Sudanese protesters attend a demonstration in front of the defense ministry compound in Khartoum, Sudan, May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1842B87200

U.S. imperialism, which exacerbated the conflict that split the African nation of Sudan in two with the objective of controlling the energy resources of that vast area, is now increasing its direct military intervention as instability grows.

A split within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) has grown into an armed conflict in the world’s most recently recognized nation, South Sudan. Since 15 December 2008, fighting has erupted in South Sudan’s capital of Juba and in the states of Jonglei, Warrap, Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria and Unity between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and ousted Vice President Riek Machar.

The Republic of South Sudan came into being in July 2011 after Africa’s largest geographic nation-state, the Republic of Sudan, was broken up under the aegis of the U.S. government, which backed Juba in its two-decade armed and political struggle against Khartoum in the North. Since the breakup of the country, there have been ongoing conflicts between the governments in the two capitals over border demarcations, allegations of support for rebel groups within the respective states, and over the exploitation, export and distribution of oil, the main foreign exchange generator for both countries.

Within South Sudan itself, problems have escalated since 2011 between various ethnic groups over allocations of governmental portfolios as well as allegations of widespread corruption and abuse of power. President Kiir accused the former vice president, who was sacked in July 2013, of attempting a coup against his government and proceeded to arrest some of the leading politicians in the country.

For more than a decade prior to the partition of Sudan, U.S. oil companies were largely excluded from the production and distribution of oil in this African state, and the U.S. government was hostile to Khartoum. The bulk of the oil concessions in the Republic of Sudan was held by the People’s Republic of China and other countries in the Middle East and Asia.

Since the breakup of Sudan, U.S. imperialism has been eager to re-enter the oil production process in South Sudan. Japanese imperialism has also expressed interest in building a pipeline to allow South Sudanese oil to flow through neighboring Kenya, in an effort to bypass the Khartoum government.

It is a humanitarian tragedy that Sudan had, over the years, become synonymous with ethnic cleansing. Such tragedies shape history and deeply regrettable must be the fact that the persecution of the Rohingyas in Myanmar ~ reckoned by the UN as the worst ethnic cleansing since World War II ~ has overshadowed the hideous record of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan

Anger over the past 30 years against a brutal regime has imploded, coup of 11 April 2019 that ousted President Omar al-Bashir of Sudanending the 30-year reign of the dictator, Omar al-Bashir, who is indicted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide. That was not enough, however, to end the sit-in. In the weeks after Mr Bashir’s ouster ordinary Sudanese kept up pressure on the junta to cede power.

Rejected too is the military’s contrived claim of takeover. The popular movement has for now come to its logical conclusion. The most recent protests began last December as economic conditions worsened, culminating in an almost weeklong sit-in outside the army headquarters.

But resistance to Bashir’s regime dates back to the very day he seized power in a military coup in 1989. The seeds of resistance had, therefore, germinated at the threshold. Since then, successive waves of dissent have all been brutally quashed by Bashir and his coterie of Islamists and mercenaries.

Protest leaders in Sudan are urging their followers to continue a sit-in aimed at forcing the new military rulers to hand over power to a civilian government.

The Sudanese Professional Association, which is leading the mass protests, had called for a march in Khartoumalso, followed by a mass rally In April last.

The rallies  saw protesters operating checkpoints on roads at their main protest site at Khartoum’s military headquarters. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council had called for “immediate opening of the roads and removal of the barricades” at the protest site.

The council’s warning came a day after talks between the protesters and the military broke down because the military refused to transfer power to a civilian government.

Protesters have been demanding a change in regime since December 2018.

(Quoted and compiled from Workers’ World 01-01-14, States-man 13-04-19 and Al Jazeera 22-04-19 and The Economist 31-05-19)

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