A Year After Secession, War Still Rages Between Sudan and South Sudan
When South Sudan seceded from Sudan last July, there was some expectation that the conflict between Arab Muslims in the north and black Christians in the south would come to an end, or at least decrease. However, almost a year later, fighting between the two groups has not calmed, because of one factor that seems to dominate the modern world: oil.
When South Sudan seceded they took with them 90% of the area’s oil, located along the two nations’ contested border, and turned off the pipeline to the North. Sudan does not have the resources necessary to import oil, and there are fears of a rapid increase in oil prices that would deal a blow to the country’s already suffering economy. This has resulted in a ‘civil’ war between the two divided yet connected nations.
Don’t Forget About Sudan
On April 20, the New York Times reported that Sudanese planes had struck a United Nations compound and an important town inside South Sudan. At the same time, South Sudan claimed it had shot down Sudanese jets and kills hundreds of Sudanese soldiers as it battled over Heglig, an oil-producing region that South Sudan seized from Sudan last week.
When South Sudan seceded from the north on July 9, 2011, the new nation contained most of the oil behind Sudan’s economic growth and received billions of dollars in Western aid. Instead of emerging as the stable, Western-friendly nation that the US and other donors expected, South Sudan has maintained heavily armed militias that have attacked villages and tensions with its north neighbor. When the nations split, it was believed that mutual dependence on oil could hold the nations together: 75 percent of oil is in South Sudan, yet the export pipeline runs through the north. Instead, this interdependence has led to competitive efforts to control the oil – by 2012, both nations seized tankers, shut down wells, and eventually resorted to violence.
What Will It take For Retribution in Sudan?
The International Court of Justice has requested the arrest of Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein, Sudan’s defense minister, based on his alleged role as collaborator in some of the many atrocities that occurred during the genocide in Darfur. He will reportedly be charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Hussein, between 2003 and 2004, apparently coordinated attacks in villages around the country. The power that he was given placed him high enough in the chain of command that he practically had free reign in Sudan. During those years, Hussein worked under President Omar al-Bashir, who has already been indicted for war crimes. In order to avoid arrest, Bashir has spent the time since his indictment travelling to nations such as China, that would not hand him over to the International Criminal Court.