Darfur Essay

2626 WordsJan 14, 201211 Pages
Some shocking fact… The civil war began in February 2003 when the two prominent rebel groups, SLA and JEM , showed their outrage against the Kharthoum government’s marginalization of Darfur (Scott more sources). Since the rebel insurgency by non-Arab Muslims began, hundreds of thousands of Darfurian civilians have fallen victim to janjaweed attacks backed by the Islamic government (Economist). Unfortunately the words “ethnic cleansing” don’t come as a shock to the international community who have been watching the twenty year Sudanese war between the Muslim Arab north and Christian/Pagan African south that has killed approximately two million (Economist). Since Khartoum has been arming Arabs to fight the southern Sudanese since the mid 1980’s, they weren’t hesitant to use similar tactics to quell the Darfurian rebel groups (Scott). What makes the conflict in Darfur different from the north/south civil war is the shared Muslim faith of both Darfurian Africans and Arabs that eliminates any religious intention for conflict, and highlights ethnic difference. Because SLA and JEM membership is of fundamentally African ethnicity, the victims of janjaweed and state violence typically have African tribal identities such as Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit (UN Security). The state ambition to systematically target Africans from tribal groups that are believed be sources of rebel recruitment, gives the conflict an ethnic dimension. While many members of the international community are quick to classify the crisis in Darfur as a polarization of Arab and African interests, this paper will seek to take a more holistic approach to the notion of tribal ethnicities and territoriality. By tracing the historical constructs of ethnicity, the dynamic territorial geography of Sudan and the rise of non-Arab Muslim rebel groups, this paper will aim to prove that ethnic personas aren’t static in

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