Useful Notes / Sudan

Sudan (Arabic: السودان‎ as-Sūdān), officially known as Republic of the Sudan (Arabic: جمهورية السودان‎ Jumhūrīyat as-Sūdān), is a North African country, and its history has been linked for a long time with Egypt, with which it was united politically not only in antiquity, but also as part of an English colony (then known as the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan), until it finally broke ties with Egypt in 1956.

However, the problems continued, this time internally. Though the majority of the country is Arab and Muslim, the southern part of the country was non-Arabnote  and Christian and, as all similar situations in the region, that tends to make strange bedfellows. The First Sudanese Civil War ensued between 1955 and 1972, which ended with some concessions for the south, including some sort of self-government. Sadly, the agreement failed to solve a solution to the main problems, which brought the Second Sudanese Civil War in 1983. When it ended in 2005, the south had achieved autonomy and the possibility of statehood in a referendum. In 2011 the south successfully became the nation of South Sudan and started to deal with their own difficulties in their territory. The region of Abyei, in the border, is still within Sudan, even with South Sudan’s calls to a referendum (presumably to annex it), while the nerby regions of South Kurdufan and Blue Nile are expected to hold referendums dealing with their actual situation in the country. Sudan lost a lot with the south’s secession, since most of the oil is in there; on the other hand, the pipelines needed to transport them are in Sudan, so they have achieved some kind of agreement to share the revenues.

If the two civil wars weren’t enough for the country, in 2003 started a war in the western region of Darfur, mainly inhabitated by Arabs. The non-Arabs accuse discrimination against them, an “Arab apartheid” according to them. Considering [the actions of some armed parts of the army and the Janjaweednote , it’s a pretty credible accussation. The whole situation has been declared a humanitarian catastrophe and the conflict has started to spill to the neighbors, Chad and Central African Republic.

Oh, right, and the eastern zone, next to Eritrea, is full of rebel groups. As you can see, the country really is A House Divided.

In 1989 the power was seized by Omar al-Bashir, who has remained there since, installing a legal system based both on The Common Law and the Sharia law. His government has been criticized abroad for its possible connections with al-Qaeda and his responsibilities in the second civil war and the war in Darfur have concluded with an arrest order by the International Criminal Court, the only acting head of state with one. Since a lot of governments are opposed to the order, he has been able to travel to other “more friendly” countries.

This is also the country that sparked a controversy when a teacher named a teddy bear “Muhammad”, although some forget that it was actually one of the students who did it.

In a more positive note, Sudan has a rich culture and is a high producer of writers in the Arab and African world. The movie The Four Feathers happens here, too.

As a last curious note (you’d think that all the problems above are more than enough), the country has a border dispute with Egypt not of wanted territory, but of unwanted territory: the Bir Tawil trapezoid, which must be officially the most undesired patch of land in the world — the thing is, it is actually an unfortunate byproduct of both countries' squabble over the Hala'ib Triangle to the east. Should one country claim Bir Tawil, it will automatically lose its share of Hala'ib's natural resources... not the least of which is its sizable reserves of oil.note 

The Sudanese flag
Like most flags in the region, Sudan uses the Pan-Arab colors for its flag. The red, white and black stripes represent struggle and sacrifice, peace and hope, and the Sudanese people, respectively. At the hoist side is a green triangle, symbolizing Islam and the fertile land.