The great merit of this history of Sudan since independence is Cockett's skill at integrating the crises in southern Sudan and Darfur with the politics of Khartoum. Each of the rebellions against central rule, he explains, is a product of growing resentment over the centralization of political power in a narrow part of the country around the capital. Much of the book is devoted to the crisis in Darfur, and Cockett discusses both the complex web of racial and ethnic aspects and the elite personal conflicts that shaped the collapse of the province. Examining the international dimensions of the conflict, he finds that the Sudanese government's cooperation with American and British intelligence after 9/11 led the U.S. and British governments to "go soft" on Khartoum regarding the deteriorating situation in Darfur. It was only once the massive ethnic cleansing started that U.S. and British policy changed.
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