Sudan: Throwing The Southerners A Bone

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June 13,2008: The government is finally moving to implement the peace deal with the southern rebels, by interviewing 1,500 southern candidates for government jobs. The government had agreed to give 20 percent of middle and top level civil service jobs to southerners. But until now, there had been no progress in that, or any other, area of the peace deal. As a result of this, southerners trust the northerners even less than before.

June 11, 2008: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS), the regional autonomous government of southern Sudan, is seriously concerned about Ugandan Lords Resistance Army (LRA) attacks in its territory. South Sudan had been acting as a diplomatic mediator in the long-running Uganda-LRA talks, but when the LRA's Joseph Kony said in late May that he would not agree to a final peace deal, the GOSS withdrew as a mediator. In a raid that occurred the first week of June, an LRA rebel group killed 23 Sudanese in a village near the Congo border. The GOSS has decided to reinforce its troops in Equatoria State and reposition troops along the Sudan-Congo border.

June 9, 2008: Darfur rebels (SLM Unity, or Sudan Liberation Movement- Unity) claimed that its fighters killed over 150 government soldiers in a battle in North Darfur state, near the town of Um Keddada. The rebels say they ambushed a "Sudanese brigade" and lost only seven rebel fighters. The government version was quite different, claiming that 14 Sudanese soldiers died in the firefight and that the rebel force ran.

June 8, 2008: The government and GOSS signed an agreement that would submit the dispute over the Abyei area to international arbitration. As it is, the government can ill afford another war with the south. The north and south benefit from peace because peace keeps the oil flowing from fields in central and southern Sudan. Determining the north-south border will still be a problem. Both sides have their own ideas about where the border should be drawn, and oil revenue is involved. The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) called for the creation of joint military units. That hasn't happened. There have been some joint patrols but around Abyei that effort failed miserably.

June 2, 2008: The government once again stated that it would not conduct peace negotiations in Darfur with the JEM (Justice and Equality Movement) rebels. The JEM managed to conduct a dramatic raid on Omdurman in May which has deeply embarrassed the Sudanese government.

June 1, 2008: Human rights organizations who are trying to end the war in Darfur are once again targeting oil companies that work with the Sudanese government. Sudan gets over 90 percent of its export earnings from the sale of its oil, yet it largely depends on non-Sudanese companies to explore, drill, and maintain the fields. The human rights activists say they intend to target several Asian oil companies( specifically, Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian oil companies). The human rights activists can hit western companies but many non-western companies are much tougher economic and political targets, as they tend to simply shrug off media attacks.

 

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