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Thus, for those interested in the burgeoning academic subjectsof political violence and intrastate conflict, Sudan is a state immensely rich in both. To make matters even more intriguing is the multitude of layers surrounding the violence in the country. Sudan is the largest nation in Africa and topographically ranges from burning deserts in the north to lush savanna grasslands in the south, factors that are extremely relevant to a primarily agrarian society. Sudan¶s diverse environment has also played host to over 600 ethnic and linguistic groups that practice a range of major religions that can moreover be broken down into smaller subdivisions (Collins 2008, 4). However, perhaps out of an attempt to make this assortment of distinct people more comprehensible, journalists, scholars, and the Sudanese people themselves have often used an Arab and African dichotomy to explain the ethnic composition of the country; the Arab Muslims in the north are at odds with the African Christian and Animist people of the south. Yet, as in the case of Sudan, simplifying a problem can sometimes shroud its true origins. This is acritical realization to make when investigating a nation whose last civil war claimed over 2 million lives. In this study, the conventional African and Arab dichotomy of the country is put under scrutiny byinvestigating what is known as the Second Sudanese Civil War between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and the Sudan People¶s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A).This internal conflict was essentially a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War (1956-1972) in that it was a battle between the central Government of Sudan in the north and the autonomy-seeking southern region of Sudan. The second civil war began in 1983 with the reneging of certain parts of the Addis Ababa Accords that ended the first civil war and the imposition of shari¶a law by President Nimeiry. The onset of violence was triggered in the
middle of 1983 by the mutiny of two battalions of the Sudanese Army in three southern army garrisons (Ali et al 2005, 199). This revealing incident of dissidencein conjunction with the resurgence of rebel forces from the first civil war lead to the formation of the SPLM/A and the commencement of a war that would last 22 years and be overseen by four different regimes. Yet since this was a north versus south conflict, can the aforementioned Arab/African dichotomy explain the violence as a product of traditional ethnic cleavages between the two groups? This paper responds to this question bypresenting a two-pronged argument. First, the absence of a concrete national identity in Sudan has allowed for the emergence of broad discriminatory racial and religious ideologies that attempt to define the political identity of the whole country. And secondly, these racial and religious identities have been used to justify an economic and cultural dominance of the nation that can explain the onset and duration of the violence in Sudan. It is during those times that racial and religious identities are saliently imposed upon the diverse population that grievances mature into violent action, and this process is often exacerbated by the economic conditions of the country. Before moving forward it is imperative to clarify the terms used in the above premises. The term national identity is used to represent what it means to be ³Sudanese´. Political identity refers to the attitudes toward political and governing issues that are usually held by a certain people. Racial and religious identity, which can also be explained as ethnic identity, consists of how one is identified in society by himself or by others in terms of membership to a certain group frequently based on shared racial or religious traits. These nebulous terms will become more transparent as they are seen in the actual case of Sudan. I investigate the violence in Sudan by first constructing the theoretical framework in which my thesis is operating in. Next I focus on the absence of a national identity in Sudan by
providing a cursory historical account of the country. Then I explore the emergence of an ethnic ideology I refer to as Arab Supremacy. Afterwards, I do an analysis of the Addis Ababa Negotiations and its connection the onset of the second civil war. I then look at the empirical unfolding of the civil war and the role in which ethnic identity and economic factors intensified the violence. I also turn to the more recent case of Darfur to edify my argument by applying the same variables that I looked at in the civil war. Finally, I compare the case of Sudan with the Iranian Revolution under the Shah and then make my concluding remarks. A Theoretical Framework Instead of immediately delving into the empirical analysis of Sudan's internal conflict, it is advantageous to first explore the respective theories concerning internal conflict that are applicable to the case of Sudan. Since the conception of identity is a central part of this paper, Fearon and Laitin's "Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity" gives valuable insight into the construction and manipulation of ethnic identity. According to Fearon and Laitin, ethnic identities are socially constructed by the means of human action and speech, suggesting that they, and the boundaries that separate them, can change over time (Fearon and Laitin 2000, 848). This is a stark contrast to the view of primordialists, who believe that ethnic identity is fixed by biological facts about human nature that make the ethnic categorizations unchanging. Thus according to this school of thought, what can be considered an ethnic conflict, will be inevitable due to the natural differences of group A from group B. Fearon and Laitin reject this claim and propose that there is a specific process that is undergone when constructing identity and its boundary rules (Fearon and Laitin 2000, 850). According to Fearon and Laitin, a possible way that identity can be constructed is through social and economic processes. They give the example of national identity as concept
that is the result of ³macrohistorical forces´, like economic modernization (Fearon and Laitin 2000, 851). It is also possible that identity goes through a process based on the discourse or symbolism of a particular culture (Fearon and Laitin 2000, 852). However, what is most intriguing and relevant to the case of Sudan is the possibility that ethnic identity is constructed by the actions of individuals with particular ends in mind. Elites can use ethnic identities to maintain or strengthen their political power by possibly constructing groups in an antagonistic fashion to increase support of the identity that the elite aligns himself with or by using violence to purify the group and quell threats from within the group of the elite (Fearon and Laitin 2000, 866-867). It will also be essential to look at the economic conditions of Sudan and how economic incentives can influence violence. Paul Collier is an authority on the subject of economic agendas and political conflict. In his essay ³Doing Well out of War: An Economic Perspective´, Collier encounters economic patterns of civil war and suggests how economic agendas can help explain the outbreak of civil war. Collier finds that those countries whose GDP is heavily contingent upon the exports of primary commodities are more susceptible to internal violence because these resources are easy to be controlled and taxed by both governments and rebel forces (Collier 1999, 95). Additionally the cost of attracting new members to rebel forces is also vital, so countries with a high population of young men who do not have much education could also experience more internal conflict because joining a rebel force can be an attractive economic option, especially if the country has recently experienced negative economic growth (Collier 9697). Michael Ross additionally discusses hypothesized mechanisms built upon the Collier model that also explain the duration and intensity of civil war. According to Ross, resource wealth of a country can either increase or decrease the duration and intensity of a civil war and can cause pre-emptive repression of a government to protect those resources (Ross 2003, 326).
Thus these economic theories can elucidate why there are plenty of countries experiencing grievances against the government that do not experience civil war; it may sometimes be necessary to also have economic incentives for the fighting to start or be prolonged. It is also possible that identity is constructed according to pursue these economic incentives. Yet before the Second Sudanese Civil War is observed through the spectrum of this theoretical framework, the tensions over social identities and ethnic tensions must be place in the context of Sudan¶s historical narrative.
Sudan¶s Historic Search for Identity The historical background of the Sudan is one of constantly changing political identities. Unlike most other African states, especially ones that experience civil war, modern Sudan is not a product of European colonialism. Before the nineteenth century, Sudan was a vast territory known as bilad al-Sudan (the land of black people) and wascontrolled by independent kingdoms and sultanates. The first attempt at a centralized administration to control the bilad al-Sudan came with the Turko-Egyptian invasion of 1821 (Lesch 1998, 26). This period is known as the Turkiyya in Sudan and instituted norms of the Ottoman Empire into the territory of Sudan. Despite the Ottoman Empire¶s use of minted currency, tax system, and professional army, it was for the most part a predatory ruler that exploited and taxed what it conquered to survive (Prunier and Gisselquist 2008, 109). With the establishment of the Turkiyya slavery ran rampant in the Sudan. Muhammad Ali¶s army in Egypt was in demand for resources, so the government taxed the people in terms of slaves and cattle and forced men to replenish the military by conscription (Lesch 1998, 27). The central government, the al-hukum, did not adopt policies of development but instead pillaged the lands in order to raise money (Prunier and Gisselquist 2008, 109).
Consequently, Sudan¶s first central administration did not only fail in establishing a cohesive identity for the people of Sudan, but hindered any sense of unification by disrupting traditional ways of coexistence between the vast amounts of different groups living in the country. The slave trade increased tensions between groups and the dangerous precedent of ruling by means of predation was imprinted upon the national consciousness of the Sudan. Rule by the Ottoman Empire was overthrown in 1885 by the self-proclaimed Mahdi (guided one), Ahmad IbnAbdallah. The Mahdi was a charismatic leader that promised to purify the reign of the Turks by implementing a society based on the tenets of Islam. Abdallah died in the summer of 1885, but his Mahdist state continued on to rule what was known as the Mahdiyya (Lesch 1998, 28). Many Sudanese portraythe Mahdi to be the founder of Sudanese nationalism (Prunier and Gisselquist 2008, 111). However the Mahdist state caused more internal war as the Khalifa µAbdallahi succeeded the Mahdi in imposing puritianical Islam through the means of jihad. The peripheries of the territory, similar to the case of modern day Sudan, fought against being a part of the Mahdi ruled state and the attempt to define Sudan through the visions of the Mahdi failed (Collins 2008, 24-26). The collapsing Mahdist state was taken over by an Anglo-Egyptian ³Condominium´ in 1899, a sharing of sovereignty between the British and Egypt which effectively made Sudan more independent than the typical British colony. For strategic reasons, the British were primarily only interested in keeping the Sudan so they could secure the upper Nile waters and thus control of the state was left to a British Governor-General that ruled without much oversight from the motherland (Collins 2008, 33). However, the indifferent approach by Britain did little to cultivate a national identityin Sudan. The new administration in Sudan needed a way to curb a possible Arab rebellion, so they enacted certain laws that would later be known as the ³southern
policy´. While there is no documentation of an intentional policy to separate the south from the north until 1920, the above laws included prevented Muslim traders from entering southern towns, establishing a southern military force, and enforcing a missionary educational system that was taught in English (Ali et al 2005, 197). This educational system would lag behind that of the north, just as the economy of the south would lag to the north due to the exclusion of economic development in the Southern Policy. Yet, as the south remained outside of the central government and was drifting towards a completely separate state from the north, in 1946 the Southern Policy was reversed and the north and south were to be seen as one unified state (Ali et all 2005, 197). The rule of the Anglo/Egyptian reinforcement gave geographical boundaries to the state of Sudan, albeit arbitrary ones, nonetheless it made national identity more confusing than salient for those living in the north or south of Sudan. The economic and educational inferiority of the south gave rise a certain ideology that would remain in Sudan up until the most recent civil war.
Arab Supremacy The lack of a national identity created a need for nationalism in Sudan to be defined on the grounds of some other social identity. I focus on a social ideology that has attempted to fill this role and has been promulgated in regions of Sudan since its independence, something I label ³Arab supremacy´. Arab supremacy goes beyond just pride in the Arab identity, it is an ideology or way of thinking that promotes the notion that Arab beliefs and ways of life are superior to all other. Prunier and Gisselquist explain this phenomenon as the ³«Sudanese Arabs decided they embodied the truth, the heart, the core, the soul, and the reality of the Sudan´ (Prunier and Gisselquist 2008, 110). Hence Arabs, the heart and soul of Sudan, would display
their superiority by treating all other groups as second class citizens. In Sudan, the Arab identification is often associated with the religion of Islam, and thus ³Islam supremacy´ can also be used to describe the attempt by some to unify the state under one identity. This is important to note because of the eventual rise of political militant Islam in the Sudan after its independence and it displays the fluidity of racial identity in Sudan. This latter point is elucidated by Jok when he explains that ³the more learned in Islamic theology, the closer to being Arab a person becomes´ (Jok2007, 3). Therefore, it seems that racial identity in the Sudan should be viewed from the constructivist perspective of Fearon and Laitin. If racial boundaries can change, and membership to the group is not absolutely exclusive, then it may be to the benefit of individuals to join a group whose aim is to dominate the political identity of the country. The roots of Arab supremacy in modern Sudan can be traced back to pre-independence negotiations in the 1950s, where non-Arab southerners were often excluded. This created a fear in the south of Arab domination of the country and an anti-Arab sentiment was shared throughout the region. After independence was declared Arabs looked to make up for the opportunities lost by the southern policy of the British by imposing Arabic as the official language of administration and education and Arab merchants went after resources that were previously off limits (Jok 2007, 84). Arabs began to control the social and economic institutions in the south, and the general southern sentiment developed against the growing Arab supremacy intensified. It was clear from the beginning of Sudan¶s history as an independent state that the central government and the northern Arab elite wanted to exploit the rest of the country for its resources. The expected opposition to these actions by the south lead to the emergence of the first civil war in 1955 and a heated war that was ended in 1972 by the Addis Ababa Negotiations.
However, while these treaties instilled an era of peace within Sudan they would ironically be a major factor for the onset of the second civil war.
The Addis Ababa Negotiations The key to discontinuing the first civil war was granting the south some semblance of autonomy, especially over religious laws. General Ja¶afer Muhammad Nimeiri recognized this and headed a military coup in 1969 against Sadiq-al-Mahdi, grandson of the former Mahdi who was relentlessly pursuing his ancestor¶s quest to make Sudan an Islamic state. Though his rule was brutal, Nimeiri quickly began negotiations with Southern rebels to end the war, and a peace agreement was met in three days in Addis Ababa. The rashness of the meetings was a result of the government placing great pressure upon the southern negotiators to swiftly end the war, hastily allowing for concessions from the south that would resurface in the coming years (Jok 2007, 67). While the Addis Ababa agreement did give a separate regional government to the south, the true economic motives of the central government would be displayed by the events following the Addis Ababa negotiations. After the end of the war, President Nimeiri and the Arab elite in the north took advantage of the unusual stability in the country by undertaking in economic projects primarily funded by external Arab allies and international financial institutions. Before the discovery of oil, the south¶s major asset was water, due to a combination of high rainfall and conjoining rivers (Johnson 2003, 44). The signing of the Addis Ababa Agreement now made it possible for the government to revive former pre-war plans to extract fresh water from the territory. In 1972, the central ministers of Irrigation and Agriculture presented the plans for a canal in the southern region which would benefit Sudan¶s
agriculturalprogress and also promise to improve the regional infrastructure of the territory where the canal would be built. Yet many of the promises made, like building an all-weather road and new accesses to drinking water for those in the south, were never fulfilled (Johnson 2003, 44). The homes of Dinka, Nuer and other tribes who occupied the swamp regions that were going to be drained would be drastically affected by the project but were not consulted at all when the decision was made to build the canal. Worse yet, Abel Alier, a BorDinka who was president of the southern regional government, supported the canal and said that ³If we have to drive our people to paradise with sticks we will do so for their own good and the good of those who come after us´ (Collins 2008, 121). The people of the south lost faith that they were actually being represented and once again the central government showed it desired to extract what it could without having to meet the needs of the southern regions. The discovery of a potentially large supply of oil in the mid-1970¶s also made the central government deviate from the Addis Ababa Agreement. Nimeiri decided to build a refinery not in the area where the oil was at, the Bentiu region in the south, but in the northern town of Kotsi (Jok 2007, 72). Abel Alier is also to have claimed that the discovery of oil turned Nimieri against the Addis Ababa Agreement since it allowed the regional government to levy taxes on oil extraction in a southern region (Johnson 2003, 48). While Nimeiri¶s intentions of avarice were becoming more obvious, his decisions in the early 1980¶s to completely reverse the Addis Ababa Agreement exemplified how the elite in Sudan could cloak realpolitik motives with ethnic identity. The Authoritative Rule of Nimeiri President Nimeiri experienced two different coup d¶états in the years of 1975-1976. Nimeiri responded to these threats and his own political vulnerability by finally reaching out to those who threatened his rule. Nimeiri¶s original secular rule, while friendly to Arab elites,
isolated the growing Islamic fundamentalist in Sudan. Yet with the growing dissatisfaction in the south and the increasing threat from Islamic opposition in the north, he began to build relations with the National Islamic Front, a group of the Muslim Brotherhood movement bent on Sudan being ruled by Islamist tenets (Collins 2008, 129). Nimeiri, who previouslyupfront about his affiliation for a Western lifestyle, began observing and imposing the principles of giyada alrasheeda that prohibited alcoholic beverages and gambling and began to dress in Arab garb (Deng 1995, 170).Taking this ideological shift to a further extent, in 1983Niemiri implemented what was known as the ³September Laws´ that in direct violation of the Addis Ababa Agreement institutedshar¶ia, Islamic law, for all denizens of Sudan. This was an extremely divisive policy, especially since one of the original purposes of Nimeiri¶s usurpation of the Madhist state was to stop the Islamification of the country. Even though Nimeiri proclaimed that his new found religion came from surviving attempted coups, it is also no coincidence that it happened at the exact time that his political grip was slipping and he was in need of a new ally. Furthermore, the traditional religious Islamic groups, like the followers of Sadiq al-Mahdi, opposed Nimeiri¶s new rule since they saw it as political exploitation of the Islamic faith (Deng 1995, 170). Thus, Nimeiri adopted an ethnic and religious identity in order to gain support from elites and maintain his political power. The more this identity was promulgated onto the rest of the populous, the closer the country came to civil war. However, while the Islamic policies of the central government did push the southerners to mass rebellion of the North, the actual fighting happened months before the September Laws were enacted. In May of 1983, President Nimeiri was pursuing to strengthen his autocratic rule and now with backing of the NIF and the central government he attempted to break the south into three separate regions, which he would unilaterally do in June despite the regional
government overwhelmingly wishing to keep the unity of the south (Collins 2008, 136-147). The reorganization of the south was aimed at redrawing boundaries so that oil resources were out of the hands of the southern administration (Prunier and Gisselquis 2008, 116). In order to rid the south of an armed force capable of rebellion, Nimeiri ordered the transfer of African battalions in the south to garrisons in the north. Yet with the pressure on the south to split and the increasingly radical policies from Nimeiri, two of the battalions mutinied. Jon Garang, a member of the southern command, took advantage of this act of rebellion and brought the batallions together with former rebel troops of the first war and steered them to a rebel stronghold in Ethopia (Iyob and Khadiagala 2006, 88-89). The rebel force grew as more and more southern forces mutinied against the central government, and the SPLM/A was formed. Ethnic identity was used by Nimeiri to pursue his economic agenda that eventually lead to the outbreak of war. However, it is also possible that economic conditions of Sudan can also help explain the onset of internal conflict.