A look at Sudan's Darfur region and the conflict that led the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.
THE REGION: A vast arid plateau in western Sudan about the size of France with a population estimated at about 6 million.
Up to 300,000 people died and 2.7 million fled their homes since ethnic African tribes took up arms against the Arab-dominated government in February 2003, complaining of discrimination and neglect. The government responded with a military campaign in which pro-government Arab militia, the janjaweed, are alleged to have committed widespread atrocities. The government says the figures are exaggerated.
— Sudanese government: Al-Bashir took power in a 1989 military coup and rules on an Islamic platform. He doesn't recognize the ICC and refuses to cooperate with the court. The government in February held the first round of peace talks since 2007 with Darfur's most powerful rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement. But it's unclear how far the talks could go as other groups are boycotting them. JEM also says it could help implement the ICC arrest warrant if mandated to do so.
— Darfur's rebels:
Justice and Equality Movement: Led by Khalil Ibrahim, a veteran politician and former ally of the current government. JEM has become the backbone of a rebel coalition that repeatedly defeated government troops in northern Darfur. JEM calls for more autonomy for Darfur but not outright independence.
Other rebel factions: The Sudan Liberation Movement splintered into two main factions in November 2005 after a power struggle between leaders Abdelwahid Elnur and Minni Minnawi. Minnawi signed a peace deal with the Sudanese government in 2006 and is now al-Bashir's adviser.
— Joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission, currently around 15,000-strong. Deployment started last spring but target figure of 26,000 troops not expected to be reached until November. The force remains under-equipped and has itself been attacked by warring factions. It's unclear how the ICC warrant could affect the deployment.
— Sudanese Armed Forces: Believed to be more than 100,000.
— Estimated size of both SLM and JEM: 10,000, according to Jane's Information Group. The International Crisis Group puts the number at between 7,000 and 15,000, and some estimates put it much lower, around 1,200 to 2,000.
— Janjaweed: Peaked at about 10,000, but figures fluctuate. Ahead of the ICC warrant, a purported janjaweed chief said 30,000 holy fighters are mobilized to protect the regime.
Nearly 2.5 million people displaced by the fighting remain in camps inside Darfur. Another 250,000 Darfurians live in refugee camps in Chad.
Following the ICC warrant, there are concerns both for the internal stability of Sudan, the safety of the U.N.-AU peacekeepers and the displaced Darfur refugees.