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Sudan's Military Industry Complex (3 July 2014)
The Government of Sudan is currently fighting two conflicts within its territory: the first against a coalition of Darfur armed opposition groups; and the second in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile against indigenous rebels who maintain ties with South Sudan. In recent months, these two rebellions have begun to share some logistical and military support.
Non-Arab Darfurian opposition forces—mainly Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit groups—first declared their armed opposition to the government in 2003, claiming widespread and long-term marginalization. The Government of Chad provided support to some rebel groups, and allowed them to maintain rear bases across the border in Chad. In 2004–05, the Sudanese government, employing the army as well as paramilitary Arab and Arabized militias, conducted a massive counter-insurgency. According to research published in 2010, as many as 300,000 civilians may have died as a direct or indirect consequence of the conflict.
A number of opposition forces rejected the Western-backed 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), and the conflict continued. Over time, Darfurian opposition groups fragmented, realigned, and formed coalitions, almost all rejecting the DPA. Meanwhile, the governments of Chad and Sudan reached a rapprochement, and Chad’s support for Darfur’s rebels ceased. Talks in Doha, Qatar, in December 2010 also failed to bring all the opposition parties on board.
After renewed international support for the Doha peace talks in March–May 2011, the Government of Sudan (GoS) and one rebel coalition, the Liberation and Justice Movement, signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) on 14 July 2011, just five days after South Sudan officially became independent. But the most important of the rebel forces—the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi, the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid, and the Justice and Equality Movement—did not sign the agreement.
Blue Nile and South Kordofan states experienced heavy fighting during the second Sudanese civil war (1983–2005). Local populations in South Kordofan, who sided with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), were subjected to widespread human rights abuses and starvation through food blockades. The SPLA remained in both states after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 ended the conflict but left the status of both states vague. Violence erupted in South Kordofan on 5 June 2011, pitting the Sudan Armed Forces’ (SAF) paramilitary and Special Forces against the SPLM-North and its supporters in the state, most notably the Nuba.
The South Kordofan conflict has involved the widespread bombing of civilians by SAF and accusations of human rights violations. More than 70,000 people have been displaced by fighting. A political and security framework deal, agreed between Sudan and the SPLM-N on 28 June 2011, has not stopped the conflict from escalating.
On 1 September 2011, SAF forces clashed with SPLA elements and supporters of SPLM-N in Blue Nile. The following day Sudanese president Omar al Bashir called a state of emergency, sacked Governor Malik Agar (SPLM-N), and shut down the headquarters of SPLM-N in Khartoum.