Sudan on Crossroad
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Visits 230
June 10, 2011
On July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan will become Africa's 54th sovereign state. Theoretically, it will be a sovereign state, having a seat in the United Nations General Assembly. Practically, however, it may be a Western powers’ another African satellite-State. Many security analysts have a consensus that Juba would be an Americans’ Armed forces land-base, which barricade Muslim-Arab influence in Africa.

The peaceful conduct of referendum in January 2011, and acceptance of the South Sudanese vote in favor of a split from the North Sudan, by President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had generated a hope that Sudanese will have a peaceful and prosperous future. This optimism, however, was endangered by the eruption of fighting over a border region claimed by both Khartoum and Juba in May 2011. The continuity of fighting between the North-Sudan and South-Sudan, certainly, undermine the peaceful transfer of power on July 9, 2011.

The conflict over crude oil reservoirs and unresolved intra-tribal conflicts in the Abyei, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan regions could hinder the newly independent landlocked state—Republic of South Sudan survival. Indeed, the United States and it like-minded Western powers have been supporting Republic of South Sudan because of its crude oil reserves and its geo-strategic significance, but they have been undermining the fact that North Sudan is also a legitimate party in the region. Without accommodating the legitimate concerns of the North Sudan, it would be too difficult to end the crisis in the region.

Presently, the situation in South Sudan is deplorable. The conflicts among tribes have given rise to warlord system and militias in South Sudan. These militias have been attacking on army bases, snatching weapons and often hijacking United Nations vehicles. These factors raise serious concerns about the future of South Sudan in the aftermath of July 9, 2011.

Importantly, since the entry into force of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the South Sudan has been a semi-autonomous region, running most of its own affairs. The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Sudan’s People Liberation Army (SPLM/A) the ruling party in South Sudan has failed to establish viable government institutions. The absence of the operating political and administrative institutions would undermine SPLM/A ability and capacity to establish the writ of the government in the newly independent Republic of South Sudan.

The popularity of SPLM/A would undoubtedly play an important role in the stability and prosperity of the newly independent Republic of South Sudan. The referendum results generate a false impression that SPLM/A is currently enjoying an overwhelming support of the people in South Sudan. In reality, it is not the only political party, which had supported the secession of the South Sudan from its Northern part. Almost all the political forces in Southern Sudan voted in favor of the independence. Therefore, the referendum result entailing to the independent of South Sudan on June 9, 2011, would not reverse process of the gradual decline of SPLM/A’s fame in South Sudan during the last five years.

The disapproval of SPLM/A had become visible during the first United Nations backed multiparty April 2010 elections in Sudan. The elections had exposed SPLM/A’ leadership ill-repute and autocratic mind-set. The Human Rights Watch documented several incidents of arbitrary arrest, intimidation and torture of members of political parties that were opposed to the SPLM/A candidates and agenda.

The politically opponent parties and groups would become more vulnerable to the tyrannical policies of the ruling elite in Juba after the independence in July 2011. The tussle between ruling SPLM/A and its rival parties has a potential to restart the civil war in South Sudan.

Importantly, SPLM/A and a few Western political observers have started accusing President Bashir that ‘his intelligence agencies have stepped up their attacks, hitting army bases, snatching weapons and stretching southern troops thin as they scramble to meet all these threats.’ Garang Diing Akuong, the Southern Energy Minister claimed that the militias infiltrate from the north, instead of targeting the oil installations, they hit southern forces bases. Khartoum has rejected these accusations and opines that ruling elite in Juba is incapable to establish the rule of law.

The uninterrupted flow of crude oil only guarantees both North Sudan and South Sudan prosperity. The continuity of oil flow necessitates that both sides cooperate with each other. It is because, majority of the oil wells are located in the South, which is a landlocked region. The pipeline to export the oil runs through the North. In addition refineries are also located in the North Sudan. South Sudan can build a new pipeline and export oil from Kenya’s coast-Lamu. But it requires colossal finances and more than three years time. The prevailing insecurity and increasing ethnic clashes obviously hinder the new pipeline buildup project.

To conclude, the crises in Abyei or contested border dividing Northern and Southern Sudan indicate that both sides have been underplaying their interdependency. Therefore, it is imperative that the stakeholders in Sudan should act rational and promptly to devise a cooperation-mechanism between Juba and Khartoum for the security and prosperity of the people of both parts of Sudan.

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