‘War between Sudan and South Sudan would benefit no one’

Sunday, June 03, 2012
By Subodh Kumar*

"Sudan is not really a country at all, but many. A composite layers, like a genetic fingerprint of memories that were once fluid, but have since crystallized out from the crucible of possibility" - Jamal Mahjoub, a Sudanese novelist.

Neither history nor ideology has come to an end and thus, it is not appear that North Sudan to get into a war with its newest neighbour, South Sudan.

But, both sides of their disputed border is undermining hope of peace, analysts warn, with neither side willing to reach a deal on the oil both depend on.

“War between Sudan and South Sudan would benefit no one,” it was word of Bishop of El Obeid in the Sudanese State of South Kordofan (Macram Max Gassis) as he was addressing civilians over Vatican Radio during his Europe tour.

Recently former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, visited the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, to restart negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan. His visit comes after heavy fighting between the two countries last month, and after signs of a large scale war. The United Nations threatened few weeks earlier that it would impose sanctions on any who would resume hostilities. South Sudan has promised to negotiate without preconditions but Sudan said the negotiations must focus on security.

Paralyzing the nation's economy South Sudan independence in July has cost Sudan three-quarters of its oil revenue. Small businesses face collapse, food and fuel prices are out of control and the unemployment rate is rising sharply.

Things are worse in South Sudan, which has shut down oil production in a row with Sudan over transit fees. Juba, South Sudan's capital, is beginning to look like a gold rush town where the gold has run out.  
Once bitter enemies in a 22-year independence war, each side seems convinced that if it just waits long enough, its neighbour’s economy will collapse, leaving the opponent with no money to pay the army or buy the fuel and ammunition to fight a war.

The crisis intensified last month when South Sudan seized Sudan's main oil field at Heglig, sparking fighting. Under strong international pressure, South Sudan withdrew and this has added a new twist in the tale.
The conflict in Sudan has many faces, the best known are a ‘North-South’ conflict, ‘that problem in Darfur’ or an ‘Arab-African’ conflict. The reality is that Sudan is deeply complex with many isolated but often overlapping conflicts that blur common perceptions.

Local Realities

When the fragile Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2005, the Sudanese and the international community were relieved as Sudan would be put on the path of peace and stability. CPA, in one way or another, affects almost every state in the North and South of Sudan.

The world was further reassured by the way the referendum for the people of South Sudan was conducted and the acceptance of President of Sudan of the choice of the people of South Sudan to have their own independent state. Consequently, all members of the United Nations unanimously accepted the membership of the newest state with optimism that the two states would work together to resolve the post-secession pending issues. Beneath that numerous tribal differences that continue to be politicised, and bitter oil related conflicts, exacerbate problems further. Such complexities make it almost impossible for outsiders to fully understand, once again highlighting just how indispensable local peace builders are. There are fears that the conflicts in Sudan have the potential to trigger a regional war, drawing in neighbouring countries.

Major problems predicted before the Referendum have since surfaced. Darfur has re-emerged as conflict region, with a sharp climb in violent clashes being reported. New splinter rebel groups have taken shape and are contesting fresh demands in the South and East. The fate of the oil rich Border States are still undecided, with the possibility of renewed violence. Thousands of refugees have fled conflict areas. And logistics over citizenship and the splitting of the national debt have yet to be worked out. These problems threaten to derail the entire process. However life is constant struggle for the civilians of the both side.

Education can lead to development in South Sudan

South Sudan has many resources including the commitment of the people to rebuild their new nation. Many who had left have returned with the new opportunity and he says South Sudan can rebuild its self as a prosperous new nation with the right accompaniment and help.

It says that Sudan is failing to obey a Security Council resolution calling for an end to hostilities and renewed negotiations with South Sudan over oil and border disputes.

Meanwhile, the UN is warning that more than half of the population of South Sudan is facing food shortages due to the continuing conflict with Sudan.

Fighting on the border between the two countries and the shutdown of oil production has had a devastating impact on the South's economy.

So far, steps are being taken towards resolving these issues facing the creation of the world’s newest nation. Peace talks over a planned referendum in Darfur are under way, ex-combatant reintegration is taking a foothold and South Sudan’s draft constitution has successfully been completed. It has yet to be seen in how long and with how much difficulty the secession is to be instated.

(*Subodh Kumar is the Executive Editor of news.BDTV.in. He can be reached at subodh@bdtv.in)
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Write comments
2 June 2012 at 10:38 delete

It is required to address Sudan-south sidan issue at global plateform ...

2 June 2012 at 13:41 delete

certainly the war is helping BDTV :D

2 June 2012 at 14:52 delete

Who says..? ----- that the war is helping BDTV......