The war in Sudan, also known as the Second Sudanese Civil War, lasted from 1983 to 2005. The conflict was between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), a rebel group composed mainly of non-Arab ethnic groups in southern Sudan. The war was characterized by large-scale displacement, human rights abuses, and humanitarian crises. This essay will explore the causes and consequences of the war, and the international response to the conflict.
The war in Sudan was caused by a variety of factors, including political, economic, and social grievances. The SPLM/A was formed in response to the central government’s policies, which discriminated against non-Arab ethnic groups in southern Sudan. These policies included denying them access to education and employment opportunities and neglecting their development needs. Additionally, there were tensions over the distribution of oil revenues, as the majority of Sudan’s oil reserves were located in the south.
The consequences of the war were devastating, with an estimated 2 million people losing their lives and 4 million being displaced. The fighting disrupted agricultural production and led to food shortages, resulting in widespread malnutrition. The war also had significant economic consequences, with the destruction of infrastructure and the decline of the oil industry. Moreover, the war exacerbated existing ethnic tensions, leading to the marginalization of non-Arab ethnic groups in Sudan.
The international response to the conflict was mixed. The African Union (AU) played a key role in the peace process, with the AU mediating the negotiations that led to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. The CPA provided for a power-sharing arrangement between the north and south and established the framework for a referendum on independence for the south. The referendum was held in 2011, and 98% of voters supported secession, leading to the creation of South Sudan as an independent country.
However, the international community was criticized for its slow response to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan. The United Nations (UN) established the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) in 2005 to support the implementation of the CPA and to provide humanitarian assistance. However, the UN’s efforts were limited by the lack of access to conflict-affected areas and the government’s restrictions on aid delivery.
In conclusion, the war in Sudan was a complex conflict with political, economic, and social roots. The war had devastating consequences for the Sudanese people, including displacement, human rights abuses, and economic decline. While the international response to the conflict was mixed, the CPA and the subsequent referendum on independence for South Sudan provided a framework for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. However, the legacy of the war continues to be felt in Sudan and South Sudan, and the international community must continue to support efforts to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region.
Ahmed Atta: A political affairs analyst dedicated to several Arab & British research centers, and a columnist & contributor for many prominent Arabic portals.