But to characterize this crisis as a tribal conflict would be simplistic in the extreme. To the contrary, the Darfur crisis is caused by political, economic and social marginalization that, unless properly addressed by both national policies, will wreak havoc upon the region for some time into the future.
To fully understand the root causes of the present crisis, it is necessary to gain a complete appreciation of the Darfur region in its proper geographic and historical contexts. Geographically speaking, the western portion of Sudan known as Darfur is in area about 493,180 square kilometers, about 20% of the nation's total territory of 2,505, 813 square kilometers and is subdivided into three wilayats or states known as Gharb (West) Darfur, Janub (South) Darfur, and Shamal (North) Darfur. These states suffer from the lack of perennial watercourses and as a result, their population is scarce and tends to cluster around permanent wells. Western Darfur is a plain that has the greatest water supply. The drainage from the volcanic massif, the Jabal Marrah, washes onto the plain, allowing for a somewhat larger settled population. This area also has a significant portion of the so-called qoz sands. ...Show more