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Sudan 101: Why does Sudan have so many wars?

Sudan's size and ethnic diversity have made the country hard to govern. Lack of government attention to far-flung regions has been at the root of wars in Darfur and South Sudan.

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Sudan is incredibly vast, and incredibly poor.

Its troubled Darfur region alone is the size of Spain (or France or Texas).

It would take a rich nation with a strong civil service to be able to provide services to all the tiny villages and towns that stretch out far from Sudan's capital, Khartoum. But Sudan is not a rich nation and its civil service is weak.

Thus, distant regions are often ripe for political movements that feed on frustration over neglect.

This lack of government attention has sparked resentment that led to war in two regions: a two-decade-long conflict in southern Sudan, which has killed 1.5 million people, and, later, an eight-year-long conflict in Darfur, which has killed some 300,000.

One thing that might tie the nation together is a common identity or a common ideology that would bind Sudanese under a system that treats all citizens fairly. That hasn’t happened, and there isn’t a golden time of the past that Sudanese can harken back to.

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