Annual Survey and Documents
Mohamed Beshir Hamid
Sudan: Sharia in the North, Anya Nya in the South
The Sudan continued during 1983/84 to drift deeper into political instability and economic decline that seemed to evolve with the inevitability of some malevolent natural force.1 Indeed. in more than one sense, the country was moving backwards on more than one front. The arbitrary and controversial policy decisions to re-divide Southern Sudan into three separate regions and to adopt the Islamic shari’a code were unnecessarily divisive and disruptive within the existing economic and political context. The high-handed way in which these decisions were imposed on a population increasingly wary of the politics of despair and rhetoric, only served to reawaken the forces of division between the North and South and to strain relations within each region. The tensions and discontent in Southern Sudan spilled over into wide-scale violent confrontation.
These developments had repercussions on the economy and foreign relations. The prospects for Sudan’s oil potential were clouded in uncertainty. The regime reverted to the familiar strategy of assigning all the blame to “agents of international communism” for the problems besting the country; as a result, relations with Ethiopia and Libya reached a new low, and the regime moved towards a more overt military association with the US. As event marked a coalescing of opposition forces into armed resistance with ideological overtones, the communist ‘bogey’ invoked by the regime might yet turn out to a self-fulfilling prophecy.