January 5, 2012: South Sudan calls it extortion. Sudan calls it fair. At the moment, Sudan has the superior army and geography, giving it the ability to enforce its demand that South Sudan pay a premium price for transporting its oil to a port and then to foreign markets. The north is charging the south 23 percent of its oil export revenue for transporting the oil on pipelines through its territory. Both sides support continuing negotiations to reach a permanent agreement, but for now the 23 percent figure remains. Sudan essentially takes 23 percent of the oil passing through its pipelines (and in some cases shipped on tanker trucks) and then sells it. The south produces around 330,000 barrels of oil a day. In December, Sudan threatened to block all southern oil exports because it claimed the south had not paid its transit fees. Now it says it will continue to permit exports but will take the payment in oil. China, which buys oil from both Sudans, had urged both countries to reach an agreement.
January 4, 2012: UN peacekeeping forces in South Sudan successfully defended the town of Pibor against an attack by 6,000 Lou Nuer fighters. Several thousand Murle refugees had sought safety inside the city. The Lou Nuer warriors had vowed to drive the Murle out of the region and if that meant declaring war on the peacekeepers, then so be it. The Lou Nuer warriors were believed to have slain approximately 150 people outside of Pibor. The Lou Nuer warriors were camped about 15 kilometers from Pibor and had a large cattle herd with them. The warriors are likely stealing cattle but the herd also serves as a mobile food source. The warriors burned the town of Lukangol last week as they marched toward Pibor. The UN may eventually deploy 3,000 peacekeepers around Pibor.
January 3, 2012: The government of South Sudan denied accusations made by Sudan that South Sudan had let JEM Darfuri rebels enter the country. Sudan has also accused South Sudan of providing the JEM with support. Sudan claimed that a large JEM force of some 350 fighters and 80 vehicles crossed into South Sudan on December 28. Sudan also alleged that the JEM is operating a training camp near Raja in Bahr al-Ghazal state.
A group of Murle tribal raiders launched a surprise attack in Duk County (Jonglei state). The Murle attacked a group of Lou Nuer tribesmen.
January 2, 2012: Fighting continues in South Kordofan state. A northern Sudanese air strike killed seven people and wounded several others in the Al Buram area. There were also air strikes in the Blue Nile state.
December 31, 2011: UNAMID peacekeepers accused the Sudan government of attempting to restrict the peacekeeping mission’s ability to monitor violence in the Darfur region. The UN acknowledged that fighting had erupted in North Darfur state between Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels and the Khartoum government. Some of the fighting in North Darfur was described as connected to fighting in North Kordofan. The JEM joined the newly formed Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) in November. The SRF is an attempt to coordinate Darfur rebel organizations with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) which is fighting Khartoum in several states. Two Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) factions also said they were joining the SRF.
December 29, 2011: The UN has re-deployed a battalion of peacekeepers in South Sudan’s Jonglei state to act as a buffer between the Lou Nuer and Murle tribes. The two tribes have been battling one another for several months. The battalion has taken up positions around the town of Pibor. A group of 5,000 to 6,000 Lou Nuer warriors are reportedly preparing to attack the town. During the civil war, the Nuer fielded a militia called the White Army. Since late fall 2011 South Sudanese have begun referring to the re-organized Nuer fighting force as the White Army.
December 25, 2011: Sudan government forces have killed senior JEM commander Khalil Ibrahim. The government claims this is a major political achievement, since the JEM refuses to join the Doha peace negotiations. Ibrahim was wounded in an air strike on December 24 and died of his wounds. JEM sources said a government jet aircraft fired precision missiles at Ibrahim and several other JEM fighters. Ibrahim had been involved in helping organize the Sudanese Revolutionary Front. He also had strong political connections in Chad and Eritrea. Chad has provided support to Darfur rebels.
December 20, 2011: The South Sudan government claimed its forces killed rebel general George Athor in a firefight that occurred on December 19. Athor had been leading a large rebel militia in Jonglei state.
December 19, 2011: Despite its many on-going armed conflicts, the Sudan government is trying to bring more tourists to the country. No kidding. With the loss of some 75 percent of its oil production (most of the oil fields are in South Sudan), the government is looking for other businesses that can generate hard currency. It’s not that Sudan lacks for significant archeological sites. In fact, it has many, particularly between Khartoum and the Egyptian border. However, the police are corrupt, there are bandits, and if you head south and west there are outright wars. So the government is trying to sell tourists on visiting its Red Sea littoral, especially Port Sudan. In 2010, according to Sudanese government statistics, around 500,000 tourists visited Sudan.