The independent Republic of South Sudan emerged Saturday from the ravages of half a century of war, deprivation, destruction, and displacement. Its freedom was guaranteed overwhelmingly by a self-determination held last January, and, today, it is impossible to resist the celebratory urges evident in Juba, the new capital. But this birth occurs against an exceedingly grim backdrop that suggests resumed war between Sudan and, now, South Sudan is much closer than diplomats and analysts have allowed themselves to say, or perhaps even think. The threats of conflict in the border regions of Abyei and South Kordofan are acute and growing more so by the day; Khartoum also continues to bomb civilian targets in the northern part of Unity State (which is in the new South Sudan) and supports deadly renegade militias.
Indeed, war has steadily become more likely than peace. Having hoped and worked for more than twelve years to help bring a just peace to Sudan, I find only bitterness in offering this warning, but the actions and statements by Khartoum require a hard-headed assessment that seems beyond U.S. special envoy Princeton Lyman, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his key under-secretaries, the African Union’s Thabo Mbeki, and the leaders of nearly all European countries.
Why such a bleak outlook? Let’s attend to three key threats to peace.
[Complete article available at The New Republic: