|15 - Blue Nile|
|Dam and landmines|
NDA forces now control patches of territory between the Red Sea and the Blue Nile, along Sudan's border with Eritrea and Ethiopia, where it threatens the country's main hydro-electric dam at Roseires / Damazin.
France's Total and the US' Marathon Oil were partners in an oil concession in the southeast but suspended operations several years ago. (The American company because its government has barred it from trading in Sudan; the French because of landmines.) The road from the eastern agricultural centre Gedaref to Gallabat on the Ethiopian border is mined, as is much of the border.
President al-Bashir accuses the United Nations and United States of financing the Sudanese opposition - the US gave $20m to neighbouring Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda in November 1997. Speaking of "Eritrean and Tigrayan aggressors" more than rebels, Khartoum is attempting a mass mobilisation of civilian militias to augment its over-stretched and potentially recalcitrant armed forces on the eastern front.
Attacks on government garrisons around Kassala, the capital of the eastern region close to the Eritrean border, have been stepped up.
The opposition forces in the Blue Nile area have no intention of destroying the hydroelectric dam at Roseires, which is one of Khartoum's main sources of power, since the dam itself is a strategic resource that they want to remain functioning.
The oil installations - particularly the pumping stations of the pipeline - are, by contrast, attackable without loss of any existing benefit, and the pipe and equipment can be regarded as disposable in a way that the dam construction can not.
16 - ECONOMY