Independence of Southern Sudan
Southern Sudan, a hotbed of civil violence and unrest for almost half a century, will become an independent state in 2011. Southern Sudan's fight for independence through secession has been fostered by decades of discrimination and aggression by the Arab Sudanese government and its military, which are based in Northern Sudan. The problems between Sudan's northern government and Southern Sudan have been manifested most recently in the Darfur conflict. The conflict in Darfur, which is located in western Sudan, has played out for almost seven years because of tensions between the Arab Sudanese government and South African Sudanese. In both Darfur and Southern Sudan, the Arab Sudanese government has responded to rebellion with extreme violence toward civilians.
Southern Sudan has long sought to separate from Northern Sudan and become an independent state however Northern Sudan, which is the government seat of Sudan, has fought just as long against Southern Sudan's secession. The Sudanese government has argued against the South's secession based on the belief that it is not politically capable of running its own government. Experts maintain however that the Sudanese government, largely representative of Northern Sudan, has been more concerned about losing the South's oil reserves. It might also be concerned that an independent Southern Sudan will also work to fuel rebellion against the government in other regions of the country.
Facts on the Republic of Sudan
- The Republic of Sudan is the largest African nation, with a land area approximately one-quarter of the size of the U.S., nearly one million square miles.
- Its North African location includes about 500 miles of Red Sea coastline on the northeast, between Egypt and Eritrea; otherwise the country is landlocked and encircled by other nations, making it a crossroads for migration.
- The Sudan's longest border is shared with Ethiopia, Kenya borders Sudan on the south, and Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are to the southwest.
- The Central African Republic and Chad share western Sudan's border, and Libya and Egypt are northwestern and northern neighbors, respectively.
The Nile River runs through central Sudan, and the Blue and White Nile tributaries unite just north of Khartoum. The Nubian Desert spreads to the east of the Nile, and the Libyan Desert to the west. Vision-obscuring dust storms punctuate the hot sand dunes and rocky regions of the northern deserts and water is entirely absent or scarce. Soil erosion and desertification are problematic. In the west, seasonal wells support settled areas clustered near the mountains and rainfall is adequate to pasture sheep and camels in winter near Chad. Grassy sand dunes arise in the southwest during the rainy season. The arid plateaus and desert plains of the northern two-thirds of Sudan give way to broad clay plains in central Sudan that are the productive regions, where export cotton is grown between the Blue and White Niles and settlements cluster around Khartoum. Grasslands and crops are fed by the Qash River and grazing for sheep, cattle and goats lies east of Khartoum.
In the south the rainy season normally runs from April to October, and a tropical climate nurtures theworld's second largest swamp, which spreads into lakes, lagoons and a flood plain that provides grazing land as the waters dry up. Southwestern rain forests extend into Zaire and the foothills of mountains that rise 10,000 feet in Uganda are in the southeast. Sparse rain permits a rough living to be made by tribespeople in the rocky but cool northern Red Sea hills. Coral reefs block the coastline, and the coastal plain is dry, rocky and barren. The central plains and deserts are scorching hot in summer but chilly at night.