South Sudan: Obstacles to a lasting peace

South Sudan: Obstacles to a lasting peace


08-15-2015, 03:47 PM


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Post: #1
Title: South Sudan: Obstacles to a lasting peace
Author: BBC News
Date: 08-15-2015, 03:47 PM

04:47 PM Aug, 15 2015
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  • 15 August 2015
  • andnbsp;
  • From the sectionhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world/africaAfrica
South Sudanese soldiers marching in independence day celebrations in Juba, 2015
Peace proposals call for South Sudanese troops, seen here marching in Juba, to withdraw from the capital

South Sudan strife

A year-and-a-half of peace processes have not stopped South Sudan's collapse.

Soldiers slaughter young boys, women are raped and millions have fled as ceasefires are ignored and the fighting continues.

An expanded mediation team from the regional body Igad and several other interested nations, known as Igad Plus, insists a permanent peace deal must be signed by 17 August.

But with time running out, the distance between the two sides appears to be wide. "The gap is too big," one rebel official told me.

Here are five of the main obstacles to a lasting peace in South Sudan:

1. The two main rivals

The key question.andnbsp;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12107760President Salva Kiirandnbsp;and rebel leaderandnbsp;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25402865Riek Macharandnbsp;have in the past committed to stopping the fighting, only for both sides to break their word and launch offensives.

Do the leaders realise or care how much the people are suffering? Are both sides prepared to make the necessary compromises to end the war?

Will a tougher stance from the US and regional leaders make a difference? What about the growingandnbsp;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28225098economic crisis?

It's clear that many South Sudanese have grown frustrated with the inability of the leaders to make peace. Pressure is mounting though: President Obama and others have warned of tough measures if the 17 August deadline is missed, and South Sudan's churches have called on Mr Kiir and Mr Machar to sign the latest peace proposal.

2. Power-sharing

The Igad Plus peace proposal has been widely disseminated, in an effort to get some sort of momentum behind it.

However, even before these negotiations began the government and the rebels expressed reservations.

President Salva Kiir (left)
President Kiir rejects the proposal to give the rebels de facto control of three states

The government doesn't like the idea of a neutral third force controlling an otherwise demilitarised capital, Juba, and rejects the plan to give the rebels de facto control of the three states most affected by conflict (which contain the lucrative oilfields).

The rebels want a dominant share in the national government, and a federal system.

South Sudanese civil society groups have also criticised the proposal for putting too much emphasis on power-sharing among the elite, rather than insisting on accountability and justice, or resolving underlying issues that caused the conflict.

The key is to see the Igad Plus proposal as a basis for negotiations, rather than a final document. Under regional and international pressure, some sort of peace agreement is possible.

At the moment, the government and the rebels are arguing over power-sharing arrangements, essentially fine-tuning a return to the status quo ante.

But if the root causes of the conflict aren't resolved, it is difficult to see it bringing lasting peace.

3. South Sudan's neighbours

Over the past 18 months, South Sudan's neighbours have taken a leading role in mediating between the warring parties.

Yet this has been compromised by their own involvement in the conflict.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25759650Uganda intervened militarilyandnbsp;in support of President Kiir, to the frustration of the rebels. Sudan is allegedly providing logistics, weapons and bases to Mr Machar's army.

Riek Machar
Two generals have recently split from Mr Machar's rebel group

Other countries are not implicated militarily in South Sudan, but have important economic interests there (Kenya) or wish to drive the mediation process (Ethiopia).

A satisfactory peace deal will mean finding agreement among all of South Sudan's divided neighbours.

4. Rebel unity

Mr Machar's rebel group was always an uneasy coalition of civilian militias and military units that defected from the national army, the SPLA.

The split announced this week by well-known generals includingandnbsp;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-25447527Peter Gadetandnbsp;and Gathoth Gatkuoth was no surprise: the men had been sidelined, in part because of their opposition to Mr Machar's apparent willingness to consider a power-sharing deal.

There had always been concern about whether Mr Machar could bring all his movement with him. Now we are about to find out.

Two key questions here: do the generals have enough support on the ground to constitute a powerful military force of their own?

And will they receive the external military support they will need to flourish?

South Sudanese man whose home was burned by soldiers and militiamen.
Many South Sudanese have known little but war and some, like this man, have lost their homes

This would be most likely to come from Sudan, as Gen Gadet has fought for Khartoum several times in the past.

Another possibility is that hardliners in both Mr Kiir's and Mr Machar's camp could use the split as an excuse not to sign a peace deal.

5. Deepening ethnic animosity

Millions of South Sudanese have known hardly anything but war.

At the time of the united Sudan, the first north-south civil war lasted from 1955-1971, and the second was even longer (1983-2005).

After South Sudan'sandnbsp;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14091114independenceandnbsp;in 2011, it wasn't long before this new civil conflict erupted - in December 2013.

Tragically, war is part of life for many. South Sudan is aandnbsp;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29762263militarised society, where the military men run politics.

Those in command often have ethnic power bases, bringing an ethnic dimension to most conflicts.

News graphic showing the ethnic groups of South Sudan
There is no dominant culture in South Sudan. The Dinkas and the Nuers are the largest of more than 60 ethnic groups, each with its own language and traditional beliefs, alongside Christianity and Islam.

The current war has deepened animosity between the Nuer and the Dinka, the country's two biggest ethnic groups.

The picture is even more complicated than this: for example, many Bul Nuer (a Nuer sub-group) have fought for the government against the largely Nuer rebels, creating tensions within the Nuer.

In South Sudanese society, the culture of revenge is also prominent - a worrying ingredient in a conflict in which tens of thousands have been killed.

All these factors will be difficult to resolve, even if a peace deal is signed.

Nevertheless, the country has strong traditions of peace-making and reconciliation, often through the chiefs or the church.

Their best efforts will be needed if a lasting peace is to be achieved.




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  • US: S. Sudan killings show unbelievable cruelty 05-01-14, 06:57 PM, The Washington Post
  • Full Account of the debate at Commons on South Sudan 04-30-14, 10:43 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • UN Criticizes S. Sudan Leaders Over Famine Response 04-30-14, 07:15 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan sides recruit 9,000 children to fight 04-30-14, 04:19 PM, BBC News
  • Group Petitions AU to Mediate South Sudan Negotiations 04-29-14, 03:06 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan and rebels to resume peace talks 04-29-14, 03:03 PM, Aljazeera news
  • South Sudan frees leaders accused of plotting coup 04-26-14, 05:09 PM, BBC News
  • Darfur committee to register Bentiu victims, South Sudan 04-26-14, 05:00 PM, Radio Dabanga
  • UN Security Council Press Statement on South Sudan - New York, 24 April 2014 04-24-14, 05:45 PM, SudaneseOnline Press Release
  • South Sudan president fires army chief, top generals 04-24-14, 04:19 PM, news24
  • Sudanese in South Sudan commemorate victims of Bentiu massacre 04-24-14, 04:05 PM, Radio Dabanga
  • South Sudan President Salva Kiir sacks army chief 04-24-14, 04:02 PM, BBC News
  • South Sudan: Ethnic Killings Spiraling UN Security Council Should Impose Sanctions, Boost Civilian 04-24-14, 03:22 AM, SudaneseOnline Press Release
  • Death toll 406; condemnation rises in massacre of Darfuris in Bentiu 04-22-14, 05:54 PM, Radio Dabanga
  • Hundreds of dead bodies found in South Sudan town ­ Al Jazeera report 04-22-14, 05:46 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Rebels Slaughter Hundreds Of Civilians In South Sudan: UN 04-22-14, 05:33 PM, Huffington Post
  • Riek Machar's rebels Did NOT Capture Mayom 04-21-14, 08:12 PM, Gordon Buay
  • South Sudan Urges Sudan to Stop Attacks By Armed Groups 04-21-14, 04:14 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan conflict: Bentiu 'ethnic slaughter' condemned 04-21-14, 04:07 PM, BBC News
  • South Sudan army battles rebels in worsening war 04-20-14, 07:44 PM, news24
  • Over 100 killed in S Sudan cattle raid 04-20-14, 07:32 PM, news24
  • South Sudan cattle raid 'claims dozens of lives' 04-20-14, 04:22 PM, BBC News
  • At least 58 killed in attack on U.N. base in South Sudan 04-18-14, 03:32 PM, Al Arabiya News
  • South Sudan conflict: Attack on UN base 'kills dozens' 04-18-14, 03:27 PM, BBC News
  • Hundreds feared dead as rebels overrun Bentiu, South Sudan 04-17-14, 09:50 PM, Radio Dabanga
  • South Sudan on brink of famine: UN chief 04-17-14, 09:48 PM, Aljazeera news
  • South Sudan Opposition Says it Has Seized Bentiu - Again 04-16-14, 07:59 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudanese flood into Ethiopia 04-16-14, 07:51 PM, news24
  • S Sudan rebel leader vows to take key oil fields 04-15-14, 05:24 PM, news24
  • South Sudan rebels order oil shutdown, battle over town 04-15-14, 05:11 PM, Times of Oman
  • South Sudan conflict: Pro-Machar forces 'seize' Bentiu 04-15-14, 03:41 PM, BBC News
  • Riek Machar’s rebels attacked an outpost on Sunday in violation of Cessation of Hostilities 04-14-14, 04:06 PM, Gordon Buay
  • Gen. Gordon Buay:Gabriel Changson and Makuac Teny arrested in Gambella 04-12-14, 08:22 PM, Gordon Buay
  • US Sanctions Don't Worry South Sudan Government, Rebels 04-11-14, 05:57 PM, Voice of America
  • Egyptian 'suspicions' behind Ethiopia dam crisis: Sudan FM 04-10-14, 09:26 PM, TurkishPress
  • South Sudan Accuses Khartoum of Attacks on Oil Region 04-09-14, 05:01 PM, wall street online journal
  • South Sudan conflict: MSF accuses UN of 'indifference' 04-09-14, 03:28 PM, BBC News
  • Fleeing civil war, South Sudanese say national unity is a distant goal 04-08-14, 07:24 PM, Aljazeera news
  • India’s ONGC shows interests to expand oil investments in Sudan 04-07-14, 07:35 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • US authorises South Sudan conflict sanctions 04-05-14, 05:52 PM, BBC News
  • As S.Sudan conflict deepens, a generation loses hope 04-05-14, 04:11 PM, AFP Agence France Presse
  • Statement by the Press Secretary on South Sudan 04-04-14, 03:30 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan Will Starve Without Help, U.N. Warns 04-03-14, 07:16 PM, The Washington Post
  • S Sudan on verge of Africa's worst famine 04-03-14, 05:32 PM, news24
  • One million forced from homes in South Sudan 03-30-14, 06:54 PM, sbs
  • Over a million flee South Sudan conflict, U.N. says 03-29-14, 04:01 PM, Al Arabiya News
  • UN: One million displaced by S Sudan conflict 03-29-14, 03:56 PM, Aljazeera news
  • No Evidence Ties 4 South Sudan Politicians to 'Coup' Bid, Court Told 03-27-14, 04:30 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan's frontline nuns 03-27-14, 04:26 PM, Aljazeera news
  • US to give extra $83m in aid to South Sudan 03-26-14, 03:32 PM, Aljazeera news
  • South Sudan rebels, government claim oil town as talks delayed 03-23-14, 07:42 PM, Reuters
  • Lifesaving S Sudan aid stalled at checkpoints 03-23-14, 07:16 PM, Aljazeera news
  • Prosecution Claims Four South Sudanese Plotted to Topple Kiir 03-23-14, 07:11 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan Troops Recapture Malakal From Rebels 03-20-14, 05:34 PM, wall street online journal
  • UN: Thousands killed and abused in S Sudan 03-19-14, 05:47 PM, Aljazeera news
  • E. African Leaders to Decide Details on S. Sudan Stabilization Force 03-13-14, 02:51 AM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan backs Egypt bid for African Union reinstatement 03-11-14, 09:48 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Girl, 17, reveals how she fled civil war in South Sudan 03-11-14, 09:44 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan protest against UN over arms cache 03-11-14, 02:58 AM, BBC News
  • Wounded South Sudan Rebels Fear Hospital 03-08-14, 05:49 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Peace appeal from South Sudanese Australians 03-08-14, 05:43 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudanese refugees forced to flee to Darfur 03-08-14, 05:40 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Fighting breaks out in South Sudan army barracks 03-05-14, 10:12 PM, THE TIMES OF INDIA
  • Gunfire Erupts in South Sudan Capital as Troops Mutiny Over Pay -- Update 03-05-14, 10:02 PM, wall street online journal
  • South Sudan soldiers die in 'pay battle' at army HQ 03-05-14, 09:26 PM, BBC News
  • East African states mull stabilization force for South Sudan 03-04-14, 08:34 PM, Reuters
  • US Lawmaker to Obama: Phone Kiir on South Sudan Crisis 03-04-14, 08:30 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan says oil production down 29% 03-04-14, 03:22 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan violence leaves donors disillusioned 03-01-14, 05:41 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan: Patients Shot Dead in Hospital Beds 02-27-14, 05:30 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan: War Crimes by Both Sides 02-27-14, 05:19 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Nuer Community in Egypt Condemns the Killing of Nuer in South Sudan; Says it Was a Calculated Move 02-20-14, 03:10 AM, SudaneseOnline Press Release
  • President Salva Kiir accuses UN workers in his country of siding with 01-23-14, 04:38 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan refugee John Mac Acuik killed on mercy mission in homeland 01-23-14, 05:20 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • UN voices concern over abuses in Malakal 01-23-14, 05:16 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan crisis: Rebel-held town of Bor destroyed 01-21-14, 07:44 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan soldiers 'try to force entry into UN base sheltering civil 01-21-14, 07:37 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan President Salva Kiir hits out at UN Souht Sudan's Presiden 01-21-14, 07:32 PM, BBC News
  • Sudan Sees Key Role in Breaking South Sudan Conflict Stalemate 01-21-14, 07:19 PM, Voice of America
  • Yoweri Museveni: Uganda troops fighting South Sudan rebels 01-20-14, 05:56 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Report documents ethnic killings as Uganda joins South Sudan fight 01-20-14, 05:46 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan civil war still no deterrent to Chinese firms 01-20-14, 05:41 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Key South Sudan town of Bor recaptured from rebels 01-20-14, 05:32 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • The Capital Upper Nile State is already retaken back by Ruach Wal Yat 01-14-14, 06:26 AM, Ruach Wal Yat
  • Bodies litter South Sudan oil town; peace talks resume 01-14-14, 05:10 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan crisis: US envoy meets rebel leader Machar 01-13-14, 03:54 PM, BBC News
  • S. Sudan’s Displaced: Running from Violence, Longing for Peace 01-13-14, 03:47 PM, Voice of America
  • Thousands Remain Displaced as South Sudan Talks Stall 01-13-14, 03:43 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • SPLA FORCES ARE CHASING MAJ. GEN. JAMES KOANG TO THE WHITE NILE 01-10-14, 06:10 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on South Sudan 01-10-14, 03:35 AM, SudaneseOnline Press Release
  • Uganda Lawmakers Demand Answers about Troops in South Sudan 01-02-14, 05:26 PM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan fighting continues ahead of Ethiopia talks 01-02-14, 05:22 PM, BBC
  • South Sudanese rebels arrive in Addis Ababa for ceasefire talks 01-01-14, 05:34 PM, Reuters
  • South Sudan's Warring Factions Agree On Ceasefire, Regional Block Says 12-31-13, 05:06 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • South Sudan’s Army Says Oil Heartland Is Safe From Rebellion 12-31-13, 05:01 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Uganda Warns South Sudan Rebel Leader 12-31-13, 04:58 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • African Union threatens S Sudan sanctions 12-31-13, 04:55 PM, SudaneseOnline News
  • The Nuer Community of North America Calls upon China, Russia and Iran 12-30-13, 09:52 PM, sudaneseonline
  • Civilians Trying to Flee South Sudan Violence Are Caught Between Two S 12-30-13, 09:49 PM, The New York Times
  • Uganda Deploys Troops to South Sudan Amid Unrest 12-30-13, 09:41 PM, Associated Press
  • South Sudan: UN peacekeeping force must protect civilians in peril 12-25-13, 02:05 AM, SudaneseOnline News
  • Former SSLA Gave Maj. Gen. James Koang Three Days to Return To The Gov 12-23-13, 04:27 AM, SudaneseOnline Press Release
  • South Sudan leaders must prevent 'disturbing' spread of violence 12-22-13, 01:51 AM, sudaneseonline
  • Massacre of Nuer civilians at The Hands of President Kiir’s Dinka mili 12-22-13, 01:49 AM, sudaneseonline
  • Former South Sudan Official wants to be Ruling Party’s Presidential Ca 11-27-13, 06:53 AM, Voice of America
  • Former South Sudan Official wants to be Ruling Party’s Presidential Ca 11-27-13, 06:52 AM, Voice of America
  • Former South Sudan Official wants to be Ruling Party’s Presidential Ca 11-27-13, 06:51 AM, Voice of America
  • South Sudan opposition leader returns from exile 11-02-13, 06:29 PM, AFP Agence France Presse
  • Kiir committed to resolving dispute with Sudan through dialogue 09-03-13, 07:27 PM, SudanTribune
  • Responding to Rice Claims: Foreign Ministry Affirms that Rebel moveme 09-02-13, 05:00 PM, SudaneseOnline News