Dienstag, 7. Oktober 2008

The Horn of War

It was an unlikely catch in the first place. Of the hundreds of ships that pass the chokepoint Bab el-Mandad on a daily basis, Somali pirates managed to hijack the MV Faina, a vessel carrying a shipment of tanks and armaments. What evolved was not simply another case for the statistics of the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), but a troubling development. Rather it was an indicator of just how strained relations are in the Horn of Africa region. The arms shipment of Soviet produced tanks was not designated for Kenya but for the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS). Apparently the Southern Sudanese government is entering in an arms race with the government of Sudan in Khartoum. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war in Sudan's South that started in 1982 is about to derail anyway. And both sides are preparing for the 2011 referendum in the South that will determine whether the South gains independence. The preparations originally required voter registration and border demarcation. Instead the governments start preparing for the most likely outcome of the referendum: independence, something the government of Khartoum does not seem to be willing to embrace.