Civil War Threatens Sudan, Again

It may have lasted lasted 22 years, claimed 2 million lives and displaced 4 million people, but Sudan's north-south civil war that ended in 2005 was scarcely noticed in the West. But as the conflict threatens to resume, it could wreak havoc with U.S. and international efforts to stabilize the region, the AP reported.

To many observers, the city of Abyei, on the fault-line between North and South Sudan, is the key to the country's future. On May 14, it exploded. What appeared to have been a small incident between rival militias on its outskirts quickly escalated into full-scale fighting, and there was little a small band of U.N. peacekeepers could do to contain it.

"We're seeing a full frontal and rear assault," a peacekeeper screamed into his radio as white U.N. helicopters dropped down into their base in the town and whisked civilians and other aid workers out. Mortar, artillery and rocket exchanges flattened much of the market town over the next few days. As 60,000 civilians fled into the bush, others darted into their mud huts to retrieve assault rifles and join the fighting. By its end several days later, much of Abyei was a smoldering ruin. Fighters continued to loot and torch thatched huts in rival areas. The northern army said 21 of its men had been killed. The southerners refused to give a death toll, but the bodies of several of their guerrillas lay in the streets, their boots removed.

The Abyei clash marked the first time that Sudan's northern army and their proxies and the former rebels from the south and their allies - now all part of the same Sudanese government of national unity - had turned their guns on each other since they signed a U.S.-brokered peace deal three years ago. Still, north-south enmity runs deep, and the new fighting has pushed the region back to the edge. "We are on the brink of a new war," was the assessment of Pagan Amum, secretary-general of the southern Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). Tensions have been building for months. In a report on the region in March, the International Crisis Group (ICG) warned the situation "could quickly become national... It is uncertain whether the SPLM-NCP [National Congress Party, which dominates the north] partnership could survive a scenario in which the two parties supported their respective Abyei allies."

The history of animosity between the north and south stretches back centuries. The north - generally Arab nomads descended from kingdoms around the Nile - have repeatedly tried to subjugate the mixed Arab and African cattle herders and pastoralists of the south. In colonial times, the British administered north and south Sudan separately, although they united the two sides just before independence. Southern frustration at the perceived northern domination of the post-colonial government in Khartoum spilled over quickly into the First Sudanese civil war, which lasted from 1955 to 1972. Whereas then the hostility focused on land and water - southern Sudan has more water than the north, on the edges of the Sahara - today that has been reinforced by oil. The ICG says 70% of Sudan's oil reserves also lie in the south. Much of the 500,000 barrels of crude exported every day from Sudan is pumped from Abyei. The south, whose various leaders agitate either for independence or at least meaningful autonomy, complain they see little gain from the wealth under their soil. One Western diplomat estimates oil has earned the south $3.5 billion since 2005, a sum that could be expected to discourage the north from letting go of the south.

Added to such southern grievances are continuing disputes over the precise demarcation of the internal federal border between north and south under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). In particular, both sides claim Abyei. The north has also been slow to withdraw troops from the south, and suspicions are that it will drag its feet over a referendum, promised by the CPA and due for 2011, in which the south can vote for secession and independence. Complicating the situation is tribal local rivalry in the area, which both sides try to exploit to their advantage.

Meanwhile, civilian suffering continues, largely unnoticed by the world. Aid workers must contend with a relative lack of interest in south Sudan, which festers in the shadow of Sudan's other ethnic war, Darfur. Asked how bad the situation was in south Sudan, senior U.N. official Simon Strachan replied: "In south Sudan, women are eight times more likely to die in childbirth than they are of finishing primary school." View this article on

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Azerbaijani First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footages from meeting with former IDPs in Fuzuli (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footages from meeting with former IDPs in Fuzuli (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan deputy minister talks number of precious metal deposits in liberated territories (UPDATE)
Azerbaijan deputy minister talks number of precious metal deposits in liberated territories (UPDATE)
Azerbaijani State Security Service's chief meets with VP of ICRC
Azerbaijani State Security Service's chief meets with VP of ICRC
Loading Bars
Azerbaijan's Energy Ministry presents "green energy" dev't concept
Azerbaijani First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footages from meeting with former IDPs in Fuzuli (VIDEO)
Turkey reveals its total cargo traffic for 9M2021
Georgia shares data on COVID-19 cases for October 20
Azerbaijan sees rise in cost of cargo transportation by road
Azerbaijani State Security Service's chief meets with VP of ICRC
Iranian currency rates for October 20
Azerbaijan deputy minister talks number of precious metal deposits in liberated territories
Turkmenistan, LUKOIL talk dev’t of hydrocarbon resources of Caspian Sea region
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Azerbaijan's revenues from mobile communication services up in 9M2021
Turkmenistan to launch "single window" system for export-import operations
Azerbaijani ambassador presents his credentials to King of Belgium
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Tunisia in 8M2021
UN launches number of specialized services in Turkmenistan
Amazon lowers threshold for free delivery to Israel
Azerbaijan provides broadcasting of TV, radio channels in liberated Zangilan (PHOTO)
AutoStore, Norway's biggest IPO in two decades, valued at $12.4 bln
Facebook plans to change its name
Kyrgyzstan administers 13,249 vaccines over past day
Iran sees increase in Turkish steel imports for 9M2021
Turkey discloses cargo traffic via local ports from Malta in 8M2021
Georgia ready to develop, deepen strategic partnership with Azerbaijan – PM
Azerbaijan eyes applying Generic Statistical Business Process Model
Explosion destroys army bus in central Damascus
Oil dips as China considers intervention to ease coal crunch
Expert explains why Turkish products in Baku don't fall in price amid devaluation of lira
Azerbaijan, Slovakia ink new deal on economic co-op (PHOTO)
Olympic flame arrives in China for Beijing 2022 Winter Games
Explosion heard in Afghanistan's Kabul
1,683 more COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
UNICEF to help Turkmenistan increase emergency preparedness
COVID-19 cases worldwide down 4%, deaths down 2% in past week — WHO
UN Security Council to talk North Korea's missile test
U.S. remains prepared to engage with DPRK after missile test: White House
UK foreign minister to visit Saudi Arabia, Qatar
Israel detects 1st case of COVID-19 Delta variant "AY4.2"
Bomb threat issued in Washington DC
U.S. secretary of homeland security tests positive for COVID-19 after full vaccination
North Korea confirms it launched SLBM
Israel says Abu Dhabi crown prince invites Israeli PM for 1st official visit
Volkswagen executive sees global chip shortage running well into 2022
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry shares Tweet marking anniversary of liberation of Zangilan (PHOTO)
Chronicles of Victory: President Ilham Aliyev addresses the nation due to liberation of Zangilan on October 20, 2020 (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Chronicles of Victory: October 20, 2020
U.S. workers face layoffs as U.S COVID-19 vaccine mandates kick in
21 passengers escape plane safely after crash in Texas, officials say
Facebook to pay up to $14.25 mln to settle U.S. employment discrimination claims
Azerbaijan discloses names of returned Armenian servicemen
Uzbekistan exports $625 million worth of fruits and vegetables in 9 months
UK records highest daily COVID death toll since early March
Ukrainian Bees Airline plans to launch Odessa-Tbilisi-Odessa flights starting October 22
Iranian official dismisses 'tensions' at Astara customs, says activity with Azerbaijan soars
Turkmenistan starts rice harvest in Dashoguz region
Azerbaijan supports all int’l efforts to ensure transparency in extractive industries – minister
Refining activity of Iran's Fajr Jam Gas Refining Company soars
Iran’s Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Corporation sets new record
Azerbaijan's defense minister visits newly established commando military unit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Iran’s PMO declares data on load/unload operations in Jask Port
Iran intends to increase exports through Astara
Turkey reveals cargo traffic via its ports from Portugal for 8M2021
Exports of Iran to Kyrgyzstan booming
President Ilham Aliyev receives Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs (VIDEO)
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on October 20
President Ilham Aliyev expresses condolences to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price rebounds
Azerbaijan transfers captured Armenian servicemen back to Armenia
Uzbekistan plans to exempt import and sale of meat products from VAT
Turkey shares data on maritime cargo shipment with Russia for 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on oil transported via BTC pipeline in 9M2021
USAID to provide additional funds for Kazakhstan to fight COVID-19
Turkey announces data on cargo traffic with Italy for 8M2021
Kazakhstan imposes export restrictions for some timber types
Azerbaijan names locations of future national parks in liberated territories
Azerbaijan demands certain steps from Armenia at UN International Court of Justice
Iran’s 9M2021 Turkish cement imports up
Iran to host meeting on economic co-op with Turkmenistan
Georgian foreign trade turnover increases
Iran increases petrochemicals production
Kazakhstan sees increase in number of open trading accounts
​Iran allocates more funds for oil and gas projects in Ilam Province
Turkey unveils data on cargo traffic via its ports from Spain
Georgia's domestic export up in 9M2021
Value of Turkish cement exports to Georgia for 8M2021 down
Turkey shares data on cargo traffic with Greece for 8M2021
Turkey reveals cargo volume handled from Egypt in 8M2021
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Azerbaijan confirms 2,102 more COVID-19 cases, 863 recoveries
Cargo traffic on Azerbaijan's section of TRACECA for 8M2021 revealed
IMF lowers breakeven oil price level for Azerbaijan
Saudi index hits 15-year peak as most Gulf bourses gain
Israel's Bank Mizrahi Tefahot to issue $1.1 bln of CPI-linked bonds
Iran seeks to complete semi-finished project related to Lake Urmia's revitalization
Iran imports trucks to renovate transportation fleet
IMF revises up forecasts for Azerbaijan’s non-oil GDP growth
Iran`s domestic appliances production increases
IMF reveals forecast for Azerbaijan’s annual inflation
Iran's imports from neighboring countries up
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Singapore for 8M2021
Hungarian companies to attend Rebuild Karabakh EXPO
All news