There’s a cycle of violence in the Sudanese peripheries. This post looks at Darfur. In the first phase of the cycle, there is an extremely violent contest between two contending forces. On the one side is the Sudan Armed Forces, paramilitaries and other security forces, and hired militia. On the other side is a coalition [...]Continue Reading →
In the figures in the previous post, the level of defense spending is shown. It rises but not as much as the overall government spending, and hardly at all as a percentage of GDP. Let us examine those figures more closely—with the caveats that post-2006 defense spending estimates are subject to big margin of error, [...]Continue Reading →
My career has been spent with one foot in policy and activism, and the other in research and teaching. I have worked for human rights organizations, the African Union and the United Nations, and academic institutions—focusing on the problems of peace, human rights and humanitarian action, particularly in northeast Africa.
I first went to Sudan in 1984 because the University of Khartoum was then the world’s intellectual center for refugee studies, the immediate precursor of humanitarian studies. The flow of intellectual capital was from Sudan to Europe and America.Continue Reading →
This posting examines the paradoxes of the 2000s: the decade of Sudan’s prosperity and hopes for peace. The key peace agreements: the 2002 “Burgenstock” ceasefire for the Nuba Mountains and the Machakos Protocol, the 2003-04 Protocols signed in Naivasha and Nairobi, the 2005 CPA itself, the 2006 Juba Declaration, the Abuja Darfur Peace Agreement and the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement, were all signed during the fastest period of budgetary expansion.Continue Reading →
This is not just a difference in wealth. It points to very different ways in which governance is organized in different parts of Sudan. The difference between the ordered landscape of the Gezira and the organic landscape of the savanna is more-or-less coterminous with the colonial distinction between the riverain regions that received investment, and the “closed districts” that served as labor reserves and areas in which the “native administration” system of tribal chiefs was imposed.Continue Reading →
Khartoum’s urban infrastructure shows the impact of the boom-and-bust cycle. Below is a street photograph from central Khartoum. Note the unfinished buildings: they have been that way since the late 1970s. What happened was that the Nimeiri government borrowed recklessly, causing a boom, that came to an abrupt halt in 1978. Many half-finished buildings from [...]Continue Reading →
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