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Paperback: 420 pages
Key Publishing House Inc.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0978252640
ISBN-13: 978-0978252649

Quick Facts

Offering a quick synopsis of Sudan’s more than fifty year-long plight is an ambitious and somewhat elusive undertaking, at best. But let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

  • Largest country in Africa, 10th largest in the world
  • Nearly a million square miles in size
  • Population of about 40 million
  • Home to the world’s longest river, the Nile
  • January 1, 1956 – Sudan got its independence from a British-Egyptian co-dominion
  • Capital of Sudan: Khartoum
  • Capital of Southern Sudan: Juba
  • In 2005, more than 90% of southern Sudanese lived on less than a dollar a day (UNICEF)
  • Fewer than one percent of girls in southern Sudan complete primary school (UNICEF)
  • Arid, desert conditions in the north of Sudan, more tropical and forested in the south
  • North comprised of primarily Arab Muslim population, south made up of more than 500 ethnic groups, many of which are black African and either animist or Christian
  • North and south at war since 1955, with a ten year peace between 1972 and 1983
  • In 1983, the northern Muslim government of Sudan declared jihad against the animist and Christian south, imposing sharia, or Islamic law, on southerners
  • The south revolted and formed its opposition, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement and its army, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) headed by John Garang
  • In 1989, the current president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, took power in a military coup and continued to lead the country in Islamic holy war against the southern rebels
  • More than 2.5 million people died in this war, over 5 million were displaced
  • Sudan’s northern government employed a tyrannical military campaign against the black south that included a scorched earth policy, routine aerial bombardments, rape, mass killings and deportment of surviving natives to the north where they were often — and still remain — enslaved.
  • Sudan has the highest internally displaced people’s (IDP) population in the world
  • Sudan is oil-rich and harbors other natural resources such as gold, diamonds, copper, gum arabic and water (the Nile runs from south to north through Sudan)
  • China is the world’s largest investor in Sudan. The country buys 71% of Sudan’s exports and provides 21% of global imports.
  • China’s National Petroleum Company is the largest stakeholder in Sudan’s energy consortium, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. Sudan’s oil exports comprise 7% of China’s total oil imports.
  • Sudan is China’s third largest trading partner in Africa, comprising 13% of China’s total trade with the continent.
  • A former Sudanese government official suggested 70% of Sudan’s oil profits fund government military operations.
  • The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the northern National Islamic Front (NIF) government and the southern opposition, the SPLA, was signed in 2005 ending more than 20 years of civil war. The agreement calls for wealth and power sharing between the two parties, security arrangements and a referendum for southern secession in the year 2011.
  • The new northern-southern government was named the Government of National Unity (GONU), and the interim Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) was established.
  • Southern Sudanese Salva Kiir is vice-president of Sudan’s GONU, with Bashir the president. Kiir is president of GOSS.  
  • CPA has brought a fragile peace to the war-torn south, but there remains virtually no infrastructure in place, making it treacherous for displaced peoples to return home.   
  • Implementation of the CPA is not being monitored by the international community and breaches in the agreement are causing destabilization and renewed conflict

The Crisis in Darfur

Following the 2003 rebel attack of a military outpost in Sudan’s western Darfur, the Bashir government has launched yet another systematic destruction campaign against the civilian population in this region about the size of France. There, the Bashir regime has armed local militias called the janjaweed (translated devils on horseback) and offered its own soldiers against the black African villages that comprise the area. For the past four years, Darfurians have suffered aerial bombings followed up by government or proxy militia on horseback executing their mandate to burn villages, gang rape women, slaughter, steal and poison the local water supply. Approximately 400,000 have died and millions more are internally displaced or living amid squalid refugee camps in neighboring Chad and Central African Republic.  More than four million are in need of food aid and the only present security is a 7,000-strong United Nations-African Union Mission (UNAMID) hybrid force. UNAMID should expand by another 20,000 troops as provided for in the latest UN resolution (1769) that offers civilian protection and peacekeeping measures for the Darfurian region. Further troop deployment is delayed due to resistance on the part of the Khartoum government. Because of instability and heightened security risks in the region, humanitarian assistance is not reaching the people who most need it.