President Salva Kiir has played a weak hand well since his main rival was forced out of Juba in July. To avoid new flare-ups in South Sudan’s three-year-old civil war, Kiir and regional states should step up their work on a more inclusive transitional government and peace deals with local rebel groups.
Originally published in Daily Monitor
Originally published in Sudan Tribune
Clashes continued between ethnic Shilluk rebels under Johnson Olony, part of Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), and govt forces on west bank of Nile, former Upper Nile state. SPLA-IO’s unsuccessful offensives coinciding with AU summit late Jan generated tensions between Machar and his military leadership. SPLA-IO 22 Feb clashed with govt forces in Kuek area, northern former Upper Nile state and Yuai, former Jonglei state in east. Govt and UN 20 Feb declared famine in parts of Unity state in north centre, said nearly 100,000 people face starvation.
The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan reached a milestone with the formation of a transitional government in Juba in April. Yet fault lines like those in the Equatorias remain outstanding. A committed, inclusive political response is vital to stop low-level conflicts continuing indefinitely.
Talks led by East Africa’s IGAD offer the best chance to end South Sudan’s spreading war. International partners must put aside their disillusionment and rally to the regional body’s new IGAD-PLUS mechanism to help mediators reach a deal.
South Sudan’s Jonglei state is emblematic of the regional, national and local challenges to peace and of the limitations of trying to resolve a conflict by engaging only two of the nearly two-dozen armed groups in the country.
Refocusing international engagement as well as the peace negotiations is essential to stop South Sudan’s raging civil war from claiming ever more lives.
From the war's outset the UN never tried to maintain a death toll [in South Sudan]. Guesses vary from 50,000 up to 300,000. It demonstrates a shocking lack of humanity that no one has tried to establish the scale of violence.
The over-focus on a new peacekeeping mandate at the expense of political developments in the country [South Sudan] reflects international disunity and a lack of political strategy.
We need some kind of political solution to this conflict, and this resolution doesn’t do that.
It's time for real talk because while the diplomats are playing games, it will be the South Sudanese who are dying
It [South Sudan's peace agreement] halted the fighting, created a framework for reform, transitional justice and elections and prevented regional powers being further sucked into South Sudan's war
Africa is experiencing the highest number of humanitarian crises since the 1990s. As the new chair of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, takes office, International Crisis Group suggests how he can strengthen the organisation’s response to threats to continental peace and security.
International actors are struggling to respond to the evolving situation in South Sudan, meanwhile regional actors are busy creating facts on the ground.
In this Q&A, senior analyst for South Sudan, Casie Copeland, explains what is behind the fighting in Juba and what can help prevent the conflict spiralling out of control.
The honeymoon period is now over for the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, which formally ended the civil war in August 2015. Its guarantors need to act urgently in the next days to save it and prevent the country from returning to full-scale combat.