Sudan: Getting Away With It


January 29, 2008: The schedule for fully deploying the UN-AU (UNAMID) hybrid peacekeeping force in Sudan's Darfur region continues to slip. The UN now believes that it will be "the better part of a year" before the mission is fully deployed. The lack of sufficient helicopters continues to be the most pressing equipment shortage. No peacekeepers means the Sudanese government can continue its program of driving the non-Arab Sudanese tribes from the region.

January 28, 2008: A recent UNAMID command briefing announced that the UNAMID bureau responsible for conducting civilian police operations and training will be called UNAMID Civilian Police (CIVPOL). The civilian police units deployed by CIVPOL in Darfur will be called Formed Police Units (FPUs).

January 25, 2008: The struggle between South Sudan and the Sudan government (South Sudan versus North Sudan actually) is complex. Tribal and religious rivalries play a major role. However, control of oil fields and division of oil revenues has become the most volatile issue, one that connects to an old dispute over the boundary line between the north and south. Sudan's Abeyi region has thus become the major political and military battleground. In Fall 2007 the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM, the leading party in South Sudan) "suspended participation" in the Sudan government (the "Government of National Unity") over the Abeyi issue. The most contentious troop withdrawal issues took place in and around Abeyi. On several occasions SPLA military units (Sudan Peoples Liberation Army, the military wing of the SPLM) fought with the "Arabized" Misseriya tribe; the Misseriya have tended to side with the Sudan government. The Abeyi branch of the Dinka tribe (Ngok Dinka) tend to align with their Dinka cousins in South Sudan. Ngok Dinka land lies to the south of the Misseriya. Many Abeyi Dinka fought with southern tribal forces during the civil war of 1956 to 1973 (now referred to by some historians as the First Sudan Civil War). The civil war of 1983 to 2005 (should we call it the Second Sudan Civil War?) decimated the Abeyi area. Most of the Ngok Dinka fled the area. The Ngok Dinka have begun returning to Abeyi. This sets the stage for further inter-tribal conflict in the already contested region.

January 23, 2006: The UN protested the appointment of a former janjaweed militia leader, Musa Hilal, as a special adviser to Sudan's president. Should anyone be surprised? Not really. The janjaweed have operated in league with Sudanese military forces. Sudanese intelligence and police have armed them. What is amazing is that the Sudanese government believes it will pay a very small political price.

January 22, 2008: Members of South Sudan's Nuer tribe living in Ethiopia have complained that the South Sudan government (GOSS, government of South Sudan) has been stirring "tribal confrontations." The Nuer complaint is that Dinka members of the GOSS are trying to divide Nuer refugee communities. The charges are a bit opaque, but Nuer versus Dinka inter-tribal fighting contributed significantly to the war in southern Sudan. Reviving Dinka and Nuer tribal conflicts would signal new instability in the south.


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