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The Darfur Crisis: An African Apocalypse Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Sarah Zaaimi, Morocco Dec 25, 2006
Human Rights , Peace & Conflict   Opinions
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The Darfur Crisis: An African Apocalypse Despite its being the widest country of the black continent, crossed by the biggest river of the world (The Nile), and enjoying a rich amount of mineral resources, especially oil and gold, Sudan remains one of the hot spots of the world because of a bad distribution of resources among the diverse components of the Sudanese populice. This damages the unity of the regions and menaces many of its close neighbors. After the Mehdi’s putsch, the South crisis and many bloody episodes, now it is Darfur's to explode into pieces, while the international public opinion and the media are busy following every helicopter sound in Iraq and every single word pronounced by Ahmadi Najad. Simultaneously, millions of citizens from Darfur and the Chadian borders are suffering the real apocalypse.

In this paper, I would try first to present Sudan in general and especially the region of Darfur, as to throw a preliminary background of the crisis, where I will lay on some generic sources. Then, I will talk about the conflict, its causes and give a diagnosis of what is happening now after the UN involvement in the issue from the UN missions’ reports, Secretary General reports and other trustworthy NGOs. The third part of the paper will tackle the Sudanese position and interests in this crisis, relaying mainly on the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs web site and Sudanese leaders declarations to the media.


Sudan is situated in Northern Africa and borders the Red Sea. Covering 2.505.824 Km², it is the larger state in Africa. Because of it size, Sudan borders many African countries: the Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Uganda (CIA fact book). As Sudan lies in the Tropics and is quite completely landlocked, it has a tropical Climate in the south, arid desert in the north, and rain varies by regions and seasons. Sudan is mainly flat, apart from some mountains in the south, northeast and west. Yet, the desert dominates the north.

Sudan has a rich amount of natural resources: petroleum, gold, small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, silver, hydropower. However, most of these resources remained largely unexploited until the Chinese came. One of the most important issues in this apparent balanced image is environmental issues which caused ethnic and national disputes, such as inadequate supplies of potable water, soil erosion, desertification and periodic drought.

The Sudanese population was more than 41 million inhabitants in July 2006, mostly between 0 and 14 years old, which is low compared to the large area Sudan covers. This population is constituted by many ethnic groups: Black 52%, Arabs 39%, Beja 6% and foreigners 2%. Among this population there are 70% of Sunni Muslims situated in the north, 25% indigenous believers and 5% of Christians situated in the south and Khartoum. The Arabization program did not kill native languages and dialects like: Ta Badawie, Sudanic, Nilotic and Nubian, etc.

Sudan’s economy is an emergent fragile economy that has survived huge changes after the starting of oil exportation, but it is still facing many agricultural troubles. According to the CIA World Fact Book:

“Sudan has turned around a struggling economy with sound economic policies and infrastructure investments, but it still faces formidable economic problems, starting from its low level of per capita output. From 1997 to date, Sudan has been implementing IMF macroeconomic reforms. In 1999, Sudan began exporting crude oil and in the last quarter of 1999 recorded its first trade surplus, which, along with monetary policy, has stabilized the exchange rate. Increased oil production, revived light industry, and expanded export processing zones helped sustain GDP growth at 8.6% in 2004. Agricultural production remains Sudan's most important sector, employing 80% of the work force, contributing 39% of GDP, and accounting for most of GDP growth, but most farms remain rain-fed and susceptible to drought. Chronic instability - resulting from the long-standing civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian/pagan south, adverse weather, and weak world agricultural prices - ensure that much of the population will remain at or below the poverty line for years.”

Politically, since its independence from UK in 1956, Sudan’s political scene has been dominated by Military Islamic regime, which doesn’t take into consideration the diverse components; especially the non-Arabs and non-Muslims living in the south. Consequently, the country sunk into two long civil wars during the second half of the last century. The first civil war lasted till 1983. The second war and famine affected more than 4 million people in the crisis of the South. The crisis ended in a final Nayvasha peace treaty of January 2005, which granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years, after which a referendum for independence would be held.

At the same time another sensitive crisis acquired in the Darfur region in 2003, which we will deal with in more detail. Sudan also suffers from refugee problems, and is waiting for crucial national elections for 2008 - 2009.

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Sarah Zaaimi

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Sahra Ahmed Koshin | Feb 15th, 2007
thank you for this...its so important...

Sahra Ahmed Koshin | Feb 15th, 2007
thank you for this...its so important...

Sahra Ahmed Koshin | Feb 15th, 2007
thank you for this...its so important...

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