Relations with Arab States
Despite centuries-old cultural ties to Arab North Africa, Chad maintained few significant ties to North African or Middle Eastern states in the 1980s. (Ties with Israel had been severed in 1972.) President Habré hoped to pursue greater solidarity with Arab nations in the future, however, viewing closer relations with Arab states as a potential opportunity to break out of his nation's postcolonial dependence and assert Chad's unwillingness to serve as an arena for superpower rivalries. In addition, as a northern Muslim, Habré represented a constituency that favored Afro-Arab solidarity, and he hoped Islam would provide a basis for national unity in the long term. For these reasons, he was expected to seize opportunities during the 1990s to pursue closer ties with Arab nations.
During the 1980s, several Arab states had supported Libyan claims to the Aozou Strip. Algeria was among the most outspoken of these states and provided training for anti-Habré forces, although most recruits for its training programs were from Nigeria or Cameroon, recruited and flown to Algeria by Libya. By the end of 1987, Algiers and N'Djamena were negotiating to improve relations. Lebanon's Progressive Socialist Party also sent troops to support Qadhafi's efforts against Chad in 1987, but other Arab states and the League of Arab States (Arab League) limited their involvement to expressions of hope that the dispute over the Aozou Strip could be settled peacefully.
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