And You Thought Secession Was a Dirty Word
Sudan: Storm Over the Nile
by Eric Margolis
Sudan is about to face a dangerous political storm that may tear asunder that vast nation and send tremors across Africa.
A referendum is scheduled on 9 January in which southern Sudan’s eight million inhabitants may vote to separate from the 34 million citizens of northern Sudan and create their own new nation – South Sudan. The United States has been quietly playing the key role in engineering the breakup of Sudan.
Many of modern Africa’s borders are artificial: they were drawn by European colonial powers heedless of the continent’s tribal, linguistic or economic geography.
Any changes in these borders are likely to unleash dangerous tensions, even demands for secession across the continent.
One of Africa’s strongest taboos has been that borders inherited from the colonial era are immutable. A break-up of Sudan, Africa’s largest nation, will bring into question the continent’s entire geopolitical architecture.