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By reaching the gates of Khartoum, Darfur rebels have dealt one of the heaviest blows to Sudan’s traditionally Arab ruling elite since independence in 1956.
Early on Sunday, it looked as though government assertions that the army had beaten back the initial assault were true, but what is the attack going to mean for Africa’s biggest country and the way it is run?
The peace deal with south Sudanese rebels in 2005 made clear Khartoum could no longer afford to rule by force over a mostly black African region where Christians and animists predominate.
Now rebels from Muslim, but largely non-Arab, Darfur have shown the ability of groups who feel neglected in the rest of Sudan to take the battle to Khartoum.
Will there be retaliation in Darfur? Sudan has oil money to buy weapons, but if the war could be won militarily then why has that not happened already?