If these tensions actually spillover into a violent civil war, the world's preeminent military powers will be drawn in. A Small Arms Survey found that the SPLM group is already receiving thousands of weapons from a U.S. proxy Ukraine, via Kenya in anticipation of a potential stand-off with the Northern government. The NPC is receiving its own cache of weapons from Russia and China. This small arms build-up is a new cold war battle between the West and the East over the future of Sudan. Given the instability that another violent conflict could cause, both sides will be jockeying for position in a contest to control Africa's third largest oil reserves.
Is this potential civil war between North and South real or just another exhagerated call for external intervention? In my opinion the most reliable Western source of information on Sudan comes from Alex de Waal, a Harvard researcher who ran the website Making Sense of Darfur. Recently, the name of the site was changed to Making Sense of Sudan, because de Waal agrees with others that the situation in Sudan has come to a defining crossroads.
"Without doubt, the coming twelve months will be the most momentous in Sudan’s
history. The year is likely to be tumultuous as well. This site will not attempt to keep track of the many developments as they unfold, but rather to continue to provide a forum for informed discussion on key issues for Sudan, including of course Darfur."
Alex de Waal believes that 2010 will be "the year of democracy" in Sudan. But there is no question this year will be the most interesting time to follow politics in Sudan.