The situation in Sudan is growing increasingly precarious. South Sudan, headed by a devout Christian named Salva Kiir was scheduled to meet with Sudan’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed president Omar al-Bashir in Juba – South Sudan’s capital – early next month but Bashir cancelled the trip after clashes were reportedly taking place in the border region.
Via the Sudan Tribune:
The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) bombed oilfields in South Sudan’s Unity State on Tuesday morning in an escalation of large scale clashes that began on Monday.
Sudan Tribune’s reporter in Bentiu, the capital of Unity State, said that at 9am local time he saw SAF warplanes dropping bombs on oil fields located 20 km from Rukotana town.
News of the bombing has also been carried by Reuters which cited confirmation by the oil firm Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC), a joint venture between China, India, and Malaysia.
The bombing followed the eruption of clashes on Monday between SAF and South Sudan’s army, known as the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), around the oil-rich town of Heglig.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir announced the SPLA’s takeover of Heglig and claimed that the military escalation was provoked by SAF which, according to him, launched aerial attacks on Jau and Pan Akuach followed by a ground forces assault against another area called Teshwin.
Sudan has been in the news recently, with both the Kony 2012 video as well as Hollywood celebrity George Clooney’s meeting with Barack Obama earlier this month. One day after his meeting with Obama, Clooney was arrested outside the Sudanese embassy while protesting Bashir, who is responsible for massive amounts of genocide, to include financing Joseph Kony’s war.
Another reason for the likelihood that Sudan becomes a hot spot involves oil. Eighty percent of the oil reserves are owned by South Sudan. At this point, the only real way to export that oil is for it to go through Northern Sudan to Port Sudan. South Sudan has ceased doing this because the north has been stealing much of it before it gets there. An unintended consequence is that six percent of China’s oil is not shipping out of Sudan.
Look for the situation in Sudan to escalate.