Sudan: Surrounded By Rebels


June 10, 2010: War in Darfur killed over 600 people during the month of May. Last year a former UNAMID (UN peacekeeper) commander declared the war in Darfur was over. Well, it wasn't. The war in Darfur, and throughout the Grand Sahel, has been going on for quite some time. It only peters out when everyone is tired of it, or the losers have either died or fled. The black African farmers (who happen to be Muslim) who revolted in 2003 against unfair treatment by the central government haven't lost yet, though at couple of hundred thousand (by one estimate) have been slain , and a couple of million more are in camps in the Central African Republic, Chad, and Sudan. With one or two exceptions, however, the Hollywood advocates of armed intervention on behalf of the Darfurians have fled the scene.

June 8, 2010: North Sudanese and southern Sudanese politicians are warning one another about unresolved north-south border issues and the potential effects of a South Sudan vote for independence next year. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir compared the situation to India and Pakistan, or, closer to Sudan, the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

June 6, 2010: Tribal fighting in South Darfur state has left over 40 people dead. Members of the Misseriya tribe fought with members of the Rezeigat tribe near the town of Kass.

June 5, 2010: In 2006 Eritrea brokered a peace deal between the national government and the Eastern Front rebel organization. The Eastern Front primarily operated in Kassala state and Red Sea state. Eastern Front leaders were promised positions in the national government and development aid and reconstruction funds for their tribes (Beja and Rashaida). A few jobs were passed out to pacify the leaders, but the aid money has been slow to materialize. Now former Eastern Front members are openly complaining about the government's failure to fulfill its pledges. Is the war about to reignite? No one knows but this is a situation to watch. The Eastern Front, however, at one time was allied with the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), the southern rebel army. When the SPLA signed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, that relationship ended. But the commanders in south Sudan and in the central government are paying attention. If the south chooses independence and a new civil war erupts, the easterners could once again align with the south. That puts the north in a bind, because the easterners are positioned to interdict pipelines and truck routes which lead to Port Sudan, Sudan's main seaport.

May 29, 2010: Sudan and Egypt are increasingly concerned about water rights on the Nile River. Uganda, Ethiopia, and several other upstream nations are claiming that a colonial era water distribution agreement dating from 1929 is outdated. Sudan and Egypt, however, argue that nations like Uganda get far more rainfall while downstream nations (ie, Sudan and Egypt) rely on the Nile for water. Growing populations need more water. Ethiopia wants to build more hydro-electric projects, which means storing water. This is a serious disagreement which, if southern Sudan opts from independence from the north, could lead to an expanded “north-south” conflict, with Egypt supporting northern Sudan and Uganda supporting southern Sudan.

May 27, 2010: President Omar al-Bashir was sworn in for a new five-year long term as president. He was re-elected in the April 2010 national elections. President Bashir remains under indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes committed in Darfur.





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