Working paper

Hasty Ethics Can Kill: How Vilified Pipelines Helped to Tame Jihad in Sudan and Chad

Jean-Paul Azam


This paper shows how careful strategic thinking outperforms hasty ethical judgment to produce peace. It uses a provocation model to explain why the initial Muslim coalition against southern Christians broke up in Sudan and Chad thanks to much vilified pipelines. The need to cooperate was made obvious in Sudan when oil flew in a Chinese-built pipeline running through the Christian rebels’ homeland, tilting decisively the balance of power in the latter’s favor. Political Islam was discarded when the rebels proved their ability to disrupt the oil flow by blowing up the pipeline and Jihad was called off. The government of Sudan had switched from African socialism to Political Islam a couple of decades before, imposing the Sharia Law even on the Christians as a provocation to trigger a rebellion and to launch an ethnic-cleansing campaign in the oil-rich areas. The failure of the Western oil companies to build the pipeline and launch extraction, under the pressure of their national civil societies, gave time to the Khartoum government to spread death and devastation in the South. In Chad also, the initial Muslim coalition against the Christians broke up for sharing the oil money with the latter, but with a different timing.

See also

Published in

IAST working paper, n. 22-143, June 2022