Khartoum, (Sudanow)- South Sudan separation does not only mean the geographic division of Sudan’s map, but there are many consequences for the establishment of the newly born South Sudan State. These consequences are represented in internal challenges for the new state that would likely affect the Republic of Sudan or what the government officials term “the second Republic”.
Sudan is likely to be affected by South Sudan State’s external obligations including the repayment of the bill of the war against the central government in Khartoum, and therefore these challenges should be taken into account when taking any step towards working out a strategy for the Republic of Sudan and in a manner that preserves its security, stability and development.
Security challenges resulting of newly born state’s external relations: -
There are many possible security challenges that may arise after the separation of south Sudan and the establishment of the new State which depends, in its external relations, on six countries known for their sensitivity in dealing with the mother Sudanese government. The first of these countries is Israel. The major challenge before the government of south Sudan is the extent of its ability to create a balance in its relations with the Western group and the United States, then the African group and the Arab group, top of them Egypt, and above all else its relations with North Sudan.
Regarding the future South Sudan-Ugandan relations, they are likely to be “strategic ties” particularly that most of South Sudan’s major commodities come from Uganda together with most of the working force. Additionally, the presence of the Ugandan rebel Lord Resistance Army (LRA) on northern Uganda, i.e. on the border between south Sudan and Uganda, necessitates establishment of strategic cooperation and ties between the two sides to end the LRA presence which threatens the stability in both countries
As for Kenya, it constitutes an axis country for south Sudan; particularly that it has patronized the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and enjoys a special position in the relations with the newly born State.
In the meantime, Israel has recognized South Sudan as an independent State and affirmed that it was attaching great importance on the new state where Israel has been exchanging secret messages with the southerners for a long time.
In this respect, a statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Tel Aviv would not send a representative to participate in South Sudan independence celebrations, but it was intending to recognize the new state as soon as the United States and the European Union declare their stand on the issue, which of course they did.
Israel’s recognition of South Sudan State comes at the same time when the Israeli Foreign Ministry is launching a campaign to prevent the United Nations General Assembly from recognizing the State of Palestine. Israel justifies this contractive stance by saying that south Sudan would declare its independence following negotiations and after reaching an agreement and not through unilateral decision.
Furthermore, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered economic assistance for the new state while the southern Sudanese refugees appointed Bit Tiang as their official General Consul in Tel Aviv according to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper. Tiang told the paper that he was officially appointed General Consul of the Republic of South Sudan to Israel after he lived as a refugee in Israel. Netanyahu, meanwhile, addressing the Israeli cabinet, said they would be happy to cooperate with South Sudan State to ensure its development and flourish.
Internal challenges: -
The top of the internal challenges is the possibility of an outbreak of war between north and south Sudan due to the difference over border demarcation of Abyei area and other disputed border points on the 1956 borderline, or the issue of the law of the referendum on the affiliation of Abyei or failure to resolve the post-separation issues stipulated in the South Sudan referendum law.
The issue of Abyei is represented in the fact that the decision of the International Court of Arbitration in The Hague is not satisfactory to both population groups in the region, the Dinka Ngok and the Misseria tribes, where the first group believes they were denied the oil fields in Hijliege, while the second group considers the northern areas which were included to Abyei have actually penetrated too deep into their areas and denied them the lands upon which they and their cattle depend .
Additionally, the inclusion of the northern area of the 1956 borderline in Abyei constitutes a problem for the Dinka Ngok because it grants the Misseria the right to vote in the referendum on affiliation of Abyei, to Bahral-Ghazal in South Sudan or South Kordofan State in the north, as interpreted by the government. The Dinka are afraid that the Misseria would vote for joining Kordofan region.
However, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) does not acknowledge this right for the Misseria as it regards them as nomads who do not permanently live in the area, and the reason why they are not meant by what was stipulated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that the other Sudanese national living in Abyei should have the right to vote in the Abyei referendum. Nevertheless, and despite the agreement on the Abyei referendum law, yet the issue of who has the right to vote in the referendum remains outstanding and it has been referred to the Referendum Commission to decide on.
Salva Kiir, in his speech during South Sudan independence celebrations, said he would not forget Darfur and the marginalized people in Blue Nile and South Kordofan, which has witnessed a new armed rebellion; therefore the SPLM may support this new rebellion if the separation became tensed between north and south Sudan.
Prof. Ibrahim Ghandour of the National Congress Party (NCP) considered Kiir’s statements regarding those two states, as frivolous.
He further ruled out the possibility of involving the SPLM- northern sector in the government and rejected the movement’s threats that they would not hand over their arms until a political settlement was reached, saying that there was no room for any power and wealth sharing by force.
Additionally, the current tribal violence in South Sudan could possibly increase, where the SPLM, like usual, would accuse the NCP of supporting the violence in the south to find a pretext to support any rebellion that breaks out in the north, particularly in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States together with the Darfur region.
The security disorder and armed robbery activities are also expected to increase at the areas of tension (Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile) due to the political turbulence, spread of arms, poverty and increase of unemployment, particularly among the youth and university graduates, and insecurity, matter which could ultimately lead to foreign intervention.
Political hazards: -
Separation of south Sudan would definitely has political consequences in the north, namely in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Eastern Sudan which could possibly demand self-determination through the mechanism of popular consultation that could politically be utilized against the government. Furthermore, the country’s economic status, which would weaken after south Sudan’s oil revenues drop from the general budget, could further add to the tension at those areas.
The political tension between the government and the opposition would also increase where the northern Sudanese opposition parties would hold the ruling NCP the responsibility for south Sudan separation and the insecurity at other areas.
Among the internal hazards is that the international pressures on Sudan would increase, namely with regard to dealing with the International Criminal Court (ICC), the human rights, completion of the implementation of the remaining CPA items and others, mainly with the aim to force the government to respond to the demands of the people in Darfur and South Kordofan and Blue Nile State or changing the system
The economic challenges:
Most important of these challenges include the following: -
Sudan government’s loss of its share in south Sudan’s oil revenues, matter which might cause a number of economic problems for north Sudan. Here the government can compensate this deficit to some extend from the fees on transportation of south Sudan petroleum through the north’s pipeline and refineries through the north’s refineries if the two sides agreed on that matter after the separation. However, even this solution would not last for long because the SPLM is embarked on building a railway line from south Sudan to Mombasa Port in Kenya besides that it also tends to build its own refinery to break the link with the north. However, the establishment of such projects needs at least three years even if the necessary fund was in place. This was evident in a recent statement by the former Sudanese Minister of Petroleum Dr. Lual Deng who said that south Sudan petroleum would flow across north Sudan for at least the coming three years.
The economic situation will be tight and will not stand the cost of any military conflicts, insecurity or political unrest that may arise after the separation. To face such difficult situations, the State could possibly be forced to increase the taxes and customs fees without a similar increase in salaries and wages, matter which would aggravate the living burden on the medium and weak categories of the people who have been suffering for years from the hard living conditions which have not improved even after the extraction and exploitation of the country’s petroleum. Consequently, this may increase the political disorders.
Trade balance: South Sudan oil loss’ impact:
Sudanese economic expert Mohamed Al-Nayer said the trade balance has served Sudan all during the past years with a surplus amounting to around 2, 4 billion U.S dollars (2, 218, 964), adding that the improvement in the Gross National Product (GNP) jumped from 10 billion Dollars in 2000 to 65 billion Dollars in 2010.
However, Director of Sudan’s Customs authority, speaking to the Sudanese community in Jeddah recently, indicated that the reliance of the trade balance on the oil revenues caused the oil exports to reach %95 of the country’s total exports, matter which in turn led to increasing the country’s imports bill to reach more than 11 billion dollars. He said Sudan’s car imports alone jumped to over 600 million Dollars during the first six months and the oil imports to over one billion Dollars.
Nevertheless, Governor of Central Bank of Sudan Mohamed Khair Al-Zubair reassured that the country’s imports have dropped with %12 due to the positive decision on prohibiting importation of some commodities besides the drop in the value of a number of commodities.
Apart from the contradictive government reports on whether there would be an economic shock or not, the Sudanese economic expert Al-Nayer said the situation could be measured by the oil figures in both north and south Sudan.
He said north Sudan’s oil production represents %27 of the country’s total production while that of the south amounts to %73, explaining that according to the Naivasha agreement, this production is to be divided between north and south Sudan at %36.5 for each, and therefore, the north’s share after the separation would be 120000 barrels which are more than the north’s need which is set at 100000 barrels.
Al-Nayer went on to say that the country’s revenues of Gold would fill in the oil gap during the coming years.
In the meantime, Sudanese economic expert Prof. Issam Bob seemed more pessimistic and excluded gold from the economic circle, explaining that the government has not exerted the necessary effort to contain the gold revenues.
He said what the government has done was imposing taxes on gold and granting exploration privileges for foreign companies, saying that it would have been more feasible for the government to purchase the gold from private citizens with satisfactory prices and then store them in the Bank of Sudan.
In reality and despite the arguments of some, the truth is that the economy of the Second Republic would be affected with the loss of south Sudan’s oil revenues, particularly if we take into accounts some reports which indicated that the country would lose %20 of its GNP, 7 billion from its trade balance and a decrease in hard currency .