Next Global Free For All – The Sudan

Posted on December 3, 2010

After his expulsion from Saudi Arabia, bin Laden established headquarters for al-Qaeda in Khartoum, Sudan. The first actions of al-Qaeda against American interests were attacks on U.S. servicemen in Somalia. A string of terrorist actions suspected to have been orchestrated by al-Qaeda followed (see sidebar), and in August 1996 bin Laden issued a “Declaration of War” against the U.S.Read more: Al-Qaeda — Infoplease.com

The Republic of Sudan has a rich and colorful history intertwined with that of Egypt.  It is the largest country in terms of land mass  in Africa. [for a general overview about the Sudan, see Wikipedia here.] In Jnuary 2011, there will be a referendum.

Sudan has been at war with itself for almost its entire post-colonial history, starting in 1956. Nearly all of its major ethnic and religious groups have fought one another, and politics continues to be dominated by mistrust, outside interference and combustible animosities. There are dozens of armed groups across the country.

Now the country is getting ready for what could be the continent’s biggest divorce. A long-awaited referendum on southern Sudan’s independence, set in motion by a 2005 peace agreement to stop one of Africa’s worst civil wars, is scheduled for Jan. 9, 2011.[NY Times]

Sudan is rich in oil reserves.  Special interest in it and dispensations for it are therefore on-going:

Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, the administration’s special envoy to Sudan, said the United States should turn its attention to getting southern Sudan ready for its likely future as an independent state. War after the election is expected.
This is the perfect world in which al Qaeda can operate.  Where there is confusion, they are there to take advantage of the situation and provide money to maintain loyalty and control.  This could easily be Yemen redux.