This time last year well-meaning people all across the West were exhilarated by the prospect of an independent South Sudan and an end to decades of intercommunal violence and attempted genocide.
But this is Africa we’re dealing with, and peace was never really an option, especially not when oil is at stake. War has now broken out between the two Sudans over the oil-rich region on their common border. Since the Chinese have a major stake in the area, it will be interesting to see how all this plays out.
Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for uploading this Reuters news video:
Below are some excerpts from a New York Times article on the same topic:
As Sudanese Clashes Escalate, So Do Bellicose Exchanges
LAMU, Kenya — Less than a year after the nation of South Sudan was born out of a delicate peace agreement with Sudan, the two countries have plunged into war, a Sudanese government spokesman said Thursday.
Recent fighting between Sudan and South Sudan has grown from a struggle over the contested, oil-rich region of Heglig to inflame a number of areas along the border and beyond.
This week, Sudanese planes struck “deep into South Sudan,” hitting an important town, according to Susan E. Rice, the American ambassador to the United Nations. A United Nations compound inside South Sudan was also hit by bombs.
For its part, South Sudan has claimed to have shot down Sudanese jets and killed hundreds of Sudanese soldiers in battles over Heglig, which it said it captured from Sudan last week.
The African Union has condemned South Sudan’s seizure of Heglig as illegal, and the United Nations Security Council has demanded an immediate end to the fighting, a withdrawal of the South’s troops from Heglig, an end to Sudanese aerial bombardments and a halt to repeated cross-border violence.
But Rabie A. Atti, a Sudanese government spokesman, said Thursday that his nation was “fed up” with South Sudan’s leaders and would “make them learn a lesson” for seizing Heglig.
The two sides fought one of Africa’s longest civil wars before signing a landmark peace agreement in 2005 that ultimately led to the South’s independence. But Mr. Atti said the two nations were now back at war.
“We are not initiating this war,” Mr. Atti said. “The only way for us to teach them is to drive them and chase them out of Heglig and tell the people of the South to get rid of those people.”
The comments echo recent statements by Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who said that Sudan would “liberate” South Sudan from its governing party, and that the “boundaries of the old Sudan can no longer fit us together,” according to news reports.
The fighting that is now spreading along the north-south border is by far the most serious confrontation in years.
Ambassador Princeton N. Lyman, the American special envoy who has been talking with both sides in recent days, said the South’s seizure of Heglig was “a dangerous act that had to be reversed.”
“This was an extremely dangerous step by South Sudan, and it threatened a much wider conflict,” he said in a call with journalists.
Despite the “very emotional, very powerful rhetoric coming out here from Khartoum, raising the stakes in many ways,” he said it was still possible to head off outright war.