Was There Really a Civil War in Sudan
Was There Really a Civil War in Sudan -: Sudan, a vast country in Africa, has been in the news for a long time due to conflicts and struggles. But what’s the story behind this? Let’s break it down in simple language.
The Land and Its People
Imagine a country in Africa that’s as big as more than a quarter of the United States! That’s Sudan. It shares borders with nine other countries, including Egypt, Chad, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
The capital of Sudan is Khartoum, and it’s where two big rivers, the White Nile and the Blue Nile, meet to become the Nile, which flows north into Egypt and the Mediterranean.
People in Sudan come from various cultures and backgrounds. Some are black, and some are Arab, and they speak Arabic as the official language. The government has been trying to make Islamic Sharia law the rule since 1983.
The majority of Sudan’s population is Muslim, but there are also Animists and Christians, mainly in the southern part of the country.
In Sudan, being “Arab” often refers to an ethnic and cultural identity, while “Muslim” refers to following the Islamic religion. Many black people in Sudan are also Muslims.
Sudan has a young population, with a median age of 18, and a life expectancy of 58 years. In the United States, for comparison, the median age is 36, and people live to around 77 years old.
Around 60 percent of adults in Sudan can read and write.
One region in Sudan that’s been in the headlines is Darfur. It’s in the west, bordering Chad and the Central African Republic. Darfur is about the size of Texas and home to 6 million people, mostly Muslims with African features.
Darfur has three major African tribes: the Fur, the Masalit, and the Zaghawa. Typically, the African people in Darfur are farmers, while the Arab people are nomadic herders. The struggle for land between these groups has led to conflicts, even violent ones, which continue today.
History and Government
Sudan’s history is complex. It was a British colony for the first half of the 20th century. In 1956, Sudan became independent from Britain, but trouble was already brewing between the northern and southern regions.
There were military coups in 1958 and 1969, and these made it hard to establish a stable democracy. However, in 1972, an agreement called the Addis Ababa Agreement brought some peace between the government and southern separatist rebels.
The real trouble began in 1983 when the government tried to enforce Sharia law across Sudan. This move led to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) starting insurrections in the predominantly Animist and Christian south.
In 1989, a military leader named Omar al-Bashir seized power in a coup. He became the chief of state, prime minister, and chief of the armed forces. Al-Bashir was elected once, in 1996.
Al-Bashir has led a government that blends military and political power, pushing an Islamic agenda. In 1991, the government introduced a penal code that allowed amputations and stoning as punishments.
You might be surprised to know that Osama bin Laden was in Sudan during the 1990s. He left in 1996 under pressure from the United States.
In 1997, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on Sudan, which meant no trade or investments between the two countries.
Then, in 2003, a new rebellion broke out in Darfur. Ethnically African rebel groups, including the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA), attacked military installations. They were upset with the government for neglecting Darfur and for favoring ethnic Arabs in top government roles.
The Sudanese government responded by using armed nomads called the Janjaweed to attack villages that supposedly harbored rebels. This led to bombings, pillaging, and violence against civilians. The government says the Janjaweed acted independently, without their support.
Effects of War
The effects of these conflicts have been devastating. Since the civil war began in 1983, over 4 million people have been forced to leave their homes, and around 2 million have died. Both government forces and opposition groups have been accused of committing terrible acts during the conflict.
In Darfur, the situation is equally dire. Since 2003, violence there has left an estimated 50,000 to 80,000 people dead, and around 1.2 million to 2 million people have been displaced. Survivors are struggling to find enough food and clean water.
About 200,000 Sudanese have fled to Chad, where they live in refugee camps. Many of them are in remote areas with extreme heat.
In Darfur, around 2.3 million civilians urgently need aid, but problems created by both the government and rebel groups make it hard for food and medical supplies to reach them.
War has also brought back diseases like polio, which had been eliminated in Sudan in 2001. Health experts say more than 10,000 Sudanese have been infected with the virus due to the conflict.
Economy and Oil
Sudan has a diverse landscape, from plains to deserts, and it’s home to arable land, gold deposits, and lots of oil.
Agriculture is a big part of the economy, with many people growing crops like cotton and peanuts. It employs most of the workforce and contributes significantly to the country’s income.
Despite its natural resources, Sudan is one of the poorest countries globally, with a per-capita income of only $340 in 2001.
Oil is a major part of Sudan’s exports, making up about 73 percent of its total export revenue. The country is believed to have massive oil reserves, around 3 billion barrels.
Oil exploration began in Sudan in the 1960s, and Chevron found productive oil fields in the south in the early 1980s. Chevron partnered with the Sudanese government to oversee oil production, but fighting near the oil fields led Chevron to suspend its operations in 1985.
Many Western oil companies withdrew from Sudan due to conflicts and human rights concerns. The U.S. imposed economic sanctions in 1997, preventing American companies from operating there. Sudan’s major trade partners now include China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and others.
The SPLA has targeted oil installations, believing that oil revenues support human rights abuses by the government and displace civilians near the oil fields.
In 1999, a new oil pipeline was completed, allowing Sudan to export crude oil. This led to the country’s first trade surplus, but aid to people near the oil fields was stopped.
Some experts call Algeria, Pakistan, China, and Russia the “Darfur Four” because these countries have significant oil investments in Sudan and have opposed U.N. Security Council efforts to impose arms and oil embargoes.
So, yes, there has been a long and complex history of conflict in Sudan, with devastating effects on its people. It’s essential to understand the factors at play and the challenges the country faces in achieving peace and stability.
Is Sudan fighting a civil war?
More than one million people have fled Sudan to neighboring countries since April, according to the United Nations, as fighting between two warring factions plunges the country into civil war.
Was there really a civil war in Sudan in 1985?
Yes, there was a civil war in Sudan that started in the early 1980s and continued through the mid-2000s. This conflict is often referred to as the Second Sudanese Civil War and lasted for more than two decades, with various periods of conflict and relative calm.
Who is behind Sudan’s civil war?
Sudan’s civil wars have been complex and involve various factions, including government forces, rebel groups, ethnic militias, and other actors. These conflicts have been driven by a combination of factors, including ethnic, political, and economic grievances. Different groups have been involved in different phases of the conflicts, making it challenging to attribute the entire conflict to a single entity.
Why was Sudan having a civil war?
Sudan’s civil wars have been fueled by a range of factors, including historical ethnic tensions, disputes over resources like land and water, political and economic inequalities, and the desire for greater autonomy or independence by certain regions. The root causes of these conflicts are multifaceted and have evolved over time.
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