Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sudan Splitting in Two

Map from the Guardian

It is what it is and that's how it's gonna be.

With Sudan splitting in two on July 9th 2011, the two new countries; Sudan and South Sudan, faces many challenges. During a referendum on January 9-15th, 99% of the southerners voted in favor of separation, which came of no surprise. After 50 years of struggle and a decade of strains towards international diplomacy, the day finally arrived when it became clear that the south will be independent from the north. But everything's not all jolly good, as the two new states will be faced with a complete new set of challenges to make it work. The Republic of South Sudan will of course have to deal with every practicality that's involved in creating a new state, but Sudan will be equally vulnerable for many reasons.

Sudan challenges:
  • Khartoum will have to do without the south's rich oil reserves
  • The continuation of the fighting in Darfur will not be solved with the splitting of the country and will still be the responsibililty of the Sudanese government
  • New conflicts in Southern Kordofan and likely elsewhere will have to be dealt with
  • The identity of Sudan will be affected as it can no longer take pride in being the biggest country in Africa
  • President Omar al-Bashir is accused by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2009 of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Darfur which resulted in a second issue of warrant (the first didn't hold) for charges of genocide. The warrant was delivered to the Sudanese government, which is unlikely to execute it

Southern Sudan challenges:
  • Violence has haunted the region and more than 1500 people have died in battles this year; both in cattle raids and attacks by at least seven separate rebel militia groups fighting for the government
  • Citizenships will have to be issued, as with legal matters
  • Although Southern Sudan is rich in oil, the country will be one of the least-developed regions on earth
  • Ethnic tensions and troubled relations with the north will mean constant security challenges
  • Popular expectations on the new SPLM government are extremely high; people believe that independence means jobs, roads and general life approvements. The government will have to face the discontent when these hopes are not fulfilled without delay
  • The SPLA will face many short-term challenges; accountability, logistics and sustainment; lack of mobility, poor tactical communications; urgent training and new equipment needs; and insufficient funds to support development
  • Poverty, lack of development and the threat of violence will not magically disappear after the splitting

While a southern independence was the goal of a long struggle it will create a whole new set of difficulties. The biggest concern are the unsolved issues between the two new countries as will continue to be dependent on each other, mostly because of the oil in the south and the refineries in the north. However, war is never inevitable and I'll continue to keep my hopes up for a future peace between Sudan and Southern Sudan. If the governments are willing to solve the huge puzzle that lies ahead of them, the problems that today seem overwhelming can be solved. A key to the puzzle, in my opionion, is the involvement of the international community, that can both act as diplomats and help with the development of the two new states. It's up to the people to decide wether it's worth to continue to dispute over issues that can only result in a new war - or to put down their guns and work together for a sustainable peace.

Are you in Sudan or Southern Sudan?
I would like to get in touch with you - either as a guest blogger or to hear your point of view of the splitting of Sudan. Feel free to email me or write a comment and I'll contact you.

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Wireless.Phil said...

Sudan said they were splitting for awhile now, but the fighting and killing is still going on.

Just Google News search "Sudan"

Southern Sudanese prepare for nationhood Los Angeles Times -1 hour ago‎

Sudanese desperate for help
Regina Leader-Post - ‎1 hour ago‎
They are raising awareness about Nuba ethnic groups being killed in Sudan.

Meme said...

Sure, the splitting is by no means a solution to every conflict (especially not the ethnic ones, which will still have to be solved), but most southerners see it as a start.

It remains to be seen how all of this will play out. I wish both countries the best of luck and will keep my fingers crossed that issues will be solved in a smooth way.

Thanks for reading!

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