As in most Arab and Third World countries, the tribal structure is an anthropological reality and a sociological particularity in Sudan. Despite development and modernity aspects in many major cities and urban areas in Sudan, the tribe and the tribal structure still maintain their status as a psychological and cultural structure that frames patterns of behavior, including the political behavior, and influence the political process. This situation has largely increased in the last three decades under the rule of the Islamic Movement in Sudan, because of the tribe politicization and the ethnicization of politics, as this research reveals. This research is based on an essential hypothesis that the politicization of tribalism is one of the main reasons for the tribal conflict escalation in Sudan. It discusses a central question: Who is responsible for the tribal conflicts in Sudan?
This paper is based on the hypothesis that the crisis of the Sudan has resulted from the failure of the elite to establish just and rational governance in this multicultural, multi-ethnic, Afro-Arab state, as well as their failure to harmonize a heterogeneous entity which embraces approximately 572 tribes. The country’s crisis of identity is a product not only of colonial policies, but also of the partisan/sectarian and ethnic-oriented behaviour of the ruling elite that have governed the country since its independence in 1956.