Khartoum may have once backed Riek, but Riek also once betrayed Khartoum. Interests are not fixed over time. Today’s paradox is that while Khartoum has enjoyed and encouraged some instability in South Sudan, even after independence, too much instability in South Sudan hurts Khartoum’s interests. An existential threat to the government in Juba (much like an existential threat to the government in Khartoum) brings for the other side destabilising uncertainty, the possible retraction of existing commitments on oil, trade and cooperation, and security complications in the borderlands.
Originally published by the Security Sector Reform Resource Centre on February 1, 2011:
January in Sudan was dominated by anticipation for and the conduct of Southern Sudan’s self-determination referendum, with approximately 4 million voters going to the polls to choose whether to split Africa’s largest country. Provisional results show an overwhelming vote for an independent Southern Sudan, which will likely become Africa’s 55th sovereign state on July 9, 2011, the concluding date of Sudan’s 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Another important development with as much symbolism for Southern Sudan’s future relations with northern Sudan received far less coverage: the birth of Southern Sudan’s air force.