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How China's support of Sudan shields a regime called 'genocidal'

Despite instability in the south and the crisis in Darfur, China continues to offer political and military backing.

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Mercenaries are scooping up contracts here. Arms dealers are flying in and out on the daily flight from Nairobi, Kenya. And the rebels, theoretically out of work, are training full time on the dunes around Juba, South Sudan's self-proclaimed capital.

Up north, in Sudan's capital, Khartoum, weapons arsenals are filling up, talk is tough, and clear signals are being sent out that the resource-rich south will never be allowed to be independent.

More than two years after the north-south peace agreement, and four years before the expected southern referendum on secession – it's a matter of time, say observers, before the fragile calm blows up, reigniting the 21-year civil war that left 1.5 million dead.

"It's a lull in which both sides are regrouping for the new war," says a Canadian UN military observer stationed in South Sudan, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, the Darfur crisis that has killed more than 200,000 and displaced more than 2.5 million in western Sudan continues to rage unabated, helping Sudan earn the top spot on Foreign Policy magazine's "Failed State Index" for the second year in a row.

The Chinese are as much to blame for this situation as anyone, say critics, and not so much because of their economic policies but because of political ones.

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