A Defining Moment in History

In American culture the Civil War is perceived as a good thing to discus when teaching someone US history. In Sudan, the civil war is can seen as the most important moment on Sudanese history.

South Sudan became and independent state in 2011. In December 2013, a civil war broke out in Sudan. These two events were a direct effect of the famine on the country and the tens of thousands of people that were killed. A lot of the problems in this war infiltrated the government and rebel groups in Sudan and in turn, created long-standing issues. These issues are oil, government, war, crimes, child soldiers, and the Abyei area.

Sudan and South Sudan’s government are both responsible for the on going conflict in these countries right now. In July 2013, the army loyal to Vice President Riek Machar took over Juba. Due to Machar’s guidance, the group has taken on an ethnic vengeance against the President Salva Klir, who is ethnically Dinka. Rebels, Nuer White Army, and pro-government forces can be held accountable as perpetrators of genocide. Rebels have murdered hundred, hosted radio broadcasts encouraging rape, and hate crimes of ethnicity. While, pro-government armies have been violent with UN peacekeepers and other civilians.

Since 2013, both parties have perpetrated human rights violations. They have committed countless war crimes, this includes, murder, rape and child soldiers. They have targeted civilians ethnically and politically. These are the effects of the government infiltrating the militias and allowing the civilians to get rid of one population.

In 2012, Sudan and South Sudan’s tensions rose and began to be more visible. The two countries started to fight about the oil-producing region Heglig. This area is very important to Sudan because it contains a majority of the country’s oil after South Sudan succeeded. After tensions rose, Sudan bombed an oil installation near the capital of South Sudan’s unity state. Then in response, the South Sudanese attack Heglig. After this attack South Sudanese report Sudanese Armed Forces bombing southern oil fields.

The Abyei area is very interesting because it is the buffer between Sudan and South Sudan. It is a disputed territory. The Abyei protocol states that at the end of a six-year intern the people in this land would decide whether they are a part of Sudan or South Sudan. Sudan never recognized these people. In May 2011, a government led militia and Sudanese Air Forces attacked this area. Dinka farmers are the main population of this area. Hence the primary motives for this attack. This attack destroyed civil property and displaced 110,000 Dinkas from their homeland.

If we do not step in soon, this might be the only Sudanese history.

– Sam


Making Sense of South Sudan

As I learn more about the shattering atrocities of Sudan and South Sudan, I find myself becoming more upset, confused, and angry. I still struggle with understanding the complex history and dimensions of atrocities and why they occur in the first place.

After the civil war between North and South Sudan, South Sudan voted to secede from Sudan.  A landslide vote in favor of secession led to the creation of the world’s newest country, South Sudan.  But they were also left with intense internal political struggles, economic failure, and security challenges that continues to create violence in all corners of the country. President Salva Kiir, who is ethnically Nuer, dismissed his entire cabinet on July 23, 2013 as a result of charges of intense corruption within the government. He fired the vice president, Riek Machar, who is ethnically Dinka, and now the government is moving towards a dictatorship with Kiir at the helm. Gross violence between the government’s guard, loyal to Kiir, and the army, loyal to Machar, in the capital city of Juba in 2013. This fighting was the head of the tension, and since then the violence has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people and displaced 2 million.

When someone thinks of violence in African countries, the image of militant rebel groups committing atrocities against innocent civilians comes to mind. While this image is true (the LRA, SPLM, and more continue to wage violence against civilians), the government of South Sudan perpepuates many crimes against humanity. Arbitrary detention and attacks on journalists and other civilians constantly occur, and people are caught in the cross fire of warring ethnicities and loyalties. The typical American schema of war that comes to mind is “good vs. bad” or “X religion vs. Y religion”. I think the complex layers of corruption that rip at Sudan had me so upset that there is no easy fix or simple approach to dealing with the atrocities that people face as a result of all these groups all pointing guns at each other.

United to End Genocide has created a short list of things the international community can actually do to intervene in the situation. The first is to demand humanitarian access. In many cases, governments resist the UN and prevent peacekeepers from entering, or fail to adhere to peace agreements, leaving populations at risk to die. These populations have very few options if their family has faced murder, torture, rape, or abduction. They cannot continue to make their own living when their homes and farms are taken away from them. International sources can also use targeted sanctions in order to hold individuals who resist humanitarian access and individuals who have perpetuated war crimes accountable. The need for mechanisms that ensure proper justice and accountability is so key in creating change for South Sudan.

Sudan has been broken and battered from all sides, from the 22 year civil war, to governmental corruption and ethnic discrimination between tribes, to warring militias. I still struggle with understanding its complex history with my current frame of reference. I know that the violence of South Sudan will never make sense to me, no matter how many accounts I read or history lessons I get. I am blown away by the lack of personal emotion of those who can commit these types of crimes against children and innocent people. But I also know that now that as I am learning about the plight of Sudan (and other at risk countries) it is always on my mind. The overarching thought over all the violence and death though, is what I actually do?


Too much conflict, too little progress for peace

Darfur is located in the western region of Sudan.

During the civil war between northern and southern Sudan, yet another conflict emerged in Darfur. Two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement acted on feelings of economic marginalization and insecurity. These rebel groups consisted of people from the tribes of the region, tribes such as the Fur and the Zaghawa. In 2003, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality movement began to actively rebel against the Sudanese government.

Members of the Justice and Equality Movement

Members of the Janjaweed

As a result of this rebellion, the Sudanese government sought help from a few of the nomadic tribes in Darfur. In exchange for helping the Sudanese government fight the rebel groups, the various tribes were promised land. These tribes formed a militia called Janjaweed.

Since then, the Janjaweed, with support from the Sudanese Government’s National Congress Party, has wrecked havoc on Darfur, killing around 300,000 people and displacing close to 4 million people. The rebel groups even have conflict within themselves. One conflict led to the separation of the Sudan Liberation Movement into two groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi.

Despite this, the conflict in Darfur is still continuing today. In 2014 alone, more than 430,000 people were displaced, as well as allegations of mass rapes for approximately 200 women and girls. International mediators have managed to create a group called Liberation and Justice Movement. This group consists of various rebel groups seeking to negotiate a Darfur Peace Agreement. In 2006, the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi signed the Darfur Peace Agreement but no progress has been made since the most powerful rebel groups refuse to take part in the negotiations.


URL: http://www.enoughproject.org/conflicts/sudans/conflicts­sudan#darfur
Title: Conflicts in Sudan
URL: http://www.globalr2p.org/regions/sudan
Title: Sudan: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect—Populations at Risk

Broken Countries, Broken Within

Once a complete nation, The Republic Sudan (Now North and South Sudan) has appeared to consistently suffer damage since the beginning of this conflict began in 1983. In 2011, Southern Sudan voted to succeed from the state of Sudan to form it’s own independent country known as The Republic of South Sudan. Since this revolutionary mark, there have been consistently more aggressive and dangerous conflicts within each of the states.

The Republic of South Sudan

Since the formation of the independent nation, political corruption, civil war, and border violence between the North and South have escalated from one violent conflict to another. Ethnic differences within the state have caused an orientation towards genocide and crime in order to resolve power conflicts.The government of South Sudan is lead by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), who once fought against the Northern Sudanese troops. Yet, both the mapgovernment and rebel groups, that have attempted to overthrow government forces, are guilty of committing hate crimes. Therefore, it appears that in this situation, there is no “good” or “bad” only a “bad” and a “worse”. While the rebels may be attempting wide-scale massacre based on ethnic differences, the government also appears to attack the UN forces that are attempting to mediate the conflicts and well as the rebel forces that are challenging the government and putting civilians at risk. One15B0AC4C-4548-43D2-A143-28B70A3978DB_mw1024_s_n of the greatest issues in South Sudan that appears to persist is the conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and some of the rebel groups that exist to cause death and destruction in the country. The oppression of the government on these forces, and the consistent feedback from the groups have escalated to civil war, resulting in the death and displacement of the civilians that are caught in the middle. Rape, ethnic targeting, death, mutilation, and other horrific crimes have been perpetuated throughout the entire country and this has definitively setback any potential progress from the newest country in the world.

What is most interesting and difficult for South Sudan is the fact that this nation has suffered from inner and outer conflicts. Northern Sudan has implemented border conflicts, and Southern Sudan must fight inner issues as well. Not only must this exhaust militia forces and governmental resources, but this “double conflict” has also lead to the escalation in crime and conflict. Due to lack of resources, the SPLA has resorted to the easiest and most convenient forms of crime which also happen to be some of the most damaging and violent forms as well.

While negotiations have been made between the two nations, North and South Sudan continue to seize fire on one another, resulting in a perpetual state of conflict. This inter-state war will go on until both countries can come to an agreement about border control and resolve ethnic conflicts WITHOUT the use of war and crime to implement policy. Hostilities about territories, ethnic differences, and resources like oil have been the at the heart of the Map-Sudan-South-Sudan-thumb-550x330-412dispute between the 2 countries. The territory of Abyei has become a “hot spot area” for forces to enter full scale conflict. The violence in this area has displaced those civilians who reside there, and while conflict has appeared to subsided there for now, it is difficult to determine how long this perceived peace will last in the area.

The Republic of Sudan

While South Sudan has experienced intra-nation conflict as well as inter-nation conflict, Sudan has also experienced intra-state conflict. Much like South Sudan, there have been power and government conflicts. The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attempted to overthrow and attack Sudanese government forces. So what did the government do? They armed a group of tribes to counter the attack on the government forces. These tribes formed what is known as the Janjaweed, which have killed over 300,000 civilians and displaced roughly 4 million. This 11 year conflict has been referenced as the Darfur conflict of Sudan. This issue continues to occur in the North Sudanese area and peace agreements have proven ineffective in bringing this conflict to an end.

This is not the only “broken” area of North Sudan, the country has experienced escalated conflict in the South Kordofan and Blue Niles Regions of the state as well. After political elections occurred, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement‐NoScreen Shot 2015-02-25 at 3.00.07 PMrth (SPLM‐N) fired an attack on the government and as a result, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have followed through with a counter-attack. The SAF has perpetuated mass genocide of the area and the attacks have become more severe. Satellite Images have actually captured the damage in the areas, and it is evident that famine and destruction are taking over the regions. 

What do we do?

Sudan. A complete country, to a broken country, to 2 broken countries, to broken regions within 2 broken countries. How will this progress? Will regions in both countries continue to break apart into separate areas perpetuating the conflict forever? How much more can these civilians take? How do we stop the violence? Will peace ever be settled?

I think the most obvious answer is we don’t know. Genocide is a much larger issue than it may sometimes appear. Specifically the Sudans, where each nation is incredibly troubled despite interventions and attempts at peace. The fix will not come from more violence, and it also won’t come from a force of embracing ethnic differences and power structures. The fix must come from humanitarian interventions, education, and teaching tolerance. The UN and other organizations have made strides in attempting to solve the conflicts that have been occurring in these countries, but even they are finding it difficult. I don’t have the simple answer to the problem, but it is an issue that is undeniably gaining attention and will require a lot of awareness and effort to solve.

While we may not be able to tape together the cracks in these states, we can at least make efforts to slowly glue them back together.

– Anna

Can’t we all just get along?! Conflict in South Sudan.

I want to focus on what is going on in South Sudan because after reading it…it’s messed up! Then again pretty much everything I read for this class I think is messed up in some way, shape, or form. The South Sudan Backgrounder gives a great summary of what is going on in South Sudan, as it should because it is a backgrounder! South Sudan became independent almost four years ago on July 9, 2011. Claiming independence would lead one to believe that everything is calm, cool, and collected in the country after ending Africa’s longest civil war but that is not the case for South Sudan because internal as well as outside conflict with Sudan still exists. Some of the conflict has come from President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar. Basically, President Kiir dismissed his entire cabinet on July 23, 2013 which then made former VP Machar think that President Kiir was moving toward taking over the country and creating a dictatorship. Political argument is always strong because people are usually going to sway to one side or the other. The former VP Machar, ethnically Nuer, is leading a group of rebels against the President Kiir, ethnically Dinka.

Most everyone ignores the saying two wrongs don’t make a right. It is completely apparent in this situation. The internal conflict within South Sudan has lead to tens of thousands of deaths and nearly two million displaced. In addition to displacement and death toll numbers going up, millions of people that include about fifty thousand children face acute food insecurity and the threat of famine because there are blocks of harvesting crops and international aide. The government is supposed to be the running the show and putting the best interest of the people of the country first but that is obviously not happening in South Sudan right now when so many citizens are having to leave their homes for safety from extrajudicial killings, ethnic targeting, sexual violence and the use of child soldiers.


South Sudan: When Will the Atrocities Stop?

images-1The world’s youngest nation: South Sudan, succeeded from Sudan in July of 2011. South Sudan’s independence was a last attempt for peace to end a decade long raging civil war. Peace wasn’t guaranteed with South Sudan’s new found freedom and to the world’s devastation, little peace was actually found. Tensions along the border combined with dwindling resources and ethnic divisions encourages violent behavior thus creating conflict between rebel militia and the government.

December 2013– yet another war began. The war was a result of the political disputes between President Salva Kiir (Who was a Dinka) and former Vice President Riek Machar (Who identified as a Nuer). Both the government and rebel tribes committed mass atrocities against the people. Within the first weeks of the attacks, thousands of innocent people were murdered and an estimated 800,000 were forced to flee. 2015– Hundreds of thousands of people still are displaced and seeking protection from the UN.

There is an exorbitant amount of literature published about the South Sudanese crisis (although, the lack of awareness among Americans is astounding.) Much of such reports would explain this complicated crisis in a much better fashion than I could even attempt. Perhaps then, it is more beneficial to focus on the question weighing heavily on my mind: What is the solution to bring peace to South Sudan? Is it too simple-minded of me to believe that the solution to this crisis is obvious: a liberal democracy? Arguably, the most fundamental aspect of a liberal democracy is the protection of individual rights. If the South Sudan government could unite to create equal protection for ALL under the law, maybe just maybe, there can finally be peace for this country.




A Responsibility to Protect

July 9th, 2011: The day South Sudan became an independent state from Sudan ending the 22 year long civil war between South Sudan and the Sudanese government.


While this initiates thoughts of excitement, a sense of freedom and a joyous time, it is quite the opposite for South Sudan. Since this date, they have seen violence from rebel militias, violence from the government, and overall corruption. Only two years ago, Decemeber 2013, a civil war broke out killing thousands upon thousands and brought South Sudan to a state of famine. The tensions stem from political issues between the President and former Vice President.

At this time, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement dominated the government. This group was once a rebel group adamant on transforming into a “legitimate” government. “Tensions came to a head when members of the presidential guard and members of the army loyal to Machar fought in the capital, Juba, in December 2013. Since then fighting has killed tens of thousands and displaced some 2 million.”


The cruelty committed by the government and by groups of rebels is sickening and evil. The rebels have gone into hiding places of innocent people, including hospitals, and holy sanctuaries killing hundreds. They have felt the need to find a way to broadcast on radios urging rape as a tactic and encouraging atrocities due to ethnicities. Pro‐government forces even have attacked UN peacekeepers and the civilians they are mandated to protect. As of 2015, approximately 100,000 civilians continue to seek assistance from the UN, despite knowing their risks.76310A78-9286-4133-9B99-1F39A9E6121F_mw1024_s_n
Since the outbreak of the war in 2013:
Killed: Tens of thousands
Displaced: 2 million
Risks: famine, genocide, mass atrocities




The threat of famine demands urgent attention. The international community and the United States should be aware of these needs!


  • Demand humanitarian access: The US and the international community should continue to push for access to these areas to help these innocent people.
  • Use targeted sanctions: Those responsible for harming others should be sanctioned! The US and the UN Security Council should expand targeted sanctions and follow through.
  • Arms Embargo: The United States should push the UN Security Council to consistently check the flow of weapons and ammunition that are contributing to the growing violence.
  • Reinforce diplomatic and aid efforts: The United States should have more on the ground and continue to have high-level engagement including by President Obama.
  • Establish mechanisms for justice and accountability