UNITED NATIONS -- Citing "disturbing" circumstances in Sudan ahead of national elections, the United States said Thursday that it would consider supporting a brief delay in the voting for the sake of greater credibility.
At a Glance
Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has spent all but about 10 years in internal armed conflict.
THE REGION: Largely arid plateau in western Sudan about three-quarters the size of Texas with a population estimated at about 8 million.
HISTORY OF CONFLICT: Decades of low-level tribal clashes over land and water erupted into large-scale violence in early 2003 when some in the region took up arms, accusing the central government of neglect.
VICTIMS: Government authorities are accused of responding to the uprising with aerial bombings and Arab tribal militias known as Janjaweed, who murdered and raped civilians and destroyed villages. Khartoum officials deny backing Janjaweed.
SCOPE OF TRAGEDY: United Nations says Darfur fighting has caused one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters. Chaos has spread to neighboring Chad, where hundreds of thousands of Darfur refugees are sheltering. Estimates say 180,000 people have died, many from deprivation; about 2 million are displaced.
PEACE TALKS: The African Union has deployed peacekeepers to Darfur and sponsored two years of peace talks that resulted in a cease-fire.
"There is plenty of blame to go around in the continuing crisis in Darfur. But the stalemate over the deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping operation to the ravaged region in Sudan can be traced directly to the international community's failure to apply strong diplomatic and economic pressure on senior officials of the ruling National Congress Party..."
New Threats Loom in Darfur Five years after the Darfur conflict began, the nature of violence has changed dramatically. The one-sided government campaign against non-Arabs is now a complex free-for-all fight that is jeopardizing the relief mission to more than 2.5 million displaced civilians across the desert region.
From the Archives Post photographer Jahi Chikwendiu traveled to Darfur in 2004 to document
Sudan's humanitarian crisis and life in the region's refugee camps.
A Complicated Crisis As the chaos in Darfur, Sudan, extends into neighboring Chad, a rapidly increasing number of civilians are becoming caught in a violent conflict between a complicated web of rebel forces.
Rally For Darfur Thousands gathered April 30 on the National Mall to protest the genocide in Sudan.