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iconKEY CHALLENGES Updated December 31, 2009

Section Contents:  NATIONAL ISSUES - Introduction | Clash of Identities | Centre-Periphery | Local Struggles | Consolidating the State | "Brute Causes" | Gender Issues | LOCAL ISSUES | Eastern Sudan | Kordofan | Northern Sudan | Southern Sudan | Darfur | UNAMID ISSUES | Deployment | Regional Dimension | Chronic Insecurity | Peace Process | ICC Process | Prospects | UNMIS ISSUES - CPA Terms and Issues | Security Issues | Regional Dynamics | Prospects

NATIONAL ISSUES - Introduction

The structure and content of this page draws heavily on Alex de Waal's study "Sudan - What Kind of State? What Kind of Crisis?". In this study, de Waal notes that in its half century of independent statehood, Sudan has only rarely and briefly been at peace. Analyst Alex de Waal has established five hypotheses which, in his view, can account for the outbreak and continuation of conflicts in the country:

Clash of identities and its variant, the fruitless search for a cohesive identity;

Centre-periphery inequality and economic exploitation;

Conflict over scarce resources;

Intra-elite competition at the centre and the struggle to consolidate the state;

"Brute causes": criminality, individual agency and the perpetuation of a cycle of violence;

These hypotheses will be explored further below. Alex de Waal draws three main conclusions from his analysis:

Sudan's conflict is over-determined. Each of the different hypotheses has some traction. The multiplicity of causes of the crisis makes Sudan's conflicts peculiarly intractable;

The dominant elite, though unable to resolve its internal differences and establish a consolidated state, can continue to survive and even prosper amid disorder and crisis in the peripheries;

The road to stability lies through Khartoum. Stability at the center is the key if progress is to be made on all other issues facing Sudan. The promise of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is national democratic transformation, buts its sequence of elections-referendum-forging of national identity appears to be a recipe for instability, and its power-sharing formula appears to be likely to result in deadlock.


Clash of Identities

While the war between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the SPLM/A in the South was not simply a matter of religious differences, it was argued that the various factors contributing to the conflict found expression in religious terms. Since religion had been so significant in defining communal identity, issues such as racial discrimination and the disparity in wealth and power between North and South were seen by many as inseparable from religion.

The potency of religion within this context was derived from both its influence on ethnic identity and the close link between nationalism and religious beliefs. These two issues came together in what Francis Deng called the "war of visions" for the country. The predominantly Muslim North has historically perceived Sudan as a single country composed of one people divided by colonial powers. Northern policies subsequently sought to "re-unite" the country through a process of Arabization and Islamization. Such policies, however, generated antagonism among the southern population whose indigenous cultural values combined with Christianity to create a common identity, one defined largely in opposition to Northern attitudes and policies. Because government policy since independence has by and large disregarded Sudan's multi-religious character and the South's contrasting identity, conflict and civil war remained endemic.

Contrary to the civil war between North and South, the Darfur conflict cannot be characterized in religious terms but color-based and Arab-African labels have been widely used, not least by the belligerents themselves. Some scholars and activists believe that Darfurians are (and have been) on the receiving end of deep-rooted racism.



'Centre-periphery marginalization' is considered to be one of the root causes of Sudan's conflicts. Much of Sudan's national wealth has a tendency to flow to Khartoum without being redistributed to the country's underdeveloped rural regions. This trend seems to be part of a more fundamental pattern of long standing economic disparities, political exclusion and social and cultural deprivation in the distribution of political and economic power between the centre and the peripheries. The country inherited from colonialism a highly centralized authoritarian governance system and an uneven pattern of regional development. These structural elements shaped the later evolution of the modern Sudanese state and contributed to the marginalization of the peripheries, especially in the South. Both factors are mutually reinforcing, since in authoritarian systems economic and social development is often dependent on political leverage and access to political power. Without political backing, marginalized groups and regions have only limited access to social and economic services and institutions.


Local Struggles

A number of commentators, journalists and analysts have recently focused on competition for natural resources (land, livestock and water), increasingly scarce due to global warming, as the trigger of the conflict in Sudan. An example for the link between conflict and the demand for natural resources is the great drought and famine of 1984-85, which led to localized conflicts that generally pitted pastoralists against farmers in a struggle for diminishing resources, culminating in the Fur-Arab war of 1987-89. Sudan, along with other countries in the Sahel belt, has suffered several long and devastating droughts in the past few decades, the UNEP assessment pointed out. The scale of historical climate change, as recorded in Northern Darfur, is almost unprecedented: the reduction in rainfall has turned millions of hectares of already marginal semi-desert grazing land into desert. The impact of climate change is considered to be directly related to the conflict in the region, as desertification has added significantly to the stress on the livelihoods of pastoralist societies, forcing them to move south to find pasture.

Throughout Sudan's recorded history, pastoralists resisting the shrinkage and degradation of rangelands have been at the centre of local conflicts: competing with other groups for choice grazing land; moving and grazing livestock on cropland without consent; reducing competition by forcing other pastoralists and agriculturalists off previously shared land, said the UN agency's report. In this context, it is important to emphasize that the UN agency considers the pastoralists versus agriculturalists theory simplistic. "The rural ethnic and livelihood structures of Sudan are so complex and area-specific that any summary of the issue of resource competition on a national scale is, by definition, a gross simplification. For instance, traditional pastoralist and agricultural societies in Sudan are not always clearly separated: in many areas, societies (families, clans and even whole tribes) practice a mixture of crop-growing and animal-rearing.


Consolidating the State

Every single political crisis in Sudan since the mid-1970s has been directly related to a financial crisis at the centre of state power and a struggle to control state revenues and parallel sources of finance. In each case the core problem was insufficient funds available to finance either the war effort or the patronage machine. In each case the ruler has used short-term stratagems of rent-seeking (including running up debts) or predation to secure the necessary funds, usually reconfiguring political alliances in order to secure the money. Those with least finance on offer’Äîsuch as the Southerners’Äîare repeatedly and doubly disadvantaged by these manouevres, because they are marginalized in the governing coalition and are subject to the depredations of those who are well-placed.

The combination of a financial system based on plunder and rent-seeking and the unstable politics of unresolved competition to control these plunder and rents have locked Sudan into protracted turbulence. Successive leaders of Sudan had the choice between using outright repression or cutting bargains with those elites in which the state put its institutions at the service of private interests. Nimeiri and Bashir both tried the first, briefly, and it didn't work. The second is standard practice. One fundamental challenge facing Sudan is reconstituting the finances of the central government in such a way that the country's commercial elites have a vested interest in stable and productive peripheries.


"Brute Causes"

In addition to the four hypotheses outlined above, Alex de Waal also discussed the so-called 'brute causes' approach, which - contrary to a focus on root causes - concentrates on how and why political and social conflict becomes violent. According to de Waal, there are three main variants of this approach:

Because of the difficulty in obtaining a consensus for any policy that is proactive and constructive, the default option prevails, which is to allow those groups within the power structure that are ready to act, to have a free hand to deal with the immediate manifestations of the problem without regard to the long-term consequences. This structure feature of Sudanese governance would then lead to a pattern whereby the most ruthless and/or opportunistic individuals repeatedly hold the initiative.

War creates war. Wars result in plentiful availability of small arms and men trained in their use. On the demand side, previous wars and nearby wars create motives for armed conflict. Every war and every peace deal leaves a legacy of unresolved grievance.

Most potent of all is the interaction between demand and supply. A military entrepreneur in a powerful position can create the demand for and manage supply of the means of violence, gaining political clout and material benefit. The threshold for initiating armed conflict is lowered


Gender Issues

A number of constraints continue to challenge the implementation of women's rights, including patriarchal customs and continuous conflict between written law and customary/religious laws, according to the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).

In the ongoing Darfur crisis, women and girls remain vulnerable to sexual attacks in remote areas when they go out to fetch water or take their wares to the market, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Regarding the protection of women's rights, Sudan has not ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.



Eastern Sudan

Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement

After about 10 years of low-intensity guerrilla warfare in Eastern Sudan, during which the eastern rebels allied themselves with the SPLA and the Darfur rebels and received support from Eritrea, the GoS and the Eastern Front, composed of the Beja Congress and the Rashaida Free Lions, signed the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement on 14 October 2006. Eritrea mediated the negotiations and hosted the signing and celebration of the Agreement

The Agreement reflects the principles agreed upon in both the CPA and the DPA and highlights the concepts of a united, independent and sovereign State, one that is multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-racial, and where the recognition and respect for diversity are the basis for national cohesion.  Respect and promotion of human rights, political pluralism, peaceful transition of power through fair and free elections, and sustainable development are fundamental within a federal system of government with equal and effective participation of women.

Background to Agreement

The predominant characteristics of the Eastern region (Red Sea State, Kassala State and El-Gedaref State) are ethnic diversity and political and economic marginalization. Like other peripheral regions of the Sudan, the majority of Eastern people have been neglected by the central government and isolated from economic and political participation due to the domination of the Sudanese state since independence by riverine-based elites.

With a population of nearly 4 million, principally low-density rural inhabitants that are pastoralists or agro-pastoralists, the region displays an uneven distribution of wealth. The economy is based primarily on large-scale agriculture and the activities of Port Sudan, where an oil pipeline terminates its trajectory across the Eastern States. Both are significant sources of state revenue and make the East one of the country's wealthier regions. However, although these economic activities profit the few who own the farms and port companies and provide a steady income for employees, they represent little benefit to the nomads and small-scale farmers in the rural areas. The Red Sea State has one of the highest levels of poverty in the country, with a per capita income of just $93 in 2004, according to one household survey.

Agricultural schemes have a long history in Eastern Sudan, where the Tokar delta has been planted with cotton since the 1860s, and the British established the Gash scheme in 1924 and the Ghamdambaliya scheme in Gedaref in 1945. Although these large mechanized farming projects provide considerable income for certain sectors they have also undermined traditional lifestyles and migration routes resulting in a weakened capacity of the tribal nomads to survive the fluctuations of their environment and eco-system, such as the major droughts and famine occurring over the past two decades. Pastures and livestock have been decimated and food insecurity and chronic poverty have reached crisis proportions.

Social and Ethnic composition

The major ethnic groups of the Eastern Sudan are the Beja, who are pastoralists or agro-pastoralists and include the Bishariyyn, Hadendwa, Amar'ar/Atmaan people, the Beni Amer, often included among the Beja, however with different linguistic roots and cultural characteristics who reside on both sides of the Eritrea / Sudan border, and the Rashaida, Bedouins who entered Sudan from the Northern Arabian Peninsula during the 19th century and still move across the borders as traders and/or smugglers.

The Shukriyya, farmers and pastoralists who were granted land by the King of Sinnar during the Funj kingdom (1504-1821), are currently the largest Arab tribes in Gedaref. The urban areas of Kassala, Port Sudan and Gedaref have mixed populations where Sudanese from Khartoum and other parts of the country have migrated, many of whom are government administrators and businessmen. A strong urban / rural divide exists, ethnically, socially, politically and economically.

Political background

The Beja Congress was established in the 1950's and has since been an active political force in the region with changing alliances over the years between the DUP and the NDA, and evolving into an armed force in the 1990s. The Eastern Front was formed in 2005 when the Beja Congress joined forces with Rashaida Free Lions. Although the Beja Congress was inherently a political organization reticent to resort to arms there was a strong feeling in the East that as democratic institutions were non-existent and the NCP would not allow change through political channels, it would have to be fought for militarily.

The Wali's, or Governors, of the states are not elected locally but are appointed by the central government.  They therefore do not represent the majority population nor are they accountable to those they are meant to represent.  The tribes have their own traditional structures and authorities, or Nazirs, who interact politically with the Walis as well as resolving conflicts among the tribes.

Regional Dynamics

The struggles in Eastern Sudan have involved a wider participation than just the signatories to the ESPA, in part due to alliances with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). According to some analysts in 2005, Eritrea supported the JEM in establishing a presence in Eastern Sudan with about 2,000 troops, mainly Darfurian migrants resident in Gedarif. However with the signing of the ESPA the Eritreans requested the withdrawal of JEM forces.

Looking more broadly at the Horn of Africa, the enduring volatile political situation in Somalia is a real threat not only to the ESPA, but to the stability in the whole region. Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan are involved in the Somali situation, and these countries are vital for political and military stability in the region. Analysts have claimed the ESPA was largely a bi-product of a larger process of reconciling the governments of Sudan and Eritrea and restructuring the security architecture of the Horn.

The unpredictable relationship between Sudan and Eritrea also constitutes a threat to the ESPA. Since 1993, Sudan-Eritrean relations have experienced periods that bordered on open war at various stages.

For almost 45 years since the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) launched an armed struggle on what was then the Sudanese-Ethiopian border, regimes in Khartoum, Addis Ababa and later Asmara have supported one another's dissidents. The ESPA calls for an end to the support but it will be some time before it can be ascertained whether the commitment to that provision is sincere. Experience in the Horn of Africa is that even when governments stop supporting each other's dissidents, they do not disband them, understanding only too well how quickly conditions and relations can change. Moreover, given the widespread allegations that the NCP has not followed through on its commitments under the CPA and the DPA, where it is confronting much stronger armed groups, there are doubts as to its sincerity in implementing the ESPA.

Current Status of Peace Agreement

The principal merit of the agreement is that it brought the war to an end and averted a more serious humanitarian crisis in Eastern Sudan. However, eighteen months after the signing little progress has been made towards its implementation. According to insiders, internal debates within the Eastern Front delayed the naming of officials to enter government posts.  According to the UN Secretary-General (S/2007/500), only after high level bi-lateral discussions in Asmara, three leaders of the Eastern Front were appointed to senior level posts in the GoNU in May 2007, and in June of that year others were appointed as deputies to the National Assembly. Although the Parties acknowledged in January 2008 (S/2008/64) that implementation mechanisms had been established and the Eastern Sudan Rehabilitation Fund would begin executing projects in 2008, it was also noted that full implementation of the agreement would require further work.  According to news reports, in March 2008, the Eastern Sudan Rehabilitation Fund Board, chaired by the GoS, approved a number of projects to be implemented through 2008.  The GoS committed to implement the relevant ESPA provisions and had 275 million Sudanese Dinar budgeted for 2008.

Concerns expressed over the ESPA revolve around the issues of the inclusion of Gedaref State in the same categories as the Red Sea and Kassala States, the absence of clear modalities for implementation of the agreement and representation of the different ethnic groups in political office. Many groups in Gedaref resent giving the Hadendowa, Beni Amir and Rashaida (marginal in Gedaref in terms of numbers) greater power than that of other significant groups. Suggestions have been made for the creation of an East-East Dialogue to bridge ethnic divisions and rivalries created first by the war, and then by the peace process.

Other analysts question how the $600m development fund can be equitably managed by a board chaired by NCP, and that a necessary focus of a democratic process should be voting out the NCP - if and when elections are permitted.

Some observers note the absence of international or regional powers as guarantors of the ESPA and believe that without international participation there is no guarantee that the government will abide by the provisions of the Agreement. The agreement was brokered by Eritrea, which hosted and facilitated the negotiations. There are already some who argue that Eritrea pressured the Eastern Front to sign. However others believe that due to antipathy felt by the NCP and the Eritrean government towards the United Nations and the USA, their exclusion made it possible to sign these agreements within the relatively short time frame they did.

Although regional and national elections are stipulated in the CPA, there is growing concern that the lack of interest demonstrated by the NCP and the SPLM in the elections might jeopardize whether or not they will take place as scheduled, and if they will be free and fair. The success of the ESPA is dependent upon democratic transformation, and many believe, an electoral defeat of the NCP. According to some, the signing of this agreement may extend the life of the government for a few years. Not only does the achievement of another peace agreement marginally increase the stature and legitimacy of the NCP, and demonstrate its responsiveness to international and SPLM/A pressures, it also eases tensions with Eritrea and has permitted the transfer of troops from the East to Darfur. The Eritrean government was also a major beneficiary of the agreement through limiting the numbers of the SAF in the East and to disband the SAF allied armed groups along the Eritrean border. Security has been elevated on this front at a moment when tensions continue between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The open border should also ease economic pressures in the country.


In her analysis of stability and development in Southern Kordofan, Sara Pantuliano identified both structural and immediate causes. Pantuliano considers the most important structural causes to be the following:

Land access: The problem of land ownership, access and use rights was deferred by the CPA to the post-agreement phase through the Southern Kordofan Land Commission. The Commission has however not been set up and land conflicts are rife in the region, exacerbated by the arrival or returning IDPs and refugees.

Political marginalization: The feeling of lack of genuine representation has always been pervasive amongst Nuba communities, who often describe themselves as 'second class citizens'. This feeling continues today amongst groups which supported the uprising and is fuelled by a perception that the integration of the SPLM alongside the NCP in the state government in Kadugli is far from genuine. On December 30, 2009, the National Assembly attempted to address this issue.  It passed the People's Consultation Act that would allow the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile State to vote on whether or not they wanted more autonomy.  The legislation, however, does not fully clarify what autonomy would mean for the residents of South Kordofan and Blue Nile State.

Economic marginalization: Southern Kordofan has historically suffered from lack of basic services, acute underdevelopment, disproportionate economic marginalization and rampant poverty. Very little progress has been made since the signing of the CPA. The lack of a tangible peace dividend has created widespread resentments against the Government of National Unity in Kadugli.

Identity issues: The process of Arabization and Islamization implemented by successive central governments exacerbated feelings of racial, cultural and religious discrimination which already prevailed amongst Nuba communities in the 1980s. Furthermore, the creation of tribal militia has produced ethnic cleavages and fostered deep-seated enmities which will take many decades to heal.

Several observers have pointed out that the "three areas" protocol of the CPA, as well as its aftermath, have created immense resentment and controversy among many Kordofan residents.  As Kordofan continues to suffer from an attention deficit, and without peace dividends, the dangers of renewed violent conflict and humanitarian crisis in the region are real and acute.

 The implementation of the CPA in Southern Kordofan has been subject to numerous delays, in particular as regards the formation of the state government and institutions.  The lack of integration between the NCP and SPLA at various levels of state government has solidified the existence of parallel mechanisms and institutions and fostered the progressive isolation of former SPLM areas, which have turned into separate cantonments and has hampered relief and recovery efforts, complicated by limitations on freedom of movement of government authorities and NGOs. The massive return of IDPs and refugees (an estimated 600,000 throughout the region) has exacerbated the lack of services and infrastructure in these areas.

Delays in the redeployment of forces and the proliferation of armed militia have also weakened stability in the area. Some SPLA units have moved south of the 1-1-56 line and others have gone to assembly areas to await 'redeployment', but many still remain in former SPLM strongholds within Southern Kordofan. The integration of Other Armed Groups (OAG) such as the PDF into the SAF also continues to create tension, as the PDF demands absorption into the SAF and compensation for the years of fighting alongside the Sudanese army. There is a perception that both the SAF and the SPLA are arming local groups, respectively Arab nomads and the Nuba people.

The International Crisis Group, in its recent full fledged report on the situation in South Kordofan warned that both Nuba and Misseriya communities have become increasingly intolerant and frustrated at their marginalization by the CPA parties and the lack of peace dividends, to the extent that they could well resort to armed insurgencies if their needs are not met soon.

In response to the volatile situation in the region, UNMIS has re-aligned its force and established a strengthened presence in Southern Kordofan and Abyei, improved security of the El Obeid Logistics Base through the deployment of a quick reaction force, and extended monitoring and verification activities through the establishment of new team sites.

Northern Sudan

Much like the other peripheral regions of Sudan, groups in northern Sudan have long had their grievances with Khartoum, driven by the familiar claims of political and economic marginalisation. Nubian leaders claim their culture is at risk and want help resisting "Arabization" policy from Khartoum.

In northern Sudan the government moved forward with construction of two major hydropower dams in Merowe and Kajbar, despite protests from local communities and human rights campaigners. The Merowe dam was officially inaugurated by President Bashir in March 2009.  The construction of the Merowe dam has already displaced over 10,000 people, and has been hotly contested by the Manassir and the neighbouring Amri and Hamadab.  All three communities will lose their traditional homelands.  Numerous negotiations have failed to address adequately their demands for resettlement and compensation, leading to tension and clashes in which civilians have been killed and arrested by security forces. 

The second project is further north, around Kajbar, which will affect thousands more and threatens to submerge parts of the ancient Nubian homeland, much of which was already lost when Egypt completed the Aswan High Dam in 1964. It faces near unanimous opposition from the Nubian community.  The evolving situation and human rights and humanitarian concerns are highlighted in the regular reporting by the UN Secretary-General on Sudan to the Security Council.

Human Rights Issues

The human rights situation in Sudan, and in particular in the Darfur region, continues to be catastrophic.  Throughout the country violations are systemic, with many incidents of arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and torture, unfair trials and the absence of freedom of expression.

On 28 November 2008, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reported on human rights violations committed by security forces and both aligned and non-aligned militias in Southern Sudan and Darfur, implicating them in extrajudicial killings; torture, rape, and other cruel, inhumane treatment or punishment by security forces; arbitrary arrest and detention; interference with the judiciary and denial of due process; obstruction of the delivery of humanitarian assistance; and  restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, religion, and movement.  Security forces and militia were also accused of harassment of IDPs; violence and discrimination against women; child abuse, including sexual violence and recruitment of child soldiers, particularly in Darfur; discrimination and violence against ethnic minorities; and forced labor, including child labor, by security forces and both aligned and non-aligned militias in Southern Sudan and Darfur.

The large scale and ongoing grave and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur are well documented, with numerous reports of very serious human rights violations and abuses.  Victims of sexual and physical violence often described their attackers as members of the Sudanese Armed Forces or armed militias, with the great majority of the violent crimes going unpunished as arrests and prosecution of perpetrators are rare.  The UN has accused Sudanese security forces of indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force, resulting in the killing of civilians.  In Khartoum, the Sudanese national intelligence and security service (NISS), military intelligence and police have been found responsible for human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, torture and use of excessive force. Political detainees, Darfuris and others from marginalized areas, as well as students are routinely subjected to ill-treatment. The SPLM and Northern opposition parties have called upon the NCP to end the NISS's power of arrest and seizure.  The NCP did introduce and pass legislation on December 20, 2009 that would reform the security and intelligence service.  However, it fell short of the opposition's demands and simply limited the amount of time the NISS could detain suspects

At least 10,000 inhabitants of the northern Nile valley were forcibly evicted from their homes and land as water levels rose after the closure of the Merowe hydropower dam in July 08. Residents who remained in the area had opposed governmental relocation plans. They were not offered alternative housing in line with the agreement they had reached with the authorities, and have received neither compensation nor adequate humanitarian

assistance. Demonstrations are regularly met with excessive force and in June 2008, during a peaceful march in connection with protests against the Kajbar Dam in Northern Sudan the police killed four demonstrators and arrested dozens of others.  Detainees, including journalists, were held incommunicado for up to 10 weeks and warned not to report on the subject. In December 2009, demonstrations led to the arrest of high-level opposition leaders.  Protestors took to the streets over a law passed by the NCP without the consultation of the SPLM and other opposition parties that insufficiently limited the power of the NISS.  Police arrested, among many others, Pagan Amum, the SPLM Secretary-General, and Abbas Juma, a SPLM representative in the parliament and Minister of the Interior.  The government also outlawed demonstrations, claiming that they threatened Sudan's security and stability.

Political repression in Sudan is routine.  In July 2008, the President of the Umma Party Reform and Renewal and other political figures were arrested with supporters, including many former army officers, and accused of planning a coup.  The authorities issued an order forbidding the press to discuss the matter in the press.  Similarly, Hassan al-Turabi, the leader of the Popular Congress Party, has been arrested on numerous occasions.  Most recently, Sudanese security officers arrested Turabi on January 14, two days after he urged Bashir to surrender to the ICC, saying he thought the head of state was "politically culpable" for crimes committed in conflict-ridden Darfur.

The GoS also continues with its harsh policy of clearing "slums" that house families fleeing to Khartoum in search of security and employment. Numerous previous clearances have steadily pushed primarily non-Arab populations further from the centre of Khartoum, now to locations that are over 20 kilometres south of the capital.

In Southern Sudan, clashes between different militias continued, often resulting in killings of civilians or abductions. People continue to be arbitrarily detained, sometimes as hostages for other family members. Partly because of a shortage of lawyers, many people have been convicted without defence lawyers.  A number of death sentences were passed but no judicial executions were known to have been carried out.

Civilian Insecurity

During the past four or five years, the issue of civilian insecurity or protection was more often raised in the context of the war in Sudan's Darfur region, and understandably so given the dramatic humanitarian emergency that has unfolded there since 2003.  Civilians in southern Sudan and the transition areas, however, also face challenges and threats to their well-being, if not lives.  This sub-section provides a brief overview of some of the more pressing security concerns for civilians in southern Sudan, including the three transition areas, and in Darfur along with their related consequences on the well-being and safety of these populations.  Many of these issues are discussed in greater detail in the mission-specific sections, so this overview is meant to set the stage for those later sections.

Southern Sudan

Southern Sudan's security landscape is extremely fragile.  According to many observers, the South has become more deadly than Darfur leading the International Crisis Group to define Southern Sudan as a possible failed state. The highest profile threat facing civilians in southern Sudan's border areas with Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) come from the long-standing presence of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).  Recently, this threat has grown more deadly.  In September 2008, LRA attacked villages in the DRC and an SPLA camp in Sakure, Western Equatoria State, killing two civilians and abducting 14, including 12 children. Their attacks intensified in the weeks before their leader, Joseph Kony, was scheduled to sign a peace agreement but did not appear (the third such failed attempt). In December 2008, the Ugandan army, supported by the Central African Republic, Congolese and Southern Sudanese armies launched a coordinated offensive, Operation Lightning Thunder, against the rebels. The operation, however, had little effect and attacks continued.  Since December of 2008, LRA attacks have killed 200 civilians and have displaced roughly 68,000 people.  These attacks forced the UN to suspend all relief in the South along the Sudan-Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) border after 29 humanitarian workers were forced to evacuate by helicopter and 27 UN barges carrying food were attacked.

External rebel movements are not the only armed forces civilians in Southern Sudan need to be worried about.  Very weak rule of law institutions and insufficient attention by GoSS authorities to rule of law issues have given rise to an environment of impunity, particularly for soldiers who view themselves as "liberators" of the South and above the law. In this environment, soldiers and other security forces commit serious crimes, often opportunistically, against civilians. The crimes include beatings, robbery, intimidation, land-grabbing, and sexual violence. Soldiers and renegade soldiers from the SPLA also contribute to insecurity with infighting or by crimes against civilians for personal gain.  The Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) lacks resources and training to effectively provide security. In their absence, GoSS officials, who are almost all former military themselves, turn to SPLA soldiers to manage security threats. The soldiers are untrained in civilian law enforcement and often undisciplined.

On a general level, all civilians would be vulnerable to the risks inherent in the collapse of the CPA and a resumption of war between the North and South.  In this light, the slow and uneven pace of CPA implementation is a particular long-term concern and highly symbolic measures such as the behind-schedule creation of Joint Integrated Units are worrying indicators.

In more immediate terms, civilians in the three transitional areas remain under more urgent threats from left-over unresolved issues from the CPA process.  In this part of the country, North-South tensions fuel a simmering tensions and outright conflict over the disputed areas of the 1956 border, such as oil-rich Abyei. Tensions between the parties to the CPA increased after the northern National Congress Party rejected the finding of a boundaries commission, formed in accordance with the Abyei Protocol of the CPA. The commission found that the ethnically southern Dinka Ngok communities had a legitimate claim to the area of Abyei and adjacent oil fields. Following SAF and SPLA troop build-ups and months of skirmishes in the area, clashes between the two forces erupted in May 2008, killing scores of civilians and causing at least 60,000 to flee from their homes.

In addition to these "uniformed" threats emanating from Sudanese security forces or attacks by the LRA, many southerners' security and livelihoods are affected by localized communal fighting, often linked to competition over land, livestock, or other resources. Since January 2009, communal and tribal fighting has increased exponentially leaving 2500 civilians dead and 350,000 more displaced. The worst fighting has taken place in Jonglei between the Dinka, Lou Nuer, Jikany Nuer, and Murle communities.  Conflicts in the South are fuelled by weapons that have remained in the hands of civilians since the civil war and by rebel groups who manage to circumvent the arms embargo.  The GoSS has not adequately disarmed militias and soldiers in the SAF, SPLA, and the Joint Integrated Units (JIU) have sold ammunition to civilians in the South.

Armed criminal groups and renegade soldiers with unknown affiliations also present security threats in many parts of Southern Sudan, committing various abuses against civilians. For example, according to a report issued by the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly's Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Committee, groups of renegade soldiers known as "forgotten warriors" attacked civilians in Upper Nile, looting homes and raping females. Large numbers of underpaid soldiers who lack training in their peacetime police-oriented role also represent a threat to security by committing human rights abuses and other crimes.  Meanwhile, communal conflict persists in the form of cattle rustling and inter-communal conflict over land use and ill-defined payam and county boundaries.

Regardless of the source of the insecurity, the consequences are depressingly familiar for civilians.  People are still dying violent deaths in the South or are seriously injured and the long-term health of people is weakened.  Economic development and recovery are stunted or blocked altogether in some of the most desperate parts of Sudan as the United Nations and NGOs have either suspended or scaled back their relief efforts because of violence.  Residents and returning refugees are unable to settle and rebuild their lives and the number of displaced civilians has returned to civil war levels.  This is not a viable foundation for long-term peace and development in Sudan.

The GoSS and many impartial observers blame the current instability on the North.  During the civil war, Khartoum was able further its own interests by pitting Southerners against Southerners.  The current instability in the South does benefit the NCP who want both a weakened SPLM and a delayed or cancelled referendum on independence.  However, the International Crisis Group released a report in December 2009 that claimed there was little evidence that links instability in the South to the NCP.  The group instead pointed to the GoSS's inability to extend its authority and provide security.

Regardless of who is responsible for the increased violence, instability in the South seriously threatens the CPA as Sudan moves towards national elections that have been postponed again until April 2010 and a 2011 referendum that many think will lead to independence.



Sudanese civilians living in the three Darfur states have lived in dangerous and harsh conditions since the outbreak of the war in 2003.  As conflict has evolved over the past six years, very few people in Darfur have been immune to the various sources of danger and violence that have plagued this troubled region of Sudan. 

The danger comes in a number of forms and has affected people living both inside and outside IDP camps.  Direct causes of insecurity include the war itself, in which thousands of civilians have died, and its related off-shoots such as increased criminality, heightened tribal/ethnic tensions and increased cross-border violence between Chad and Sudan.  For the civilian populations living in the dozens of IDP camps throughout the Darfur states, insecurity is not lessened because of the easy accessibility to the camps enjoyed by both government and rebel agents and the threats camp residents (especially women) face when they venture out of the camps for food or fuel collection.

Indirectly, the war has threatened the health and well-being of civilians through the loss of regular food sources, health care, homes and livelihoods, the damage done to the local economy.  Cumulatively, these consequences of the war have taken far more lives than the war's targeted violence and ensure that the civilian populations who initially survived raids or battles may face equally lethal threats in the aftermath regardless if they manage to stay in their homes or join the ranks of IDPs so long as the conflict continues.



As the deployment of UNAMID continues, the mission's leadership and planners face a remarkably complex operational and political environment. Many of these factors were touched on in the 'Background' section. This section is meant to provide more details related to factors that warrant additional consideration. It ends with a brief discussion of the prospects for UNAMID's success.


While the pace of UNAMID's deployment has increased over the past year, the timely deployment of all its components throughout its area of operations remains a significant challenge.  Over two and a half years since its deployment began, the mission has reached only 77 per cent of its mandated strength for military personnel (15,114 of out of 19,555 personnel), 66 per cent of its police strength (4,280 of a mandated strength of 6,432) and 61 per cent of authorized civilian staff (3,410 out of 5,557). However, some critical contingents have arrived with specialized equipment that are crucial to UNAMID's mandate and this should bolster deployment efforts.  The challenges that remain, however, are numerous and varied. Increased violence in 2009 has hampered UNAMID's civilian deployment.  Fewer staff members are staying in Sudan after their initial contracts expire and fewer applicants are applying for vacancies and accepting job offers. 

Obstruction by the Sudanese government

Objections and delays by the Sudanese government have threatened the success of the mission from the beginning. In what seems to have been a pattern of deliberate obstruction, Sudan rejected the initial list of troop contributing countries, failed to provide sufficient land for the construction of facilities, delayed entrance visas refused night flights, delayed customs procedures and did not provide sufficient security for equipment travelling through territories it controls. Because of the increased pace of deployment, the UN reported that Khartoum has been more cooperative since 2008.  However, Khartoum's decision to support UNAMID is often not followed locally in Darfur. The UN reports, however, that Khartoum was more cooperative during the last few months of 2008 and that this, in part, was a factor in the increased pace of deployments during the same time frame. Some of this improved atmosphere around deployment issues might be credited to the new Tripartite Committee for the Deployment of UNAMID (comprising GNU, the AU and UN).  It proved useful after only a few meetings by helping to reach agreement on some issues, yet the future of GNU cooperation is a concern in the aftermath of the ICC arrest warrant for President Bashir. 

Critical mission capabilities

Despite ongoing efforts, critical capabilities such as helicopters and reconnaissance units are still lacking. According to some analysts, many potential troop contributing countries hesitate to make such capabilities available because they are not confident enough that UNAMID's strategy and concept of operations are sound. Most importantly, neither Khartoum nor the rebels appear to want an end to the fighting.

DPKO performance

DPKO has been accused of failing to secure contracts with multi-role logistics companies that would provide sustainment services for military and police units. Also, it has been urged to work more quickly to build camps and barracks for additional troops, and to demonstrate flexibility in considering technical specifications for helicopters.

Other factors

The deployment of critical enabling units has been delayed because of slow movement of equipment from Port Sudan to Darfur by road, due in large part to insecurity and the relatively limited number of local contractors. Banditry along supply lines is causing local contractors to refuse to transport assets of the mission.

Regional Dimension

Darfur is geographically situated between the central African countries, the Horn of Africa and the Gulf States. It also straddles the terrain between the northern Arab peoples and the African populations. Such a location has created through the centuries a natural crossroads of migrating nomads, traders and religious pilgrims travelling to Mecca. Dar Fur was an independent state for three centuries until it was brought under British rule in 1916. It was one of the most powerful kingdoms among other such states on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, trading with Egypt and other Mediterranean countries, while raiding southern neighbours.

The tribal peoples of the region have lived there long before international borders were established therefore many of the tribes such as the Zaghawa, the Gimr and the Tama resident today in Darfur also consider the neighbouring countries as part of their traditional territory. Economics, politics and the struggle for power have all contributed to the fluctuating interdependence and fleeting loyalties between the varied regimes of the region, while conflict, drought and famine have precipitated massive displacements of populations across borders.

Annual migration routes for the nomadic herders of Darfur range up to 800 km between the extreme northern and southerly points and do not recognize the borders with Chad and CAR. Trading routes continue to include the 40-day road from Darfur to the markets of Egypt, the Libyan camel markets of Kufra and markets to the south and the west where, apart from the cows, sheep and goats, ground nuts, watermelon seeds, gum arabic and sesame have historically been the Darfurian commodities of trade with their neighbours.

The discovery of oil in Libya and the subsequent boom of the 1970s and 1980s, combined with Gaddafi's open door policy encouraging African Unity and Pan-Arabism, favoured economic migration from Sudan. Migrations caused by famine had historically been common in Darfur, however, during the droughts of the 1980's and the major famine of 1984-86, many Darfurians departed to Libya, Egypt and other Arab states in search of work and financial opportunities. They in turn sent remittance money back to their families in Darfur until 2003 when the conflict broke out. Remittances all but ceased, due to the displacement of the population and the subsequent breakdown in communications, to the insecurity that curtailed travel, and finally to the closure of the border between Sudan and Libya.

Throughout the centuries, Islamic pilgrims have traversed Darfur en route to Mecca in completion of the Haj. Many of these pilgrims have settled in Darfur altering the ethnic and cultural composition of the area. Some people complain today that the traditional Darfurian 'hospitality' has hurt them as some of the many traders or pilgrims that they welcomed into their communities have now turned against them and taken their lands.

Exportation through-out the region of Arabist ideology from Gaddafi's Libya, and Islamist ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood originating in Egypt and adopted by the NIF in Sudan has strongly influenced the countries of central Africa, the Horn and beyond. The Arabs of Darfur were led to believe from the Arab Gathering that they, as direct descendants of the Prophet, have the right to rule Muslim lands, and this supremacist concept continues to underlie the aggression of the Janjaweed not only in Darfur but also in Chad.

Eritrea has played an important role in the Darfur conflict by supporting both the JEM and SLM/A. As Sudan exported Islamist ideology west of Darfur it also supported jihadists in Eritrea, which in turn, supported most of the Sudanese rebel groups, including the Free Lions in eastern Sudan, opposing the government of Khartoum.

These historic connections among the neighbouring countries of the region have led to political intrigue and competition over power and wealth in the region, and to open warfare at different periods of history. Tribal loyalties and political opportunism fuel the fluctuations of relations, while internal challenges also come together with regional dynamics to define the course of history. The current proxy war between Chad and Sudan is defined by the Zaghawa tribal loyalties as well as by Sudan's desire to curb the Darfur insurgency. Sudan has therefore supported the Chadian armed opposition in order to replace Déby with a 'Khartoum friendly' regime; while Déby needs the Darfur insurgents to hold on to power in Chad. By August 2006, post-DPA, Sudan was also growing increasingly uneasy about an international intervention force arriving in Darfur and the expectation was that such a force would be based in Chad.

Libya was a key player in the regional order before 1990 as Muammar Gaddafi attempted to exert an Arabist influence and create a Sahelian empire, planning to annex Chad and establish an 'Arab Belt' or corridor into central Africa. UN sanctions and the settlement of the Aouzou dispute with Chad in 1994 resulted in Tripoli lowering its profile, and in the recent years Gaddafi has become the apparent peacemaker with his varied attempts to reconcile the conflicted parties in both the Darfur peace process and the Sudan/Chad proxy war.

NIF Islamist policy laid the foundations for the Darfur war. From the 1980's onward successive governments in Khartoum mobilized and armed Arab groups to carry out their policies and to attack and subdue populations they considered to be hostile, they supported the tribal militias and, in 1989, passed the Popular Defence Act which legalised the PDF. Local Arab leaders were also elevated in the ranks of the Native Administration and given Arab titles of Amir and Nazir in order to outrank the non-Arab groups of Darfur in local government. During the Fur-Arab war of 1987-1990 a coalition of 27 Arab groups were mobilized and armed by Libya with tacit agreement of Khartoum. The Sudanese government ignored Gaddafi using Darfur as a rear base for his wars in Chad as he brought thousands of Islamic Legion troops and Chadian Arabs across the desert to Darfur, while the Darfur population was abandoned to suffer the effects of a major drought without government assistance.

The Chadian civil war initiated in 1965 with a peasant revolt became by the 1980's, according to Marchal, a proxy confrontation between Libya and the Western powers. The Libyan military intervened in Chad to maintain a presence by offering support to Goukouni Oueddei against Habré. Meanwhile Habré was receiving support from Sudanese President Jaafar Nimeiri, and military aid from Egypt, France and the USA in order to expel Gaddafi from Chad. Habré, in 1982 finally managed to retake N'Djamena with direct support from France and Zaire. Operation Manta in 1983 later became Epervier, the French military presence in Chad did not prevent on-going confrontations within Chad however it did keep Gaddafi cornered from 1986 to 2007.

Alliances changed and Déby came to power in 1990 with the support of the regimes in Khartoum and Tripoli and launched his coup against Hissen Habré from Darfur. In turn, Déby's military support and Chadian mercenaries enabled the CAR coup by General Bozize in March 2003.

More recently the war in Darfur has moved into Chad as refugees have fled across the border. Although exact figures are difficult to obtain estimates indicate approximately 400,000 Darfurians moved into Chad between 2003 and 2007. The flow has not been entirely one way as Janjaweed fighters crossed into eastern Chad and attacked Chadian villages forcing about 30,000 Chadians over the border into Darfur. And in February 2008, around 4,000 Khartoum-supported rebels launched an attack from Darfur and fought their way to the Chadian capital, N'Djamena, in an attempt to overthrow President Déby.  The apparent back and forth proxy conflict continued, in the view of Sudanese officials, when the JEM staged its assault on Omdurman in May 2008.  Khartoum accused the Déby government of direct support to JEM for this attack and broke off diplomatic relations for roughly three months. On May 3, 2009, Sudan and Chad signed the "Good Neighbours Agreement".  Both countries pledged to stop supporting armed opposition groups operating within the other's territory and agreed to renew their commitments to independent observation along the border.  The agreement was upheld for 24 hours.  The next day, the Union des Forces de la Resistance (UFR), a Sudanese-armed rebel group, crossed into Chad and attacked Chadian troops.  Chad responded by crossing into Darfur in retaliation.  Both sides have agreed to resume negotiations on the implementation of the "Good Neighbours Agreement" in Ndjamena on January 7, 2010.

It has become clear to most observers, that to bring peace to Darfur will require a broader regional approach that also takes into consideration the interconnectedness of the conflicts and interests in both Chad and the CAR, and such a process will need support from other actors that continue to exert influence through-out this region.

Chronic Insecurity

The Darfur conflict is notable for many reasons, but one of its more remarkable characteristics is the persistence and scope of chronic insecurity in the region and the threat this has posed to Darfur's civilians. Into 2009 - its seventh year - the Darfur conflict continues to exact a terrible toll on civilians and place enormous demands on those trying to provide humanitarian aid or implement the various peace deals.  


The causes for this chronic insecurity are many. First, the conflict between the GoS and its various armed groups on one side and the rebels on the other continues with varying degrees of intensity. Second, there have been cases, especially since the signing of the DPA in May, 2006, of rebel groups battling each other for control of territory, resources or influence. The on-going process of fragmentation within the rebel movement has only aggravated the inter-rebel tensions and conflicts. Third, the constant movements and actions of rebel groups across the Chad-Sudan border are a highly destabilising factor, especially in West Darfur, but for civilians on both sides of the border. Fourth, a general lack of discipline among the government aligned militia groups and the rebels has been a chronic problem in all Darfur states. Groups of irregular fighters act outside any command structure, when the opportunity permits, to their personal gain, thus banditry has become a significant problem in Darfur, to say nothing of the usual criminal element that flourishes in such chaotic environments. Finally, with a lack of traditional dispute settlement mechanisms and government structures in many areas beyond government control, localised tribal disputes can erupt with little relationship to the broader conflict.


This combustible mix of factors has cost the civilian population of Darfur dearly. First, thousands of people of been killed in the fighting, and it appears that the vast majority of the victims were directly and intentionally targeted by the parties. In addition to those killed as a result of violence, there are many more who have died as a result of indirect causes, such as disease, hunger, thirst, exposure, lack of medical attention, etc, after being displaced by the fighting or having their livelihoods destroyed. The number of people who have died in this conflict is unknown, but various international estimates range up to 400,000 since 2003. As for gravely wounded civilians, the total number is unknown, but, this figure too is likely in the many thousands.

Second, the fighting has created thousands of Sudanese refugees, either in their own country or across the border in Chad. As of January 2009, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in all three Darfur states was roughly 2.7 million while the number of displaced persons who sought refuge in Chad is close to 250,000. This large population of people is housed in dozens of IDP camps within Darfur and a dozen refugee camps inside Chad. Third, the on-going fighting and general insecurity makes it increasingly difficult for the aid effort to supply the camps properly or reach people in need who have not come to the camps.

Fourth, the chronic insecurity in Darfur and the accompanying atmosphere of impunity has led to wide-spread human rights abuses, especially against women. In keeping with recent trends in other wars of the past 15 years, systemic rape has emerged as a significant weapon against women. During one four and a half month period, one NGO reported treating 500 rape victims alone. It is clear from the available evidence that rape is being employed as a tool for spreading fear, humiliating the targeting group and intimidating victims not to return to their homes. Women have been attacked in and around their villages and inside and outside IDP camps.

Fifth, the insecurity has made it very difficult for people to engage in their livelihoods and sustain any semblance of a local economy. One report found that:

Never before in the history of Darfur has there been such a combination of factors causing the failure of livelihood strategies and the loss of assets. These factors include systematic asset-stripping, pro-duction failures, market failures, failures of access to natural resources and constraints on the remit-tances of migrant workers. Under these circumstances, region-wide famine appears inevitable. While the provision of food aid can partially redress production failures, a much wider raft of interventions is needed to begin to address the other issues.

The loss of mobility, destroyed crops and fields, poisoned water wells, stolen livestock and the loss of markets add up to a near economic collapse. This disastrous situation will be a long and painful legacy of the chronic insecurity that has plagued Darfur since 2003.

Peace process

As of March 2008 security has deteriorated even further in Darfur, principally in West Darfur and along the Chadian border. Between December of 2007 and January 2008 both the Chadian regular forces and JEM launched attacks within Sudanese territory (S/2008/98). In February, the Sudanese armed forces bombed a number of villages north of El Geneina and around the strategic Jebel Moun, and ground attacks were led by the army and the Janjaweed militias claiming to rout out rebel forces. One week after AMIS transferred power to UNAMID the new mission suffered its first armed attack.

In February 2008, the United Nations expressed grave concern over the ongoing tensions between Chad and Sudan, and the impediment this conflict would be to achieving peace in Darfur if not resolved. And after Sudan-backed rebels determined to oust President Déby, they carried out an attack which reached the capital N'djamena. Senegal brokered an accord between Sudan and Chad to end hostilities. However, Chadian rebels publicly dismissed the agreement saying they would continue their campaign to overthrow Chad's president. According to the UNAMID commander, without bringing the rebel forces into the negotiations any agreement signed will have doubtful success, and if the rebels continue to fight it will be unclear if the fighting is between the rebels and their government, or between the two countries with regional aspirations. This pact is the sixth signed in five years, demonstrating the fragility of such agreements.

Peace in Darfur has become a distant concept since the failure of the DPA of May 2006 and until fundamental issues are resolved it is unlikely to happen in the near future. The DPA ended any semblance of unity within or between the SLM/A and the JEM when major factions refused to sign the agreement. And since this time, the once strong rebel movement has been in a downward spiral of fragmentation. At one point in 2008, the United Nations recognized in its reporting five major groupings: the Sudan Liberation Army, (SLA) - Unity, SLA - Abdel Wahid, SLA - Abdul Shafi, JEM - Khalil Ibrahim and the United Resistance Front (URF) (S/2008/64), however other analysts claim the existence of anywhere from 12 to 27 different movements today in Darfur.

In the post-DPA period, violence has escalated both on the part of the government forces and militias, now allied to the SLA signatories to the DPA led by Minni Minawi, and among the rebel groups themselves. This violence has had a horrific affect on the civilian population causing thousands of more people to flee their homes. Humanitarian efforts have been under siege for at least three years now, and Khartoum's decision to target international NGOs for expulsion in the wake of the ICC arrest warrant decision on 4 March 2009 has clearly placed the humanitarian relief system under even greater strain.  The NCP has softened its position on international aid organizations, but the long-term humanitarian situation in Darfur is still threatened by the expulsion of NGOs.  The government and rebel groups have further complicated the humanitarian situation by restricting the movements of UNAMID and other UN agencies.  Since January 2009, UNAMID has been prohibited from entering IDP camps by government officials on 42 occasions.  The GoS repeatedly restricted UNAMID's movements in areas where they had engaged rebels because of security concerns and the South Darfur government has increasingly asked to be kept apprised of UNAMID movements.  In April, the NISS arrested and briefly detained two UNAMID officers.  On several occasions JEM has also prohibited UNAMID patrols from entering villages under its control.

Although efforts to revitalize peace negotiations by the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur,  Djibrill Bassolé, and the Government of Qatar resulted in a general agreement in February, 2009 between Khartoum and JEM on principles for moving talks forward, they suffered a setback when JEM announced it was suspending this nascent process over the decision to evict INGOs from Darfur a month later. JEM eventually rejoined negotiations in May, but a final settlement has yet to be reached. Similarly, throughout 2008 efforts towards a unification of the movements met with mixed results leaving the rebels still fractured.  The situation within the broader rebel movement remains fluid and the coalitions fragile making the search for a common negotiating position a very steep challenge. Since March, efforts to unify rebel groups have met some success.  On March 15, SLM-Unity, SLM-Khamees, United Revolutionary Force Front, SLM-Juba, JEM-Azraq signed the Tripoli Charter and agreed to present a unified front at future negotiations in Doha. Couple this rebel disunity with the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situations on the ground, as well as the tensions in the relationship between the Sudan and Chad and the search for a political settlement remains as complicated as ever. 

The importance of Sudan-Chad relations in the political calculations of the peace process deserves highlighting. Despite the restoration of diplomatic relations in between the two countries in August 2008, relations between Sudan and Chad continue to be tense and seemingly chronically at risk of falling back into a proxy war, if not a direct confrontation, between the two countries. Chadian rebels backed by Sudan have mounted numerous military attacks deep into Chad, twice reaching the national capital. Chadian president Déby is an active backer of Darfurian rebel groups and will not end this support unless his own political future is secure. 'Given that Déby's problems emerge as much from his own misrule as from Khartoum's destabilization, and there is no peace process in Chad, a resolution to the Chadian crisis is not in sight.'

The Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed on 9 January 2005 and, during the following sixteen months, African Union mediators in the Nigerian capital Abuja tried to broker an agreement between the Sudan government and the Darfur rebels that would both resolve Darfurian grievances while also buttressing the CPA. Deadlines were imposed on the process in order to facilitate the arrival of UN troops to replace the under resourced and inexperienced African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, and the U.S. pressured a signature of the peace deal. Instead of ceding to the pressures main factions of the rebel movement (SLA - Abdul Wahid and JEM) refused to sign.

According to the ICG, the DPA is a failure, too limited in scope and signatories. Those who signed, the government and one rebel faction (only Minni Minawi at this point), represented only about 10 percent of Darfurians at the time of signing, according to Tanner and Tubiana, (2007) - and they have hurt the peace process. The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is pursuing destructive policies in Darfur, while at the same time resisting compliance with key CPA provisions. The actions of the NCP are meant to secure their success in the 2009 elections - if they happen. 'The NCP wants Darfur in chaos to limit the room for an opposition to emerge, while resettling key allies on cleared land and defying Security Council resolutions by integrating its Janjaweed irregulars into official security structures instead of disarming them.'  Other initiatives have also been undertaken to revive the peace process, such as Libya's Sirte Process in 2007. Yet, again, main rebel groups declined to attend and undermined the success of these efforts.

Darfur is the epicentre of three overlapping circles of conflict. First and foremost, there is the five-year-old war between the Darfur rebel movements and the government, which is part of the breakdown between Sudan's centre, the NCP in Khartoum, which controls wealth and political power and the marginalised peripheries. Second, the Darfur conflict has triggered a proxy war that Chad and Sudan are fighting by hosting and supporting the other's rebel groups. Finally, there are localised conflicts, primarily centred on land tensions between sedentary and nomadic tribes. The regime has manipulated these to win Arab support for its war against the mostly non-Arab rebels. International interests, not least the priority the USA has placed on regime assistance in its 'war on terrorism' and China's investment in Sudan's oil sector, have added to the difficulty in resolving the conflict.

In seeking solutions to the problems of Darfur the international community must consolidate a global position in dealing with the Sudan and international policies must no longer be bifurcated between the CPA and Darfur. Sudan's multiple conflicts are outgrowths of a common set of national problems and need to be treated as such.

ICC Process

The conflict in Darfur, UNAMID's deployment and operations and on-going efforts to re-start political talks to end the conflict all unfold with a profound debate providing the background noise: the genocide debate. Since the spring and summer of 2004, when reporters, civil society leaders and even senior UN officials (including Kofi Annan) began to making direct comparisons between the Darfur crisis and the Rwandan genocide, a tremendous amount of effort has been exerted to either prove or disprove the notion that what is happening in Darfur is genocide, with 'Arabs' as the perpetrators and 'Africans' the victims.

The US government (in contrast to its reaction to the Rwandan case in 1994) came out strongly in the summer of 2004 with its conclusions that genocide was taking place in Darfur. The US Congress passed concurrent resolutions in July of that year declaring it genocide while the executive branch followed suit in early September through Colin Powell's widely-reported testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. For proponents of quick and forceful intervention in the crisis, however, the US declarations were not accompanied with such policy decisions. Apparently, there was no interest either in other western capitals or the Security Council to initiate any initiative to stop the killings as called for in the 1948 UN Convention against Genocide. Instead, the Council created and dispatched the International Commission of Inquiry (ICI) in September 2004 to investigate 'reports of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Darfur by all parties, to determine also whether or not acts of genocide have occurred, and to identify the perpetrators of such violations with a view to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable.'

The ICI submitted its report in January 2005 and concluded, in general terms, that while 'the government had not followed a policy of genocide,' there was abundant evidence of wide-spread and serious violations of international humanitarian law and that the burden of responsibility rested heavily with the GoS and its associated militia and (to a less extent) with the rebel groups. In submitting its report to the Secretary-General, the ICI also handed over a sealed envelope with the names of 51 individuals that the ICI believed should be the focus of follow-on investigations for war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law and that the Council should refer these cases to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

In adopting Security Council Resolution 1593 on 31 March 2005, the Council took the advice of the ICI report and referred to the ICC the responsibility for investigating and prosecuting cases that arise out of the Darfur crisis. Subsequent to SCR 1593, the ICC Prosecutor issued arrest warrants on 27 April 2007 for two Sudanese nationals in connection with atrocities in Darfur. The two men facing arrest are Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman ("Ali Kushayb"), an alleged Janjaweed leader, and Ahmad Muhammad Harun ("Ahmad Harun"), a former Minister of State for the Interior who had responsibilities for security in Darfur during the early stages of the conflict. So far, the GoS has refused to surrender the men to the ICC and no hearing dates are scheduled.

In July 2008, the ICC's chief prosecutor sought the issue of an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on suspicion of crimes against humanity. Some diplomats have expressed concern that a formal indictment of Bashir could damage the stalled peace process aimed at ending the conflict in Darfur. Similarly, peacekeeping officials fear that an arrest warrant against Bashir could prompt a wave of violence against UNAMID or even prompt Khartoum to order all international peacekeepers in Sudan out of the country. In September 2008, France suggested it could support suspending an international indictment of Sudan's president for war crimes if Khartoum met several conditions including ending the killings in Darfur.  Sudan, the African Union, Arab League and other alliances have urged the U.N. Security Council to use its powers under Article 16 of the ICC statute to block any proceedings against Bashir to avoid shattering the fragile peace process in Darfur. France and the UK have agreed to support a Security Council resolution that defers al-Bashir's arrest warrant if the Sudanese Government agrees to implement fully the CPA and change its Darfur policy.  The United States has yet committed to supporting a deferral.

The issue came to head on 4 March 2009 when the ICC's Pre-trial Chamber I issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir for the alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes, but not genocide as the Chief Prosecutor had alleged.  Not surprisingly, President Bashir and his government have rejected the warrant and have begun a campaign to rally support from allies and other states suspicious of the ICC.  The expulsion of INGOs from Darfur was an immediate consequence of the decision as Bashir accused these groups as providing information to the ICC and as such they were spies acting against the interests of Sudan but the longer term political consequences are thus far unclear.  JEM's statement that it was pulling out of peace talks with GoS over the INGO expulsion issue may bode ill for future prospects for the peace process but for now we can only say that it is short-term setback.

The genocide debate and the involvement of the ICC have not moved key governments or the Security Council to take forceful action to attempt to stop the conflict, despite the ever louder calls from western civil society to do so. For UNAMID, this issue has complicated its work in a three ways. First, the on-going debate, the work of the ICI and now the ICC put the GoS in a very defensive posture that has at times left it less inclined to be a cooperative partner in facilitating UNAMID's deployment.  Second, the controversy surrounding the genocide debate, and who might be targeted with arrest warrants and why, has served to aggravate the already dangerous polarisation of tribal identities, thus further eroding the chances of improving inter-tribal relations in the near to medium term. Finally, the prospects of ICC prosecutions may prove to be a disincentive for key figures on both sides of the conflict to find a peaceful solution, thus complicating the diplomatic work of UNAMID.  Conversely, the ICC warrants may re-align the political landscape in such ways that new openings for influence or leverage over Khartoum may appear that can be seized to the advantage of the peace process.

A recent AU Panel on Darfur headed by Thabo Mbeki, the former president of South Africa, was commissioned to consult both the government and the general public to promote justice and reconciliation as well as other necessary conditions for peace.  The panel concluded that negotiations would be successful only if they were preceded by justice and reconciliation efforts.  Mbeki recommended a hybrid court with both AU and Sudanese judges that resembled South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission to try government officials and militia members who committed human rights violations.  The AU proposal would create a system that not only held individuals who committed crimes against humanity accountable, but also engaged locals and allowed Sudanese judges to have input on any ruling.  It was an alternative to the International Criminal Court. The GoS, however, claims the court would be unconstitutional because foreign judges are not permitted to sit in Sudanese courts.


UNAMID's success or failure will depend on a number of factors, some within its control and others beyond its reach. The following issues are just the most pressing and fundamental facing UNAMID.

External Factors

Peace Process: The most significant challenge facing UNAMID is the lack of a viable political process. Unlike UNMIS, UNAMID has been mandated to help implement a peace agreement (the DPA) that has little to no relevance on the ground and efforts to bring the non-signatory parties back to the negotiating table have so far faltered. Of course, the political components of UNAMID and the AU-UN Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Djibrill Bassolé, have roles to play in this effort, but the reality is that the parties themselves and key external actors will be the deciding factors in any search for a lasting political settlement. Moreover, such a settlement should be comprehensive in nature and be placed within a broader, Sudan-wide context.

Mission Deployment: The ultimate success of a large mission like UNAMID depends, in part, on how well and how quickly the mission is able to deploy all of the components, personnel and equipment. Given the GoS track record of reluctant cooperation, if not obstructionism, in facilitating the mission's deployment, UNAMID will have to rely on the Security Council and other sources of pressure to apply their respective influence on Khartoum to ensure a full and timely deployment.

Required Components: Related to the above point, UNAMID will need support from a wide range of troop contributing countries (TCCs). Given its mandate (especially its need to establish its credibility with the parties and civilians alike) and its challenging theatre of operations, UNAMID requires specialised equipment (helicopters in particular) and personnel, the kind of resources that are usually available from western militaries. Thus far, those resources either have not been offered in sufficient quantities by possible TCCs or their arrival has been contested by GoS.

Regional Dynamics: Much has been said in this survey about the importance of regional political, military, economic and social factors to the fate of Darfur. UNAMID will need to see progress on the political situation in Chad and, to a lesser extent, CAR if it is to achieve any long-term success in Darfur. In this regard, UNAMID must stress these regional connections to its stakeholders so that its political supporters do not lose sight of the many critical cross-border issues impacting on UNAMID's performance. At the same time, UNAMID must build a solid working relationship with MINURCAT in Chad and CAR as cooperation with those missions will also be important to addressing mutual cross-border issues.

Internal Factors

Organisation and Coordination: Perhaps the most pressing issue facing UNAMID is translating the political necessity that is its hybrid AU-UN character into a workable, effective mission on the ground. As noted in the 'Profile' section, this type of mission has never been tried before by the AU and UN, and certainly not on this scale. Moreover, both the AU and UN have their own, respective, organisational and support weaknesses in fielding missions, although the UN is the more experienced and better resourced of the two. UNAMID's leadership must find ways to keep two 'bosses' happy and find ways to ensure that two distinct institutional cultures do not cause problems at the working levels. Given the conflict's complexities and the number of missions and other international actors working in Sudan, the various coordination mechanisms should be robust and effective enough to encourage joint planning and decision-making as opposed to simple information sharing.

Local Ownership: As is the case for all peace operations, UNAMID cannot and should not try to impose long-term peace in Darfur. Instead, it must establish itself as a robust and credible presence in Darfur that is strong and effective enough to facilitate the emergence of the necessary political space for peace to be made and take root. This will involve adopting a posture that is firm but fair with the parties and instils confidence in all stakeholders. Specifically, however, UNAMID should engage civil society in a meaningful way and provide the political space for these groups to function and, perhaps, reclaim some of their lost authority and influence.


This is just an indicative list of the more pressing and critical factors that will likely have an impact on the ultimate success or failure of UNAMID. Taken together, they suggest that the mission is facing an up-hill struggle to make a clear, positive contribution to the search for peace in Darfur. On just one issue, the need for a viable political process, the prospects are not encouraging given the GoS's apparent preference for a military solution to the conflict and the dimming hopes of reversing the rebel movement's unending fragmentation and splintering. The DPA is not a basis for peace in Darfur at this point and UNAMID cannot change that fact and, in this sense, it will be hampered much like AMIS was before it.

Yet, in the short-term, UNAMID should fare better than its predecessor insofar as UNAMID has available to it far more resources than AMIS, even if GoS continues to hinder the mission's full deployment, and a stronger mandate that allows for more forceful action when required. These elements alone should be good news for civilians in need of greater security and support. At the same time, however, with these greater resources come greater expectations on the part of the civilians (and perhaps the rebels, too). If UNAMID is timid in executing its mandate and fails early credibility tests, in the eyes of those it is trying to help, then its fate will likely be no different than that of AMIS: -distrusted and ineffective record-keeper of events instead of a shaper of events.


UNMIS ISSUES - CPA Terms and Issues

There is growing concern that the CPA may be failing. As timelines for implementing the agreement continue to slip, and the parties grow increasingly suspicious of each other, the successful completion of the peace process faces major challenges. These challenges carry with them 'a real risk of renewed conflict down the road unless the NCP begins to implement the CPA in good faith, and the SPLM becomes a stronger and more effective implementing partner.'

The most crucial issues that the parties must address, failing which the entire agreement would unravel, include the ones discussed below. Most of these issues were also among those that caused the SPLM/A to suspend its participation in the Government of National Unity (GNU) and were ultimately addressed in the 11 December 2007 agreement, which resolved the impasse.

Inclusiveness and political support for CPA

Although the CPA sets out a broad framework for an inclusive implementation process, many of the political players in the North, as well as some forces in the South, have been hesitant to commit themselves to an agreement they were not party to. Having been excluded from the Naivasha negotiations, most opposition parties were not committed to the provisions of the CPA regarding wealth-sharing and power-sharing between the NCP and SPLM, which they felt reflected the direct interests of only the SPLA and the Khartoum government. Northern opposition parties have criticized the CPA for allowing the NCP to dominate the GNU.  In May 2009, 17 Northern opposition parties formed the National Alliance.  They pledged to run one candidate against President al-Bashir in the upcoming elections.  More importantly, they called for the dissolution of the GNU since it failed to hold elections by July 2009.  The Alliance wants it replaced by a larger and more inclusive caretaker government.

As noted by Sudan experts recently gathered under the auspices of Chatham House, the CPA therefore cannot properly be described as as 'comprehensive' in the sense of resolving all the issues between the North and South. Despite the strict implementation timetable, deadlines and benchmarks, it still relies overwhelmingly on the goodwill and commitment of the two signatories.

The CPA makes clear that its implementation and national democratic change are interdependent. Although many northern parties have taken the opportunity provided by the CPA to join the Government of National Unity, the prevailing perception that the agreement is a two-way deal, instead of a truly comprehensive agreement, must be overcome in order for the CPA to achieve fully its objectives at the national level. Nevertheless, over time several small splinter factions from the mainstream DUP and Umma Party have joined the NCP and are now part of its 52 per cent controlling bloc in parliament. Other groupings, such as the mainstream DUP and the Communist Party, have entered parliament as part of the 14 per cent set aside for northern opposition parties. The mainstream Umma Party of Sadiq al-Mahdi and the Popular Congress have remained outside the government and are in opposition to the NCP.

The lack of support for the CPA from other political parties has added more pressure on the SPLM in its relationship with the NCP. As the IGC noted, ¬„With the many divisions that have undermined its various constituencies, the opposition is failing to serve as a credible political force or play a role in resolving impasses between the NCP and the SPLM. Moreover, the weakness of the opposition places more pressure on the SPLM as it means that the latter has little support in trying to reverse the onslaught of obstructive NCP policies. As a result, the SPLM often finds itself playing the role of opposition party, which increases the strain on its partnership with the NCP.

Meanwhile, the NCP has been engaging in an ongoing dialogue with some northern opposition parties, including the National Umma Party and the Communist Party of the Sudan, reportedly aimed at finding common ground on democratic transformation, elections and the Darfur issue.

Redeployment of Forces

The redeployment of Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and SPLA forces, as stipulated in the CPA, remains incomplete. With the SAF having missed the CPA redeployment deadline of 9 July 2007, the process is now seriously delayed. The International Crisis Group, in its report of 13 March 2008, identified three major reasons for the parties' failure to comply with redeployment provisions. First, there are questions about how well the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) are functioning, as the SPLA and SAF contingents within many of them are not yet integrated or operating under a common leadership and military doctrine. Secondly, considerable insecurity remains in the border area, particularly around Abyei and Southern Kordofan. Finally, with North-South border demarcation still pending, there is space for both sides to argue over how far each should redeploy.

The formation of JIUs is similarly delayed and, according to UNMIS reports, for 82% of the authorized total of 39,000 personnel completed. However, the SPLA and SAF components of the JIUs remain functionally separate and under different chains of command.

On 1 November 2007, the Ceasefire Political Commission directed SAF and SPLA to adhere to the present boundary between the north and the south, pending demarcation of the border of 1 January 1956. While the parties agreed to complete concurrently their respective redeployment north and south of the line by 9 January 2008, with Joint Integrated Units to be fully deployed by the same date, UNMIS reported that only 88% of some 46,000 SAF troops had been redeployed as at 15 January. Meanwhile, the NCP has conceded that some 3,600 SAF forces are remaining in the entire South but claims that these forces are required to protect the oilfields pending full deployment of the JIUs. The NCP further claims that the SPLA has failed to redeploy most of its forces south of the 1956 line. UNMIS has confirmed that, as of 15 January, SPLA troop redeployment remains at only 8.5 per cent of the stated strength of some 59,000. SPLA-aligned forces in the North also began redeployment towards southern Sudan. However, as of 15 January, they had not deployed to agreed assembly areas but had stopped in contested areas around the disputed line of 1 January 1956, where their continued presence has become a source of additional tension.


The resolution of the Abyei question, a contentious issue during the CPA negotiations, has so far remained elusive. Under the CPA, Abyei was granted a special administrative status, with the right of a referendum on whether to remain part of the North or join a potentially independent South. The NCP and SPLM also agreed to establish the Abyei Boundaries Commission (ABC) to determine the geographic boundaries defined in the Abyei Protocol. The international experts on the commission decided the borders after GoS and SPLM delegations failed to agree. When the report was presented to the presidency on 14 July 2005, the SPLM endorsed the findings and the NCP rejected them, claiming the experts had exceeded their mandate. The Misseriya population in Abyei opposes the implementation of the ABC report amid fears that their historic tribal passage and grazing rights could be lost. Because of this deadlock, Abyei's status remains undetermined, and no formal administrative structures have been put into place. As part of the agreement of 11 December 2007, which resolved the latest political stalemate between the NCP and SPLM, the presidency agreed to create a mechanism for implementation of the Abyei Protocol.

The appointment by the SPLM of a senior party official as administrator of the area, following the December agreement, served to increase tensions and led to serious clashes between members of the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya tribes in Abyei, with the Misseriya accusing the NCP of acquiescence. They temporarily blocked the North-South roads through Abyei and a Misseriya movement called the Abyei Liberation Movement in February announced a new state, with Abyei as its capital.

In May 2008, a local dispute escalated into full-blown fighting between SAF and SPLA forces killing at least 90, forcing 50,000 to flee and burning much of Abyei town to the ground. Tensions subsided after a committee of senior officials from both sides set out a "road map" to defuse the conflict. As part of the agreement, a Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) (320 SPLA soldiers, 319 SAF soldiers) deployed to Abyei to take control of the town. Leaders from both sides also agreed that a commission from the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration would decide the borders of the disputed region.

In the wake of this incident, UNMIS was heavily criticized for its failure to protect the civilian population. US special envoy Richard Williamson told the Security Council that UN peacekeepers had holed up in their barracks while Abyei was attacked. He argued that UNMIS could do more and that it should interpret its mandate more robustly than it has done so far if it is to contribute to stability and to protect civilians. UN special envoy Ashraf Qazi rejected the criticism and said in a statement: 'Whenever - despite our peace keeping efforts - large-scale hostilities break out between the two parties, UNMIS has neither the capacity nor the mandate to militarily intervene or to provide law enforcement functions.' In reaction to this debate, the Security Council asked the UN on June 24 to investigate the actions of UNMIS during recent deadly clashes and consider what follow-up steps might be appropriate.

As noted by the ICG, the Abyei situation poses a serious challenge to the NCP-SPLM partnership, as the Misseriya accuses the NCP of cutting a deal with the SPLM and wanting 'the Misseriya to fight the war for it so it can keep its hands clean.' The motivating factor behind such strategy in Abyei would be the vast oil reserves that exist in the Abyei area.

In July 2009, the Permanent Court of Arbitration issued a ruling on the permanent boundaries of the Abyei area.  Both the NCP and SPLM agreed to abide by the decision, which offers both parties some benefits.  The court ruling preserved the bulk of the region defined by the CPA in 2005.  However, it did grant the North the Hegling and Bamboo oilfields.  The South gained additional land and kept the Diffra field.  The court also ruled that Abyei belongs to the nine Ngok-Dinka Chiefdoms.  In December 2009, both the National Assembly and The Southern Assembly endorsed the Abyei referendum for January 2011.  Residents of the Abyei area will vote whether to stay with the North or break with the South if it chooses to secede from Sudan.  Even though the NCP and the SPLM backed the referendum, it is not without controversy.  Parliamentarians from the Messeriya tribe, who migrate in and out of Abyei walked out of the assembly because the bill did not mention them by name.  They fear that they will lose the right to vote on the region's future.


North-South Border Demarcation

Although demarcation of the border was supposed to be carried out during the pre-interim period of the CPA, which ended in July 2005, the Technical Ad Hoc Border Committee, tasked by the CPA with the demarcation process, undertook its first reconnaissance survey only in early 2007.

The delay is reportedly due to lack of sufficient ongoing funding of the committee. The SPLM has blamed the NCP for 'blocking' the committee's funds, which come from the Oil Stabilization Fund. In the December 2007 agreement that settled the political stalemate between the NCP and SPLM, the presidency has pledged to allocate funds for border demarcation as well as for preparations for the census and elections. The Technical Ad Hoc Border Committee reportedly finalized the process of classifying maps and documents in December 2007 and would soon thereafter begin delineating the border on maps. The Committee is now expected to present its report to the presidency (which would need to approve the recommendations before actual demarcation can begin) in the first quarter of 2008.

Since they will have far-reaching impact on wealth and power sharing, the committee's determinations are expected to be hotly contested, nationally and locally. The lack of demarcation impacts on nearly every other issue, including the national unity government's capacity to calculate a fair share of oil revenues, since the majority of oilfields lie along the border. The findings of the committee will also determine which parts of Sudan will be able to take part in the 2011 referendum.

Given the start of the rainy season and general insecurity around the military redeployment zones and Abyei, it is unclear if the demarcation will be completed in time for the census, rescheduled for the second half of April.

National Census and Elections

The CPA provides for a nationwide census that should have been conducted by the end of the second year of the interim period (July 2007). The census 'would provide baseline information, which could be used for development and services across the country and determine electoral constituencies and the appropriate representation of North and South at the national level (with power-sharing percentages 'either confirmed or adjusted on the basis of the census results'), as well as verify voter registration figures. For these reasons, the census, and how it is conducted, is both a highly charged issue and a prerequisite for elections.'

Progress in planning for the national census has been hampered by several factors. While a pilot census was completed in April 2007, the national population census was delayed due to concerns about the preparedness of the Southern Census Commission, linked to the slow disbursement of funds by the national government. This severely delayed mapping of the southern areas. However, as part of the 11 December 2007 agreement between the NCP and SPLM, the NCP agreed to release the funds. This has reportedly been done and UNMIS could report that by the end of December 2007, field mapping was 94 per cent complete in the north, roughly 87 per cent complete in the south, and more than 60 per cent complete in Darfur.

Even with funding resolved, a successful census still depends on many issues. These include border demarcation, the security problems in Southern Kordofan, Unity and Jonglei states, training of the census-takers and a solution to logistical problems, such as lack of roads in many areas, distribution of materials and the start of the rainy season. Even more problematic is the way in which 'technical' census decisions appear to be increasingly politicised, in an apparent bid by both the southern and northern census commissions to make things more difficult for each other. On 31 January 2008, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that 'the implications of the situation for the future electoral process and, in particular, its impact on the determination of constituencies, is becoming a matter of increasing concern.'

Owing to severe delays in the planning for the nationwide census, primarily caused by funding delays by the Government of National Unity, the census had to be postponed several times and has been rescheduled for the second half of April 2008. On 11 April, First Vice-President Salva Kiir urged all Sudanese to participate in the census. On 12 April, however, the SPLM announced that it had suspended the census until the north-south border is demarcated, all southerners living in the North return to the South and questions concerning religion and ethnicity be included in the census. The NCP denounced the move and following crisis talks between President Bashir and GoSS President Salva Kiir, the row was resolved and the presidency announced that the census would start all over the country on 22 April 2008.

Census results were finally released on 21 May 2009.  The SPLM, the State Government of South Kordofan, and JEM immediately rejected the results claiming that they were rigged in favour of the NCP.  In Darfur, fears of government manipulation led some IDP camps to boycott the census.  The proportion of seats given to the South by the census was rejected by the Southern Assembly the day before the National Election Commission released its report on representation in the National Assembly.  When the report was released the South was granted 20% of the total seats, down from the 34% granted by the 1986 census.  As a result, the Joint High Executive Political Committee has been unable to finalize the census results.

Election planning is now also severely behind the CPA schedule.  Elections that were mandated by the CPA to take place in July 2009 were first postponed until February 2010 and then until April 2010. Voter registration finally took place between November 1 and December 7; however, it has already been contested by opposition groups across Sudan.  Though the registration process itself was peaceful, the Carter Center reported that the percentage of voters registered was uneven across the country.  The government extended registration by a week to solve this problem, but it was poorly publicized and had limited success.  When voicing their opposition to the registration process, the SPLM and other opposition groups point to irregularities that benefit the NCP.  Certain voting centres were not open the entire month and efforts to register the Sudanese Diaspora were prohibited in bordering nations with large numbers of Southern refugees.  In Darfur, a three month residency law required IDPs to return home by August if they wish to vote in their native constituencies.  Any individual who left the camp after that would be prohibited from voting.  If these irregularities are not addressed, many opposition groups will boycott the election.

Transparency in the Oil Sector

The Protocol on Wealth Sharing of the CPA sets out principles for the management and development of the oil industry and for the sharing of oil revenues, under the authority of the National Petroleum Commission, which was established in October 2005. The NPC, which is co-chaired by GNU President al-Bashir and Government of South Sudan (GoSS) President Salva Kiir, did not meet until April 2007, when the NCP and SPLM agreed on rules of procedures for the Commission and on the mechanism of negotiating new oil contracts.

Pursuant to the CPA, half of the oil revenues from the South, which is responsible for about 85% of the national output, are to be transferred to the GoSS. Revenues from oil produced in the North accrue exclusively to the Government of National Unity. Transfers of oil revenue to the Southern Sudan and States levels have taken place since 2005, although GNU and GoSS disagree over boundaries in the oil producing areas, as well as over the figures of oil production. Institutional delays related to the establishment of the NPC continued to impede timely transfers of funds to delegated levels of government. Delay in demarcation of the 1956 border, and a lack of transparency in calculating oil revenues continued in 2007 to fuel mistrust over the division of oil revenues, adding to the grievances that led the SPLM to suspend its participation in the Government of National Unity in October 2007.

As one commentator observed, oil was not the main issue causing the North-South conflict, for the conflict preceded the discovery of oil in the South. However, it has become an element in the centre of the conflict also because of its potential for rectifying the problems that had occupied the centre of the Sudanese conflict for to long: absence of social, economic, and infrastructural development in the South.

Following the political stand-off between the NCP and SPLM in late 2007, the NCP recommitted in the December 2007 agreement with the SPLM, to 'full and transparent' management in the oil sector, as well as to re-launching the National Petroleum Commission. The SPLM, while a member of that body, had felt there was little transparency in the revenue figures it was receiving from the NCP. Because it was blocked from the production and marketing of the oil, it had no way of knowing how much was really sold and at what price.

The December agreement also granted the GoSS a role in the day-to-day management of oil processes, terminals and marketing. Once in effect, the changes should allow the GoSS to confirm production figures, pumping and export numbers and revenue calculations. However, as of yet, the SPLM has not yet been given access to existing exploitation contracts, and the National Petroleum Commission has not met since mid-2007. Furthermore, the NCP and SPLM have not yet been able to settle their dispute over the status and rights to conclude pre-CPA oil contracts, which pursuant to the CPA, would stand and not be subject to review by the National Petroleum Commission.

Meanwhile, figures released by the Ministry of Finance and National Economy show that total oil revenue for October 2007 amounted to more than $530 million. This was the highest figure since the beginning of petroleum production in the country. According to the same source, the share of the Government of Southern Sudan amounted to more than $208 million.


Security Issues

The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)

The LRA is one of the most notorious rebel armies in the world. Under the command of Joseph Kony and his second-in-command Vincent Otti, the group has been an armed opponent of the Government of Uganda and President Yoweri Museveni since 1987, and the Government of Uganda has responded with structural violence on a grand scale against the people of northern Uganda.

The LRA promotes a radical form of Christianity which it wants to make the foundation of a new Ugandan government. But beyond that stated aim, and its purported commitment to 'establishing a government based on the biblical Ten Commandments' the LRA appears to have no clear political agenda. Based in northern Uganda, southern Sudan and, more recently, the DRC, the current strength of the LRA is approximately 3,000, of whom approximately 80% are youth and children, who are kidnapped and brainwashed into service with the group, including girls who serve as sex slaves. The LRA seeks to achieve its objectives primarily through unbridled brutality, including rape, torture, and murder, mainly visited upon civilians.

The arrival of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Sudan in 1993-94 (eventually followed by elements of Uganda's Army, the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF), marked the beginning of more than 15 years of fighting involving Ugandans on Sudanese soil. The LRA had ventured into Sudan to seek refuge from the fighting in Uganda, but the Sudanese government turned the LRA into a significant actor in Khartoum's efforts to crush the southern rebellion. A partnership between Khartoum and the LRA was established that would benefit both: 'Khartoum ran a proxy war through the LRA against both the SPLA and the UPDF, while the LRA obtained supplies and assistance in its attempt to overthrow Museveni. Moving into the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2005, the LRA became a genuine threat to regional security.'

In 2002, the Sudanese government reversed its longstanding policy of support and began cooperating in international efforts to eliminate the group's sanctuaries. Early attempts at mediation with the LRA all failed, but the negotiation process gained renewed attention in November 2006, when Jan Egeland, then UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, traveled to LRA camps along the Sudan-Uganda border. By that time, the LRA had been underground without communicating with the outside world for many years, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) had issued arrest warrants in July 2005 against Joseph Kony and several of his lieutenants. The mediation with Egeland particularly interested Kony as he sought to gain an ally in his case with the ICC. It also served to open lines of communication for subsequent negotiations.

In late 2005 the newly established GoSS, in which the SPLM holds the majority, changed its approach to the LRA. After Otti announced on the radio in the autumn of 2005 that the LRA wanted peace, the GoSS attempted to establish contact. Peace delegates of the LRA had already made the link with Nairobi-based Acholi elders who consulted with local Sudanese politicians and consequently linked them to Machar. Machar, who had become vice-president of the GoSS after the death of John Garang, offered to negotiate. In February 2006, a viable contact was established. The first meeting between Otti and Machar took place in April 2006 and eventually led to the first meeting with Kony the following month. The Juba Peace Talks officially began on 14 July 2006 in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba, and were mediated by South Sudanese Vice-President Riek Machar and the UN Special Envoy Joaquim Chissano. Between July 2007 and February 2008, the two sides signed at least three important agreements on accountability, on the prosecution of war crimes, and on DDR. However, recent attempts to obtain Kony's signature on a final agreement have been unsuccessful, including a scheduled meeting as recent as 10 April 2008. The LRA continues to be a source of instability and violence in the South.  Since December 2008, LRA attacks have killed 200 civilians and displaced 68,000.

Other Armed Groups

The CPA brought a formal end to the state of hostilities between the GoS and the SPLM/A, but it did not end the many ongoing internal conflicts in South Sudan. The CPA recognised only the SPLM/A, leaving out smaller groups in the South, and the potential for in-fighting among southerners was not addressed, despite a well-known rivalry between two main ethnic groups, the Dinka and Nuer. The CPA therefore ignored the grievances of up to 30 other armed groups around Sudan, who had similar demands for a share of power and resources. Ignoring these groups in the peace negotiations is partly to blame for the uprising in Darfur. The main armed group left out of the CPA was the South Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF), a predominantly Nuer group previously supported by Khartoum in exchange for protecting the oilfields against the SPLA.

Under the stipulations of the CPA, the SSDF was supposed to be subsumed within the SPLA or SAF by January 2006, as the CPA mandated that there could be no 'third army' in South Sudan after this deadline. Yet the exact mechanisms for ensuring this were left decidedly ambiguous in the text. The SPLM/A undertook a south-south dialogue with the formerly pro-GoS militias, which culminated in the signing, on 8 January 2006, of an agreement between the President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, and Paulino Matip of the SSDF, entitled the Juba Declaration. Although the majority of SSDF forces thereafter aligned themselves with the SPLM/A, a few groups have remained either supported by Khartoum or have not declared their allegiance, and continue to maintain a reduced armed presence in South Sudan, in contradiction to the dictates of the CPA  and leaving open possibilities for continued disruption to the peace process.


Regional Dynamics

The GoS's aggressive attempts to export political Islam in the region, together with the stalled IGAD peace process, served to galvanize the countries of the Horn, and in particular Eritrea, Ethiopia and Uganda, to launch military operations against Khartoum. And while the initiative clearly came from the region, the USA provided military assistance to these three countries and hoped that it would produce, together with the actions of the SPLM/A and the northern armed opposition, sufficient momentum to overthrow the regime in Khartoum. On the political front the attempted assassination of Mubarak led Egypt to join Ethiopia in co-sponsoring a Security Council resolution with strong US support for an embargo against Sudan.

Khartoum's 'Islamist onslaught' ended by the late 1990s, but the reactive politics of the past fifty years in the Horn are too deeply entrenched to imagine they can be easily overcome. Sudan thus entered the post-conflict stage of the North-South peace process with unstable relations with most of its neighbours, and stability in Sudan and the well-being of the peace process depend crucially on improving those relations.



As the UNMIS mandate is closely related to the implementation of the CPA, the mission's success will to a great extent be determined by the commitment of the NCP and SPLM/A to implement the Agreement, in accordance with agreed timelines.

Most critical timelines in the CPA, including those for the establishment of key institutions, the redeployment of forces, border demarcations and the preparation of the national census and elections, have already been missed due to the lack of political will and capacity. These delays add to the prevailing mistrust between the parties and contribute to conditions on the ground that could lead to renewed violence, especially in the three areas of Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States, and the unravelling of the agreement as a whole.

The role of UNMIS role in averting this outcome lies in the strong support of the full and timely implementation of the CPA, including by providing good offices and mediation to resolve outstanding issues. As ICG notes, with the establishment of the separate United Nations - African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) UNMIS should be able to refocus its activities on the core mandate of supporting CPA implementation.

The crucial responsibility of UNMIS to monitor and verify the redeployment of forces and formation of joint integrated units is complicated by the restrictions on its freedom of movement imposed by the parties, in particular in the flashpoint area of Abyei.

As requested by the Security Council, the Secretary-General is presently undertaking a strategic assessment of the mission's mandate and configuration to enhance its ability to support the CPA implementation. Preliminary findings indicate the need for a review of the mission's military strength and clarification of the mission's mandate with regard to census and elections as well as border demarcation. The Secretary-General's specific recommendations for possible mandate changes are expected to be presented in April 2008.

Due to the formal link between the UNMIS mandate and the CPA, further delays in its implementation would affect the mission's exit strategy, as a possible extension of the transition period beyond 2011 could have obvious repercussions for the length of the mission, subject to the parties' agreement. As the ICG notes, the SPLM and NCP calculate that they still have much to gain through continued partnership, by advancing their strategies within the CPA framework. 'As the dates for national elections and the southern referendum come near, however, these calculations may change and again put the CPA, with its promise of the country's democratic transformation, in danger.

As the fate of the CPA is uncertain, so is the future of UNMIS. Serious questions loom for the future of the mission in the event that the parties suspend implementation of the CPA, or their cooperation with UNMIS. UNMIS, with its current mandate and its current strength and configuration, will not be in a position to prevent a return to armed conflict by the parties.



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