The wave of popular uprisings sweeping across the Arab world has not yet reached Sudan. The early, Egyptian manifestation inspired attempts at protests in Khartoum, none of them successful, and energized a reformist movement among Islamists, especially at the universities, focusing on corruption and the dysfunction of institutions.
For the time being, it is another neighbour—Libya, whose south-eastern corner borders northern Darfur—that most concerns Khartoum and that many believe could change the dynamics of the conflict in Darfur, if not the wider Sudan. With much of Libya beyond government control, Khartoum believes the Darfur insurgency is getting a new lease of life as Col. Muammar Gaddafi offers arms to anyone willing to fight alongside him and as the collapse of state authority in Libya, including in parts of the south, creates a new black market in weapons, vehicles, and fuel. Concern in Khartoum is focused on the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the strongest insurgent group and one that Khartoum believes Gaddafi is rearming—for a new attack on the capital, according to rumours in Khartoum—as he seeks support from those he has supported in the past.