Thursday, March 25, 2010
Refugees International issued a brief report and list of recommendations on March 25, 2010, titled "Sudan: No Time for Business as Usual" (PDF). It underscores the possibility for conflict in Sudan following national elections in April 2010 and/or the referendum on southern independence in January 2011. The report properly urges the international humanitarian community to make contingency plans now in the event that major conflict breaks out. The organization is especially concerned about the plight of internally displaced persons. Refugees International found during recent discussions with local government officials in Juba, Upper Nile and Southern Kordofan that in the event of conflict with the northern government, southern officials expect the United States will send military protection to southern Sudan. I doubt the United States has made any such promise and would be surprised if U.S. military forces become involved in such a conflict. To the extent possible, it is important to establish now the role of the UN Peacekeeping Force in southern Sudan in the event there is a resumption of north-south conflict. Unrealistic expectations will only contribute to bad policy choices by both northerners and southerners.