The condominium

The battle of Karari, which took place on the 1 September 1899, effectively heralded the end of the Khalif’s reign; Kitchener’s superior forces were victorious, and his troops proceeded to a reckless pillage of Omdurman. Khalifa ‘Abdullahi remained at large, but his fate was sealed, and it was merely a matter of time before the conquering armies caught up with him; he was finally overtaken and killed by forces under Wingate, in November 1899 at the battle of Umm Dibaykarat in southern Kordofan. Thereafter the conquering forces turned to the spoils, and to the future status of the Sudan.

The reconquest of the Sudan had been undertaken by a joint army, acting, in theory, on behalf of the Khedive of Egypt, but from the outset it was clear that the British were not going to let the territories of the Sudan return to a purely Egyptian sphere of control. This was facilitated by the British occupation of Egypt itself (which had occurred in 1882). British public opinion back home was against returning the area to the people who, it was felt, had stirred up the Mahdist rebellion in the first place by their ‘ill-advised’ policies, and who had therefore to take some of the blame for the demise of General Gordon, by then a popular hero in the British Isles.

On the other hand, the annexation of the region as a British colony was at the time not in question either. International politics had effectively put a stop to any prospective British claims, with the Fashoda incident, in 1898. The arrival of French forces, under Captain Marchand at Fashoda on the Upper Nile on 10 July 1898 Precipitated a rapid advance by Kitchener, and his subsequent announcement that the French were violating the rights of Egypt, as well as those of Britain, an argument designed to undermine the French postion in a way which left British interests intact. This was the more surprising in view of the disinclination of the British sovereign, Queen Victoria, towards Fashoda; the Queen of England could hardly bring herself to consent to war ‘for so miserable and small an object’, according to her message to Lord Salisbury on 30 October 1898.

The result of this dilemma was the ‘Agreement between Her Britannic Majesty’s Government and the Government of His Highness the Khedive of Egypt relative to the future adminstration of the Sudan’, which is known in general as the Condominium Agreement. Lord Cromer, the British Agent and Consul-General in Egypt, was basically responsible for the drafting of this agreement, as he also had a great deal to do with the rationale behind the reconquest, and the British involvement int eh Sudan, anxious in the first instance to let the Egyptians shoulder the financial burdens that the governance of Sudan might demand.

The Condominium Agreement effectively shelved the question of sovereignty, but in practice the government of Sudan was a British affair. The Governor-General of Sudan was nominated by the British, and possessed supreme military and civilian authority in the land, with the power to rule by decree. His appointment was conditional on ratification by the Egyptians, but of course, since the latter were under British ‘protection’ the result was that appointments were given a rubber stamp. All the governors-general were British, from the inception of the Condominium Government to Sudanese independence, though Sir Robert Howe, the penultimate British Governor-General, proposed on this resignation in 1955 that his successor should come from a neutral country in order to ensure impartiality during the self-government period; his advice was not heeded.

The subsequent history of the Condominium Government is usually dealt with in terms of a number of fairly clear-cut periods. From the reconquest to the outbreak of the First World War, the Sudan Government was concerned largely with establishing an administrative framework, and pacifying the various forms of resistance it encountered. The internal security of the country was probably the single most important ‘policy’ pursued. The Great War itself saw some fundamental changes, including the annexation of Darfur in 1916, and the enlistment of Sudanese notables to support the war cause.

The Mahdiyya, 1881-98

Discussion of the religious orders leads naturally on to the Mahdist movement, generally recognized as the origin of Sudanese nationalism, and the prelude to the establishment of the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium in 1898. Before turning to look at the movement, it would be well to examine the origins and basic elements of Mahdist belief. Ibn Khaldun writes in his Muqqaddama: ‘It is a universal belief amongst the Muslim masses throughout the ages that at the End of Time a man of the family of the Prophet must manifest himself to confirm the faith and proclaim justice. The Muslims will follow him and he will establish his rule over the Islamic Kingdoms, he will be called the Mahdi.’ Such messianic belief is popularly rooted in Sunni Islam, providing an ideology for the oppressed which has resulted in the frequent appearances of Mahdis throughout the history of Islam.

To many modern Sudanese Muhammad Ahmad al-Mahdi is the father of nationalism. The view of the Mahdist movement as being nationalist in origin has come about because it throve upon the unity created by the oppression of the Turco-Egyptian regime; and also because the Mahdi managed to overcome, perhaps for the first time, the system of tribal and religious loyalties, to allow the Muslim Sudanese people to act as one with a common motivation and a common loyalty.

The Mahdi was an astute politician, keenly aware of the feelings of the various Sudanese groupings, and endowed with the enviable attributes of a personal charisma and organizational ability. Mahdi’s initial military successes were gained in the southern region of Kordofan (by the end of 1882 all but two garrisons of that province lay in Mahdist hands). That area was particularly responsive to anti-Turkish agitation due to the threat posed to its economy by the regime’s professed determination to eradicate the slave trade, after pressure from Europe. This example of a region or grouping finding the Mahdist cause attractive for reasons other than religious enthusiasm is by no means unique – the Baqqara nomads, who became the mainstay of the Mahdist army, can be seen as motivated by their propensity to fighting government control on the southern fringe, as much as by anything else, whilst the adhesion of the Beja tribes, reluctant as it certainly was, can be attributed to the rivalry of some of their leaders with the Khatmiyya that they shared with the Mahdi. Such a variety of motivations almost inevitably produced a degree of fragmentation even within the Mahdiyya, probably the most unitary institution of Sudanese pre-colonial history, something reflected in the structure of the Mahdist army, different factions fighting under different flags, each division commanded by its own caliph.

Initial success lent the movement impetus and credibility, and thereafter progress was swift. In January 1883 the Kordofan capital, El Obeid, fell to the Mahdi, precipitating the collapse of the decadent Turco-Egyptian regime, and obliging many reluctant Sudanese elements to join the revolt. Ottomon rule in the Sudan finally came to an end with the defeat of General Gordon and the capture of Khartoum on 26 January 1885. The system of government which the Mahdi and his followers, the Ansar, established was based on the principle of his absolute authority in both spiritual and temporal matters. Calling for a return to the pure and unadulterated Islam of the Prophet, he eschewed the ascetic principles of Sufism in his pursuit of justice in dar al-salam (the land of Islam) and followed orthodox theocratic principles in creating a government conducted, in the tradition of Prophet Mohammed, by four caliphs and involving judicial and financial institutions based upon the Qur’an and the Sunna.

The Jihad was a central pillar of the new state inherited by the Mahdi’s chief disciple, Khalifa ‘Abdullahi al Ta’aishi, upon th death of the former less than six months after that of Gordon. The Mahdist subjection of the Sudan was only ever intended as a first step in the holy war (something which clearly renders dubious the view of Mahdism as a movement with vocation). Abdullahi’s position was not enviable. He lacked the Mahdi’s charisma and profundity, and his succession had been challenged not least by the Mahdi’s kith and kin led by Khalifa Sharif; they called themselves awlad al balad (the rightful sons of the land), as opposed to the Baqqara ‘upstarts’ who descended on Omdurman from the west. The Khalifa was swift and ruthless in neutralizing them. Even so, whatever authority the Khalifa had exercised continued to rest upon brute force and reverence for the late Mahdi, something which obliged him to continue all the initiatives undertaken by his predecessor, including a campaign of Jihad against Egypt (since 1882 occupied by British forces) and against Ethiopia in order to bring its ‘infidel’ people into Islam. He also sent dispatches to queen Victoria, the Ottoman Sultan Abd al Hamid and Kedive Tawfiq of Egypt enjoining them to submit to Mahdiyya. This obscurantist approach to international relations, with its concomitant adventurism, had contributed more than anything to the demise of the regime. Tribal feuds, internal dissension and famines compounded matters further for the Khalifa; the only surprise, thereafter, was that the Mahdist regime survived as long as 1898 when its fate was sealed by the victory of Kitchener’s superior army at the battle of Karari.

The advent of Islam: the Funj and the Fur sultanates

The decline of the Kush civilization led to a decentralization of power within the Sudan. The country broke up into a number of smaller principalities which preserved some degree of Kushite culture. From out of this ‘dark age’ three major powers began to emerge: Nubia, Maqarra, and Alwa. The southernmost of these kingdoms, Alwa, displayed a distinctly African orientation, and indeed was the longest lived, surviving up until the beginning of the sixteenth century, when it was replaced by the Funj sultanate. Its leader, Abdalla Jama’a (the gatherer) was able to mobilize (as his name indicates) the Islamicized populace against Nubia which was by then Christianized following the Romanization and Christianization of Egypt. With the defeat of the Nubian Christian kingdom, Jama’a established the first semi-centralized Muslim authority in northern Sudan.

A detailed picture of the life of these early Sudanese states during the intervening period, although of considerable historical interest, is not central to the discussion here. What is important, however, is the fact that during this period Islam first began to make an impact on the territory of Sudan under a Muslim centralized authority, a process that had initially started with the gradual infiltration of Islam by Arab traders and immigrant tribesmen. This process had fundamentally altered the power relations within the country over the subsequent years, and led eventually to the adoption of Islam by the indigenous elite and the local peoples. To the latter, adhesion to the new faith was made easy by the fact that Islam propagated by those immigrants ‘demanded neither learning nor literacy but only a profession of faith and the performance of a few simple obligations’. The culmination of this process was the establishment of the Funj and Fur sultanates in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, this process of Islamicization and Arabization is without documentation, apart from a notable passage in the Arab author Ibn Khaldun, and its importance has in the past often been over-inflated; for the Funj and Fur sultantes were first and foremost African, specifically Sudanese states.

In 1504 the kingdom of Alwa fell at the hands of the Funj, and we need not quarry into history to identify the Funj’s origin nor to debate their claims of patrilineal descent from historical Arabs, a matter that has been the subject of much writing. Neither is the term ‘funj’ itself Arabic, nor is there a Funj tirbe. The Funj themselves have claimed Arab descent from the Ummayyad, though their physical appearance visibly betrayed a shilluk physiognomy. The preponderance of evidence suggests that the Funj were an Islamicized African Negroid people, who established their capital at Sennar (the tooth of fire)., and very shortly afterwards carried their new faith westward into the heartland of Sudan. It was under the Funj sultanate that Islam first began to gain widespread influence in the central Sudan.

Bruce, the Scottish traveler who visited Sennar in 1772, was told that Islam had been adopted for the purposes of trading with Cairo; trade with Egypt was the mainstay of the budding Sudanese economy at this period. It is also worth remembering that much of that trade was in slaves, and that a Muslim cannot theoretically be sold as a slave. The economic superiority of the immigrant Arab traders and, more importantly, their modern culture (including the Arabic language which was increasingly used as an instrument of commercial communication with Egypt) enhanced their position in the Sennar community. Even so, in order to find themselves a niche within that community, those traders adopted many of the Sennarese customs and values while their distinguished status opened the way to them for fusion, through intermarriage, with the upper crust of society. This was the same process whereby immigrant Arab traders interacted with the local Nubian population in the northern commercial centers; Dongola, Berber Shendi, and so on.

From those genes, as in the Nubian north, new clans were born and mushroomed, a process that was enhanced by the gravitation of different non-Arab tribes in the region towards, and identification with, those new clans either for economic advantage or protection. One such example was the Hamaj, a collective name given by the Sennarese to the tribes in Upper Blue Nile who were often raided by them and captured as slaves. As a result, a process of identification grounded on kinship and pedigree took root in central Sudan from that period in time, as was again the case with Nubian Sudan, though in the case of the latter some ethnic groups such as the Halfawese, the Mahas, and the Danaqla, held out and maintained their pre-Arab languages. However, there is no evidence that it was internal political pressure or, even less, profound religious devotion which swayed the Funj to Isalm. In fact, that they were very dedicated to their new faith is doubtful., for we know that the Funj court embodied a number of traditions and institutions which were incompatible with Islamic teaching, though that does not suggest that the Funj Sultans were in any way opposed to Islam. It is likely that these traditions were maintained for two reason: first, there was no reason to change them; and second, such practices were expected by the Funj subjects from their rulers and were a requisite of the Funj establishing themselves within the traditional political framework of their domains. Effectively, by accepting many of the Sennarese values and customs and entwining them with Islamic institutions the immigrant Arab traders ushered in a new brand of Islam, an Islam built on the existing social order rather than replacing it with its own. The process of Islamicization was, thus, not one of cultural collision; if anything it was one of cultural interaction – a two-way traffic resulting in the Arabicization of the local peoples, on the one hand, and the indigenization if not paganization of Islam on the other.

None the less, Islam remained a cult associated with royalty and foreigners and had very little impact upon the general population until at least the middle of the seventeenth century, when the first mosque was built at Sennar, and by which time the majority of the Fuqara (religious pundits) who were teaching in the Sudan were no longer foreigners but Arabicized Sudanese. Following the tradition of the Nubian north those fuqara, while dispensing their religious teachings, continued to live with the social mores of the community which were often repugnant to those teachings. Equally the fuqara, who were also traders, perservered in their commercial activities, accumulating a relatively great wealth in the process. In effect, the fuqara’s way to the hearts of people was not only through preaching; another weighty medium of conversion was patronage made possible by endowments offered to those fuqara by the rulers in the form of land and cattle. Ascetic as their lives may have been, the fuqara were sufficiently wealthy to support their followers and thus maintain their allegiance.

Eventually this religious elite became the mediator between the rulers and the masses, gaining, in consequence, tremendous political influence. The same process of Islamicization and spread of Arabo-Islamic culture can be seen even more clearly in the establishment and organization of the Fur sultanate which had arisen at this time – around the middle of the seventeenth century when the Keira sultanate of Darfur emerged out of the obscure background of the Tunjur tribal kingdom. This state was essentially a non-Arab Sudanese kingdom which was also an Islamic state, just like Sennar, and since the historical and oral material is more abundant than at Sennar it is possible to take a closer look at the institutions within the Fur state. The Fur were made up of purely African tribes: the Kungara, Karkirit and Pemurka, though the Kungara, a purely African group, claimed an Arab strain. Within the administrative structure of the Fur sultanate the compromise between Islamic and traditional elements was key factor in the success of the state as a whole.

Similarly, as with the Funj, Islam did not suppress the cultural characteristics of the tribes; instead, it had woven them through its common thread. Thus, despite their conversion to Islam, some tribes of that region continued to maintain traditional social institutions and cultural patterns blatantly repugnant to Islamic tenets. For example, the Islamicized Midob tribe preserved their matrilineal system of succession with the effect that, when the mek (ruler) died he was succeeded by his sister’s son, in the belief that ‘the bone is from the mother, the flesh from the father’. On the other hand, whilst the system of law was theoretically based upon shari’a administered according to the Maliki school, in practice traditional laws were dominant. A customary law, supposed to have been codified by Sultan Daali and based on a system of fines paid in rolls of cloth and animals, was commonly applied, and thier is no evidence that the shari’a punishments were ever imposed. Taxation too, combined Islamic and traditional taxes.

The Fur provincial administration continued, on the more formal level, to grant estates to members of the royal family and tribal chiefs as a system of privilege; and on the more informal level, administration of local justice was left to the religious notables in the regions. And whilst the holders of the estates collected and kept the traditional taxes, the Islamic ones were passed on to the central administration. Trade with Egypt, along the caravan routes, in slaves and other ‘legitimate’ commodities such as camels, ivory and ostrich feathers, was an important part of the Fur economy and gave the kingdom an eastward orientation, so that contacts between Darfur and the Nile valley were common. Trade, being a highly structured group activity involving vendor, purchaser, transporter and distributor, needed a degree of institutionalization through a central authority. This inevitably gave rise to the Patronage and exploitation of trade activites by the rulers; each carvan to the east was led by a khabir (guide) designated by, and responsible to, the sultan. Again, this led to the establishment of a permanent hierarchy of power inside the trade orbit based on the maintenance of economic power by a ruling elite, who used slavery as a means towards the maintenance of the status quo. The rulers of the Fur, like those of the Funj, who were Africans themselves, owned and marketed slaves captured in Dar Maslait and northern Bahr al Ghazal, and possessed, directly or indirectly, monopoly on religious orthodoxy, such as it was at the time, and wielded political authority with little opposition.

The Funj and Fur sultanates formed a ‘political golden age’ inside Sudanese history as a whole, since a purely Sudanese central authority held the reins of power inside the country. More importantly, owing to the control of the authority, they also had the capacity to apportion political and economic power between the governing elite installed by them and the religious elite which was gaining prominence. The process of Islamicization and Arabicization of northern Sudan was altogether a more complex and gradual process than the Islamicization and Arabicization of North Africa. It came about as the result of nine centuries of intermarriage, trade and cultural interchange, setting the ground for the work, later on, of itinerant holy men from Hejaz, Egypt, Iraq and elsewhere who preached and taught throughout the country. These holy men established their Khalwas (Koranic schools) where they taught the Qur’an to a superstitious rural population who maintained, to large extent, their own indigenous traditional beliefs. A large Portion of these early fuqara were Sufists, whose approach to Islam was characterized by asceticism and mysticism, and this early preponderance was to affect profoundly the nature of Islam in the Sudan.

Through those itinerant holy men, Islamic fraternities known as tariqas (literally, way to salvation) came to be introduced in the Sudan. Having originated in Egypt and Iraq, the tariqas soon developed into regionally dominant units themselves, controlled by a single family, the sheikh passing on his Baraka (mandated benediction) to his son upon his death. Around those sheikh Sufist orders were instituted to perpetuate the teachings and rules of the founding father. Those tariqas expanded in influence, partly because Islam was perceived by the rising mercantile classes as an instument for use against the restrictive traditional feudal structure, and, somewhat paradoxically, because of the acquiescence, or even support, of an increasingly Islmicized sultanate and meks.

The history of the Funj kingdom is replete with stories of holy men who wielded power parallel to, if not greater than, that of the prince. The rise of the sheikhs and their followers marked the birth of the distinct Sudanese sectarian political activity in the localities, something that blossomed chiefly in the Turco-Egyptian period in spite of the essentially antipathetic nature of the new centralized and orthodox regime, which, which labored continually to undermine the power and influence of the Sufi tariqas. The Funj and Fur slutanates had provided a background for this process, but the formation and accession to prominence of a factionalized religious elite which accompanied it took place largely during the period of the Turkish rule. The passing of these medieval Sudanese sultanates forms a watershed in the history of the Sudan, considered as a whole. With the annexation of the Sudan by the Ottomans, the basis of power within the region was profoundly altered, and the colonial political framework, thus engendered, caused the country to become fragmented both into regional elements which sought to resist the imposition of the central authority, and into social groupings which sought, in a variety of ways, to exploit the limited possibilities for economic expansion and political gain provided by the Turco-Egyptian administration.

The Turco-Egyptian period and the consolidation of Islam

From the above it is clear that, until the Turco-Egyptian conquest of 1821, it can be said that there existed no truly orthodox Islamic authority with universal recognition in the Sudan; Islam meant different things to different people. In marked contrast the Near East and North Africa, the process of Islamicization was not carried out by immigrant Arabs but by the Sudanese themselves. This has given Sudanese Islam its own particular characteristics and fundamentally affected the role it played in the life and politics of modern Sudan. Yet in the final years before the arrival of the Ottomans, the power of the central Islamic authorities was seriously undermined, which rendered the eventual annexation of the region relatively easy, and entirely predictable.

So in 1821 Muhammed Ali’s forces entered the Sudan without encountering any organized resistance from the Funj sultanate, which by this stage was suffering chronically from internal divisions and political fragmentation. The motives for the invasion were vaired. The presence of rebel Mamluk troops in the northern Sudan had been a source of concern to the Egyptian government; possibly, Muhammed Ali Harbored ambitions of founding an empire; certainly the Sudan was a rich source of slaves; and, apart from their economic value, Muhammed Ali had ideas of building a large slave army around himself, something which provided the major incentive for a continued Turco-Egyptian presence in the region.

The new administration had important consequences for Sudanese life. For the first time it brought all the territories of the Sudan under one centralized administration. Considerable changes now took place which were to affect the Sudanese people and their rulers profoundly, both in the political and economic fields. Central amongst these was the new balance of power which was promoted between the various regions of the Sudan. The keystone of the economy in these times was the extremely profitable slave trade, which had been blossoming since the days of the Funj and the Fur. Given the administrative advances made by the new government, this now assumed more extensive proportions.

The results of these changes were twofold. First, it seriously increased the tension, already present, between the center and the periphery, particularly the south. Second, it altered the economic layout of the Sudan, and transformed the region into the model which confronted the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium when it eventually took over. This basically meant that the seat of power moved to the central riverain part of Sudan, Khartoum, and then Omdurman. The slave trade enhaced the postion of the traders, who were generally northerners working on their own or conniving with some tribal chiefs. A third major consequence of the Turco-Egyptian regime was a profound change in the relations of the local religious elite to the central authorities. The justification of the conquest had been that it claimed the Sudan for the Ottoman Sultan, the lawful ruler of the Muslim world. For this reason three Egyptian ‘Ulama (learned men) from Al-Azhar travelled with the initial expedition with the intention of forming an orthodox Islamic state in the Sudan. Obviously there was a vast gulf between the official Islam of the Egyptian administration and the personal faith of the Sudanese and their Sufi leaders. The Egyptians insisted on their shari’a courts, which had never before been known to most Sudanese. They also attempted, not very successfully, the introduction of a system of schools throughout the country which were subject to the central adminstration. Not only did these moves threaten to undermine the influence which the established Sufi brotherhoods exercised over the population, but the withdrawal of the privileged tax exemptions and charters bestowed on them by the Sennar and Fur rulers endangered the very existence of this religious elite. The three ‘Ulama were openly contemptuous of the fuqara and the heads of the Sufi tariqas, and thus attempted to subvert the power and influence held by those local Sudanese religious leaders, an attempt which signally failed.

The political conflict between the new rulers and the established system is easy to understand. It reached a peak under the rule of Khedive Isma’il during his renewed attempts to impse Azharite Islam upon the country. But competition had also begun to develop among the various Sufi brotherhoods themselves. Membership of the larger orders had become little more than the swearing of allegiance to the sheikh, and involved no spiritual initiation at all. For the religious elite who led these orders, patronage was beginning to assume importance not simply for reasons of devotion, but because it provided them with a political platform. Like the Condominium government which followed the Mahdist period, the colonial Turkish administration found that it simply could not rule the provinces of the Sudan without the support of this local religious elite. Thus, despite all their efforts to the contrary, the Turks, like the British afterwards, were forced to patronize certain of the Sufi tariqas in order to maintain their grip on the country.

Of all the local tariqas to benefit from this favouritism, none did so more than the Khatmiyya. This order, sometimes known also as the Mirghaniyya (after its founder), had been set up around the time of the Turco-Egyptian invasion by Muhammad ‘Uthman Al-Mirghani, an itinerant Sufist of Central Asian provenance and a disciple of Ahmad Ibn Idris al-Fasi. Well organized, and with an expressed purpose to unite the varying Sufist teaching and orthodox shari’a, the sect called itself the ‘seal of the tariqas’. The khatmiyya established itself at al-Khatimyya hill near Kassala and gained tremendous support in both the eastern and northern parts of the country conterminous with Egypt. Many of its adherents from those areas came from the mercant class who traded with Egypt, and were driven to the tariqa because of its privileged position with the Turkish rulers. Those two factors, geographic and occupational, were of paramount importance to the way in which the Khatmiyya developed politically, and probably explain both its historical linkage with Egypt and the shopkeeper vision of politics which became so characteristic of some of the Khatmiyya-based political parties. However, despite its reformist ideas, the order developed along the same lines as others and became centred on the Mirghani family whose Baraka had become hereditary.

Ironically the ‘seal of the tariqas’ became just another tariqa in intense competition with a number of other Sufist orders. But, unlike a number of smaller tariqas, the Khatmiyya survived into modern times, becoming an important factor in Sudanese politics because of the patronage the regime afforded it at this crucial stage in the history of the Sufist movement. The Turco-Egyptian administration was at root deeply unpopular; its initial attempts to impose a foreign system of taxation, which was alien to the established tribal and estate model, resulted in the rebellion of 1822. From the start the Turco-Egyptian government did not make itself popular, the Sudanese regarded the officials as ‘Turks’ and outsiders. Despite the introduction of a telegraph system and steamers on the Nile, the Turco-Egyptian period brought few benefits for the Sudan as a whole. As international pressure upon the government to limit the slave trade within the Sudan increased, the administration became more despondent. Shortage of money meant that taxes had to be raised, whilst little spending upon internal development was possible. Since the initial violence of the conquest, the Sudanese had never liked the new administration, and heavy taxation had only made relations worse. Also, by favoring the Khatmiyya order the government had estranged other orders and their followers. Given those circumstances, the eventual collapse of the regime to a popular revolution was entirely predictable, and the Mahdist revolt of 1881 ushered in a new phase in Sudan's political history.

Peace in South Sudan

Peace in South Sudan was reached following the conclusion of the Comprehensive CPA in Naivasha on January 9th 2005. A government was formed in Southern Sudan and a referendum was conducted to determine the fate of the region; that is whether the inhabitants would chose to maintain the unity of Sudan or opt for secession.

East Sudan Accord

Although the situation in East Sudan has not reached a serious level as in the South and Darfur, the government entered into early negotiations in Asmara with the East Front and reached an agreement that brought about stability in the volatile region. The Eastern Peace Accord was effected in its political and security aspects. A fund for reconstruction and development of the East was incepted and has already initiated a number of projects.

Darfur Crisis and the Peace Efforts

Clashes in the region are not between tribes of Arab or African origin but rather between farmers and pastorals vying for the area’s meager water and grazing resources, inter-tribal clashes known to be a frequent phenomenon of the past. However, the armed rebellion in Darfur erupted in earnest in February 2003. The crisis in Darfur was manipulated and overblown by the media. But the government was able to negotiate a peace settlement. Talks in Abuja yielded an agreement in May 2006 between the Sudan government and Sudan Liberation Movement. Under the accord, an interim authority for Darfur was set up and as a result, security/humanitarian conditions improved and an increasing number of the displaced voluntarily returned to their homes. And because some forces abstained from signing the peace accord, the government of Sudan is currently exerting efforts with the UN, African Union, Arab League and the State of Qatar to facilitate negotiations with the purpose of reaching a final and comprehensive peace deal that will help repatriate remaining refugees and bring peace to the region.


Political Map Of Sudan

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