New at Brill in Open Access: Encyclopædia Iranica Online


Encyclopaedia Iranica is the most renowned reference work in the field of Iran studies. Founded by the late Professor Ehsan Yarshater and edited at the Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University, this monumental international project brings together the scholarship about Iran of thousands of authors around the world.




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Encyclopædia Iranica Online Now Freely Accessible at Brill

The Ehsan Yarshater Center for Iranian Studies at Columbia University, New York, and Brill are delighted to announce that the Encyclopædia Iranica Online is now freely accessible at Brill’s Reference Works Platform. Encyclopædia Iranica is the comprehensive academic reference work dedicated to the study of Iranian civilization in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent.

Ancient Iran Series Added to Brill’s Publishing Portfolio

As part of their growing portfolio in Middle East and Islamic Studies, Brill has signed an agreement for the take-over of the book series Ancient Iran Series. With its coverage of ancient, pre-, and early-Islamic Iran, this book series complements other book series with a more modern focus on this geographical area, as well as the various other journals and encyclopaedias Brill publishes in this field.

Read an interview with Geert Jan van Gelder

The longstanding series Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1: The Near and Middle East recently reached its 150th volume by publishing the special Prominent Murder Victims of the Pre- and Early Islamic Periods Including the Names of Murdered Poets. We caught up with Geert Jan van Gelder, editor and translator of the volume.


Acquisitions Editors


Maurits van den Boogert

Nicolette van der Hoek

Abdurraouf Oueslati

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

Jehona Kicaj

Middle East and Islamic Studies

During 2004, political stability of Chad was undermined by the Darfur crisis in neighbouring Sudan, and continued uncertainty about the revenues from oil exploitation. Both issues were said to lie at the origin of an attempted coup d'état in May. Rumours about the poor health of President Idriss Déby fuelled concerns about political stability. An amendment to the constitution that cleared the way for President Déby to stand for re-election after his second term was accepted in parliament. Foreign support for the current regime, mainly from France and the US, was still strong, since Déby seemed to be the only guarantee of political stability, the opposition being in disarray. The exploitation of oil is said to have increased GDP by more than 30%. Despite oil revenues, Chad still ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world, with 80% of the population living on less than $ 1 a day. The rainy season finished early and harvests were far below (30%) the levels of last year. Furthermore, the transhumance of livestock keepers to the south started as early as September instead of December, increasing tensions between nomadic herders and farmers. The damage done by locust plagues was relatively modest. However, there are indications that Chad is heading for a food crisis in 2005.

President Déby re-affirmed his control of the Chadian regime during the year. Internationally, he was acclaimed as a saviour when Chad responded quickly to the UN-backed French call for troops to fight Islamist insurgents in northern Mali in January. Regionally, Déby took advantage of the end of the Kadhafi regime and the chaotic situation in Libya to raise the profile of his own role as regional benefactor and power broker. This was most evident in the CAR, where Déby was a key player in the calamitous situation. At home, he easily averted an attempted coup d’état in early May and used the opportunity to put numerous politico-military adversaries out of play.

While Chad offered little attraction to external investors, the country strengthened its image as an effective military partner for us anti-terror units and a key ally in France’s military engagements in the Sahel region and Central Africa. Actively participating in two un peacekeeping missions, taking an active stance against Boko Haram and acting as a base for the new French military operation, Barkhane, Chad’s army had seriously developed its capacity to protect security since the attempted coup in 2008 and had what was counted as one of the best-trained and equipped armies in Africa.

Many deadly attacks committed by Boko Haram on Chadian soil made the Déby Itno regime take a number of counter-terror measures, including declaring a state of emergency in some parts of the country. Additionally, the massive fall in the oil price on the world market seriously affected the public purse. Payment of salaries in the public sector and scholarships for students were delayed or cut, causing many demonstrations and strikes. In July, the trial of former president Hissène Habré for crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture started in Dakar (Senegal).

The re-election of President Déby Itno on 10 April and the ‘austerity measures’ introduced by the government on 31 August resulted in massive protests. However, the gang rape of a 16-year-old schoolgirl by young ‘untouchables’ in Ndjamena on 8 February sparked off even heavier social protests throughout the country. On 30 May, former president Hissène Habré was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes in Dakar (Senegal), thus ending more than 20 years’ civil struggle to get him sentenced. Strong police and military surveillance proved effective in stopping attacks by Boko Haram on Chadian territory and no deaths resulted from terror attacks during the year. Déby strengthened his international reputation as an unreserved anti-terror ally.

Déby’s regime remained superficially stable by keeping to its practice of frequently changing its top personnel. Relative peace prevailed in the heartland of the country. Effective repression by a heavily militarised regime with additional military support from France and the us managed to control insurgent movements in northern Chad/Southern Libya. Chad’s diplomacy was very active during the year and succeeded in bringing about the election of a Chadian as chairperson of the au. The low price of oil on the world market caused a fiscal crisis.

Massive strikes and demonstrations by public and private employees, in addition to demonstrations by students and civil society organisations, marked severely both business and civil life. A new constitution strengthening the president’s power over the parliament was adopted on 4 May. Among many changes was the elimination of the post of the prime minister. President Déby changed, as usual, the government numerous times during the year, making ministerial positions uncertain and thereby further strengthening the president’s powers. Fighting terror with the help of Western powers continued to be an important source of income, as well as of international legitimacy, for the regime. Chad hosted some 500,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, creating tensions over land and other resources with the local population.

A rebel attack at the start of the year and later further upheavals triggered widespread reactions, including a military support mission by France and the declaration of a state of emergency in three provinces. Fearing that the massive anti-regime movements in Khartoum (Sudan) could spill over to N’Djamena, President Idriss Déby was extremely vigilant not to allow potential protests and popular assemblies. The regime was both under strong internal pressure and heavily supported from outside. Parliamentary elections, due since 2015, were again postponed and it was finally announced that they would take place in 2020.

President Déby continued to rule by decree, fear, and personal loyalties. Using the fight against Covid-19 as a pretext, the regime restricted human rights for its opponents and critics. Demonstrations were not permitted, and protests were terminated by the police, sometimes even before they started. Elections for the general assembly, postponed numerous times since 2015 and now scheduled for December, were again postponed. Chad contributed to the international fight against terror by providing troops to both the UN-led Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (minusma) and the Nigerian-led Multinational Joint Task Force (mnjtf). Both the number of refugees and the number of idps continued to rise, to around 500,000 refugees and 400,000 idps respectively.

Running for his sixth presidential term, President Marshal Idriss Déby Itno was re-elected on 11 April. A week later, on 18 April, he was shot while combating rebels near Mao, and on 20 April he was declared dead. The same day, a 15-general-strong Military Transitional Council (cmt), headed by the deceased president’s 37-year-old son, General Mahamat Déby Itno, overrode the constitution and declared itself the governing body in Chad for the next 18 months. The new regime initiated numerous reconciliation initiatives with civil and politico-military groups. However, countless cleavages remained and resistance to a father – son presidential transition was strong, both within the extended Déby Itno family and among other groups.