about icg 
  Latin America 
  Middle East 
  by region 
  by date 
  by keyword 
  media releases 
  articles/op. eds 
  media contacts 
contact us 
donate to icg 

 home  programs  africa  horn of africa  sudan
  God, Oil and Country Changing the Logic of War in Sudan

WASHINGTON/BRUSSELS/KHARTOUM, 28 January 2002: The war in Sudan is one of the world’s longest running, complex and most intractable conflicts. Religion, oil, ethnicity and ideology drive the fighting, up to two million people have died, while bombing, rape, enslavement and starvation have left a trail of devastation and misery. The conflict has often left the international community looking painfully ineffectual – as competing regional peace initiatives have allowed the warring parties to play one off against the other, never addressing fundamental grievances.

In a new 250-page book-length report, "God, Oil and Country: Changing the Logic of War in Sudan", ICG argues that there is now a unique opportunity to construct a viable peace process. The shock effect of the 11 September terrorist attacks on global foreign policy has affected debates in Khartoum. A weakened oil market and increased defence spending have also focussed the Sudanese government’s mind, with the military threat posed by the insurgent Sudan People’s Liberation Army, leaving lucrative oil fields in the south of the country dormant. The appointment of U.S. Special Envoy John Danforth indicates a greater willingness by Washington to get involved.

ICG’s Africa Program Co-Director John Prendergast said: “Progress towards peace will require deeper, more direct international engagement in a process that the Sudanese parties take seriously. A new peace effort must also meaningfully involve Sudan’s neighbours and address the traffic jam of competing peace initiatives, which must be united on a single track”.

This is a far more complex war than is commonly portrayed. The stereotype of an African Muslim north battling an African Christian south is only part of the story. It is increasingly a contest between a non-democratic centre and other groups from across the nation. God, Oil and Country provides a contemporary analysis of the players and politics as well as a detailed agenda for addressing the difficult issues of civil war, terrorism, oil resources, human rights abuses, religion and self-determination in Sudan.

ICG President Gareth Evans said: “The peace efforts made until now – by the north-east Africa regional body IGAD, by Egypt and Libya jointly, and by Eritrea and Nigeria - have all been of a piecemeal character. There has never been a single, multilateral, high level, sustained international exercise to put it all together. The time to do that is right now, with active engagement by the U.S. and key Europeans, a mediator that is taken seriously by the Sudanese parties, a mindset intolerant of diversion, circumvention and prevarication, and a process that is backed with significant leverage in the form of a robust package of both carrots and sticks”.


copyright privacy sitemap