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Together with Africa: Sudan Update

Monday, June 6, 2011, 9:00 AM: “... Please inform the world Khartoum regime starting another genocide in the entire Nuba Mountains …”  Such are the urgent messages from Sudan that have been circulating in recent weeks. Some, like Simon Tisdall of the Guardian (6/6) and International Crisis Group analyst Zach Vertin, believe that “those in the west prophesying another civil war or a Darfur-style repeat genocide misunderstand what is happening – which is not a countdown to war but a negotiation. Abyei and similar disputes had become bargaining chips….”

On July 9, 2011, the people of southern Sudan will taste the independence for which they clearly voted in January. After decades of civil war and the difficult, yet incomplete, implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), real hope remains that the new country will move into the future focused on meeting the tremendous needs of the southern Sudanese people and not on a perpetually contentious relationship with its neighbor to the North.

However, in the past few weeks the Khartoum government has launched a series of deadly attacks in the disputed border regions of South Kordofan, the Nuba Mountains, Abyei and Blue Nile, sparking fears of a return to war between the north and the south or at least a fierce political battle over control of resources, territory, oil and international diplomatic support (Tisdall).

Among the many articles analyzing the situation, two are very helpful for those of us who are trying to understand what is happening and how the international community should respond:

Sudan’s Peaceful Partition, at Risk by Douglas Johnson, who served on the Abyei Boundaries Commission  NYT (5/30/11) 

An Abyei Timeline: The Long Road to Khartoum’s Military Invasion by Eric Reeves, Abyei blog update (5/27/11)


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