The regime of Omer Al Bashir allegedly killed somewhere between 150,000 to 1.5 million Sudanese citizens. Sudanese casualty is more than the deaths under Ghaddafi, Mubarak, Ben Ali, Hafez Assad, Bashar Assad and Ali Abdalllah Saleh, combined. Sudan declined from a propserous agricultural country to a chaotic state loosing South Sudan in July 2011. Now, the hardliners in Bashir’s government are preparing for a comeback.
Sudan’s GDP per capita was growing astonishingly in the sixties and seventies. Agriculture was the most important economic sector and by the seventies they had surplus production for exports. IMF and World Bank debts for mechanization of agriculture put the country in totally opposite footing. As Sudan took debts for mechanization commidity prices fell in the international markets. Shrinking earnings from agriculture forced Sudan to seek financial help through restructuring and extension of loans.
Since the collapse of Sudan’s main economy it has never fully recovered in governance and politics either. In 1993, US Government placed sanctions on doing business with Sudan , thanks to Islamists like Osama Bin Laden who found new bases in Khartoum. As a result of US restriction, Chinese and Indian firms have become Sudan’s biggest investors and development partners.
The flash point for conflict is however in South Sudan. Khartoum had hoped to receive carrots from western countries in exchange for agreeing to South’s independence. The moderates within BAshir’s regime had convinced the hardliners with respect to oil revenue sharing benefits. Most of the oil wealth lies in a region called Unity in the South. Pipelines from South Sudan run through the northern areas and into Port Sudan for onward export. Since western countries could not invest in Sudan the indepence of South Sudan cleared the road blocks.
Khartoum’s hardliners have taken the steering wheel away from moderates after Sudan failed to get what they wanted most, which was to normalize relations with the west and especially with the US. Sudan has been demanding a much share in oil revenue from the south. For its part, South Sudan closed the oil taps. Oil revenue contributes almost 98% of south economy and about 80% of Sudan’s. The stand-off between Sudan and its southern neighbour is not a sustainable stand. Sudan could move aggressively to retake its southern territory by military invasion and annexation. This will raise an international outrage, since it was due to their support that South Sudan got independence.
- China to ask South Sudan for help on kidnapped workers: report – Reuters (reuters.com)
- South Sudan accuses Sudan of killing 79 during cattle raid (telegraph.co.uk)
- S. Sudan holds firm on oil production stoppage (seattlepi.com)
- South Sudan, Sudan fail to agree on oil dispute (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Sudan leaders in oil crisis talks (bbc.co.uk)
- South Sudan ‘nears oil shutdown’ (bbc.co.uk)
- South Sudan’s oil cutoff: brilliant negotiating, or suicide? (csmonitor.com)
- Officials say Sudan oil crisis threatens peace (sfgate.com)