South Africa's Institute for Security Studies (ISS) published a well reasoned analysis of the worsening situation between Sudan and South Sudan. Written by Andrews Atta-Asamoah, ISS senior researcher in Pretoria, it identifies three issues that could lead to full scale war: (1) the continued existence of bitterness that has led to an atmosphere of intense mutual suspicion between the two countries; (2) a preoccupation with access to oil wealth; and (3) a lack of appreciation by the political leadership of both countries as to the degree the economic, security and cultural destinies of the two countries are inextricably linked. Atta-Asamoah stops well short of predicting a return to all out war.
Click here to read the brief commentary.
Since the independence of South Sudan, I have argued that full scale war would not resume between Sudan and South Sudan. While the conflict along the border has become more serious than I thought would be the case, I continue to believe the two countries will avoid all out war. Serious conflict between northern and southern Sudan raged sporadically from 1955 until a cease fire in 2003. Neither side won and both sides understood that they could not win a definitive military victory. Both countries appreciate that an all out war would devastate their respective economies and probably result in the removal of both of their leaderships. That is why I continue to believe the leadership in Sudan and South Sudan will stop short of all out war. Ultimately, rationality will prevail.