The Sudanese Oil Crisis and its Impact on U.S. Interests
The country of Sudan has been at war with itself for decades. Multiple civil wars, ethnic, religious, and economic conflicts have plagued the country and have resulted in South Sudan’s secession from Sudan on 9 July 2011. The country of Sudan sits on a significant crude oil reserve that produces an estimated 450-500,000 barrels of oil per day (Verhoeven, 2011). The secession created a severe economic crisis for both countries. They both need the oil revenue to run their respective governments and feed their people. South Sudan now controls approximately 75 percent of the oil reserves; however the infrastructure to export the oil is controlled by Sudan (Ayyaantuu News Online, 2012). The disruption of oil exports from Sudan will have a negative impact on both Sudan and South Sudan economies. The tensions between the two countries also have the potential to develop into hostilities. China has invested heavily into the development of Sudan’s oil infrastructure. In order to counter Chinese influence in the Sudan a significant U.S. investment in South Sudan is necessary to secure the country and develop a separate oil pipeline. This will positively affect the South Sudan, its allies, and the U.S. economies, along with potentially encouraging regime change in Sudan.
The Republics of Sudan and South Sudan are located in the Horn of Africa bordered by Egypt and Libya to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, Chad to the west, Uganda, Congo and Kenya to its south. The Sudanese population is a combination of indigenous Africans, and descendants of migrants from the Arabian Peninsula. The majority of the population adheres to Islam with a small non-Arab and Christian population found in South Sudan.
Sudan has been involved in internal conflict since its creation in 1955. In 1989, an Islamic army faction led by General Omar al-Bashir mounted a coup and installed the National Islamic Front. The new government’s commitment to an Islamic state intensified the North-South conflict. It supported radical Islamic groups in Algeria and supported Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, was established as a base for militant Islamic groups. Al Qaida provided safe haven and logistical aid in return for financial support. In 1996, the United Nations imposed sanctions on Sudan for alleged connections to the assassination attempt of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (U.S. Department of State, 2012). Sudan’s support to international terrorist groups resulted in U.S. imposed sanctions against Sudan in 1997 (U.S. Dept of Treasury, 2008).
The policy of the ruling regime toward the South was to pursue the war against the rebels while manipulating tribal divisions. Ultimately, this policy resulted in the rebels uniting under the leadership of John Garang and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A). During this period, the rebels...