Sudan’s oil war intensifies

25 January 2012

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 Gordian knot.

South Sudan...

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