Sudan & South Sudan
In 2013, a new war began in South Sudan. Peace efforts the following thirteen months culminated in the Agreement of Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) between government and armed opposition signed in August 2015.
Many uncertainties surrounded the implementation of the 2015 agreement, and the initial power-sharing government collapsed in 2016. Following this, the Revitalising Agreement on Resolving the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS) was signed in 2018, under which a power sharing agreement was implemented in early 2020 (Pospisil et al, 2020).
The 2013 war is the third in South Sudan’s short post-colonial history. PSRP research on Sudan and South Sudan focus largely on what lessons can be drawn from earlier conflicts and agreements and how an inclusive and stable political settlements can be found.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that any solution to the on-going civil war in South Sudan will be different to those solutions fostered by previous peace agreements, as the current civil-war is now concerned with issues of nationhood within the independent nation of South Sudan (Akec et al, 2015). There is, however, no clear-cut perception among competitors for power at the national level how nationhood should look like (Pospisil, 2021, forthcoming).
Leading up to the 2013 conflict, Sudan (today Sudan and South Sudan) had seen three main peace agreements and interlinked conflicts and peace process (for full set of peace agreements see the PA-X Peace Agreements database in list form and timeline form):
– 1972 Addis Ababa agreement, which brought the first civil war in the south to an end;
– the Wunlit Conference of 1999, which opened the way for reconciliation of the two faction of the SPLA;
– the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ushered in the process leading to an independent South Sudan in 2011.
Bello-Schünemann (2019) argues the Comprehensive Peace Agreement did little to incentivize fundamental changes to Sudan’s political order and to address the root causes of Sudan’s complex conflict landscapes, instead reinforcing a pattern of political violence.
This trait that was largely repeated in the ARCSS agreement, which, through setting up for ‘winner-takes-all’ elections, reinforced political order based on violent competition for power and resources (Bello-Schünemann, 2019).
Whilst the peace agreements have eased top-level conflict, PSRP research finds that sustained peace needs to address the totality of conflict dynamics at work, including the multi-layered conflict environment and the structural drivers of violence (Bello-Schünemann, 2019; Pospisil et al, 2020).
In particular, Pospisil et al (2020) argue it is necessary to have an understanding of how armed conflict has proliferated and diversified far beyond the fault lines apparent in national politics, disputes among elites obscuring more localized violence often caused by marginalisation, intercommunal grievances, competition over resources and conflict between cattle-keepers and farmers, in order to understand the conflict management and deal making needed to create stability.
In South Sudan, as independence is no longer a uniting issue, local disputes and disagreements has resurfaced (Akec et al, 2015).
An understanding of how subnational conflicts relate to the broader conflict, and how issues of exclusion and inclusion stands at the heart of these conflicts, requires an understanding of how the citizens of South Sudan perceive the peace process and the politics of the transition. The voices of the people need to be heard in the negotiations (Pospisil et al, 2020; Akec et al, 2015).
In Sudan, long-term military ruler Bashir and the NCP fell in 2019 after months of peaceful but persistent popular protest. With Sudan facing a ‘twin transition’ from both armed conflict and authoritarianism, comparative cases suggest that the level of success of the transition is closely tied to the level of consensus on the need to replace the old regime (Pospisil, 2019).
Additionally, Pospisil (2019) finds that international actors should focus on how, for successful elections to take place, there is a need for a stable interim government, a plan for including armed actors in a political process, and a credible constitutional reform
The way in which exclusion has perpetuated existing grievances and led to violence in Sudan and South Sudan underlines the need for peace and dialogue to carefully consider the trade-offs of who is included and who is excluded from talks in both countries (Bello-Schünemann, 2019).
The multi-layered conflict environment in Sudan and South Sudan has seen extremely high use of violence against civilians as peace processes have broken down. Peace agreements and subsequent implementation efforts must ensure the protection of civilians, including from state forces (Bello-Schünemann, 2019; Akec et al 2015).
In addition to the challenges of internal conflict, Sudan and South Sudan face regional instability tied up to the Ethiopia’s construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the interlinked conflict with Egypt. PSRP research highlight the way in which region-wide approaches which incorporate human needs considerations have worked well in similar disputes in other regions by establishing mechanisms for cooperation which have often continued despite public interstate disagreement (Funnemark, 2020).
Key Publications: Sudan
Authors: Christine Bell, Sam Gluckstein, Robert Forster, and Jan Pospisil Key Findings: Military power-sharing is an effective tool for ending violence. Military power-sharing arrangements focus on the inclusion of...
Authors: Jan Pospisil, Laura Wise, and Christine Bell This research draws on discussions held at two Joint Analysis Workshops in October and November 2019 organised by the Political Settlements...
Authors: Christine Bell, Laura Wise, Juline Beaujouan, Tim Epple, Robert Forster and Robert Wilson This article argues that local peace agreements can be globalised in three main ways: Local...
Author: Astrid Jamar This article examines the articulation of commitments towards inclusion and victimhood agreed upon within peace processes. It builds on original and comprehensive empirical material to scrutinize...