The war between the rebels in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains – most of them African Muslims but including Christians and animists – and the Arab Muslim government of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum has raged for decades. Hundreds of thousands have died, and Sudan’s South Kordofan state is a humanitarian wasteland, where aerial bombing by government planes has driven thousands of villagers into the countryside. When the rainy season begins next month, it will be nearly impossible for fuel and food to reach them.
Lost, however, in those humanitarian worries is a key detail: The rebels appear to be winning and may stand at the edge of a triumph that could have enormous strategic implications.
Capturing Talodi would give the rebels, for the first time, a base at one end of an all-weather road that leads to Malaki, a city in South Sudan, the newly independent nation whose rulers have long been closely allied with the rebels here. With Talodi in their hands, the rebels would be close to opening a year-round supply line from the south, where