By Louise Khabure, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, South Africa. Of January 2011 will be a momentous day for any southern Sudanese people The 9th. After 22 years of civil conflict between north and south Sudan the united states will hold a referendum on the right of south Sudan to secede and form an independent state. This paper describes the main element security problems facing Sudan of what the results of the referendum may be irrespective. Individuals in south Sudan – represented largely by the political party the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) – are predominantly African and follow Christian and animist beliefs.
While there are many underlying reasons for the north-south war, one of the main ones has been the quest for an Islamic and an openly pro-Arab political plan by the Sudanese federal government led by the National Congress Party (NCP). As the fault lines for the politics conflict are religious and racial, the financial cause of strife is the concentration of power and privilege within a narrow cohort within the NCP. This group of Northern elites is intent on controlling Sudan’s wealth through international oil and other industry contracts. Corruption and cronyism are rampant and little of the national wealth is used for development efforts in the South.
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To complicate issues further, the turmoil is not simply between the NCP, and the SPLM but consists of other political groupings in the Darfur and eastern Sudan (Beija) areas. To backtrack somewhat, the battle finished in July 2002 with the signing of the Machakos Protocol. This set the framework for the role of the state, like the status of religion, and acknowledged the right of southern Sudan to self-determination.
The putting your signature on of the process – mediated by retired Kenyan general, Lazaro Sumbeiywo, and sponsored by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD) – concluded the first round of peace discussions between your north and south. The CPA seeks to remold the skewed condition and promote a politics collaboration between your NCP and SPLM, while offering the south an obvious exit strategy if these terms are not met.
It can be an ambitious proposal covering an array of arrangements and procedures to be implemented during a six-year interim period, and it’s been widely criticized as well. In terms of the agreement, the south can pick to become an unbiased nation through a referendum. Meanwhile for the north an integral goal has been to make unity attractive by giving the southern an equitable stake in the state.
For the NCP there are two strategies. The one approach does not accept any referendum outcome apart from maintenance of nationwide unity; hence the energetic campaign for unity that has recently been set in place. Despite efforts to make unity attractive, the south considers this approach to be little too past due too. The next approach is political brinkmanship and reluctance for Khartoum administration to make meaningful concessions in relation to key outstanding issues such as border demarcation, wealth, and oil sharing, and citizenship. This plan is simply a fitness to save lots of face domestically and also to a large extent in the rest of the Arab world if the south does break away.