Friday, July 15, 2011

Risks to stability in Sudan and Ethiopia

The Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington released two studies in June 2011 that deal with assessing risk in Sudan and Ethiopia.

The one on Sudan (PDF) is authored by Richard Downie and Brian Kennedy.The key stress points are:
  • Sudan’s long term stability depends on whether the country’s North and South can reach and fully implement equitable agreements on the terms of their separation in July 2011.
  • North Sudan faces a highly volatile period during the next decade. The ruling National Congress Party will face growing calls for political change, an economic slump, and the possibility of armed challenges from within. There is the added risk of contagion from the uprisings seen elsewhere in North Africa. The regime will most likely use violence to confront these challenges. The prospect of civil war cannot be ruled out.
  • South Sudan faces the enormous challenge of the need to establish a functioning state with few resources in the face of serious security challenges. Its stability will depend on establishing its legitimacy as a state, which will mean being able to provide services to its citizens and keeping them safe. The next decade is likely to see slow progress checked by frequent reversals.
The one on Ethiopia (PDF) is authored by Terence Lyons. The key stress points are:
  • In the short to medium terms, Ethiopia is likely to remain stable but brittle. The authoritarian ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has consolidated power across all levels of government and society, efficiently suppressing political opposition.
  • The choice of a long-term successor to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is likely to expose tensions within the ruling EPRDF and its ethnically defined sub-parties, and exacerbate friction between some of Ethiopia’s most volatile regions.
  • Ethiopia faces multiple security threats, which taken alone can be contained by the military but if combined would threaten to overwhelm the state, triggering serious instability and violence. Constant vigilance is required by Ethiopia to prevent its enemies in Eritrea and Somalia from linking up with internal armed groups such as the Oromo Liberation Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

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