A conflict of deep ethnic roots and tribal culture is what motivates and continues to fuel the fire in the war in Darfur. Owing to the Sudan landscape of arid lands, the Darfur region is running low on water resources. Resources are low, while population is climbing higher than the resources could provide, thus conflict over the resources are but expected.

The Causes of the War in Darfur

The cause of the war in Darfur is largely ethnic, due to the accusations of several African insurgent groups who believe that the Sudanese government favor Arab groups over non-Arab groups. These insurgents, the JEM and the SLA, believe that the Sudanese government allow the Arab groups to have more control and more of the share of the scarce resources. They believe that the Arabs are getting better representation at the higher levels of the Sudanese government and administration.

Both African insurgent groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLA), aim for a fair distribution of resources. While being of different histories, ideologies, and leanings, these two co-operate and fight against the Sudanese government and the Arab militia, Janjaweed. Despite fighting for the same cause, the two movements still manage to retain distinct identities which causes some tensions between the two.

The Darfur Conflict is an ongoing guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing or committing genocide against non-arabized Sudanese in favor of Sudanese Arabs.

One side of the conflict is composed mainly of the official Sudanese military and police, and the Janjaweed, a Sudanese militia group recruited mostly from the Arab Abbala tribes of the northern Rizeigat region in Sudan; these tribes are mainly camel-herding nomads. The other combatants are made up of rebel groups, notably the SLM/A and the JEM, recruited primarily from the non-Arab Muslim Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit ethnic groups. Although the Sudanese government publicly denies that it supports the Janjaweed, it has been providing financial assistance and weapons to the militia and has been organizing joint attacks targeting civilians.

There are various estimates on the number of human casualties, ranging from under twenty thousand to several hundred thousand dead, from either direct combat or starvation and disease inflicted by the conflict. There have also been mass displacements and coercive migrations, forcing millions into refugee camps or over the border and creating a large humanitarian crisis.