A potentially dangerous situation is developing in the Sudan where South Sudan has taken over oil fields by the Sudan proper. The problems with all these disagreements (aside from immeasurable human suffering) is that larger more powerful and well equipped neighbors tend to be sucked into the fray. As if that eventuality is insufficiently awful, international powers are often tempted to dip a toe into the boiling pot in the form of "advisers" or "supplies". These often take the form of special forces and/or munitions. Once bloodletting begins the script goes out the window. Men's passions are naturally inflamed by warfare and from thence not easily de-escalated. We now learn that South Sudan has ordered a troop withdrawal. One cannot help but wonder at what appears to have been the incomplete calculus that suggested such a brief and apparently wasteful move.
From Sunday's Zaman: South Sudan seized the Heglig oil field on Tuesday, drawing international condemnation including rare criticism from the United States. Sudan has called the move a "blatant assault" on its sovereignty and demanded an immediate withdrawal. Heglig, which the south claims as its own, is vital to the north's economy because the field there accounts for about half of the country's remaining 115,000 barrel-a-day oil output.
From Modern Ghana: JUBA (AFP) - South Sudanese President Salva Kiir on Friday ordered the immediate withdrawal of his troops from the contested Heglig oil field, seized from Khartoum's army on April 10, sparking fears of wider war. "The Republic of South Sudan announces that the SPLA (Southern army) troops have been ordered to withdraw from Panthou-Heglig," Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin said, reading out a presidential statement.
From Voice of America: “In the discussions I have had in both Khartoum and Juba, I can say with confidence that virtually everyone I have talked to has said, 'Look we don't want to go to all-out war with the other. We need to find a way out.” Before their separation, north and south Sudan fought a 21-year civil war that eventually led to southern autonomy and independence.
Don't know anything about South Sudan? Well here's a map that might be of some help the next time it flares.