August 27, 2009
BBC News

War in Sudan's Darfur 'Is Over'

The six-year war between forces loyal to Sudan's government and rebels in Darfur has effectively ended, the UN's military commander in the region says.

General Martin Agwai, who is leaving his post this week, said the vicious fighting of earlier years had subsided as rebel groups split into factions.

He says the region now suffers more from low-level disputes and banditry. . . .

The war broke out in the arid and impoverished region early in 2003 when rebel groups including Jem attacked government targets, accusing Khartoum of oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs.

Pro-government militiamen hit back with brutal force, which the US says was a genocide. . . .


"UN Urges Global Action in Darfur," BBC News, April 3, 2004

Enver Masud, "Sudan, Oil, and the Darfur Crisis," The Wisdom Fund, August 7, 2004

Robert Menard and Stephen Smith, "Darfur Needs Peace, Not Peacekeepers," Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2007

Stephanie McCrummen, "A Wide-Open Battle For Power in Darfur," Washington Post, June 20, 2008

Peter Erlinder, "Darfur Deception,", September 9, 2008

Xan Rice, "Sudan President Charged With War Crimes," Guardian, March 4, 2009

[Save Darfur has remained silent on the history of the Darfur conflict in Sudan, which began as an internal civil war in 1987-9 and had multiple causes. The deep historical cause was the land policy introduced by British colonialism, which redistributed all land in Darfur as tribal homeland, with land awards generally made to tribes with settled villages. One result of this was that the camel nomads of the north, who have no settled villages, did not receive a tribal homeland.--Mahmood Mamdani, "Darfur, the history,", August, 2009]

[Tunguer Kueigong is among those who think that 2009 will be the last year of peace. In Bentiu, the dusty capital of Unity State, the paramount chief of the Nuer, southern Sudan's second largest tribe, holds court in his "office" under the shade of a mahogany tree. "You know the north will not just let the south separate like this," he says, matter-of-factly. "If it happens, the people must fight."

The traditional leader understands better than most that the biggest obstacle to peace is oil. Unity State produces half of Sudan's oil. His time as chief has coincided with the discovery of the first sign of Sudan's huge oil wealth, here in the state 33 years ago.--Daniel Howden, "Deadly faultline threatens to reignite civil war in Sudan," Independent, December 16, 2009]

Xan Rice, "Sudan signs ceasefire with Darfur rebel group: Truce with Justice and Equality Movement but wider peace not yet in sight," Guardian, February 24, 2010

[Darfur is the fly in the ointment. Oil is the aggravating factor. But US inattention, internal divisions, and an overall inability to manage its Sudan portfolio effectively may be the precipitating factor in renewed civil war.--Peter Lee, "US, China brace for Sudan trainwreck," Guardian, September 21, 2010]

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