Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Sudan

 Sudan: Race, Religion, and Violence by Jok Madut Jok
Written in 2007 before the referendum on South Sudan and the independence of South Sudan in 2011, Jok’s book on Sudan provides good insight into the issues that caused the division of Sudan.  The book focuses on the time period after independence in 1956 where an Arab government has tried to convert the diverse population of Sudan to the Arab culture and Islamic religion.  The government gave preference to Arab Muslims over Black or African Muslims even though it is hard to distinguish and culture and ethnicity were fluid in the past.  As competition for scarce resources became more intense the government sided with Arab Muslims over all others and led to what the US has characterized as genocide in the Darfur region. However, the US and other world powers decided to take no action with Darfur in case it would disrupt the long-negotiated peace deal between the north and south.   
Jok was very thorough in his book and his details on military abuses, gender violence, resettlement, using aid to cause people to convert, starvation tactics, and the fight over oil revenues showed that the violence would continue after independence for South Sudan.  It seems that the war between Sudan and South Sudan has continued unabated as the north has bombed southern areas repeatedly and their respective militaries have engaged in combat on several occasions.  Sudan has also continued to repopulate Darfur and refugees continue to flee to Chad, CAR, and Sudan’s other neighbors.  Jok also foresaw the International Criminal Court (ICC) indictments and arrest warrant for President Al-Bashir, issued in March 2009 for war crimes and in July 2010 for genocide and discussed the ICC investigations in 2006.
Sudan and South Sudan are still negotiating oil profits as most of the oil is produced in the south but must pass through the pipelines in the north to the refineries and Port of Sudan.  Other pipelines are under construction in the south to Kenya and through Ethiopia to Djibouti to provide alternate routes for the oil, but are not expected to be completed until 2015 or later.
Now that the southern issue has been resolved with the independence of South Sudan, what will happen with Darfur?

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