p.p1 Blue Nile state when the government of Sudan

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The conflict in
South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states have displaced and killed thousands of
people, more specifically 250,000 people have been displaced from the Nuba
mountains since mid-2011 (UNHCR, 2016) many of whom escaping to Ethiopia (Radio
Dabanga, 2017). This war commencing from South Sudan’s independence started in
South Kordofan and spread to the neighbouring Blue Nile state when the
government of Sudan began a crusade to defeat the Sudan Revolutionary Front,
who wanted to replace president Omar al-Bashir’s government with a democracy
(Trone, 2014). The SRF, led by the SPLM-N, comprises of an alliance with
Darfuri rebel groups, including the Justice and Equality Movement, the United
People’s Front for Liberation and Justice, the Sudan Liberation/A and the Sudan
Liberation Army/M, thus creating a national agenda (Sudan Tribune, 2013). It is
therefore important to consider that this conflict is inextricably linked with
the War in Darfur. I will focus on the impacts of this conflict and explore why
the conflict in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states between the government
of Sudan and the Sudan Revolutionary Front is stuck in an impasse.  South Kordofan is
home to a population that is demographically diverse in terms of ethnicity and
religion (ARC, 2016).  This divide is
between the Nuba inhabitants who predominantly follow Islamic beliefs, and
several other Arab tribes including the Misseriya located in the west region, and
the Hawazma located in the east region. It has been argued that the origin of
the conflict in South Kordofan dates back to Sudan’s independence in 1956 as
tensions between the government of Sudan who believed in an Islamist regime and
the Nuba who were marginalized began to arise. During the First and Second
Sudanese Civil Wars, many Nuba identified with the South, as the central
government antagonised them via channels of legitimate policies (Trone, 2014). The 1989 coup that
brought Omar al-Bashir closer to presidency worsened the relationship between
Khartoum and the Nuba and in 1992, the government declared a fight against the
enemies of Islam, on the African Nuba people of South Kordofan, which Alex de
Waal described as the “genocidal campaign of a government at the height of its
ideological hubris.” (de Waal, 2004). This jihad by the Islamist Government of
Sudan in Khartoum with the use of aerial bombardments indiscriminately bombing
Nuba villages indicated an arbitrary extermination campaign (International
Crisis Group, 2013). It is clear that the Sudanese Armed Forces wanted to
destroy and prevent the establishment of insurgencies in other regions to deny
rebels a base of support, as they viewed the inhabitants of the areas that were
controlled by the rebels as imminent threats to the survival of the regime
(Tubiana and Gramizzi, 2013).  The aerial attacks
against the rebels were a humanitarian disaster and have had environmental
impacts as remote violence increased from 66 in 2015 to 100 in 2016, destroying
harvests and contributing to food insecurities (ACLED Data, 2016). It has been
reported that the ensuing fear caused further exacerbated the widespread food
insecurity as thousands of civilians settled in caves in attempts to survive
the aerial attacks thus rendering them incapable of farming (Trone, 2014).

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Furthermore, it has been argued that around 2 million people have been affected
by human rights abuses, with approximately 500,000 being forcefully displaced
by the end of 2014 (Radio Dabanga, 2017).  Other internal
factors exacerbated the crisis such as the Sudanese governments’ refusal to
grant the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations access to the
region therefore sufficient food and medical assistance could not be delivered (Trone,
2014). Since fighting increased due to Omar al-Bashir’s government in 2015, in
the lead up to the elections, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development
and the European Union have provided assistance in monitoring and implementing
the peace agreement between the rebels signed by Salva Kiir, amid hostility
against the international community. 
Following this, the United Nations established UNMISS in 2016 to further
monitor the human rights disasters and provide shelter to civilians (Human
Rights Watch, 2017). 

Conclusively, the
root causes of the conflict in South Kordofan are the perceived
marginalization, both economically and politically of Sudan’s peripheral
regions by the elite throughout Sudan’s history, namely the central government
in Khartoum. Instances of cultural exploitation have also occurred as there is
a lack of representation of other ethnicities given the internal divisions
within Khartoum’s elite (Malik, 2014). It is also important to consider the
immediate trigger for the conflict, which followed from the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement signed in 2005. Failure to implement key mandates of this agreement
foreshadowed the ongoing state of war that broke out again in 2011 and why it
is still continuing. Ultimately, the conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile
states are complex and it is evident that they link with the Second Sudanese
Civil War and the conflict in Darfur. The wars in these states represent a
manifestation of Sudan’s fundamental problem since the 1980s; the ideological opposition
between Khartoum attempting to centralise the country with a dominant
Arab-Islamic identity, versus the SRF’s agenda for a more decentralised Sudan.

Whilst there have been several peace talks aimed at resolving the conflict,
they have not succeeded and all three wars have threatened domestic and
regional stability (IMF, 2014). These internal divisions between South Kordofan
and the Blue Nile itself, also benefit Khartoum as they limit peace talks and
prevent reform (Aljazeera, 2016) and unless Omar al-Bashir steps down, it is
unlikely that this impasse will end.


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