The partition of Sudan? Oct 18, 2010 10:32:00 GMT
Post by Deleted on Oct 18, 2010 10:32:00 GMT
Most people do not know anything about Sudan, and when they do, it is not good stuff – genocide in Darfur, the international arrest warrant against President Omar al-Bashir, a particularly virulent application the sharia in the legal system, strong links to Al-Qaeda… Not the sort of place most of us want to spend our next holidays.
On January 9th, 2011, South Sudan is scheduled to have a referendum on independence after a long history of civil war with the Islamic North. Both the 17-year war of 1955-1972 (which began even before independence) and the war of 1975-1983 were fought for the South to obtain self determination. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement was finally signed in 2005, and part of it called for the upcoming vote.
Unlike the North, South Sudan is not Muslim. The main religions are traditional animist with a sprinkling of Christianity. Basically, the North and the South have nothing in common, and the country is an invention of former colonial powers. Therefore, it is practically certain that the people will vote for independence, which will come into effect 6 months later.
Most of the countries of Africa are not really happy with this, because just about all of the countries are living with inherited colonial boundaries, and the South Sudan vote could inspire all sorts of unhappy minorities to demand the same thing, which in the past have led to a number of wars, such as the Biafra conflict in Nigeria from 1967 to 1970. Meanwhile, all sorts of things have not been negotiated yet, such as citizenship, the exact borders or the division of oil revenue. Not likely to be a simple matter at all!
Egypt is particularly nervous about instability in the Sudan, which controls the Blue Nile and the White Nile. If Egypt’s water supply is affected in any way, it could be catastrophic. Egypt already took the precaution of opening a consulate in Juba in 2005. Other countries such as Uganda are quite enthusiastic. Uganda was a major supplier of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army from the South and would like to reap some benefits from its support – cheaper oil, for example.
Anyway, just another little detail of geopolitics to keep an eye on (as though we were not already busy with so much other stuff)….