American Involvement in the Sudan Civil War Resolution Term Paper

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Sudan -- American Involvement in Civil War Resolution

The resent past has seen violence and heartbreak in the African nation of Sudan, and in order to avoid the bloodshed of another major civil war between the North and the South, the United Nations, with involvement from the United States, has intervened. What has the United States' involvement been with reference to this matter? This paper will explore the ways in which the U.S. has been involved in the Darfur / Sudan issues, and will flush out reasons why the U.S. should be involved and how the U.S. got involved in this crisis.

Background on Sudan

The African country of Sudan is the largest country in Africa (2.5 million square miles) and Sudan is just about the size of the continental United States, counting all the territory east of the Mississippi River, according to the U.S. Department of State (2010). As of July, 2009, the estimated population of Sudan was 41,087,825 and the main religions practiced in Sudan are Islam (the official religion) and "various indigenous beliefs" along with the "black African / Christian" religion. Sudan has an estimated GDP of $92.81 billion with an estimated annual growth rate of 3.8% (Dept. Of State).

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As for natural resources in Sudan, there are "modest reserves of oil, natural gas, gold, iron, copper and other industrial metals," the Dept. Of State explains. Sudan grows cotton, sesame seeds, sugarcane, millet, peanuts and sorghum, and as for industry in Sudan, the country produces cement, edible oils, motor vehicle assembly and cotton products. The major markets for the export items grown and produced in Sudan include China, Japan, Indonesia, Egypt, UAR, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia; the revenue produced by these exports is estimated by the Dept. Of State at around $8.464 billion. Meanwhile Sudan imports oil and petroleum products, equipment for pumping and refining oil, wheat and wheat flour, chemical products, foodstuff, tea, agricultural machinery and manufactured goods from China, the EU, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, India and Malaysia, according to the Dept. Of State.

Term Paper on American Involvement in the Sudan Civil War Resolution Assignment

Background on Sudan's Civil Wars and the United Nations' Interventions

In January, 1956, Sudan received its independence from "Anglo-Egypt" (Britain still held political / colonial influence in Egypt at this time); in 2005 Sudan signed the "Comprehensive Peace Agreement" (CPA) that established power sharing between the North and South. And in April, 2010, national elections took place. But before that agreement and those elections, civil war has been the norm not the exception in Sudan. Seventeen years of war took place between 1955 and 1972; among the main issues that started this clash -- and is the spark that continues to start the fires of war -- remains the "protracted conflict rooted in deep cultural and religious differences," the Dept. Of State explains on page 4. Basically, the Northerners, traditionally the more politically and militarily powerful of the two divisions, are Islamic and practice "Arabism" while the Southerners are mainly "non-Muslims" and are considered "marginalized peoples" (Dept. Of State).

Another reason for the ongoing antipathy between the north and the south in Sudan is the fact that with the exploitation of "oil, water and land" in the south, "the profits" go "mainly to the Northern Sudanese elites," and not to the Southern Sudanese (Suliman, 1994, p. 2). Meantime "the majority of Southerners suffered the accelerated breakdown of social structures which had already been weakened through years of neglect," Suliman writes.

Meantime, in Darfur, a marginalized region of Sudan, reports of "attacks on civilians, especially aimed at non-Arab tribes," caused observers to become concerned in 2003. So while a peace settlement was reached between the north and south in Sudan, violence raged in Darfur, which did not get a great deal of press. According to the Dept. Of State (p. 8), two rebel groups (the SLM/a and JEM, that have come to be called "janjaweed") -- composed mainly of "Arabized black African Muslims" that herd livestock -- have had the support of Sudan Armed Forces, have killed "hundreds of thousands of people in Darfur." Secretary of State Colin Powell told the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "…genocide has been committed in Darfur and that the Government of Sudan and the Janjaweed bear responsibility" (Dept. Of State).

As to the present intervention, in order to stem the tide of violence and bring some sense of peace to Sudan, the United Nations attempted to broker a peace arrangement in 2005. In fact, on March 24, 2005, the United Nations Security Council (on a 15-0 vote) established a mission in Sudan (UNMIS) consisting of up to 10,000 military "and an appropriate civilian component, including up to 715 civilian police personnel" (www.scribd.com). The elections held in April, 2010, were "largely peaceful," according to the Dept. Of State, but "widespread irregularities" were reported during both the polling and counting periods.

History of U.S. Involvement in Sudan

The history of the U.S. In Sudan has for the most part been one of contentiousness and strained relations. For one thing, Sudan has ties with countries and organizations that are bitter enemies of the U.S. (North Korea, Libya and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad). In 1967, during the Arab-Israeli War, Sudan broke diplomatic relations with the U.S. But by 1976 relations warmed somewhat when the President of Sudan, Nimeiri, negotiated the release of 10 American hostages in Northern Ethiopia. More stress between the U.S. And Sudan emerged in 1985, 1986, and in 1989 U.S. development assistance was halted after a military coup in Sudan. In the 1990s Sudan backed Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and "provided sanctuary" for Osama bin Laden and other terrorist organizations; by 1996 the U.S. suspended embassy operations in Khartoum; and in 1997 the U.S. imposed "comprehensive economic, trade, and financial sanctions" against Sudan.

The U.S. currently has pumped humanitarian aid to the Sudan, averting "widespread starvation by giving 100,000 metric tons of food" to Sudan in 1989, the State department explained. President Obama's official U.S. strategy as of 2009 is threefold: a) Achieving a "definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur"; b) full implementation of the CPA (the north-south comprehensive peace agreement which advocates a "orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other"; and c) Ensuring that Sudan will not provide "safe haven" for terrorism and terrorists (Dept. Of State).

Why and how was the United States drawn into the Sudan / Civil War Issues?

Is it the tradition based on American values -- the powerful superpower that is known to help the weak and/or brutally harassed underdogs -- that draws the U.S. into playing moderator or supporter for countries like Sudan and Darfur? Certainly that is true to a powerful degree. It was true as well in 2011 when the U.S. provided air support to prevent the dictator of Libya, Moammar Kadafi, from slaughtering his own countrymen out of rage and paranoia, when it seemed clear that he was about to do just that.

But another important aspect of the reason the U.S. public (and hence, the politicians and other leaders) began paying attention to the criminal slaughter in Darfur is because movie star and human rights activists like George Clooney made a point of bringing the subject into the media spotlight. American politicians may be crassly beholden to corporations and special interests -- when election time comes and money needs to be raised for that pivotal re-election, politicians sell out values and their independence to corporate money and powerful special interests -- but politicians also know that Americans have a conscience when it comes to innocents being slaughtered in a hideously bloodthirsty genocide.

Clooney, speaking to the ABC News Sunday morning interview show on April 30, 2006, said, "Every day we don't do something, and every day this [genocide] goes on, thousands of people are dying and dying horrific deaths." The handsome superstar actor -- who seems, at first glance, to be terribly out of place as a Hollywood icon getting his hands dirty in a diabolically inhumane slaughter -- recounted a story in which a mother was running away from a burning village where the government-supported troops were raping and killing villagers. She held two of her children in her arms and her son was running behind her. "They shot her son in the back, who was six," Clooney explained. Later when she came back to the village, the local well was stuffed with human body parts, "including her son. They don't want land," Clooney went on, "they just want to [ethnically] cleanse everyone" (ABC News, 2006).

The Academy-Award-winning actor said that one problem in the U.S. -- relative to his desire to have all Americans aware of the genocide in Darfur -- is that "…we have tragedy fatigue on television… every day 20 kids [are] killed in Iraq… there's always disaster." He went on: "But this is genocide."

David Lewis writes in Time magazine that women in South Sudan are "…eight times more likely to die in childbirth than they… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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