This module was created by Walid Javed. Northern Virginia Community College, HIS 135.



 Sudan is located in eastern Africa and is the largest country on the African continent. Sudan is located below Egypt and to the right of Chad. Throughout most of its history, Sudan has mainly been divided between the North and South regions by ethnic groups. Generally, in northern Sudan reside Arab-Sudanese nomadic tribes; African-Sudanese tribes are located in southern Sudan. Historically, Sudan has suffered political anarchy and civil wars since the 1980s.

Originally, Sudan gained its independence from the dual ownership of Great Britain and Egypt in 1956. Soon after gaining independence, a military coup was staged by military General Ibrahim Abboud. General Abboud eliminated all other political parties and set up Sudan under the control of the military. Though General Abboud managed to lower the price of cotton and ultimately eased the financial crisis, he became increasingly alienated from the general population. Eventually, General Abboud was overthrown in a military coup and an Islamic led government came into power in 1964.

Since the 1970s, southern Sudan has continually attempted to gain independence from northern Sudan. While Jaafar Nimeri was ruling Sudan, a civil war broke out in 1983. A rebel group called the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army was created in response to the government's preferential treatment towards Arab ethnic groups. Tensions were increasingly high as Nimeri instilled Islamic Sharia law as the highest power in the Sudan government. The SPLM/A felt that this proved the government's preference over northern Sudan and Arab-Sudanese tribes (Islam is also the nation's primary religion, with indigenous tribal religions a close second).

The SPLM/A still exist today in southern Sudan. It's most infamous leader, John Garang, led this political party from 1983 until his death in 2005. Garang managed to gather 3,000 rebel soldiers to fight against the Islamic government and encouraged other smaller minority ethnic groups to rebel as well. Garang wanted a united Sudan, where minority groups could come together and rule together. Garang, who was Christian, was not initially interested in the two fighting religions. Garang was extremely popular and gained the support from Libya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. However, the SPLM/A suffered from political strife as well. There were ethnic divides within the group, and resentment from smaller factions who had merged with the group. In 2003, tensions ran high when Garang attempted to pressure the tribal leader of the Fur People (Located in the Darfur region of Sudan) to declare that they were a part of the SPLM/A. The Fur people absolutely refused, which irritated Garang greatly.

Darfur has been a region of Sudan that has suffered great conflict. Darfur is located in the western region of Sudan, and is roughly the size of France. It is not a country, but rather a region inhabited by various African-Sudanese ethnic groups, the majority being Muslim Arab-Sudanese ethnic groups. The war in Darfur stemmed from government neglect of the Muslim African-Sudanese tribal groups (as they perceived it), and preferential treatment of Arab-Sudanese tribal groups.

While the majority of civil wars in the South have been over religion (Islam versus minority religious groups), the war in Darfur was completely racial. After the uprising of rebel Muslim African-Sudanese tribal groups, the Sudanese government launched a campaign to wipe them out with the help of a local Darfur tribe who became known as the Janjaweed. The Janjaweed are an Arab-Sudanese group that systematically wiped out African-Sudanese villages in Darfur. Villages were burned down, children were mutilated, women were gang-raped, and men were murdered. The Janjaweed are only a militia group; however, they were supported by the Sudanese government and given permission to invade the rebel African-Sudanese villages.

During the six-year-conflict, the United Nations did little to help the deteriorating region. Though the UN condemned the atrocities that were being committed by the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militia, little else was done. The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for President Bashir, citing him for war crimes. However, President Bashir rarely leaves the country, and therefore has not been arrested. The UN attempted peace talks with Sudan, but the majority have failed as Sudan refused to follow instructions from the international community. The UN and the United States placed an embargo on the country; all countries within the UN legally were not allowed to trade with Sudan. It was discovered by a Sudanese journalist that the the embargo was not being followed by China, who was providing the Janjaweed militia with guns, missiles, and various military products.

The war in Darfur was officially declared over in August of 2009. During the six years of war, over 3 million people were displaced and were forced to live in refugee camps. Up to 400,000 people have perished due to this massive conflict and its consequences; a large majority have perished from malnutrition and diseases as villages have been destroyed and vital resources depleted. Though the war has officially been declared over, small rebel groups still clash within the region to this day. Furthermore, humanitarian aid is denied to most people over in Darfur by order of the Sudanese government, even though these lands have been completely ravaged.