Friday, April 27, 2012

Why Are Sudans at War?

Formerly a single country, Sudan has split in to two states.

It all looked so good just over a year ago. the Republic of Sudan's President, Omar el-Beshir, had visited South Sudan's capital Juba and promised to welcome and recognise a vote for secession, if this was, "the price of peace." Indeed, Bashir kept his promise and attended the independence celebrations and was the first to recognize the new state of South Sudan.

Today, however, the two countries are at war, in the border area of Heglig, as well as by proxy in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and increasingly in the borderlands of South Sudan as well. Heglig oil wells may account for as much as 80,000 barrels per day of Sudan's 120,000-130,000 bpd output. Khartoum cannot afford to lose this. It simply does not have the foreign currency reserves to keep importing fuel to make up the gap, and there are fears the prices of basic good could rise.

Sudan's government has ordered its civil servants to donate part of their salaries to support the army, according to the official state news agency. Sudan's finance minister Ali Mahmud al-Rasul has also cut the petrol rations of government departments by 50%. Analysts say the measures are a sign that Sudan's economy has been badly hit, both by the loss of revenue from when South Sudan became independent last year, and by the recent clashes between the two nations.

While the decision by South Sudan to shut down oil production in January - 98% of government revenue - after Sudan impounded South Sudan's oil shipments amid a dispute over transit fees - its effects are being felt. There is the beginnings of a fuel crisis in Juba, and infrastructure projects and development are on hold.

 An all-out war would create great misery for all peoples, as all wars always do.

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