The Elusive Peace in Sudan

After ten years of horror in Darfur, few peace agreements have been signed to end the violence in western Sudan.

peace-sudanPeace remains elusive in Sudan. Daily rape of women and young girls, killing, looting, tribal fighting and indiscriminate civilian bombings by the Khartoum government continue to threaten peace agreements between the Sudanese government and the rebel movements fighting in Darfur.

Despite international and regional efforts to end the tragedy in Darfur and the enormous amount of international aid spent in the past decade, 1.5 million Sudanese still live in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. Moreover, the people of Darfur continue to suffer from a lack of security and the absence of law.

Almost eight years have now passed since signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the most significant peace agreement in Sudan between the government and the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement/Army. This movement led the fighting against the Sudanese government in South Sudan for 23 years until the signing of the CPA in 2005. Just five years later Southern Sudanese voted for Independence from Sudan, and created their own independent country on July 9, 2011.

After decades of civil war, Sudan and South Sudan are on the brink of war

Although neither side can afford such a war, both show an inability to avoid one and remain incapable of achieving a genuine and lasting peace agreement.

Several weeks before the secession of South Sudan, the old allies of the Southern Sudanese people in the Nuba mountains/southern Kordofan state felt abandoned. They found themselves alone as minorities in the new Islamic/Arab country of Sudan. This frustration was fueled by the complicated situation of the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Abiey, known as the “Three Areas.”

The people in the Three Areas supported the SPLM/Army during the civil war based on shared grievances of marginalization by the Khartoum central government. However the CPA focused only on the South Sudan situation and left the Three Areas future undefined.

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Yet on June 5, 2011, after the disputed elections of the Southern Kordofan state governor, the people in the Nuba Mountains decided to manage their own destiny. They sought to fight the Sudanese government once more under the leadership of the north sector of the SPLM/Army now known as the SPLM/North. Two months later the war in the Blue Nile erupted, and the Tow Areas of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile were described by some observers as the “New South of Sudan.”

Therefore, all of Sudan’s peace agreements became insufficient and incomplete. Neglecting the root causes of the conflicts made the peace agreements the most expensive and the most fragile, in spite of  the support and the sponsorship of international players such as the United States and United Kingdom. This raises the fears of absolute failure in reaching a sustainable and comprehensive solution in Sudan.

Such fears are justified. When we see the same methods of ignorance and mistakes of the past again and again, the Sudanese people will continue to suffer and war will remain inevitable.

This article has been modified since original publication in Sharnoff’s Global Views.

Osman Naway is a Nuba human rights defender and blogger. He is also the General Director of the Arry Organization for Human Rights. Follow him @OsmanNawayPost.

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