In June SigActs added Nuba Reports to the repository of over 5,000 English language sources that we monitor for news and event reporting. Nuba Reports is a grassroots collection and reporting effort by a group of people living in the Nuba Mountains, along the front lines of conflict in Sudan.
The situation in Sudan is complex and details of the brutal struggle in the Nuba Mountains have been largely ignored by the international community amidst sensational headlines from conflicts in Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan.
We asked our adjunct geopolitical analyst, Taylor Deisinger, to dig into the issues in Sudan and to provide us a rundown on the situation in the Nuba Mountains.
Sudan has been a country riddled with conflict since its independence from Britain in 1956. Though South Sudan officially gained independence in 2011, conflict has raged on along Sudan’s Southern border. Today, border disputes and struggles for control of oil rich territory continue between the Sudanese government and South Sudanese backed rebel groups, like the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North.
The SPLM-N is currently entrenched along the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan, but comes under periods of sustained aerial bombardment by the Sudanese central government. These Sudanese bombing runs indiscriminately hit civilian areas, burn home and destroy crops.
The Sudanese Air Force is capable of conducting these air strikes because of the military equipment, specifically the MiG-29 fighter aircraft and munitions, they have acquired from Russia and China. Sudan manufactures small arms, artillery and armored vehicles through their state-run defense corporation, Military Industry Corporation (MIC), but the larger, more modern and more complex combat equipment being used against rebels in the Nuba Mountains has been imported from international suppliers.
Sudan’s oil revenues are funding these international purchases and increasing the country’s economic, political and military ties with China.
China is the largest single investor in Sudan’s oil industry and consumes 80% of all Sudanese oil exports. These economic links give the Chinese government a keen interest in the outcome of the conflicts raging in this oil rich region.
The situation in Sudan has taken a significant humanitarian toll and also serves as a destabilizing force for the international community.
In its current state of unrest, Sudan stands to remain a safe haven for terrorist groups, which could eventually pose a threat to US interests, both at home and abroad. While the humanitarian situation unfolding in the Nuba Mountains has not garnered as much press as the atrocities carried out further West in the Darfur region, it has been extremely devastating to the local population.
Taylor Deisinger is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder where she earned her B.A. in International Affairs and Anthropology. Taylor’s interests in U.S. foreign policy, and particularly Middle East policy, have taken her to Washington D.C. where she is pursuing a job in foreign policy research and national security. Taylor has ambitions to set foot on all seven continents and to see her San Diego Chargers make it to the Super Bowl.