Sudan’s oil war intensifies
South Sudan is again locked in conflict with its former rulers in Khartoum. This time, oil is the weapon of choice for both, writes Anthea Pitt
WHEN South Sudan celebrated its
hard-won independence, just six months ago, hopes ran high.
After 50 years of civil conflict, the south severed its ties
with the north and was free to decide its own destiny. The
country, handicapped by decades of deliberate
under-development, would shake off its reliance on
international aid. And oil money, flowing from the new
nation’s 375,000 barrels a day (b/d) of output,
and from discoveries yet to be made, would provide a solid
foundation. Or so the optimists believed.
But relations between Sudan and
South Sudan remain strained. Some of the ties that bound the
two nations together were untangled with relative ease. Many
– the status of the disputed territory of Abyei and
border demarcation, for instance – proved less simple.
But the tightest and most crucial of those links – oil
and access to export infrastructure – has proved a