If you are wondering why two groups are fighting in Sudan this time around it is not a battle between black Christians and Arab Muslims. Both groups are Muslims. But as David S. Hauck of the Christian Science Monitor explains, the Arabs are pastoralists who have been raiding the (almost same in skin color) ethnic African farmers.
According to Human Rights Watch, an international monitoring group, the farmers are generally non-Arabs, or ethnic Africans. They live and farm in the central part of the region. The pastoralists, who reside in the north, are largely of Arab descent. They are nomadic and seminomadic and herd camels by trade.
Spats have periodically flared between the two groups, as migrating camel herders in search of water during the dry season would graze on the farmers' land. Disputes over lost crops would be settled by tribal leaders, with the nomadic tribes reimbursing the farmers. Recent droughts, however, have exacerbated the tension. The pastoralists began raiding farms to restock their decimated herds, and with the introduction of automatic weapons in the 1980s, banditry increased and the clashes became more violent.
The Arab-dominated government has been siding with the Arab pastoralists. Why? Perhaps simple racism in favor of their genetically closer Arab brethren. Or are the top leaders of Sudan from herding families? Has anyone come across an article which provides a convincing explanation of the Sudan government's motives?
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2004 September 03 11:34 AM Chaotic Regions|