Sudan: The Best Peace Threats Can Buy

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August 28, 2015: President Kiir has openly expressed doubts that the rebels can be trusted to carry out the terms of the peace deal. This makes it unlikely this peace deal will succeed and if the peace deal does collapse the situation will be even more chaotic and destructive.

August 26, 2015: South Sudan president Salva Kiir, under threat of UN sanctions, finally signed a peace agreement that ostensibly ends the civil war. Rebel commander Riek Machar signed it in mid-August.  Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia helped negotiate the agreement. However, both Kiir and Machar have expressed doubts about the deal. Kiir believes the deal gives rebel forces control over several oil fields. Previous ceasefires have failed to hold, but this agreement is supposed to be more than a ceasefire. Originally, an international group gave the warring parties until August 17 to sign an agreement, but the time to sign was extended because negotiators said that there was progress.

The peace deal is complicated. For example, the rebels get 40 percent of the executive positions in three key states: Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile. The government gets 46 percent.  Former detainees and minor political parties get the other parties 14 percent. The “former detainees” are members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (governing party) who were arrested by the government after the civil war started. Many of them hold grudges (for good reason) against the government. It appears the rebels will get the governorships in Upper Nile and Unity states. Rebel forces control large areas in both states. Both states are major oil producing states. The government will control the governorship in Jonglei.

August 25, 2015: A South Sudan rebel general (Peter Gatdethas) declared himself independent of the rebels and in opposition to both the government. Gatdet is a Nuer and had previously said he would form a separate rebel movement because he opposed the emerging peace deal. The rebels tried to woo him back over the last two weeks but failed.

Two South Sudanese foreign aid workers have been killed in South Sudan. The aid workers were slain (within the last week) in an inaccessible area in Unity state. 

August 19, 2015: Sudan rebels (Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North or SPLM-N) claim to have stopped another Sudan government attack in the Jebel Kolgo area (southwest of Ed Damazin, capital of Blue Nile state). The SPLM-N also claimed that on August 12 its forces took control of Gadier and Abu Grain garrisons in South Kordofan state.

The U.S. has asked the UN to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan. The U.S. request came after reports that the South Sudan president refused to sign the IGAD peace agreement. The U.S. also wants the UN to impose additional economic sanctions on the South Sudan government effective September 1.

August 17, 2015: The South Sudan president said he would not sign the peace deal offered by IGAD (the East African Intergovernmental Authority on Development) and the AU (African Union).  The rebel commander signed the agreement today. The president claimed he needed to consult with South Sudan government officials and needs another 15 days to hold those discussions. The latest round of negotiations began August 6 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The U.S. and Great Britain are threatening to stiffen economic and political sanctions on both the government and the rebels if they do not sign a peace agreement and abide by it. Today was supposed to be a deadline for signing a peace agreement.

August 15, 2015:  The South Sudan government is very concerned that Sudan has promised to provide military aid to the rebels. South Sudanese officials claim that Sudan intends to provide the rebels with additional weapons and support so the rebels can seize power. South Sudan will seek help from other East African nations if Sudan provides aid. The rebels deny that they have received military supplies from Sudan. The rebels insist the government claim is intended to undermine peace negotiations. The Sudan government denies that it is involved in South Sudan’s civil war.

August 14, 2015: IGAD negotiators said that they expect South Sudan’s government and the rebels to sign a peace agreement by the August 17 deadline. The statement came the same day reports appeared that several rebel field commanders objected to the decision to sign the peace agreement.

August 13, 2015: The so called “IGAD Plus” South Sudan peace proposal being discussed in Ethiopia calls for a neutral peacekeeping force to control the capital of South Sudan, which would be demilitarized except for the peacekeeping force (also called a neutral force). Both government and rebel officials are suspicious of this proposal. Minority tribes are complaining that the deal appears to give Dinka and Nuer tribe elites too much power. The current president is a Dinka and the rebel commander is a Nuer.

August 12, 2015: Several South Sudan rebel generals are upset with the emerging peace agreement. The field commanders believe rebel political leaders are making too many concessions to the government. This is a cause for worry because many rebel generals command units that are personally loyal to them, not the rebel cause.  Two Nuer rebel have formed a rebel faction opposing the peace deal. They have issued a statement that they are prepared to fight both the government and the rebels. However, many members of the Nuer tribe are criticizing them for behaving as dictators and undermining peace negotiations.

August 11, 2015: Sudan claimed that Libya has provided weapons to the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM). The government summoned a Libyan diplomat and made a formal complaint. On August 2 Libya withdrew its monitoring group from the joint monitoring force (formed in 2014) monitoring the Sudan-Libya border. Libya has left border control in this area to pro-government tribes that are more interested in illegal trade and smuggling than in strictly enforced border controls.

South Sudan rebels accused pro-government forces of killing over 200 civilians during July in various actions in Unity state. The rebels claimed that Bul-Nuer and Dinka Warrap tribe militias allied with the government were responsible, often while they were stealing cattle. On August 1, another pro-government militia killed 20 civilians in a suburb of the town of Adok Payam.

August 9, 2015: The SPLM-N claimed that its forces reoccupied the Torda area (Blue Nile state). Sudan government forces claimed to have seized the city on August 8. 

August 8, 2015: South Sudan rebels clashed with government forces in Eastern Equatoria state (Magwi county). The rebels claimed government forces attacked their positions.The rebels claimed they captured two weapons are the attack.

August 6, 2015: A Sudanese court acquitted two South Sudanese Christian preachers of spying and crimes against the state. The two men faced death sentences. The accusations and prosecutions were regarded as another example of Sudanese oppression of Christians.

August 5, 2015: Agents working for Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrested a senior opposition political leader, Khalid Omar Yusuf, who is part of the Sudan Call opposition political coalition.

Senior South Sudanese officials warned that their government will not let IGAD impose a peace agreement on South Sudan.The warning came after several countries threatened to impose stiff economic and political sanctions on South Sudanese government and rebel leaders.

August 4, 2015: Sudanese forces are accused of having recently ruthlessly shelled and bombed civilians in Sudan’s South Kordofan state. The latest claims cover January to April 2015. Sudanese aircraft dropped 374 bombs (including cluster munitions) on 67 locations in South Kordofan. There are numerous Sudanese and foreign witnesses.

August 1, 2015: The UN reported that 30,000 to 35,000 civilians in South Sudan's Upper Nile state face starvation because the South Sudan government has blocked aid groups from shipping supplies on the Nile River. Most of the civilians are refugees, but not all of them. Government forces have restricted travel on the Nile because at the moment it is the front line between government and rebel areas. The rebels control the west bank, the government the east bank.

 

 

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