In September 2004, one year after the beginning of the civil war in Sudan, Colin Powell said it was ''genocide''. Since the beginning of the war, many associations were created in order to 'Save Darfur'. Darfur has recently been one of the most publicized wars in Africa, however, the conflict is still not resolved and today, it is estimated that 200 people die every day as a consequence of the conflict, either because of diseases or starvation.
Besides that, the United Nations approved many resolutions sending troops to Darfur, a cease-fire was signed in 2004, and the International Criminal Court issued two warrants of arrest in May 2007. But none of these have stopped the conflict yet. It seems clear that despite a widespread media coverage and diplomatic agitation, no solution has yet proved effective in the resolution of Darfur's conflict. Darfur region borders Chad and the Central African Republic, comprising five to six million people and remaining largely underdeveloped. This region is home to four main tribes: the Furs, which gave the name to Darfur (meaning in Arabic Fur's home''), the Massaleits, the Arabs, and the Zaghawas.
The last decades have seen much civil wars and unrest in the region. The first conflict took place from 1987 to 1989, and was mainly the result of ethnic tensions between Furs and Arabs. In this first conflict, the central government did not seem to play a role in the confrontations. The second, from 1996 and 1998, between the Massaleits and Arabs was over Massaleits' territory. The last conflict that we still witness today begun in 2003. The key event seen as the trigger of the civil war was the attack and occupation of Gulu on the 10th of February, 2003 by the rebel groups Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). They were asking for a better share of resources and wealth. In response, Khartum led an aerial attack and let the Janjaweed slaughter the local populations. Since then, slaughters, pillages and rapes have been going on in Darfur. Why does a solution in Darfur seem so hard to find and realize?
[...] According to Gérard Prunier, the conflict has raciocultural roots, in the sense that Arabs are a minority in Sudan, even if they are dominating the political life. They are facing a tough rebellion in Darfur, and the Arabic elite of Khartum needs to establish and maintain its authority over Darfur, especially because Darfur is a region with oil reserves (we will discuss this point later in the essay.) It seems rather clear that the Sudanese government is trying to put down the rebellion. [...]
[...] Indeed, Ban Ki Moon, the UN General Secretary said in June 2007 that the conflict in Darfur was caused least in part from climate change [and that it] derives, to some degree, from man-made global warming''. This is aggravated by Sudan's demographic explosion. Its population doubled in 20 years, leading to tougher competition for space and resources. The conflict is also often seen as the expression of ancient hatreds that came to surface resulting from competition between different tribes from various ethnicities over shared land. [...]
[...] For example, even if it is not the main reason for the civil war, the environmental issue related to drought and desertification could obviously not be reversed. The only solution would be a political one that would indemnify and relocate environmental refugees. However, such a decision does not seem to be a priority for Khartum and nor is it their interest as they otherwise feed the war by helping and manipulating the Janjaweed. What is more, as it is definitely difficult to determine what triggered the civil war, it is hard to establish a particular and well-aimed cure. [...]
[...] Why does a solution in Darfur seem so hard to find and realize? In this essay, we will see that Darfur is, for many reasons, an example of a post-Cold War conflict. We will see first that causes for such a conflict are hard to specify, because of a complicated situation inherent to Sudan, but also because of a gap in the political theory concerning civil wars. Consequently, it is difficult to find an effective solution to such a multidimensional issue. [...]
[...] Obviously, the oil present in Darfur also explains why a solution is hard to find at the international level as different nations have different interests and support different actors. China, for example, buys almost 65 percent of Sudan's oil, and is implied in weapons trading: the Janjaweed's weapons, as well as some of the military planes owned by the Sudanese army are made in Chinese factories. In opposition, the United States gives their support to the rebels and to neighboring Chad, because the American company Chevron (extracting oil) is already well implemented there and if the rebels eventually had some control on their region, they would prefer the United States as trade partner. [...]
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