Renewed conflict along the border between Sudan and South Sudan follows a predictable pattern, says MERIP editorial committee member Khalid Medani in an interview with KPFA radio.
That violent clashes have erupted so soon after the secession is evidence of the failure of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to address the root issues of the civil war, namely, political and economic marginalization. As the two sides have reached a political stalemate over the terms of oil revenue sharing, they have turned to military force to try to gain leverage before the resumption of talks — all but inevitable given the foundering economies of both states.
At the same time, both governments face mounting internal opposition to authoritarian rule. Rebellions in the west, east and south of Sudan present serious challenges to the central government’s authority in those regions, and opposition parties and youth activists have put pressure on the ruling National Congress Party for its economic policies and repression of political freedoms. One of the last routes available to a regime looking for popular legitimacy has been to refresh the Islamist credentials of the government through a January 2012 cabinet reshuffle. In South Sudan, regional and ethnic militias have resisted the near-total consolidation of political power by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), a party dominated by Dinka elites. As Medani argues, these pressures threaten to increase the fragmentation and regionalism of politics on both sides of the border.
Click here to listen to Medani’s segment on KPFA.