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The Fate of Sudan

The Fate of Sudan

John Young


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In 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ended one of Africa's most devastating civil wars and set the stage for the partition of Sudan, Africa's largest country. One of the most important peace agreements in African history, it has had decisive consequences for the entire Horn of Africa. Yet to date there has been little rigorous analysis as to why the parties signed the CPA, what strategies they adopted having signed the agreement, and the political consequences of state partition actually are. John Young argues forcefully that the birth of the independent state of Southern Sudan and the threat of further dismemberment of a rump northern Sudan are due to the failure of the approaches and ideologies of the main Sudanese parties, as well as a deeply flawed US-backed peace process that excludes civil society and other rebel groups. Written by someone directly involved in the Sudanese election and referendum processes, and featuring a wealth of first-hand evidence, this is a crucial examination of a topic of intense political and media interest.
John Young has been involved in research around peace, security, governance, federalism conflict, elections, and political parties in the Horn of Africa since 1986, but in recent years has had a particular interest in peace and security issues in Sudan. He was political adviser to the Carter Center for the April 2010 national elections and southern Sudan referendum.
'This is a sobering book, recounting in detail the authoritarianism and manipulations of the ruling elites in Sudan, and how these remain unchanged after the secession of South Sudan. Based on twenty-five years' experience of Sudanese politics, Young draws the dark conclusion that international efforts to resolve Sudan's wars have failed to promote democratic transformation and have instead contributed to perpetuating the country's crises. With both Sudan and newly independent South Sudan facing internal insurrection as well as conflict between the two, this book is essential reading.' Alex de Waal, executive director, World Peace Foundation 'Based on well-documented, rich historical detail and perceptive reading of major turns of events in the political history of Sudan (before and after 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement), John Young has said it all with clarity of writing and lucid style. This book is a must-read not only for those concerned with the still unresolved, complex issues between Sudan and South, but its brilliant and uplifting account makes it indispensible to international actors for drawing lessons to avoid the tragedy of failed peace in other conflict-ridden areas of the world.' Atta el-Battahani, professor of political science, University of Khartoum 'Young confronts critical and often overlooked dimensions of Sudan's conflicts as well as the shortcomings of its predominant political forces. Tough questions are posed as to the international community's posture toward the peace process, as Young argues provocatively that too conventional an approach to peacemaking - against the backdrop of a fundamentally flawed state - is in large part why a sustainable and "comprehensive" peace remains so elusive. Young's book offers not only an important and alternative perspective on recent history in the region, but critical considerations for future peace processes around the globe.' Zach Vertin, Sudan analyst, The International Crisis Group 'This is a bleakly compelling account of Sudan's flawed peace process - easily the best available overview of the current situation - written by an author who has followed events very closely. In a clear, concise and readable manner the book overviews events and explains the developments that have resulted in the breaking up of Africa's largest country. Young's analysis of the two states that now confront each other along their disputed border is deeply pessimistic, and with good reason. Far from promoting democracy and accountable governance, the political processes that have been pushed by international actors and aid donors have been co-opted by the rival authoritarian regimes. It is a tragic tale, and one that is told very well indeed.' Tim Allen, London School of Economics and Political Science 'A must-read for anyone interested in the unfolding conflict in the horn of Africa, particularly Sudan. John Young has closely followed all major developments in Sudan for more than twenty-five years, and his extensive knowledge of the country is the result of direct interaction with the major actors and stake holders there. He was one of the few analysts who discovered, very early on, just how flawed the comprehensive peace agreement was; it was the result of sustained pressures imposed on the two parties by a misguided international community and had been designed to solve the north-south conflict. But in reality it was nothing more them an extended ceasefire agreement, and as soon as it ended war broke out again.' Mahgoub M. Salih, editor of Al-Ayam, Sudan, and winner of the Golden Pen of Freedom Award 2005

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the Author ii
Title page iii
Contents v
Acknowledgments vii
Abbreviations viii
Preface xiii
Introduction: The Failures of Liberal Peacemaking in Sudan 1
The Sudanese State Historically 1
Theoretical Context 4
1 Protagonists and Peace Partners: The NCP and the SPLM 17
NCP and Political Islam 18
Armed Struggle, 1983–91 50
Revolt of the Doctors 54
From War to Peace 57
SPLM/A: Organization, Orientation, and Leadership 61
SPLM/A, Administration, and Relations with the People 69
Conclusion 75
2 A Flawed Approach to Peacemaking 79
Pre-IGAD Efforts at Peacemaking 80
The First Sudan IGAD Peace Initiative 82
The Second IGAD Peace Initiative: May 2002 to January 2005 88
From Two-Party Dominance to the Dominance of Two People 100
The Challenge of an Inclusive Peace Process 109
A Peace Process without Trust 116
The US and Its Allies 121
Limits of Mediation 128
Conclusion 131
3 Dispensing with Democracy: The April 2010 Elections 134
Democratic Accountability and the National Elections 135
Elections 144
Observing the Observers 164
Conclusion 171
4 Confirming the Inevitable: The January 2011 Referendum 177
Right to Self-Determination 178
March to the Referendum 181
Confronting Party Contradictions 186
Tensions between the Peace Partners 197
Confronting the Internal Opposition 206
A Final Word from President Omar al-Bashir 211
Referendum Mechanics 212
The International Community and the Referendum 218
Conclusion 221
5 The Three Areas: Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan, and Abyei 226
Background to the Popular Consultations 227
Blue Nile Popular Consultation 231
Blue Nile Hearings 234
Southern Kordofan Elections and Popular Consultations 242
Southern Kordofan Elections 247
Abyei 258
Local Perspectives 260
Rising Political Tensions 263
Crisis in Kordofan 272
Conclusion 287
6 A Changing Landscape: Political Transitions in South and North Sudan 289
End of Internal Unity in the South 291
Revolt of the Regions 295
Revolt in the Periphery 304
Building an Economy of Dependency 325
Regime Change in the North? 327
The NCP, a Broad-based Government, and Constitution-making 333
Divisions in the NCP 342
Northern Economy 345
Conclusion 348
Conclusion: The Legacy of a Flawed Peace Process 352
Peacemaking Gone Wrong 354
Postscript 360
Notes 364
References 372
Index 378