In less than a month, South Sudan will formally declare independence. It will swiftly be recognized as a sovereign state by the international community. But between now and July 9, violence is picking up in the border regions between the north and south.
This report from Al Jazeera does a good job of showing the humanitarian impact of this fighting.
What most reports will not tell you is that the current governor of South Kordofan is a man named Ahmad Haroun. Prior to serving as governor, Haroun served as the Minister of State for the Interior, where he was assigned the “Darfur Security Desk.” The International Criminal Court alleges Haroun masterminded the recruitment of the Janjaweed militias to perpetrate the Genocide in Darfur. (You can read all the gory details in his indictment.)
Haroun currently has a warrant outstanding for his arrest.
It is not a stretch to think that Haroun has similar designs to implement another counter-insurgency-by-ethnic cleansing. The strategy is to create certain demographic realities on the ground that would make it much harder for South Sudan to lay claim to oil fields in the region once the south declares independence. It is a brutal strategy, but so far it seems to be working: There is a massive population shift underway right now in Abyei and Kordofan.
This is definitely something to watch out for in the coming weeks.