December 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 26 November 2008
Download Complete Forecast: PDF


Expected Council Action
At press time, the Council was awaiting the Secretary-General’s report updating planning for the proposed UN military component to follow on the EU operation in eastern Chad and including options on the size, structure and mandate of the proposed UN military presence in northeastern Central African Republic. The report, expected by 15 November, has been delayed while the Secretariat consults the Chadian government, particularly on troop levels. An Arria style meeting is expected in early December and is likely to be followed by consultations.

Due to the delay in the Secretary-General’s report, it will be a challenge for the Council will adopt a resolution authorising deployment of the UN military component to follow-on the EU operation (EUFOR Chad/CAR) as had been intended by 15 December.

The mandates of EUFOR Chad/CAR and of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) expire on 15 March.

Key Recent Developments
The security situation in eastern Chad and northeastern CAR remains volatile. In October, attacks by bandits caused the suspension of humanitarian operations in eastern Chad in Dogdoré and Ade, affecting 36,500 people. As the dry season begins, there are concerns of serious new violence (Sudanese backed rebels and militias have launched attacks in Chad in each of the last three dry seasons).

On 8 November, EUFOR troops evacuated nine aid workers from Sam Ouandja in northeastern CAR after fighting broke out in a nearby military base. Approximately forty armed fighters raided the military base but were repelled after about two hours. There were no reports of civilian injuries.

On 28 October, Chad wrote to the president of the Council arguing that MINURCAT was not a conventional UN operation implying some kind of “neutrality”, “impartiality” or “good offices” within the framework of a peace agreement. The Chadian government suggested the Secretary-General’s proposal for an impartial UN military force requiring liaison with all armed elements in the subregion was inappropriate. Nor did they welcome expanding the existing mandate of MINURCAT to assist the government to strengthen mechanisms aimed at ensuring a stable and peaceful environment. The Chadian government said it preferred a follow-on military force of approximately 3,000 troops. This force should be better equipped than the current 3,400 EUFOR force, and it should have better mobility to protect civilians and to facilitate humanitarian assistance.

Consultations have been ongoing in November between the Chadian government and Secretariat on deployment details. A significant issue has been the Secretary-General’s assessment that upward of 6000 troops are required for eastern Chad. It seems the Chadian government has now agreed to more than 3,000 UN troops but short of the 6000. Based on this figure, the Secretariat is reassessing its concept of operations for the follow-on force.

For the military component in the CAR, the Secretary-General may present three options to the Council:

  • approximately 15 military liaison officers based in Chad to overview the situation in CAR on a fly-in fly-out basis;
  • a force of up to 500 in CAR to conduct more extensive patrolling than the current EUFOR deployment; and
  • a force of up to 1000 in CAR, a more robust force to patrol a greater area in CAR.

On 15 November the Dakar Contact Group (formed in March to follow up implementation of measures to normalise relations between Chad and Sudan) met in N’Djamena to further discuss deployment of a 2000-strong Chad-Sudan border observation mission. This followed the exchange of ambassadors between Chad and Sudan the previous week and agreement on concrete steps for the full normalisation of relations. Sudan had suspended diplomatic relations in May, accusing N’Djamena of sponsoring an assault on Khartoum by the Darfur rebel group, Justice and Equality Movement. In turn, Chad accused Sudan of backing a Chadian rebel attack on N’Djamena in February. An AU mission chaired by former Burundian president Pierre Buyoya is currently working on recommendations to address the root causes of tension between Sudan and Chad.

One option is to proceed to try to adopt a resolution as intended by 15 December authorising a UN military component to follow EUFOR Chad/CAR. However, given the complex consultations on the Secretary-General’s proposals which will be necessary and the lead time which some members expect, decisions on the follow-on military force seem unlikely in December and may be rolled over to January.

A second option is to accept at the outset that the decision on a follow-on force should be postponed to January to allow members more time to consider the Secretary-General’s proposals and to begin, instead, the discussion on MINURCAT’s political mandate. However, this seems unlikely given Chad’s linkage of this issue with the decision on the peacekeeping force.

A further option is for the Council to begin discussions at the expert level on:

  • a long-term strategy for dealing with the Chadian government on political reconciliation and reform issues, linked to MINURCAT’s future role;
  • drafting language acknowledging that the fragile situation in Chad and threats to civilians are due not only to the conflict in Darfur, and addressing the root causes of conflict within Chad as well;
  • demanding real progress in implementing the 13 August and Sirte Agreements; and
  • encouraging regional actors to be more proactive in reenergising talks between the Chadian government and rebels, and perhaps requesting updates from these participants in future Council debates.

Key Issues
A key issue for the Council is timing and having in place a follow-on military component after EUFOR’s mandate ends and whether, given force generation times that would be possible by 15 March and if not whether some rehatting of EUFOR will be necessary

A related issue is the link between numbers and capability of the forces. In general UN contingents are unlikely to have equivalent capability to EU forces. Accordingly the Secretary-General is likely to recommend more than the 3,700 approved EUFOR troops. But some Council members are likely to want clear justification for additional troops.

Other issues include:

  • demand for troops elsewhere. (On 20 November the Council authorised an additional 3085 troops and police officers for MONUC in the DRC and there are a further 10,000 troops yet to be deployed to UNAMID to bring it to full strength);
  • the impact on the overall peacekeeping budget;
  • sustainability requirements, particularly for water; and
  • an assessment of the security threat to refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly in CAR.

A key issue in postponing the decision from December will be to ensure that EUFOR troop contributors, (particularly France, which provides 1701 of the 3396 EUFOR troops) are willing to transfer forces to the UN military component for an interim period to avoid a security vacuum after 15 March.

Other issues are the continuing lawlessness, the decreasing humanitarian space in eastern Chad, and the Chadian government’s capacity to improve security. A significant factor will be the Secretariat’s assessment of the Chadian government’s request to increase the number of DIS (Détachement Intégré de Sécurité) forces from 850 to 1700 and to expand their area of operations.

Another issue which remains is the underlying domestic causes which contribute to the crisis in Chad and whether the Council should have strategies to support reform of key institutions and encourage the government to engage meaningfully in political reconciliation and facilitate the opposition’s capacity for positive strategy and coherence. Overcoming Chad’s resistance to MINURCAT undertaking a greater role in assisting to strengthen mechanisms to address the underlying causes of insecurity seems likely to be an ongoing issue.

An underlying issue is the relationship between Chad and Sudan and the need for normalisation and non-interference in each other’s affairs.

Council Dynamics
There seems to be broad support for a follow-on military presence in Chad, although some question the justification for significantly higher troop levels than EUFOR. Some seem unconvinced that a follow-on military component is warranted in CAR.

Most members seem to agree that political dialogue and reform in Chad are necessary to resolve the crisis, but some argue that it is premature to contemplate inclusive dialogue involving the armed opposition.

Sign up for SCR emails
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/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.

Latest Letter

  • S/2008/679 (28 October 2008) was a letter to the Council from the Chadian Ambassador regarding the follow-on UN military force 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 50 military liaison officers
  • Strength as of November 2008: 752 including 226 police and 45 military observers
  • Main police contributors: Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin and France
  • Cost: approved budget 1 July 2008 to 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: 3700 troops and 600 on reserve
  • Strength in area of operation as of November: 3396 troops
  • Main contributors: France (1701), Ireland (441), Poland (524) and Austria (183)
  • Cost: €119.6 million

EU Force: Duration

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

Full forecast

Subscribe to receive SCR publications