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Prof. Hashem Mekki discusses the prospect of peace in Sudan

Hashem Mekki, October 2013On October 29, Prof. Hashem Mekki gave a lecture on “The Prospect of Peace in Sudan” at The Institute of World Politics. 

Professor Mekki began by explaining Sudanese history and the historic landmarks that led to the current Darfur and Abyei conflicts. He reminded the audience of the multicultural Sudanese context, pointing out that there are now over 500 tribes and roughly 130 languages.

He described the ongoing conflict in Darfur, noting that in the 2002 ceasefire and peace agreement, Darfur was completely left out of the table. It was not part of the negotiations. This lack of compromise led to major embitterment and hostilities in 2006, with the Sudanese government trying to cleanse the non-Arab community in the Western part of Sudan.

Professor Mekki then analyzed the causes of the Abyei conflict in which Sudan and South Sudan harshly fought (Abyei is a region on the border between the two countries). Despite the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, hostilities have not faded because of disputes linked to oil.

Professor Mekki described some of the geopolitical implications of the ongoing conflict between Sudan and South Sudan. He noted that the government of Sudan takes advantage of the pipeline that links Khartoum to the Red Sea. However, South Sudan is richer in oil. One side has the pipeline; the other has the oil wells. They need each other. Professor Mekki explained that the government of South Sudan (which gained independence in 2011) is trying to build refineries in Mumbasa, Kenya.

He concluded his lecture by dsecribing the importance of foreign intervention in Sudanese affairs, particularly Chinese participation in oil deals (70% of Sudanese oil is sold to the Chinese).

Prof. Mekki was born and rasied in Sudan, and fled to Egypt because of the civil war, where he lived for five years, working as an Arabic-English translator and interpreter.  Professor Mekki graduated from the City College of New York in 2010 with a double major in Political Science and International Studies.

Lorenzo Vermigli
Intern, Fall 2013