Sudan’s Oil Dispute and Regional Economic Complex

Filed under: Editorial |
Sudan map 300x168 photo

Map of north Sudan and South Sudan

Recent events in East Africa including economic concessions that brought together Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan have reflected negatively to two neighbors, Uganda and Sudan. While Uganda was aggrieved by the rail, oil pipeline, and refinery dealbetween Nairobi and Juba, diplomacy might have downplayed emotions showcased by president Museveni of Uganda.

While the workings of diplomacy include international codes of ethics including exercising restrain when addressing such crucial issues, subversive activity is the workings of intelligence operatives who report to the government and share intelligence with friendly nations sharing the same dream.

Kenya had to send a special envoy to Kampala to address the Ugandan fears of economic sabotage attempts by Nairobi, Ethiopia, and Juba. Juba had to explain its intentions with Kenya to Uganda and Khartoum.

Uganda had plans of constructing a joint rail and pipeline system with Juba with the basis of creating a transport corridor besides an oil refinery and export infrastructure platform. Nairobi however was able to pull a massive Chinese funded project that could see Juba achieve faster oil export solution through Kenya.

A Kenyan judge slapped an arrest warrant on Khartoum’s Al-Bashir sparking another diplomatic war north. Khartoum made serious threats that included trade bans on Kenyan exports to Sudan.

Uganda and Sudan have felt that Kenya is edging closer to edging them out of economic largesse besides make Juba its oil project.

Sudan withdrew from oil talks with Juba and deployed its military to take closed oil fields in South Sudan.

Kenya was requested by Juba to urgently address the issue and help find a resolve to the escalation.

Juba has since then sent troops to Sudan and taken Heglig, a strategic area inside Sudan. Sudan has continued bombing South using Mig-29 jets and Antonov’s.

SAF has bombed strategic assets of Juba in Unity State, including state resources and facilities in Bentiu. SAF also bombed Abiemnom County, Unity State and Ajakkuac, Warrap State of South Sudan.

Massive troop movement has been reported in Sudan with a battalion being forced to retreat near Heglig when they attempted to retake the town from the SPLA.

Antonov bombers have circled Juba in what can be explained as an act of intimidation by Khartoum against Juba

Analysis

These events describe Kenya as a key player in the region besides being central in the oil dispute in the Sudan’s. Juba heavily relies on Kenya as a trade route. Nairobi has also served as an arms source for Juba besides providing massive military support. These ties signal a complex economic-proxy war waged on Nairobi through Juba.

The construction of the oil pipeline through Kenya and the shutting down of the oil wells in South Sudan tipped economic favors towards Nairobi and significantly isolates, denies, and deprives Khartoum of a crucial source of revenue.

Khartoum has withdrawn from diplomatic efforts to resolve the Abyei and oil conflict with Juba meaning it has flatly denied Nairobi audience in finding resolve. That is a direct attack on Nairobi diplomatically and indicative of hostility.

In retaliation, Nairobi has adequately advised Juba to exercise military rights to protect its resources as asovereign republic besides its sovereignty. Juba deployed soldiers to Sudan defeating Sudanese soldiers and taking the strategic town of Heglig and its oil wells.

Juba has stood firm against the United Nation’s one sided call to withdraw, besides aggressively making daring military operations in the disputed oil rich border areas with Khartoum.

The war is tipping favors to Nairobi again since the conflict will be resolved and borders mapped out putting an end to hostilities. However, it is the permanent enmity between the Sudan’s that makes Nairobi the winner of the Sudan’s war, since Juba will export its oil through Kenya without feeling prejudiced, the principal objective of the clever Kibaki regime in Nairobi.