The issue is clear– a majority of people living in southern areas of the Sudan are Christian and they do not wish to be part of a Muslim led nation. Past agreements have resulted in south Sudan possessing considerable powers to deal with their regional issues, but an upcoming vote in January, 2011 might result in the south voting to secede and become an independent nation. Leaders of African nations such as Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Ethiopia fear the Sudan government will not allow the south to leave because about 90% of the nation’s oil reserves lie in that region. Fear is arising of a possible resumption of the civil war that lasted over twenty years before being ended a few years ago. Few doubt a fair vote will result in secession, but will President Omar al-Bashir allow honesty to prevail when billions of dollars are at stake is the question?
President Obama urged the Sudan to adhere to agreements and promised the United States would “stand by those who seek to build and sustain the peace.” Nice words, but they don’t make up for losing access to billions of dollars.