Since 2003, the ongoing violence and subsequent humanitarian crisis in Darfur has attracted significant international media attention. Here, Noah R. Bassil offers a re-conception of the conflict in Darfur by examining the origins and progression of the conflict through the broader issue of state failure in postcolonial Sudan. By moving away from a 'localised' view of the conflict, Bassil is able to demonstrate the extent to which the breakdown of social relations in Darfur is interconnected with the wider breakdown of Sudanese and post-colonial societies more broadly, offering a definitive study of the nexus between international, national and local forces and providing a coherent framework for understanding the causes of the civil war that erupted in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2003. The Post-Colonial State and Civil War in Sudan offers a thorough examination of the historical development of the Sudanese state, from an analysis of the colonial state structure to the post-colonial state struggles and from the failure of the state-led development project to the impact these had on the Darfur region. It therefore demonstrates how Sudan's political instability, recurrent civil wars and crisis of identity provide an important context for understanding why Darfur became the location of a major rebellion against the government in 2003,and in fact created the very conditions for conflict in Darfur. Looking forward towards peace in post-colonial societies, Bassil urges the abandonment of neo-liberal policies and a return to an international system that is based on building state-capacity and state legitimacy as the most effective mechanisms for rebuilding political and social relations in regions that have suffered crises in the post-colonial state. Rather than examining Darfur as a sui generis conflict, through the analysis here, it becomes evident that in fact, the events in Darfur are far from unusual, but part of the wider contemporary demise of the post-colonial state building project. This book therefore provides a unique examination of the conflict and the wider postcolonial situation, making it an important contribution to the fields of History, International Relations and Peace Studies.
Noah R. Bassil is Lecturer of Modern History, Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University, Sydney. He is also Deputy Director of the university's Centre for Middle East and North African Studies. Educated at the University of New South Wales, he holds a PhD from Macquarie University.