There has been clashes in the oil-rich Southern Sudanese town of Abyei between Sudanese government soldiers (who were violating ceasefire agreement by being in the city) and the Southern Sudanese police, causing several thousands people to flee. The Sudanese troops have withdrawn for now but this is a bad sign. Both factions want to control this oil-rich region; Khartoum is deriving most of its foreign currency from it and the Southern Sudanese government knows it can not win if the Sudanese government controls the oil fields. This might be the first step toward faltering of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 in Sudan and a return to the civil war which gripped the country for over 40 years. If this is correct, this is one of the saddest news of 2008, even for a skeptic like me who never believed too much in the CPA (but I still had a bit hope).
In seemingly unrelated news, DR Congo, Uganda and Southern Sudan have attacked LRA positions over the past days, breaking the peace process. Kony (LRA's leader) did not agree to sign a peace deal because of the ICC warrant on his head, (although it might be because after decades in the bush, he can not envision living any other way) so the governments of the region decided to attempt to eliminate him instead in a coordinated strike. Although it might not look connected to Abyei, it is. If the civil war is reignited in Sudan, the LRA will once again get funding and help from Khartoum; they will be in a stronger position and more difficult to deal with, causing more violence and destruction. That is why I said it was very important to reach a peace deal with Kony before the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan fell apart.
Let's hope the region does not fall apart.