Sudan, South Sudan, and Darfur: What Everyone Needs to Know

By Andrew S. Natsios | Go to book overview

1
THE PLACE AND
SIGNIFICANCE OF SUDAN

Why should anyone care about Sudan?

For more than two centuries, Sudan has attracted an unusual level of attention beyond its own borders. This international interest converged in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century as four independent factors met, which raised the stakes and the visibility of both Sudan’s remarkable potential and its troubling dysfunctions.

First, the brutality of two internal conflicts created an international movement for outside intervention: the twentytwo-year civil war between the North and South (1983–2005), which led to the death of 2.5 million people and displaced 4 million more, and the third Darfur rebellion (the first Darfur rebellion took place between 1986 and 1989, the second, 1995–1999, and the third 2003-present), characterized as “genocide,” separate from the North-South civil war but related to it. Second, the discovery and rising production of oil in Sudan after 1998 attracted the attention of energy markets. Third, by the mid-1990s Arab and African leaders grew increasingly alarmed by the Sudanese government’s plan to use the country as a base for projecting an apocalyptic Islamist revolution abroad. Finally, Sudan became a haven for

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