deployed in October to Abéché. The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Rima Salah, is also expected to relocate from N’Djamena to eastern Chad in late October.

On 24 September the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1834, which extended the mandate of MINURCAT until 15 March and expressed its intention to authorise a UN military component to follow EUFOR. The resolution called for the Secretary-General to submit a report by 15 November on planning for the follow-on operation in Chad and CAR, including options on the CAR component’s size, structure and mandate.

During the accompanying debate, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said humanitarian assistance in Chad had been less effective than expected because of the slow deployments of the hybrid AU-UN force in Darfur (UNAMID), MINURCAT and DIS. Security problems remained, with refugees and internally displaced persons unable to leave camps without risk of being attacked.

In September the EU Special Representative for EUFOR, Ambassador Torben Brylle of Denmark, reaffirmed during a midterm briefing on the mission that its mandate would not be extended in the absence of a follow-on UN mission. EUFOR Operation Commander General Patrick Nash said that 1 June was the deadline for the complete withdrawal of EUFOR.

The Secretary-General’s 12 September report on post-EUFOR arrangements recommended an enhanced MINURCAT mandate, including a 6000 strong military force to take over from EUFOR on 15 March. The military force would operate within an expanded area of operations and would include a military air component of 18 helicopters and an armed aerial reconnaissance unit. In addition to 6,000 troops, the report recommended an “over the horizon” (i.e. not necessarily located within Chad) battalion group to deploy expeditiously should the security situation become unmanageable by UN forces. The report suggests a limited extension of EUFOR may be necessary to cover the period of generation of the recommended forces. The estimated cost for the full deployment of the above elements (excluding the “over the horizon” battalion group) for a 12-month period is $615.2 million.

According to the Secretary-General, the expansion of MINURCAT to include a military component would be effective only if it were also mandated to address underlying causes of insecurity. He recommended MINURCAT’s mandate include protection of civilians at risk, as well as a good offices mandate to support conflict resolution initiatives and justice and accountability mechanisms.

In early September, the World Bank withdrew its support to Chad for the Chad-Cameroon Petroleum Development and Pipeline Project after the government reneged on its commitment to allocate 80 percent of oil revenue to finance development projects tackling poverty, improving governance and assisting displaced persons. The $4 billion initiative was reportedly the largest single international investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Chad is expected to earn $1.4 billion in oil revenues this year.

The key option for the Council is to begin work on the Secretary-General’s proposals for the follow-on UN military force in Chad and options on the proposed military component in CAR, with a view to adopting a resolution by 15 December.

A second option is expanding MINURCAT’s political mandate, but Chad remains reluctant about this. The Council may therefore consider the option of:

  • a coherent long-term strategy on how to address political reconciliation and reform issues with the Chadian government and linking MINURCAT’s future role in this regard;
  • language acknowledging that the fragile situation in Chad and threats to civilians are not only due to the conflict in Darfur, and expressing concern at the lack of progress by the Chadian government in addressing, inside Chad, the root causes of the conflict;
  • demanding real progress in implementing the 13 August and Sirte Agreements (the 13 August Agreement, signed in 2007 by the government and political opposition, focused on electoral reforms; the Sirte Agreement, signed on 25 October 2007 by the government and main armed opposition groups in eastern Chad, agreed to a ceasefire and participation of rebels in state institutions); and
  • encouraging regional actors to play a more proactive role in reenergising talks between the Chadian government and rebels, and perhaps requesting updates from these regional players in future Council debates.

Another option is to take steps to encourage better relations between Chad and Sudan. Including:

  • appointing a regional mediator respected by both parties dedicated to reinvigorating the Dakar Agreement and to working with the two governments and key stakeholders to move the peace process forward;
  • extending the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to include a more direct role in facilitating Chad/Sudan relations; and
  • altering the mandates of MINURCAT and UNAMID to include police monitors to work with the proposed border-monitoring force between Chad and Sudan or, in the event this force never materialises, to monitor the border themselves.

Key Issues
Given that the Secretary-General has recommended a follow-on force with more troops and an expanded area of operation, the key issue for the Council is whether there is, indeed, justification for additional elements at this time. This raises a number of related issues including:

  • whether the proposed assets will be available and deployable by March, bearing in mind the difficulties UNAMID has faced (contributors to EUFOR might “rehat” to the UN operation, but it is unclear whether France, which contributes approximately half of the 3,200 EUFOR troops, will do so);
  • whether Chad will accept an increase in troop numbers;
  • whether EUFOR would be willing to extend its presence on a transitional basis if needed (a key concern for the Council will be to avoid any security gaps due to delays in deployment);
  • whether assets for Chad and CAR are deemed a priority over other unrealised peacekeeping commitments such as Darfur and demand for an operation of some kind in Somalia;
  • whether the MINURCAT military component needs to expand or deploy to additional areas of operation initially, or whether this is something which can be considered in the future;
  • what additional resources and infrastructure are needed for the recommended 3,000 additional troops and deployment locations and what impact their procurement will have on deployment timelines; and
  • the financial impact on the overall peacekeeping budget.

The Secretary-General has repeatedly told the Council that neither MINURCAT nor EUFOR is ideally mandated to address the root causes of the internal conflict in Chad and its regional aspects.

Given that there appears to be wide support in the Council for a more comprehensive approach to Chad’s internal crisis, a key question for the Council is how it can gain Chad’s support for an enhanced political mandate and whether Libya, France and other key regional stakeholders can play a constructive role in this area.

A related issue is whether the Council should be focusing more on strategies to support the reform of key institutions in Chad given the government’s reluctance to engage meaningfully in political reconciliation and the opposition’s lack of strategy and coherence.

Council Dynamics
Most Council members seem to agree that political dialogue and reform in Chad are necessary to bring about resolution to the crisis, but members such as France and Libya are influenced by Chad’s objection to this. It seems that most of the P5 (led by France) are reluctant at this point to pursue the political agenda with Chadian President Idriss Déby. Instead, they have prioritised securing a follow-on force to EUFOR, focusing on political issues in the future. The UK seems supportive of pushing a more comprehensive strategy which would include political reform.

Some Council members appear sceptical that a follow-on force of 6,000 is justified or able to be generated. The UK in particular has reservations about the need for a military presence in CAR once EUFOR withdraws.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1834 (24 September 2008) renewed MINURCAT’s mandate and expressed an intention to replace EUFOR with a UN military component.
  • S/RES/1778 (25 September 2007) established MINURCAT and authorised the EU protection force.

Selected Security Council Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2008/22 (16 June 2008) was a statement on the June rebel offensive in Chad.
  • S/PRST/2008/15 (13 May 2008) condemned a Darfur rebel attack near Khartoum.

Latest Secretary-General’s Reports

  • S/2008/601 (12 September 2008) was the most recent MINURCAT report.
  • S/2008/601/Add.1 (15 September 2008) described the financial implications for the establishment of a UN military force.
  • S/2008/532 (7 August 2008) was a report on children and armed conflict in Chad.

Other Relevant Facts

MINURCAT: Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Victor da Silva Ângelo (Portugal)

MINURCAT: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Authorised strength: 1549 including up to 300 police and fifty military liaison officers
  • Strength as of 18 September 2008: 768 including 200 police and 33 military observers
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and France
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2008–30 June 2009: $315 million

MINURCAT: Duration

September 2007 to present; mandate expires on 15 March 2009

EU Force: Size, Composition and Cost

  • Expected strength: 3,700 troops and 600 on reserve
  • Strength in area of operation as of 9 October: 3,265 troops
  • Main contributors: France (1,669), Ireland (419), Poland (404) and Austria (186)
  • Cost: €119.6 million

EU Force: Duration

17 March 2008 to present; mandate expires on 15 March 2009

Useful Additional Resource
Chad: A New Conflict Resolution Framework, International Crisis Group Africa Report No. 144, 24 September 2008
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