Sudan's Hunger Games of War for Heglig Oil Fiedls
In 2005, Sudan and South Sudan signed a peace agreement, ending more than two decades of civil war. The two former enemies accepted the line drawn in 1956 by the departing British colonialists as the legitimate border between the two halves of Sudan. But when oil was found in Heglig, the borders "stretched" so one side would gain the rewards. This was South Sudan who pushed across the border and seized Helig oil fields in April, 2012. Sudan, which has a larger military force, retaliated and bombed South Sudan. South Sudan now owns 75 percent of the oil resources that formerly belonged to Sudan, but relies on Sudan’s pipeline to transport the oil to ports and to market. It seems the South Sudanese did not think this through! Sudan wants $36 per barrel of oil sent using their pipeline to ports in Khartoum. South Sudan calls this robbery and plans to build a pipeline through Kenya.
Prior to the war, 500,000 barrels of oil per day were in production, now, only 50,000, and for South Sudan, which relies on oil for 98% of its income, that is bad.
Africa has always had a niche for idiot wars using modern weapons in WW1 fashion. The last time a major war broke out was over a border town along a disputer border between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The town was ironically called, Badme. That war in Feb. 1999, climaxed when the sides clashed and over 10,000 were killed in assaults across WW1-like trenches, while sophisticated MIG-29s with Russian pilots flew and bombed for Ethiopia. The final result yielded in minor changes to the border over an area with little value.
In the Sudan, at least there is something of value-oil. Militarily, the South Sudanese are the underdog. They 10 Mi-17 transport helicopters, 110 T-72 tanks and the rest is medium to light arms all Russian in origin. The Sudanese have 200 T-54\55, 70 Type 62 tanks, with lesser amounts of T-72, 218 armor cars, 1000+ artillery guns, 1000 anti-aircraft guns. Their airforce consists of a squadron of Chinese J-7 fighters, Russian Mi-24, Su-25, Mig-29 (flown by Russian pilots) and Antonov transport. They have a small navy of 1300 men and ships supplied by Iran.
It seems the US has decided to quietly support South Sudan. The U.S. State Department pays an American mercenary firm to train the South's Sudan People's Liberation Army. South Sudan also acquired 33 Russian T-72 tanks captured by Somali pirates aboard the Ukrainian freighter and later released to the Kenyan government. The US requested Kenya to give these to South Sudan, which had placed an other for 100 back in 2005. So far, the US has given South Sudan $270 million dollars in military aid.
As this new war flares up and spins, Sudan, which has a 100,000 man army is stated it will invade South Sudan and crush it. Stay tuned.
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