Sudan: Raised On Robbery

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July 26, 2011: Southern Sudan has accused Sudan (northern Sudan) of waging economic warfare. Northern Sudan intends to charge the south a $22.80 per barrel transmission fee for the use of its pipelines. Southern Sudan could still make money selling oil at $100 a barrel, but the charge is steep. Is it more costly than war? No. Which is why the north is betting it can get away with the fee.

July 24, 2011: South Sudan accused Sudan of reneging on an agreement to wait six months before issuing new currency. Instead, Sudan is doing it now, and this will cost South Sudan over $700 million (because of the inability to exchange the old currency for the new on such short notice.)

July 23, 2011: A rebel leader who recently agreed to a peace deal with Southern Sudan was shot in an incident that occurred in Unity State. Colonel Gatluak Gai launched a rebellion last year as his candidate for governor lost a state election. His death is under investigation. A Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) official denied a rumor that he had been killed by the SPLA. Another SPLA official asserted that one of his subordinates killed him because he signed the peace deal. One likely outcome of Gai’s death under murky circumstances is that making future deals with rebel officers and militias will be more difficult.

The political struggle over the Abyei region continues. The Southern Sudan government declared that Abyei rightfully belongs to the Dinka Ngok tribe. The pro-north Misseriya tribe only has pasture and water rights in Abei (for their horses and cattle). Ethiopian peacekeeping forces are starting to deploy into Abyei. Ultimately a brigade of around 4200 Ethiopian soldiers will undertake peacekeeping duties in Abyei. Northern forces attacked and pushed southern forces from Abye in late May.

July 22, 2011: Two peacekeepers serving with UNAMID in Darfur were wounded when rebel gunmen attacked their vehicle in West Darfur state. Two peacekeepers were injured on Friday when gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Sudan's West Darfur. The soldiers were escorting a fuel truck convoy.

July 19, 2011: The political party that dominates politics in Sudan, the National Congress Party (NCP) has declared that no South Sudanese will be granted dual-citizenship. If you are a southerner, you cannot have a northern passport. At least on NCP politician said that it was unfair to northerners if some southerners decided to remain in the north. That doesn’t necessarily mean the NCP is advocating mass expulsions, at least not yet. But it is the kind of statement that you could read that way.

July 18, 2011: Southern Sudan began shipping oil today. The country produces around 375,000 barrels a day.

July 14, 2011: Southern Sudan became a member of the UN today. Southern Sudan is the organization’s 193rd member nation.

Sudan announced that it had reached a peace agreement (signed in Doha, Qatar) with the Darfur rebel group the Justice and Liberation Movement (JLM). As yet there is still no deal with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which is the largest Darfur rebel group. Several factions of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) have also refused to sign a peace agreement.

July 10, 2011: The day after Southern Sudan officially became a separate nation, Sudanese president (and indicted war criminal) Omar al-Bashir visited the southern capital, Juba. Bashir posed for photos with Southern Sudanese president Salva Kiir. Border issues remain unsettled, the north drove southern forces out of the disputed Abyei region, and several rebel militias continue to fight with Southern Sudan’s military, the SPLA. Many disgruntled northerners blame the split on outside forces –meaning, variously, the United Nations, the United States, Great Britain, even Kenya and Uganda. The north and the south (especially the south) largely rely on oil sales for revenue. Corruption afflicts both the north and the south. The Nuba people in the Nuba Mountain region of Northern Sudan would prefer to be part of Southern Sudan. The Nuba people claim they were left out of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 and now they have been abandoned. There are solid rumors (as well as some evidence) that the north and the south are trying to buy lots of new weapons. The two countries need to cooperate in order to sell their oil, but old rivalries persist. This is a shaky peace, at best.

July 9, 2011: With surprisingly little violence, Southern Sudan became an independent nation today. There were numerous rallies held around the world by Southern Sudanese to celebrate independence. Now the SPLA becomes a national army. Southern Sudan’s military force has between 130,000 and 140,000 soldiers. The SPLA remains for the most part a guerrilla army, equipped with light weapons, mortars, and some artillery. It has a few armored vehicles. It also has a large area to patrol. Southern Sudan is approximately the size of Texas and it faces numerous threats. There are the rebel tribal militias. Cattle raiding is an old problem, and often leads to tribal wars (there are reasons the tribal militias exist). The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA, Ugandan rebels) still launches attacks on Southern Sudanese villages from bases in the Congo and the Central African Republic. The biggest problem, of course, is the north. The north has a large army and an air force. And the southerners fear the north covets southern oil fields.

 

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