Oil and the Civil War in the Sudan by Dr Mohamed Suliman

Oil and the Civil War in the Sudan

First let me take you back to the year 1998. The famine in southern Sudan was threatening the lives of more than half a million people, especially in Bahr El Ghazal Province. The famine provoked a serious debate into its causes. Most commentators in the United Kingdom accused the war of being the main culprit. In the House of Commons, a conservative MP stood up and said that the war in the Sudan, and all wars in Africa for that matter, are caused by the political vacuum left behind by colonial powers and wondered if something could be done about that! Clare Short, the Minister for Overseas Development, called the Hounrable Gentleman foolish to ask implicitly for the return of colonialism. The war and the famine, she said, are the responsibility of the leaders on both sides of the conflict. They have to stop the war now and everything would go back to normal. She sat down happy in the feeling that she had defeated the argument of her conservative opponent. The war, according to Clare Short, is all about African leaders! The BBC, however, knew better. Commenting on the pictures of emaciated southern Sudanese children, its newsreader described the war as between Muslim Arabs in the north and Christian Africans in the south. The war is thus a religious and ethnic war. All three interpretations belong to traditional schools of conflict analysis, which explain all armed conflicts in Africa as ethnic, tribal, cultural, religious, etc. Their advocates are happy to confine themselves in the infamous box! Their interpretations throw the stick of ethnicity at all conflicts and see there, it devours them all. This is not only imprudent, but could seriously hamper efforts at genuine conflict management and conflict resolution. Read more

This entry was posted in Conflicts, Darfur, South Sudan, Sudan.

Comments are closed.