Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 1963-1993

Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 1963-1993

Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 1963-1993

Africa's Thirty Years War: Libya, Chad, and the Sudan, 1963-1993


Africa's Thirty Years' War began in the early 1960s, when a civil war in Chad pitted the Muslim north and center against the political domination of African Christian politicians from southern Chad. During their insurgency, the Muslim revolutionaries found a safe haven in the Sudan, whose governments provided support hoping to overthrow the Tombalbaye government in Chad. Libya entered the fray in 1969 when Qadaffi claimed the Aozou strip of northern Chad that was reputably rich in uranium deposits. Throughout the 1970s and the 1980s the conflict among Chad, Libya, and the Sudan engaged the interests of France, the U. S., the Organization of African Unity, and the United Nations. It drained the resources of these African states and deflated their diminutive treasuries. Their efforts to project political and military power beyond existing boundaries created political confusion, fostered tribal warfare, and exacerbated mistrust on their volatile frontiers. In Africa's Thirty Years' War: Chad, Libya, and the Sudan, 1963- 1993, Burr and Collins document this tragedy and analyze its numerous causes. They argue that Chad has been a pawn in regional and international politics. Drawing on a vast array of sources, from mainstream media to radio transcripts to obscure newspapers and fly sheets, the authors provide a vivid portrait of a modern tragedy unknown to most readers.


This idea for this book began during the years from 1974 to 1986 when Dr. J. Millard Burr served as Political Geographer, Special Assistant to The Geographer, and Acting Director, Office of The Geographer, the United States Department of State. The Office of The Geographer began the production of its respected International Boundary Studies series in 1961 with a review of the Algeria-Libya boundary, and its third volume, published in the same year, included its study of the Chad-Libya boundary. For three decades thereafter the Office of The Geographer produced analyses, studies, and background briefs on the numerous issues concerning the differences between Chad and Libya. Dr. Burr monitored the Chad- Libya dispute for more than a decade and prepared a major study on the Aozou Strip and intelligence reports on the struggles within Chad. From 1989 to 1990 Dr. Burr was on assignment in the Sudan with the United States Agency for International Development, during which time he visited Darfur and the western frontier.

Professor Robert O. Collins has written about the history of the Sudan, the Upper Nile, and Africa in numerous volumes published throughout the last half of the twentieth century. Africa's Thirty Years War is the second collaborative effort of Dr.Burr and ProfessorCollins. Like the first, Requiem for the Sudan: War, Drought, and Disaster Relief on the Nile (Westview, 1995), this volume brings together their unique spheres of knowledge, diverse perspectives, and different disciplines. It seeks to illuminate the extraordinarily complex events in Libya, Chad, and the Sudan during a generation of conflict from 1963 to 1993, which has not been previously described or analyzed. There will be those who will attempt to compare Africa's Thirty Years War with the one that is better known in the curriculum of courses in modern European history -- Europe's Thirty Years War, which took place between 1618 and 1648. There is a temptation to draw dramatic parallels -- religion, ethnicity, weapons, personalities, territory -- but it would be more contrived than instructive, and therefore, in the judgment of the authors, should be ignored and resisted. The one and only viable consistency between the two is the coincidence that both conflicts absorbed the energies of a generation before the futility of the enterprise resulted in peace.


Spellings can be a curse that results in chaos, particularly when the documentation for a book, like this one, comes from four major written languages: Arabic . . .

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