Examining the continuous French military interventions in Chad in the two decades after its independence, this study demonstrates how France's successful counterinsurgency efforts to protect the regime of François Tombalbaye would ultimately weaken the Chadian state and encourage Libya's Muammar Gaddafi to intervene. In covering the subsequent French efforts to counter Libyan ambitions and the rise to power of Hissène Habré, one of postcolonial Africa's most brutal dictators, Nathaniel K. Powell demonstrates that French strategies aiming to prevent the collapse of authoritarian regimes had the opposite effect, exacerbating violent conflicts and foreign interventions in Chad and further afield. Based on extensive archival research to trace the causes, course, and impact of French interventions in Chad, this study offers insights and lessons for current interveners - including France - fighting a 'war on terrorism' in the Sahel whose strategies and impact parallel those of France in the 1960s-1980s.
Nathaniel K. Powell is an historian focusing on the history of postcolonial Franco-African relations. Awarded his PhD from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) in Geneva, he has published extensively on the history of postcolonial Franco-African relations and on French military interventions in Africa.