Sudan: It Is All About The Oil


May 28,2008: The UN will investigate the series of violent incidents between the Sudanese Army and the SPLA in and around the town of Abyei. Over ten days of fights have left two dozen dead and at least 80,000 refugees. This is where the oil is, and even the Arab League is getting involved to try and mediate a peace deal. The SPLA is not easy to placate, because they know the only way to really get the government's attention is to threaten the oil revenue.

May 23, 2008: UN efforts to arrange meetings between Sudan government military leaders and generals in the SPLA (Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, the military forces of South Sudan) have been frustrated. 22 Sudan government troops reportedly have died in a firefight with SPLA soldiers in Abyei. How to distribute oil income is one of the main disputes, but so is repatriation of Dinka tribespoeple in the region. The Dinka tend to be "pro-south" in their political preferences.

May 21, 2008: Heavy fighting had broken out in the town of Abyei. The situation is deteriorating and that the ceasefire in the area was broken. Abyei sits on two fault lines; the North-South border region and on a pool of oil. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which both the North and South signed, calls for a special referendum in Abyei in 2011. The UN statement said that approximately 50,000 refugees had collected in a holding area near Abyei.

May 19, 2008: Humanitarian aid groups have asked the UN to impose economic sanctions on Sudan for conducting "scorched earth" destruction of villages in West Darfur during the government's February offensive. The government is accused of destroying several towns in West Darfur state in attacks on February 8, 18, 19, and 22. The towns were in the Jebel Moun area.

May 17, 2008: Participants in the UNAMID operation are expressing concern that war in Darfur could expand because of May 11 JEM raid on Omdurman (across the Nile from Khartoum). The raid involved a Justice and Equality Movement force of 1,200, in nearly 200 vehicles, that moved at least 400 kilometers to strike several targets near the capital. The fear is that the whole of Sudan could erupt in civil war. With tensions increasing between the Sudan government in Khartoum and South Sudan, that fear has merit.


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