Conflict in Sudan

Martes, 12 de Julio de 2011 14:45 AFRICA SUBSAHARIANA

Origin of the Conflict

altSUDAN, Africa’s largest country, has been characterized by constant instability. Sudan was conquered by The Ottoman-Egyptian forces in 1820. Unable to defeat a Sudanese uprising in 1885, their administration collapsed. Four years later Egyptian forces, backed by the British, re-captured Khartoum and established the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium. Under the British divide and rule strategy, the country was separated into North and South. In 1947 political power was granted to the northern elite, which retained it following independence in 1956. Anticipating marginalization by the North, southern army officers formed the Anya-Nya guerrilla movement in 1955, which began launching attacks on government troops.

In the North, in 1958 General Abboud seized power in a coup d’état and began implementing a policy of Islamization. With Abboud forced out of office in 1964. Several Arab-dominated governments followed, until General Nimieri gained power in 1969. The Addis Ababa peace agreement with the Anya-Nya in March 1972 granted autonomy to the South and integrated the guerrillas into the national army. Systematic violations of the agreement by the government, combined with the discovery of oil in the South, led to a resumption of hostilities. Following an insurgency by southern troops against the government in early 1983, President Nimieri annulled the Addis Ababa agreement in June.

Khartoum’s sheltering of Osama bin Laden and other Islamic fundamentalist groups in the early 1990s led to international isolation headed by the US. The January 2005 Naivasha Accords formally ended the North-South war with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The agreement incorporated the Sudan’s People Liberation Army/ Movement (SPLA/M) into a Government of National Unity (GNU) and created a schedule for 2010 elections. A separate agreement (Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement) regulating power and wealth sharing at the regional level was signed between the government and Eastern Front rebel groups in October 2006. Progress was finally made in May 2007 when al-Bashir appointed 3 Eastern Front officials to government positions.

In Darfur tensions augmented in 2003, when rebels of the SPLA/M and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attacked a government quarter. The government responded with military force, relying heavily on the Arab Janjaweed militia. The militia eventually began ethnically cleansing the African tribes. The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed by the government and the SPLA/M in 2006. With the escalating violence, the government conceded to the presence of UNAMID in 2008. In 2005, the UNSC referred the Darfur situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC issued arrest warrants for the Janjaweed commander in 2007 and President Omar al-Bashir in 2007 and added charges in 2010. The implementation of the CPA, the Darfur Peace Agreement, and the East Sudan Peace Agreement as mechanisms to resolve conflict has been unsatisfactory.


Internal Actors

External Actors

Anya-Nya Guerrilla United Nations (UN)
Arab Janjaweed Militia UN Security Council (UNSC)
National Congress Party (NCP) Unites States of America (USA)
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) International Criminal Court (ICC)
Sudan’s People Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M)



Current Situation

altThe disputed territory of Abyei has recently become the area of intense fighting between North Sudan and the soon to be independent South Sudan. The UN has condemned the violence in Abyei and has demanded that the north remove troops after occupying the region for over a month. President Barack Obama has also called for an end to the fighting and has sought to reconcile with Khartoum. Obama has hinted at an eventual lifting of economic sanctions on Sudan, but this will only occur if the situation in Abyei is resolved peacefully. Should the North refuse to withdraw troops, Khartoum will only become further isolated from the United States and the rest of the world.

The week of June 27th 2011, the United States outlined a UN resolution for 4,200 Ethiopian peacekeepers to be sent to Abyei. Both the North and South have agreed to this in hopes of preventing another catastrophic civil war. The UN has been asked by Khartoum to leave on July 9th, the day that South Sudan officially secedes. Should the departure of the UN peacekeepers lead to a resurgence of violence come July, the global community will have to become further involved in order to prevent the outbreak of another civil war.


UN’s Position

The UN believes in the right of autonomy of South Sudan. However, with the retreat of UN peacekeeping forces from South Sudan at the awaiting of the official secession of the same, the UN is afraid that the fighting and dispute might breakout again and that another humanitarian crisis/civil war might take place.


More Information

By Jatnna Garcia, CDRI Intern