February 8, 2012: South Sudan intends to break Sudan’s geo-strategic grip on its oil industry. In late January South Sudan and Kenya agreed to rapidly pursue plans for an oil pipeline connecting South Sudan’s capital, Juba, with the Kenyan seaport of Lamu. Ethiopia is also involved. Kenya may build a refinery for South Sudanese oil that would export refined petroleum products to Ethiopia. Ethiopia has no direct access to the sea and it regards Sudan’s government with suspicion. This East African petroleum triangle has potential as a political triad. South Sudan has the energy resources. Kenya has the seaports (geographic access), and Ethiopia has the most military power. South Sudan can transport its oil with the aid of a reliable partner, like Kenya. In turn, Kenya gets the transport fees. Ethiopia has a reliable source of energy. Kenya and South Sudan have an ally with the military punch to make Sudan’s government think twice. (Austin Bay)
February 7, 2012: China announced that the 29 workers captured by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) have been freed. The workers will return to China, via Kenya.
February 5, 2012: The White Army of the Nuer of South Sudan is indicating that it will take further action to stop Murle tribe cattle raids. What that means is uncertain, though a recent statement mentioned surrounding a Murle town. UN officials are citing that threat as evidence of the cycle of revenge, the tit for tat violence marking tribal warfare in South Sudan. The White Army is the Nuers’ militia, with a cadre of about 6,000. However, the White Army claims that it can field a force of almost 30,000 when Dinka and Murle allies participate.
February 4, 2012: Sudan denied rebel claims that its air force bombed rebel villages in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state. However, aid groups produced photos of bomb damaged buildings in the area.
January 31, 2012: China withdrew 36 workers from Sudan. Another 29 remain captives of the SPLM-N rebel group operating in South Kordofan state.
January 30, 2012: South Sudan said that Sudan’s decision to resume tanker shipments of South Sudanese oil from Port Sudan will not change its decision to begin shutting down its oil fields. South Sudan has accused the north of charging exorbitant transport fees. South Sudan has said that it will explore other oil transport routes, including building a pipeline through Kenya. The government claims it can survive on loans based on future oil sales, until either Sudan agrees to charge reasonable transport fees or a new pipeline is built. That may be a specious claim but in the war of words it sounds bold.
South Sudan accused Sudan’s government of supplying arms to a rogue militia operating in Warrap state. The militia allegedly murdered 40 people.
January 29, 2012: South Sudan vowed to shut down its oil production facilities in its oil fields rather than pay Sudan’s high transport fees. The south claims the north has illegally taken $800 million in oil.
Sudanese media claim that 700 Sudanese military officers have told their senior commanders that their government needs to avoid an all-out war with South Sudan. The officers are apparently making the argument that Sudan has its hands full dealing with the rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state.
January 27, 2012: SPLM-N rebels in South Korodofan state reported extensive artillery attacks by the Sudanese Army on civilian targets. Satellite imagery confirmed the artillery attacks.
January 26, 2012: The Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), announced that it has selected a new senior leader. JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim was killed in December 2011. His brother, Gibril Ibrahim, will succeed him.
January 25, 2012: The Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) reported that it has satellite photos that show the Sudanese government is preparing to launch a new offensive into the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state. The SSP said the images show a troop build-up in progress. The government is also improving airfields in the region. You can see a lot from space.