November 19, 2004

End of the Sudanese Civil War?

Rebel officials and the Sudanese government committed themselves Friday to ending the 21-year civil war in southern Sudan before January, signing an agreement at a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council in Africa.

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Taha and southern rebel leader John Garang, the main negotiators for the two sides, made a similar pledge last year that never came to fruition. But this is the first time the warring sides have put a deadline in writing before the U.N. panel.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I'm not getting my hopes up too much.

Sudan's southern civil war has pitted the Islamic government against rebels seeking greater autonomy and a greater share of the country's wealth for the largely Christian and animist south. The conflict has left more than 2 million people dead, largely through war-induced hunger and disease.

A conflict in the western Darfur region started in February 2003, when the government attempted to crush two non-Arab African rebel groups who took up arms to fight for more power and resources. The government responded by backing Arab militias now accused of targeting civilians in a campaign of murder, rape and arson.

Where have we heard this before? And for those who haven't been paying attention, the government has been known to send it's Air Force to bomb and strafe random villages in revenge attacks. Slavery is also rampant in the region. A thriving business has grown where Muslims from the north kidnap southern Christians and animists, forcing them to convert to Islam before selling them into servitude. A related industry functions as a conduit between those willing to pay ransoms (often clueless western Christian missionary groups) and slave owners.

Like I said, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Posted by Ted at November 19, 2004 07:47 AM
Category: Square Pegs
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