Term Paper: Sources and Causes of Conflicts in Sudan

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Sudan Conflict brief history of Sudan as a nation includes aspects of colonialism that are evident in the histories of many other nations. Outside interests from both Britain and Egypt dominated Sudan's early modern history, with emphasis on exterior rather than internal gain. The resolution of enduring conflicts, such as those of the north of Sudan and its southern interests and ideologies were frequently ignored in the interest of Egyptian and British profit and political gain rather than Sudanese unification.

These enduring regional differences paved the way for modern conflicts of ideology, faith, centralization, nationalism and even in some cases the enduring idea of a desire for a unified pan-Islamic nation. Economic developments of Sudan were ignored in the interests of external desires, for nearly the entire colonial period.

Control of Sudanese infrastructure, especially communications and transportation were tightly held by external British and Egyptian developers during the control of the nation by the pair.

Since conquering Sudan was done for external reasons and had nothing to do with the country itself, Britain did not feel obliged to develop it. The burden of meeting the administration cost was left to Egypt, in whose name the operation was conducted. The government extended its control and monopoly over economic activity through its control of means of communication like railways and river transport, as well as trade. The government was the largest importer of capital goods and largest employer of wage labour as well. It has been calculated that 35 per cent of government income was derived from trade profits, while direct taxes accounted for 13 per cent, equivalent to the revenue generated from the sugar trade monopoly. Despite all these economic resources and initiative in the hands of the government, the Sudan at the time lacked any central agency to promote economic development.

Without this crucial development during the period of the industrial revolution the nation was left with a serious lack of economic development on the eve of independence (completed officially in 1957) and this coupled with the traditional conflicts created innate tension in the nation. The more than 50 years of colonial disjointed rule left the nation with many fractures and an economy, that was strong in theory but focused on exportation of raw goods, as had been dominant in the colonial period.

The historical disconnect between the north and south being the most influential on future conflict, in addition to countless other cultural and social ideologies and differing nationalism.

The contest over national identity remains intense and bitter'"

Currently Sudan is also thought of as one of the nations with the most dangerous enclaves of religiously inspired, fundamentalist terrorism, as a result of the many derisive forces in Sudan and the disconnected manner in which it is governed.

The foundations of the conflict are a lack of representation for unpopular areas of the nation, mainly the south. The legacy of the Egyptian and British government not making an effort to create true unity or representation, for fear of religious ideologies returning to power has created a longstanding and enduring rift in the nation's mostly secular representational and governing styles (based on the Egyptian and British models).

The all party negotiations in Cairo that paved the way for self-government did not include a representative from the south, and in the words of the southern politician, Abel Alier, the British administration had sacrificed the southerners to win over northern politicians against Egypt. This had happened before during the 1947 Juba conference and again in granting independence without guarantees for the south.

Regardless of any external desire to create lasting representational peace in the nation, which is questionable, the nation never moved forward to be inclusive of southern concerns, which are markedly different given the geographic and cultural climates of the nation. Conflicts inside Sudan have also contributed to conflicts with neighboring nations, including an enduring waxing and waning conflict with Egypt as well as other nations.

Some of these conflicts have resulted in regional political and diplomatic sanctions against Sudan.

Those on Sudan were purely diplomatic, requiring states to reduce Sudanese diplomatic representation in their capitals, and restrict entry into their countries of members of the Sudanese government or armed forces."

Though early sanctions in the 1990s were a proverbial slap on the wrist for unpopular political affiliations and actions, later actions on the part of the Sudanese government tightened the noose.

In August [1995] the UN Security Council voted to increase its sanctions against Sudan by imposing a ban on all international flights by Sudan Airways if it did not extradite the three Egyptians wanted for the attempted murder of President Mubarak. Little happened until 22 November, when the Security Council, hesitant about resisting American pressure, decided to postpone the ban for another 30 days, reportedly at the request of France and Russia. The UN secretary general sent an envoy to Khartoum to discuss the problem, but the Sudanese government still refused to extradite the three wanted men, saying it would prefer to resolve the matter directly with Egypt, this being taken to mean that it wanted to retain them as hostages available for exchange purposes.

Sanctions could be reinstated and possibly worsen if there is any additional proof found that the national representation of Sudan is officially in support of fundamentalism and terrorist training and harboring.

Conflicts will likely increase if further strategic sanctions are implemented, as economic sanctions either internal or external frequently cause increased economic and therefore social unrest, as access to resources frequently becomes scarce, even in the most basic cases, such as bread and water.

Internal economic conflicts were exacerbated during the Sudanese civil war by many periods of increased fighting in the South, and area very culturally and economically different than the representative secular government of the rest of Sudan.

In January 1997 there was a confused upsurge of fighting in the south, and Ethiopian officials reported an influx of Sudanese refugees to escape the war, famine, mass destruction of crops and livestock, and looting in the Blue Nile region. The UNHCR reported on the 11th that 4000 Sudanese refugees were being cared for in the Ethiopian town of Asosa, with another 15-000 waiting to cross the border."

The following years of civil war conflict were marked with countless steps forward and then backward, politically within the nation. Establishment of a new constitution, fair elections as well as the reestablishment of a multi-party system, which had been banned during the early days of the war all occurred simultaneously with international and national incidences of fighting and human rights violations. Regardless of many political steps forward the conflict in the south continued unabated, with regional southern fundamentalist leaders frequently rejecting northern attempts and reconciliation and ceasefires.

Sudan is stuck at a cross-road, unable to decided which of three main routes to take. In fact it has been bogged down there for some considerable time. Briefly, it can strive for a united republic in the full sense of that term, or it can grant the south federal status, or it can allow the south to become completely independent. Each of these three options has advantages for the Khartoum government, and each has its drawbacks, hence the hesitation. Compromise will only prolong the stalemate.

Though many experts on international relations are positive about the current state of Sudan, as it finally begins to develop its rightful position as a key African-Middle Eastern conduit for trade and export, but still others are concerned that old conflicts will continue to come tot the surface, specifically with regard to southern opposition to secularism.

While still others see the eventual end of the Sudanese civil war as direct evidence of the value and virtue of secularism, over Islamic fundamentalist rule, though many would say this is a simplistic view, considering the continued lack of representation of the south.

The case of the Sudan indicates that over time authoritarian regimes were excessively suppressive at the time democratic governments became more tolerant and willing to reconcile national disputes peacefully. Sudan governments, especially the existing rule of the National Islamic Front (NIF which renamed itself recently as the Congress Party) have been involved in a large number of gross human rights violations such as genocide and extrajudicial killing, tortures, acts of slavery and ethnic cleansing, confiscation of private property, arbitrary arrest, etc.

The truth is that even though the internationally preferred regime may have won the immediate cause the development of clear and unified nation is not completely ensured, especially as repression by the favored regime continues to be brutal and destructive, based on ethnicity and religion.

Torture and acts of civil war constitute the main focus of this study as they certainly are directly related to the struggles of Sudanese southerners and the other marginal populations of the country such as the Nuba, Beja, Ingessana, and many other Sudanese-African groups in Darfur for the exercise of the right of self-determination as a viable way to save their lives and enjoy civil rights and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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