Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recommendations for U.S. policy on Sudan

Katherine Almquist (pictured), a senior official in USAID during the Bush administration, recently published an analysis of the situation in Sudan and recommendations for U.S. policy. You can find the piece, titled "Renewed Conflict in Sudan" and published in March 2010 by the Council on Foreign Relations, here. The author proposes only two conceivable scenarios for Sudan:
  1. The south secedes peacefully through a credible referendum process
  2. Or the CPA collapses and the south fights for independence.
There is no scenario in which the south remains peacefully united with the north beyond 2011. While her analysis of the situation is more negative than my own, it is probably close to prevailing opinion in Washington. She has low expectations for free and fair elections in April and suggests the clearest tripwire for a return to war between the north and south is delay of the southern Sudan referendum beyond January 2011. She rightly notes that because most of Sudan’s currently active oil fields are on the southern side of the north-south border and the only pipeline for transporting oil to the coast for export runs north to Port Sudan on the Red Sea, negotiation of acceptable terms for oil revenue sharing will be a significant indicator of the prospects for a smooth referendum process and beyond. She also acknowledges that while there is immense risk of a violent breakup of the country (into a north and south), it is by no means inevitable. She does not carry this further and acknowledge possible further divisions in both the north and the south. After laying out the prospects for potential U.S. military action, she explains that the least costly and most effective option for the United States would be to continue to pursue bilateral and multilateral diplomatic action to provide pressure as well as incentives for the parties to honor their commitment to the CPA. This would include greater diplomatic energy aimed at countries with influence over Khartoum such as China and Egypt. Almquist argues that U.S. policy should be unambiguous on the prospects for U.S. military and financial support to the SPLM to avoid emboldening the south unduly. At the same time, the NCP (government party) must understand the lengths to which the United States will isolate the regime if it reneges on the southern referendum. Almquist does not address possible transgressions on the southern side. Her bottom line is that the United States must lead the international community in recognizing that the south will not remain peacefully united with the north after January 2011. International support for self-determination should be unambiguously affirmed without prejudice toward unity, and it must be backed by preparations to recognize and assist an independent southern Sudan. Image: usaid.gov.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I absolutely Agree. I am a Sudanese, lost Boy, youngman in Atlanta with good understanding of what the future of Sudan could be before 2011. As mentioned above, there are greact chances of second scenarios to occur, but what worry the South is the creditability of Obama's Administration respond toward the event. I am ninty nine percent that We will lose lives and future campaign wishes will regret this crisis like in Rwanda.

    SR. Achiek Ayol

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