2010: Sudan Faces Danger of Secession of the South

The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Naivasha (Kenya) on January 9th, 2005 was greeted by a torrent of optimism, generated by the international guarantees and momentum, and promises of economic assistance and political backing for the agreement. The Sudanese people believed that they had bid farewell to the era of civil war and armed conflict for good. Today, however, the situation is quite different. The Sudanese people are currently celebrating the fifth anniversary of the agreement in a climate full of fear for the near future, and more specifically the results of the referendum on self-determination due to take place in under a year. There is no party on the current Sudanese horizon, whether local, regional or international, capable of stemming the drift towards the secession of the South, or willing to do so. Rather, various actors are now scrutinizing and finalizing the details of securing a “peaceful secession,” and making arrangements for the “post-secession” scenario. Thus it appears that attention is focused on how to avoid the outbreak of a new war at that point. However, the factors that carved out the Naivasha Agreement and created the prospect of the secession of the South have also had an effect in other areas. Darfuris are now talking, for the first time, about the right to self-determination, while the Doha meeting, dedicated to addressing the question of Darfur and originally scheduled for late January 2010, has been indefinitely postponed. Meanwhile regional and tribal confrontations are flaring up in other areas of the country, warning of further fragmentation. And as a result of these conflicts, and of neglect, corruption and tyranny, starvation now threatens the whole of Sudan.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.