By: Alsir Sidahmed
A decision adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) last week on Sudan and South Sudan signals to a new message that should be taken seriously and act upon it.
In a nutshell the world community has started to feel a Sudan fatigue. After years of involvement in Sudan wars and mediation without tangible outcome, those in the international community are feeling the sense of uselessness and fatigue.
Last Monday the 15-member UNSC adopted unanimously a resolution to reduce the number of force keeping peace in the disputed region of Abyei, urging the two parties of Sudan and South Sudan to engage into direct talks to settle the Abyei issue and threatened at the same time both countries that it may withdraw its support for the border monitoring force if no progress is being made. To send a clear message the resolution reduced the UN Abyei force, known as UNISFA troops from 5, 326 to 4, 791 and that the support for the monitoring mechanism will end in six months unless the two sides activate the monitoring mechanism.
The international community in its various formats be it the leading western countries, the Troika that includes the United States, Britain and Norway, the UN and its different agencies, the African Union and the IGAD have been investing heavily in Sudan for more than two decades first trying to put an end to the civil war, then the lengthy talks that led eventually to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) back in 2005 and the days after.
However, following the messy separation that took place and the birth of the new state of South Sudan six years ago all international and regional mediators got engaged in an effort to take the two countries to the era of living in peace with each other and within each other along the dictum put up by former US President Barak Obama.
It did not take long for the newest country on earth to get trapped into domestic violence. By late 2013 what has started as a power struggle between the elites in Juba expanded to be a civil war with clear tribal dimensions. Worst it seems no lesson has been learnt from the long war that enabled in the end the Southern Sudanese of exercising their right of self-determination and having their own state against what they saw as marginalization. The word marginalization with its various connotations came to dominate the political scene in Juba, but the culprit this time is the Dinka, who regardless of their sheer number of being the most numerous tribe in South Sudan is accused of exercising hegemony on other tribes.
Equally no lesson seems to have been learnt in the mother country Sudan. And the end result was the worst case scenario of ending up with separating the country without achieving peace. A new south has emerged in the form of the two areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces.
Though there is no active military operations in the two areas for almost two years and that both the government and rebel groups have been exchanging unilateral ceasefire declarations, but no formal one has been reached at yet despite regional and international mediation and pressures.
To complicate an already difficult situation the main rebel groups be it SPLA-N or those of Darfur are experiencing internal divisions that raises serious questions about the viability or durability of any peace deal that could be reached with each or any of them.
And that seems to be the source of frustration felt by the international community and well expressed in last week’s UNSC resolution.
The question now will the regional and international powers that have been involved in Sudan and South Sudan affairs throw the towel and give up? Most likely they may reduce their involvement, but will not give up completely and that is for a good reason.
Leaving failed states to continue in their failures in this strategic geopolitical location will simply invite more dangerous players to come to fill the vacuum. It happened before in Afghanistan, when the international community packed leaving behind Taliban ruling the difficult country. It did not take long for the western capitals to feel again the heat from the left behind Kabul in the form of terrorist activities.
The only option it seems is to keep on soldering from all sides hopefully somehow, sometime, something rational translated through political will could crop up.
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