Oil and Free Market Fundamentalism
Last updated: January 11, 2011
October 25, 2006
New York Times has two articles about Sudan that give two different perspectives on Sudan. If you need to be a registered user to read the articles, you can become one for free.
War in Sudan? Not Where the Oil Wealth Flows
Grim New Turn Likely to Harden Darfur Conflict
The first article claims that Khartum is booming. Oil money is transforming fast the capital of the country. Curiously the article claims that the economic policy is in the hands of western educated technocrats who are implementing hardcore IMF-style neo liberal reforms, like monetary discipline, deregulation and privatization. A double digit economic growth is expected this year. The World Bank is impressed. If Sudan is a fundamentalist regime (actually i have no idea how much it is one now), then it's a free market fundamentalism.
The article claims that Sudan easily overcame American sanctions by reorienting itself on East Asian countries, like China. Asians are both investing in Sudan and buying Sudanese oil.
The second article reports that the Darfurians are fighting back. When you look at the pictures though (the article is provided with a short photo gallery), you can't comprehend how any guerilla warfare can be possible in this desert with its flat landscape. The Khartum government is spending 70% of its oil revenues to organize local manufacturing of weapons (possible sanctions in the future are a matter of big concern) and has an air force. Hard to understand how they manage to lose battles to Darfurians rebels.
Since 2003 millions of Darfurians fled their homes and hundreds of thousands were killed or died from hunger. Nevertheless the backbone of the Darfurian 'Intifada' is not broken apparently. The rebels are getting new weapons from outside allies and fighting back with increasing efficiency.
July 30, 2007
By no means the map provides a comprehensive illustration of Sudan ethnic conflicts.
On 25 March, the rebels seized the garrison town of Tine along the Chadian border, seizing large quantities of supplies and arms. Despite a threat by President Omar al-Bashir to "unleash" the army, the military had little in reserve. The army was already deployed both to the south, where the Second Sudanese Civil War was drawing to an end, and the east, where rebels sponsored by Eritrea were threatening the newly constructed pipeline from the central oilfields to Port Sudan . . .
At 5:30 am on 25 April 2003, a joint Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and JEM force in 33 Land Cruisers entered al-Fashir and attacked the sleeping garrison. In the next four hours, four Antonov bombers and helicopter gunships, according to the government, (seven according to the rebels) were destroyed on the ground, 75 soldiers, pilots and technicians were killed and 32 were captured, including the commander of the air base, a Major General . . .
. . . in the middle months of 2003, the rebels won 34 of 38 engagements. In May, the SLA destroyed a battalion at Kutum, killing 500 and taking 300 prisoners and in mid-July, 250 were killed in a second attack on Tine. The SLA began to infiltrate farther east, threatening to extend the war into Kordofan.
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Jul 26th 2007 | NAIROBI
From The Economist print edition
And it's not only in the South where a new Sudan is being created these days.
IN MANY respects, south Sudan is already its own country. It issues its own visas, decides most its own policies and mishandles its own budget. Of course, tricky deals over the ownership of oil and the Nile waters must be negotiated before full independence. And there is always a small chance that the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), which runs the south, may do well enough in elections for all of Sudan (due to be held in 2009) to alter the shape of Sudanese politics overall, the north included. But as things stand, almost all southerners believe that, after a referendum promised by the central government in Khartoum, south Sudan will become a sovereign country by 2011.
That raises new questions. For one thing, what would the new country be called? The betting is on New Sudan, the name favoured by John Garang, the SPLM's charismatic leader killed in a helicopter crash in 2005. But establishing the new country's identity will be harder. Even SPLM zealots accept that the largely Christian and animist south cannot define itself just negatively, in opposition to the Muslim north.
Many leading lights in the south Sudanese government, including the president, Salva Kiir, want the new country, whatever it is called, to become part of east Africa rather than a southern spin-off from the rest of Sudan, which is mainly Arab and Muslim and looks more to the Arab world . . .
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By Steve Bloomfield, Africa Correspondent
Published: 14 July 2007
Arabs from Chad and Niger are crossing into Darfur in "unprecedented" numbers, prompting claims that the Sudanese government is trying systematically to repopulate the war- ravaged region.
An internal UN report, obtained by The Independent, shows that up to 30,000 Arabs have crossed the border in the past two months. Most arrived with all their belongings and large flocks. They were greeted by Sudanese Arabs who took them to empty villages cleared by government and janjaweed forces.
One UN official said the process "appeared to have been well planned". The official continued: "This movement is very large. We have not seen such numbers come into west Darfur before."
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January 11, 2011
As South Sudan is voting on independence here is a couple of impressive maps from BBC. First, Sudan's great climatic divide.
The great divide across Sudan is visible even from space, as this Nasa satellite image shows. The northern states are a blanket of desert, broken only by the fertile Nile corridor. Southern Sudan is covered by green swathes of grassland, swamps and tropical forest.
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