Chad: General Déby sought to allay US’ fears over instability

By Julian Pecquet, Romain Gras
Posted on Tuesday, 20 December 2022 17:02

Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Sudan - four nations that have been familiar with coup d’états within the last few years - were excluded from the Biden administration’s summit invitation. Chad, however, a country maintaining membership in the African Union as a benchmark requirement, was invited to the dance.

On 20 October, the State Department expressed its regret over the results of the decisions made within Chad to authorise Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno to formally vie for the presidency.

The General: Man in charge

According to our sources, the transitional president of Chad, General Déby, took advantage of his visit to the US capital to allay fears about Chad’s stability while making allies within Congress. This mission was entrusted to his half-brother, Abdelkerim Idriss Déby Itno, a graduate of West Point in the US and the head of the National Agency for Investments and Exports.

While in DC, General Déby made contact with Daniel Vajdich of Yorktown Solutions, a recent collaborator with several former Republican candidates, such as Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney, in the most recent general elections. Mr Vajdich, the president of the firm in question, had also worked on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, where he specialised in European affairs.

The Menendez letter

With congressional contact established, Abdelkerim sought to organise a series of meetings with elected officials. Sources have informed us that the stated purpose of the meetings was to emphasise Chad’s important role in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region. From that moment, an interview request was made.

On 12 December, Senator Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, sent a letter to General Déby calling for an independent investigation following the 20 October demonstrations. He also asked General Déby not to vie in the next presidential election.

Nevertheless, General Déby’s contingent was not alone in DC these last few days — his opponent, Succès Masra, had also requested to meet with both Congress and the State Department, in order to discuss the Chadian transition of power and the repression of civil protests.

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