Autonomous Source

August 11, 2004

What's driving the chaos in Sudan?

Jay Currie dropped a comment in my post about the Sudan:

In a funny sort of way it really is about the oil. The government, and I use the term loosely, in Khartoum, wants the oil bearing regions cleared of dusky natives so as to get on with selling the oil concessions. The militias are in the business of clearing the regions. Without the oil it is very unlikely Khartoum would care less about the South - other than as a source of merchandise for the lucrative slave trade which has been flourishing in the Sudan for decades.
Yep, oil is definitely behind it. A blogger in Venezuela calls it 'the Devil's excrement' because of all the chaos it creates. Certainly the civil wars the Sudan has been tormented by have their roots in it. But what about this latest batch of atrocities?

This very detailed map of Sudan (pdf), showing how the oil fields have been parcelled out, should give some hints. Good maps have a way of making complex information clear, and this is a great one. Most of the developed oil fields are in the south, where there has been so much fighting for so long. But the undeveloped fields in the west of the country, in Darfur where this tragedy is unfolding, have all been sold to the China National Petroleum Corporation. And these are the only fields the Chinese have the rights to.

I've recently mentioned China's insatiable thirst for oil. China is the Sudan's largest trading partner and has sold them most of their military hardware. Could they be provoking this genocide in some way? I read on a couple of unreliable sites that there are Chinese troops in Sudan. I really don't think that China is encouraging mass slaughter, but by offering great wealth to those that control the territory, they might as well be.

Posted by Bruce Gottfred at August 11, 2004 11:46 AM | TrackBack
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