Intrastate Conflict in Sudan the African Continent Term Paper

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Intrastate Conflict in Sudan

The African continent is seen nowadays as being one of the most volatile regions in the world. Despite its enormous natural and human potential, it fails to take advantage of the resources at hand and continues to be a security threat at a regional level, as well as at a global one. Sudan is in this sense representative for the fragile security situation present on the continent. However, the state of affairs in the country has maintained alive the attention of the international community more than other conflicts such as the ones in Ethiopia or Congo. This is due to the continuous struggles for reaching a positive agreement between the conflicting parties in the country, as well as the failure to establish a comprehensive means to respecting and implementing the already agreed upon ceasefires, protocols, and agreements. At the same time though, the lack of efficiency in the actions undergone is also the result of the complexity of the issues under discussion, taking into account the dimension of the conflicts present in Sudan. In this sense, on the one hand, there is the unsolved conflict between the North and the South of the country, and, on the other hand, there is the escalating humanitarian and security crisis in the Western part of the state, in Darfur. From this perspective, any possible peace agreement must take into account both levels of conflict and deal with them in terms of local solutions as well as a national one.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Intrastate Conflict in Sudan the African Continent Assignment

There have been numerous attempts meant to reestablish peace in the region and in Sudan in particular. However, they were most of the times sabotaged by the lack of political and social will to implement their provisions. The present paper will underline the major breakthroughs achieved since the 1993 establishment of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development. This is an important landmark because it was the first strong signal of a political desire to achieve peace in the region and, at the same time, it established the framework for an open dialogue path between the parties involved in the conflict. The presentation of the ongoing peace efforts will focus on both dimensions of the issue, both in terms of the North-South dispute, and of the particular security crisis in Darfur. The differentiation is important for underlining the difficult coordinates the peace process must follow in order to secure a stable and durable agreement. At the same time however, a distinction must be made between the overall conflict affecting Sudan and the crisis of Darfur because while in the former case, it is a matter of intrastate violence, the latter has grown beyond the national borders of Sudan and affects neighboring countries such as Chad and thus gained an international dimension. Moreover, while the North South conflict represents a matter of national sovereignty, the Darfur crisis reached such a level of intensity that it attracted the involvement of humanitarian aid agencies, as well as the International Criminal Court.

All these taken into consideration, it is therefore essential to follow the lines of the North South peace attempts on the one hand and the Darfur crisis resolution attempts on the other.

Historical background of the North South conflict

On the Sudanese territory there are various factors that triggered the conflict between the North part of the country and the south part. These include religious, social, and political tensions which play a significant role in maintaining and increasing the levels of violence in the state.

The religious element is essential for the determination of the North South conflict, taking into account the mostly Muslim North and the Animist and Christian South. (BBC, 2007)

In terms of economic tensions, the discrepancies between the North and the South are rather well-known. The South is considered to be richer than the rest of the regions in Sudan and this element tends to affect the ration between the two parts of the country and determine the South to reach a secessionist attitude. In this sense, their struggle has been fueled by their desire to self-determination from the rest of the country. (CIA, 2007) Their motivation lies not only in the different levels of economic development, but, at the same time, in the refusal to accept the laws and rule of a Muslim society over a Christian belief.

The early 90s revolutions in Sudan proved the increasing pressures existing in the country. In this sense, for instance, the revolutionary spirit was embodied by the idea of the creation of "the New Sudanese" which "required them to abandon those heretical ethnic, linguistic, social, and indigenous religious traditions and replace them with allegiance to the Islamist ideology defined by the National Islamic Front." (Collins, 1999) From this point-of-view, the tensions and the emerging conflict are obvious. This manifested at the political level as well because the pressures to create a secular state, one that would not be based on the Muslim Shari 'a imposed on the Christian population, became more and more preeminent and encouraged the conflicts between the two sides.

Peace talks

There have been numerous attempts to try to reach a possible peaceful agreement of the situation in Sudan. Their main aim was to reduce and at one point stop the conflict existing between the Islamic North and the Christian South. The war had become imminent once Sudan had gained independence in 1956. Since then, a continuous state of conflict existed between the two parts.

One of the first attempts to bring to an end the civil war resulted in the Addis Ababa Agreement. The March 1972 accord marked an important period in the history of the conflict because it was one of the first occasions when the parties had reached a negotiated solution to the issue. There are some who consider even that "a steadily growing civil war, showing increasing indications of international involvement, was suddenly stopped following negotiations between the representatives of the Sudan government and delegates selected by the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement." (Kasfir, 143) Indeed, it may be that at the time there was a lot of optimism riding on the initiative; however, it failed to stop the conflict between the two parties. The main provisions of the Agreement targeted the most important issues that had represented the causes for war.

The most important issue to have been tackled in the Agreement was regional autonomy for the South. (Suliman, n.d.) Moreover, the rule was to be handed to a regional president appointed by the national president on the recommendation of an elected Southern Regional Assembly. At the same time however, it also acknowledged the separation between the North and the South in terms of language, guaranteeing the official language of Sudan as Arabic, while the working language of the South to be English. In this sense, the distinction became all the more obvious and it set the basis for future conflict.

The escalation of the tensions between the two parties became soon a matter of national security taking into account the developments of the early 1980s when the president of Sudan suspended the autonomy of the southern region of the country. This way, the political message was clearly indicating a worsening situation for the Christian population. Moreover, the denial of the rights agreed upon in the Addis Ababa Agreement left the impression of the unwillingness of the government to act according to an established and negotiated pact. As a consequence, conflict broke out in the country.

The conflict was marked by few moments when a certain ceasefire was kept. However, most of the time, the country was in a political and economic limbo. The main questions under discussion were related to the nature of the state on the one hand, and the conditions of the individuals. In this sense, in the first issue, the debate focused on the issue of secularism. While the Christians demanded a separation between the state and the religion, the Muslims supported the Shari' a as the basis of the legal framework. This matter however, affected the population and its structure as well because it influenced the way in which Christians were treated by the Islamic law. This is why fights continued despite certain ceasefires such as the Koka Dam Declaration of March 1986 or the Mirghani-SPLM Agreement in Addis Ababa in November 1988. (Abdelgadier, 2004)

Another important step taken by the two parties in their quest for peace or at least the establishment of a state of equilibrium represented the series of talks at the end of the 80 which concluded with agreements reached in Addis Ababa in August 1989, Nairobi in December 1989, Abuja in May/July 1992, Abuja in April/May 1993, Nairobi in May 1993, and Frankfurt in January 1992. (IRIN, 2007) However, these were only feeble steps which culminated in the 1994 Declaration of Principles. One of the most important provisions of the document reaffirmed the right to self-determination for the South of Sudan and the need for reaching a politically agreed upon solution to the conflict. Moreover,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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