On the one hand, Sudan is a country which cruses on the economy with an increasing per capita income, on the other hand, it is a country which has more than half of its population struggling at or below the poverty line. This bewildering contrast itself is a cause of interest for anyone who is eager and studious enough to know the world at large. Sudan is located in Northern Africa between Egypt and Eritrea. It has the red sea at the border with 853 Km of coastline. The 20th century saw the growth of Sudanese nationalism. The neighboring country Egypt, along with UK, had colonized them until 1st Jan 1956, when Sudan became independent after a long struggle of many people who dreamt the pride of a free nation. Sudan is a little more than one quarter of United States. Sudan enjoys varied monsoons according to the regions and a tropical climate in the south, while the northern part is like desert. It is, in fact, the largest country in Africa. The presences of river Nile, with all of its tributaries are partly or entirely flowing with in its borders makes the country even more auspicious.
The country is rich in natural resources with crude oil being the main export. It has small reserves of iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver and gold. The country uses mostly hydropower as the main power resource. They have partnered up with several developing and developed countries for trade. In this following paper we are going to discuss about a few important aspects and issues of clear political relevance in this nation. The first part of the paper I will be reviewing the history of the country and its influence on today’s political developments and movements in the country. I will then look into the institutional frame work of the country and political interaction and finally conclude with briefly analyzing the political culture of the country shoring up the political activities.
The History at a Glance
The territory of Sudan combines the lands of several ancient kingdoms, including Kush, Darfur, and three Nubian kingdoms. What is now northern Sudan was in ancient times the kingdom of Nubia, which came under Egyptian rule after 2600 B.C. An Egyptian and Nubian civilization called Kush flourished until A.D. 350. Later on, missionaries managed to convert the region into Christianity, only to be replaced by Islam when the Moslem eventually conquered the country.
International attention has been focused on Sudan as the reports were gaining more and more attention saying that the slavery is widespread in Sudan.
Arab raiders from the north of the country have enslaved thousands of southerners, who are black. It suffered serious civil wars and many of its political and social activities turned out be self-destructive. Ever since Lt. Gen. Omar Bashir's military coup in 1989, the de facto ruler of Sudan had been Hassan el-Turabi, a cleric and political leader who is a major figure in the pan-Arabic Islamic fundamentalist resurgence. In 1999, however, Bashir ousted Turabi and placed him under house arrest. (He was freed in Oct. 2003.) Since then Bashir has made overtures to the West, and in Sept. 2001, the UN lifted its six-year-old sanctions. The U.S., however, still officially considers Sudan a terrorist state (Infoplease). A cease-fire was declared between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) in July 2002. Despite existing tensions within the LRA/M delegation and between delegation members and the high command, the liberation army has resisted external attempts to create division between the command, the rank and file, and the peace delegation (Mareike Schomerus 8). Just as Sudan's civil war seemed to be coming to an end, another war intensified in the northwestern Darfur region, it allowed pro-government militias called the Janjaweed to carry out massacres against black villagers and rebel groups in the region. This movement, in fact, have killed several hundred thousands of civilians and left even more people without proper settlements. A major move in Sudan’s recent history happened when the peace deal between the southern rebels, led by John Garang of the SPLA, and the Khartoum government to end the two-decades-long civil war was signed, giving roughly half of Sudan’s oil wealth to the south, as well as nearly complete autonomy and the right to secede after six years. This happened after long years of negotiation and at, the same time bloody tensions. John Garang was elected vice president as a part of the peace treaty. The peaceful atmosphere did not hold long as the vice president was killed in a crash. The incident opened up another series of massive riots. This paved way to the immediate selection of Salva Kiir as the vice president. The new vice president was accepted by the north and the south.
Southern Sudan is awash with small arms.
Several factors contribute to this. Numerous insurgencies in the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa have ensured a steady stream of weapons, and other anti-government insurgent groups in Uganda have supplied the liberation groups with arms (Branch, Adam and Zachariah Cherian Mampilly 1-20). In 2006, the slaughter in Darfur escalated, and the Khartoum government remained defiantly indifferent to the international communities' calls to stop the violence. The 7,000 African Union peacekeepers deployed to Darfur proved too small and ill equipped a force to prevent much of it. A fragile peace deal in May 2006 was signed between the Sudanese government and the main Darfur rebel group; two smaller rebel groups, however, refused to sign. The UN reported that there has in fact been a dramatic upsurge in the violence since the agreement. The Sudanese government reneged on essential elements of the accord, including the plan to disarm the militias and allow a UN peacekeeping force into the region to replace the modest AU force. Khartoum eventually agreed to allow the modest AU force to remain in the country until the end of 2006, but rejected a hybrid AU-UN peacekeeping force entering the country. In. Jan. 2007, Sudan and Darfur rebel groups agreed to a 60-day cease-fire, which was intended to lead to peace talks sponsored by the African Union. Libya hosted peace talks in October, but several rebel groups boycotted the proceedings, and the summit ended shortly after the opening ceremony. In July 2007, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to deploy as many as 26,000 peacekeepers from the African Union and the United Nations forces to help end the violence in Darfur. The African Union peacekeeper base in Darfur was attacked in September. Ten peacekeepers were killed. Days later, the town was razed, leaving some 7,000 Darfuris homeless. In May 2007, the international criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Haroun, who was Sudan's deputy minister for humanitarian affairs on charges of mass murder, rape, and other crimes. He was arrested by Sudanese police, however, the government refused to hand them over to the International Criminal Court. The Bush administration expanded sanctions on Sudan in May, banning 31 Sudanese companies and four individuals from doing business in the U.S.
Bureaucracy and Politics
Republic of Sudan is the conventional long form of Sudan’s name. Until the general elections in 2009 the country is ruled by the Government of National Unity. This government was formed after the peace treaty in 2005 between Sudan’s People Liberation Movement and National Congress Party. based on English common law and Islamic law; as of 20 January 1991, the now defunct Revolutionary Command Council imposed Islamic law in the northern states; Islamic law applies to all residents of the northern states regardless of their religion; however, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) establishes some protections for non-Muslims in Khartoum; some separate religious courts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; the southern legal system is still developing under the CPA following the civil war; Islamic law will not apply to the southern states (The world fact book).
It is very important to notice that the last time elections were held in Sudan was in 2000. They hope to hold elections in 2010. The term of service for the elected members is 6 years. At the moment the interim government appointed with the peace treaty has replaced the elected government of 2000 elections. The deferent houses of government are as follows, bicameral National Legislature consists of a Council of States (50 seats; members indirectly elected by state legislatures to serve six-year terms) and a National Assembly (450 seats; members presently appointed, but in the future 60% from geographic constituencies, 25% from a women's list, and 15% from party lists; to serve six-year terms). The future of this country greatly depends on the involvement of deferent political fractions with the national congress party in the forthcoming elections.
Political Issues and Demonstrations
Peace talks gained momentum in 2002-04 with the signing of several accords. The final North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed in January 2005, granted the southern rebels autonomy for six years. After which, a referendum for independence is scheduled to be held. A separate conflict, which broke out in the western region of Darfur in 2003, has displaced nearly two million people and caused an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 deaths. The UN took command of the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union on 31 December 2007. As of early 2009, peacekeeping troops were struggling to stabilize the situation, which has become increasingly regional in scope, and has brought instability to eastern Chad, and Sudanese incursions into the Central African Republic.
Sudan also has faced large refugee influxes from neighboring countries, primarily Ethiopia and Chad. Armed conflict, poor transport infrastructure, and lack of government support have chronically obstructed the provision of humanitarian assistance to affected populations.
The country faces a number of social issues with in the country as well as with its neighbors. The country will never be stabilized unless, at least, the following issues have been addressed. Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia proceed slowly due to civil and ethnic fighting in eastern Sudan; the boundary that separates Kenya and Sudan's sovereignty is unclear in the "Ilemi Triangle," which Kenya has administered since colonial times; while Sudan claims to administer the Hala'ib Triangle north of the 1899 Treaty boundary along the 22nd Parallel; both states withdrew their military presence in the 1990s, and Egypt has invested in and effectively administers the area; periodic violent skirmishes with Sudanese residents over water and grazing rights persist among related pastoral populations along the border with the Central African Republic.
The worse situation at the moment stands erect on the way of the countries progress is that Sudan is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked internally for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation; Sudan is also a transit and destination country for Ethiopian women trafficked abroad for domestic servitude; Sudanese women and girls are trafficked within the country, as well as possibly to Middle Eastern countries for domestic servitude; the terrorist rebel organization.
This was actually an attempt to bring this African nation in all its significance and disrepute into the notice of any one who seeks to understand, going out of his or her way, the realities of human lives in that great continent. First of all, we did see the features of this country. Then, we have discussed through the way how this country has evolved as a nation we see today. Finally, we analyzed the country’s administration and the issues they need to address in today’s situation. The willingness to accept the foreign involvement and improving the policies of bilateral relations will be the first step to stability for this nation.