Conflict between the two Sudans has escalated over the past few days. John Campbell at the Council on Foreign Relations sheds some light on what’s happening:
Last week, Sudan (Khartoum) president al-Bashir escalated his rhetoric against South Sudan (Juba) in the aftermath of the latter’s forces occupying an oil-rich region, Heglig, inside Sudan’s borders. Al-Bashir has characterized the Juba government as an “insect,” and he appears to be repudiating the independence of South Sudan. The press reports him as saying, “Either we end up occupying Juba or you (South Sudan) end up occupying Khartoum but the boundaries of the old Sudan can longer fit us together, only one of us has to remain standing.” He said that his Sudan Armed Forces will teach South Sudan “a lesson in jihad and patriotism,” according to press reports.
South Sudan attacked, occupied, then withdrew its forces from Heglig, an oil-rich region on the northern side of the border. One reason for the withdrawal might have been the outrage of the international community; the Arab League, among numerous other bodies and officials, said Heglig belongs to the North and condemned the South’s aggression. But another reason for the withdrawal might have been the significant thrashing South Sudanese forces received at the hands of the North.Via Meadia guesses that if the fight had gone the other way, all the huffing and puffing in the world wouldn’t have persuaded the South to withdraw, but, as it happened, it made more sense for the South to “bow to world opinion” than to retreat with its tail between its legs.