Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 13 May 2004

War in Sudan, don’t forget it


Editorial, The Economist

Outsiders must help to end the latest horrors in Sudan

LONDON, May 13, 2004 — LAST week, by acclamation, African countries elected Sudan to serve on the UN’s human rights commission: an odd choice, given that Sudan’s Arab-dominated regime is currently trying to drive all the black Africans out of Darfur, a region the size of France in the west of the country. In pursuit of this goal, the regime in Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, has armed and unleashed a mounted militia that is systematically burning villages and killing or raping their inhabitants. The best-informed observers estimate that 1m people have fled their homes, in addition to the 4m Sudanese already displaced by the country’s other, older war.

Sudan’s humanitarian crisis may be the world’s worst but is neither well-known nor widely understood, partly because the country is so inaccessible but mostly because it is so poor. It won brief notoriety for hosting Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s but he was expelled some time before September 11th, 2001. It is time to put the spotlight on Sudan again-and stop the latest bloodshed.

Confusingly, Sudan is the scene of two separate but related civil wars. One, between north and south, has been flaring up and down for half a century. The other, in Darfur, started only in February last year. The older war pits an Islamist government in the north against southerners who are mostly pagan or Christian. Darfur’s conflict is Muslim against Muslim. In any event, the prime source of Sudan’s horrors is political. Since independence in 1956, Sudan has been ruled by a small and undemocratic elite of mostly Arab Muslims. In the hope of crushing the long-standing rebellion by infidel southerners, they have routinely bombed villages, encouraged their militiamen to enslave southerners and deliberately fostered famine. Perhaps 2m people, mostly civilians, have died.

The good news is that the war between north and south is nearly over. Under pressure from the United States and others, the government has thrashed out a series of agreements with the main southern rebel group, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which should soon lead to a comprehensive peace deal. The two sides have agreed to share power for six years, after which the south will be allowed a referendum on whether or not to secede.

The bad news is that a lot of people feel left out. The men with guns are about to divide the power (and some petrodollars) between them. In the west and the east of the country, regions utterly neglected by the state, those who feel left out-in particular, in Darfur-have taken up arms. The government has evidently determined to crush them with such ferocity that other Sudanese are too scared to follow suit.

America has for some time threatened that, if the government does not negotiate with the south in good faith, it would impose sanctions on Khartoum and give heaps of cash to the SPLA. But if the regime made peace, it could expect aid, debt relief and a bit of investment. America should now make all this conditional on an immediate end to ethnic cleansing in Darfur and on sincere efforts to negotiate peace in the west as well as the south.

The rest of the world can help too. The UN Security Council should help broker a new ceasefire in Darfur, commit peacekeepers to uphold it, and press the government in Khartoum to address the grievances that sparked the revolt in the first place. Other African states and the African Union, meanwhile, should ostracise Khartoum until it stops ethnic cleansing.

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

BlindsSelf-confidence and preparedness against Disasters in Sudan 2020-09-21 11:46:04 Why things are only getting worse and the papers are filled with stories of gloom and doom in Sudan? By Mahmoud A. Suleiman The answer to the previous questions needs to know the reasons first, (...)

South Sudan: On Right of Access to Information and Media 2020-09-19 15:01:51 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi South Sudan’s Right of Access to Information Act, 2013, in Section 35, enshrines the following: 1- The Minister (Minister responsible for Information and Broadcasting) (...)

Is the Juba Peace Agreement a Turning Point for Sudan? 2020-09-15 18:48:43 By Dame Rosalind Marsden Sudan is looking towards a brighter future after the initialling of the Juba peace agreement on August 31, an important first step towards bringing peace to the conflict (...)


Latest Press Releases

Sudan: Performing arts is not a crime, assaulting women and artists is! 2020-09-20 08:54:28 The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Sudan is still struggling with militant Islamist ideology KHARTOUM: Central Khartoum Primary Court issued a verdict against five (...)

Civil Society Statement in Response to The Law of Various Amendments 2020-08-14 07:11:00 A Collaborative Civil Society Statement in Response to The Law of Various Amendments (Abolishing and Amending Provisions Restricting Freedom) – Exposing ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ Sudanese women (...)

Remarks by SRF leaders at the Friend of Sudan meeting on peace 2020-08-13 07:58:58 Chairman of the Friends of Sudan Conference, Your Excellency, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Prime Minister of Sudan and the participating team from the (...)


Copyright © 2003-2020 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.