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I’ve left the blog untended for too long. In case you missed them, here are four recent articles I have authored or co-authored about this eventful time:
November: Historian Douglas Johnson, geographer Matthew Pritchard and I wrote ‘After the Khartoum Agreement: Boundary Making and the 32 States in South Sudan,’ a briefing published by the Rift Valley Institute. While a new national government and revised security arrangements are the focus of South Sudan’s September 2018 peace deal, the accord also establishes two new commissions to decide the number of states and their boundaries. We discuss the history of boundary-making in South Sudan, and the prospects for the new commissions to resolve the underlying disagreements.
September: I discuss what is new (and not) in the September 2018 peace agreement in South Sudan, consider why the government agreed to the deal, and explain the agreement’s risks in this USIP briefing.
August: Payton Knopf and I discuss the South Sudan mediation context, and the evolving roles of Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia in the process. And earlier in the month, with serious deficiencies in the draft agreement still in the (as then unsigned) text, I warn ‘that any agreement, should, at minimum, not make things any worse. If not corrected, certain provisions in the agreement may directly spur new violence,’ in an op-ed for The Hill.
South Sudan faces an existential crisis. More than four million people – between a third and half of the population – are displaced from their homes. Nearly eight million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. The economy is in tatters. After almost four years of civil war, conflict has devolved into fighting across multiple fronts.
In an attempt to address the ongoing crisis, the Horn of Africa’s regional organisation, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), initiated the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) in June. The forum is intended to revive an effectively defunct 2015 peace accord, the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS), which collapsed following fighting in Juba in July 2016 between government forces and the armed opposition loyal to former First Vice President Riek Machar.
Last week, African Arguments published my article on the perils and limitations of the recent international call for a comprehensive ceasefire in South Sudan.
I argue that:
The achievement of peace in South Sudan is not, and has never been, dependent on demands made from New York, Washington, Addis Ababa or Nairobi. It has always depended on the South Sudanese. But as the fighting in the country continues, international actors should be aware that even an apparently uncontroversial policy such as the demand for a ceasefire can have complex, and potentially adverse, implications.
Read the full text here.