Water is the Cause of War in Darfur


Darfur war which began in the year 2003 takes place in Sudan at the Darfur region. The conflict involves two groups namely Sudan Movement Liberation Army as well as the Justice and Equality Movement against the government of Sudan which is accused of oppression and genocide committed against the black Africans in order to favor Arabs. It is a serious conflict because the government supposedly supports one group the militia, by providing it with weapons and finances (Milani). As any other war, the consequences are grave ranging from death of human beings either from being killed or succumbing to other effects of war which include starvation and disease. There are many causes of the war which have been cited like the conflict between Muslims and Christians, establishment of an illegal economy and distribution of weapons, to name just a few.  Scarcity of water resource is a major and the root cause of the conflict although it has received very little attention.  In that case, this essay argues for the idea that water is the cause of war in Darfur.

            Without negating the fact that there are many causes that have led to the conflict in Sudan, critical analysis of background issues reveals that water is the root cause. The country of Sudan is composed of two groups of people.  One group is comprises mixed farmers who grow crops and keep animals and therefore depends on water resources for survival. The other group is the nomadic population which keeps on moving from one place to another in search of water for their animals. Since the country suffers greatly from the prolonged effects of draught, nomadic pastoralists mainly depend on wells and that is why they keep on migrating from one place to another. Therefore, since it is clear that Sudan has been affected by draught and the effects of draught, two groups of population usually conflict while competing for the scarce water    resource.          

            Concluding that water is not the main cause of war is an understatement focusing on the fact that various studies which have been conducted reveal it to be so.  For instance, in a report which the former president of South Africa was the chairman, the main causes of conflict in Darfur were identified as land, decay of the environment, lack of law and order and also influence of conflicts from the neighboring countries like Chad.  In addition, inflow of weapons was also included in the report as a causative factor. Most importantly, the report emphasized on the fact that movement of people from one region to another was the chief cause of the conflict. The report illustrated that people from the areas affected by the draught condition move towards the south while farmers keep on cultivating more land and therefore depleting the grazing lands. According to (Muhammad), Dr. El-Baz who is the director for Remote Sensing at Boston University had the same views that water is the root cause of the problem.

             Even though there are other causes of the conflict in Darfur, water is the main cause directly and indirectly.  It is clear that the economy of Darfur is largely agrarian based on agriculture and pastoralist activities. Consequently, it has been seriously affected by the recurring draught conditions since 1980s which led to desertification of most parts of the region (Milani).   Therefore, since by all means people must survive, they conflict over the limited resources of not only water, but also land and food leads to the conflict. 

              War in Darfur is a serious problem not only locally but also internationally. Most important, although various agencies have been committed to looking for solutions to the problem by looking at the main causes, some factors which are very important have not been recognized. Therefore, water falls under this category of causes that have not been identified and focused on. Nonetheless, without further emphasis, critical analysis of the issue reveals that water is an important cause of Darfur war. 

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