Why Sudan is Doomed to Chaos: Ten Good Reasons
There are ten reasons why Sudan is doomed to chaos, why the 2010 elections will not take place and why conflict eruption is imminent in 2010.
The option of the 2010 referendum is simply not going to take place. I hate to be the one raising this point. But this is the reality of things, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. In few months, conflict will escalate in both Darfur and the South and all the dreams about the CPA implementation will shatter into pieces.
The differences between the North and the South will surface and become more difficult to manage and eventually result in armed clashes.
Traditional political parties will see an opportunity to overthrow the government and replace Beshir and as a result will conspire to fuel the tensions and provide assistance and support to the armed groups on all the active and dormant fronts.
With the failure of the elections to take place in 2010 (for the reasons presented below) and the frustration of the South that the referendum will not take place as well, confrontations between the government forces and the SPLA will intensify with possible declaration of an independent South Sudan state, supported by the USA that will use its advocacy machine to criminalize the Beshir government and that it did not respect the CPA and might eventually call for military intervention and a UN monitored and protected referendum.
There are so many reasons to anticipate this scenario; I will however mention only ten of these reasons:
1. Abeyei issue in not completely resolved yet. The Missireya did not accept the ruling and have strong reasons to fight back and forth because of basic cultural and livelihoods reasons. Even if we are trying to be positive here and downplayed what the Missirya can do, Hafiz Mohammed, of Justice Africa, raised a yet very legitimate question in his post “Abeyei Beyond the Arbitration Decision”, 1 August 2009: “The main question is who is going to oversee the implementation of the ICA’s resolution especially redrawing the borders at the time of lack of trust between the two parties to the CPA?” Just as a reminder, a similar decision was made by ICA for the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia on April 2002, the implementation remains a challenge up to this day.
2. The responsibility for the Sudan foreign debts (estimated at $36 billion) is not resolved yet. The question is that: will this debt remains as the sole responsibility of the North of Sudan, or is it going to be shared between the North and the South in case of secession? The South believes that it is the responsibility of the North, the North claims, on the other hand, that the debt was partially for projects in the South.
3. France will not support the secession of the South and the formation of a U.S embraced independent state in the South, and will support the North not to allow that happen.
4. Secession of the South will pose an unanswered question as to what will happen to the Southerners who live in the North if the South became an independent state. Actually, even their participation in the upcoming referendum remained a controversial issue between the North and the South for quite a while.
5. Egypt has strong concerns on the Nile water agreement, and would not like to see an independent South Sudan posing a new challenge for revisiting the Nile Water distribution agreement. Sudan’s quota distribution between, the mostly Sahara desert, North of Sudan and the rich Savannah South that controls the sources of one tributary of the River Nile, was not discussed in case of secession. For both the North of Sudan and Egypt this is a matter of paramount national security and survival concerns and both are prepared to go to extremes to make sure secession will never happen.
6. The North of Sudan ideology of political Islam, threatened by the potential of having strong ally of the war on terror in the independent state of South Sudan (a potential monkey on their back), will strive to make sure not to take that chance. U.S open aggression and sanctions on the North are expected to escalate at high proportions in case of secession. There are indications that the U.S sanctions and positions are softer now because of the U.S realization that at the current status quo Sudan means both the North and the South and the U.S would never like to hurt their ally in the South by imposing stricter measure on the whole of Sudan.
7. The presence of Abdel Wahid Nur in Paris, as one pawn for the French foreign policy on Sudan and as the protector of its challenged interests in the North, will make it very difficult for any deal to solve the Darfur problem to be realized and will easily compromise any meaningful election process in that region and consequently the whole 2010 expectations. With the French influence, Nur is destined to reject any U.S peace initiative in Darfur and is very much expected to escalate his military activities in the next few months to destabilize the region and prevent the elections. Darfur is actually doomed to be the battleground for the French and the U.S struggle for influence and Darfur is highly linked to both the elections and the consequent referendum of the South.
8. The participation of the SPLA/M in the elections of 2010 is another tricky area. There is an unanswered question of what will happen if these elections led to the SPLA/ M taking the power seat or any significant positions in the North, followed by the referendum resulting in the secession of the South. For the South, the nomination of a person for presidency seems to be still an unresolved problem because of the internal ethnic calculations, but also because of inherent divide over the issue of unity and secession.
9. Until this point, both the SPLA and the North government could not reach an agreement regarding the percentage of Southerners who should vote for referendum results to be considered. The CPA does not provide any details on this. The government suggested two thirds while the SPLA insists on 50%+1. SPLA is threatening to boycott the elections if no agreement is reached. Without SPLA participation no elections can take place in 2010, and without elections no referendum can take place in 2011 as well.
10. Within the diversity of the South and the apparent failure of the SPLA to provide a model of governance to the Southerners that is attractive enough for SPLA/M to be considered as a good option for all, it is expected that the internal conflicts within the movement, rival ethnic groups of the SPLA, and the dissatisfaction resulting from corruption and misuse of power, will all result in creating real challenges for the SPLA capacity as a potential leader of a new state and will consequently result in escalation of conflict in the South prior to the elections.