Best place to get updates on the conflict and on all things Sudan http://www.sudantribune.com/-News,001-
So there’s a conflict going on between North and South Sudan that seems to be escalating into full out war. What’s interesting, North Sudan has been bombing the Juba mountains and even parts of South Sudan like Unity State for months now and nobody cared, but when South Sudan retaliated by capturing the oil fields at Heglig, immediately the UN, US, EU and everybody else condemned them and urged them to retreat. God forbid if you disrupt the oil flow, apparently.
So what’s this conflict about?
After South Sudan declared independence last year there were several issues left unanswered: first of all, there was no clear demarcation of the borders (like for example the town/oil field of Heglig that SS just captured was awarded to North Sudan by a Hague court, even tho it was historically a southern area, and southern Dinka people lived there until oil was discovered and Khartoum drove them out to make room for multinational oil corporations setting up shop).
Then there’s the issue of Abyei and the Nuba mountains. These areas were supposed to remain inside North Sudan and have a referendum about whether they want to stay or join South Sudan. Since the most likely referendum would have resulted in them joining South Sudan, Khartoum never allowed it, this resulted in people there taking up arms and rebelling against the Northern regime.
Now here’s a helpful map, from BBC, highlighting whats most important: oil
As you can see Abyei is in an oil-rich area. Also it’s inhabited by the Dinka-Ngok people, closely related to the Dinka ethnic group, the largest in South Sudan. The North claims the area on the basis that the Miseryia, a nomadic arab tribe, lives in Abyei for a few months each year.
The Nuba mountains on the other hand are inhabited by dozens of ethnic groups speaking over 200 languages. They aren’t ethnically related to the southerners and they’re mostly muslims, but they are black and just like the muslims in the south or the border area, they joined the southern christians to fight against the Arab regime in the North in the decade-long civil war. After war ended and South SUdan gained independence, Nuba people found themselves still in the north, and when they asked for the promised referendum, Khartoum answered with a brutal crackdown. This led to an armed rebellion and to northern planes bombing Nuba mountains villages. Khartoum blames the South for supporting this rebellion, which is one of the main causes of the current war.
Then there’s the oil. When it declared independence last year South Sudan took with it three quarters of Sudan’s oil deposits but, as you can see in the map above, the pipelines go north so South Sudan is dependent on the North to export its oil. Then Khartoum confiscated like $800 million worth of southern oil as fees for using the pipelines, the south retaliated by shutting down oil production completely, and that’s another reason for the current war.
Speaking of the oil pipes going north here’s a crucial thing in understanding the decades long North and South Sudan conflict: ever since oil was discovered profits only went to the North. There were less than 1 km of paved road in the entire South before independence. No, infrastructure, only a few schools, a handful of hospitals, despite the vast oil wealth South Sudan was and still is one of the poorest places on earth. Big fences were built around oil fields and locals were expelled from those areas. And in the meantime skyscrapers and modern universities were built in Khartoum and a small Arab elite got incredibly rich off southern oil.
It’s not really a christians vs. muslims conflict as some in the west like to portray it (like I said earlier there were lots of black muslims who joined the south in the fight against Khartoum) but, just like the separate Darfur conflict, it was about the black underclass rebelling against an Arab elite which neglected and oppressed all the black areas of Sudan. And this is not only the regime in Khartoum being racist, the entire northern society is racist as fuck; like, the common word they use when referring to blacks is “abd”, which means literally slave.
What’s gonna happen next?
It could go either way, the north has a superior army and they could win and enforce a return to status quo. But so far the south won a couple of battles and occupied the oil producing town of Heglig (they repelled a northern counterattack last night), and now they talk about occupying other areas in the north where southern ethnic groups live or used to live.
The Darfur rebels could profit off this and try launching another attack on the city of Khartoum, like they did in the past. In the east, where most of the people are Eritrean/Ethiopian related ethnic groups which also resent the Arab rule, they could rebel again.
I posted these youtubes before, but for those who havent seen them and are interested in the Sudan conflict please check them out
An al-jazeera about the history of Sudan post-independence (it’s 1yr old, from before independence)
And a very interesting interview with a Southern Sudanese minister, who talks about why the south seceded. This interview also shows how, like everything wrong with the world, it’s all because of the British