The new peace agreement is progressing, but the risk of collapse is high. Even the best scenarios are likely to lead to partial peace. The 2015 peace agreement was “revived”,” not because it was convinced of its effectiveness, but simply because it was the only model available. If the new deal fails, the world will again be without a backup plan. It would be unwise and irresponsible for this situation to continue. Five years of civil war have not only plundered South Sudan, they have also shown how unrealistic – and naïve – donors` initial plans for South Sudan were: these plans ignored the fact that South Sudan lacked the institutions, infrastructure and unified national identity needed to govern a huge state, even in times of relative peace. Oil revenues, which were once conceived as an important start-up capital for South Sudan`s long development path, have instead been monopolized, looted and have become a central driver of the conflict. Meanwhile, a presidential system in which the winner takes everything has devoted incitement to war: those in power have little reason to share, and those without power have few opportunities to make concessions without threatening violence. Since the start of the civil war in 2013, at least eight peace agreements collapsed before they entered into force, and clashes between the warring parties were reported throughout the country, even when the most recent agreement was finalized. With the South Sudanese issue in hand, Khartoum acted quickly to reach an agreement.
If necessary, Bashir urged Uganda`s Museveni to rely on Kiir while using his influence on Kiir and Machar. Bashir initially proposed a radical but thin scheme for a new power structure in South Sudan – including the distribution of government officials to three national capitals – but Machar rejected it. [fn] First draft of the Khartoum Declaration, June 2018, deposited with the Crisis Group. As proposed, Kiir and Machar would share power but would not occupy the same city. Some members of the SPLM/A-IO leadership believed that Machar had missed an opportunity to settle the war. Others boasted of an alleged attempt by Sudan to divide South Sudan for its own interests. Crisis group interviewed, South Sudanese opposition leaders, Khartoum, 2018.Hide footnote Instead, talks from June to August 2018 led to a flow of smaller agreements. The effectiveness of IGAD will also determine the success of R-ARCSS. It is necessary to recognize and anticipate that there are parties and individuals willing to undermine the R-ARCSS by secret and overt means to defend its constituent interests, power and ideologies. IGAD`s ability to respond effectively to troublemakers or peacekeepers will be crucial to facilitate the smooth implementation of the Peace Pact. The national army collapsed and various constituencies took up arms as part of a constellation of anti-government – and largely ethnic Nuer – forces under Machar`s coordination. South Sudan`s neighbors and the wider international community were shocked and acted quickly to prevent the collapse.
The South Sudanese peace process was therefore conducted under the auspices of a regional organization called the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with the dual objective of ending the war and facilitating dialogue on a post-conflict political transition. Meanwhile, foreign diplomats have accepted the fact that the peace agreement will not be fully implemented or on time. [fn] Diplomats predicted that progress would slow down after the parties completed the establishment of various peace committees and celebrations. One of them said, “We saw the simple things. The difficult things are yet to come. Interview with crisis Group, senior Western official, Addis Ababa, December 2018.Hide the footnote But the likelihood of a delay is no excuse for apathy on his part. Rather, it should be a reason for increased vigilance, as it means that the fragile political agreement will be subject to chaotic ad hoc negotiations and a constant threat of collapse. The Forum reached an agreement on the cessation of hostilities in December 2017, but it never really entered into force. Negotiations have stalled due to disagreements between the parties over power-sharing, future security arrangements and the possibility of Machar returning from exile to political life in South Sudan. Enter the Trump administration, which has begun to push for the resumption of peace talks as part of the troika (US, UK and Norway), which has long led international diplomacy on the two Sudans. [fn] The informal body is a legacy of the “Naivasha talks” that gave birth to the APC between the Sudanese government and the rebel SPLM/A party in 2005. In mid-2017, under pressure from the Troika and the EU, IGAD launched the High-Level Forum on Revitalization to bring to life the August 2015 power-sharing agreement.
[fn] Crisis group interviews Troika and IGAD officials, Juba and Addis Ababa, 2017.Hide footnote An October 2017 visit to Juba by Nikki Haley, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a senior Trump administration official who paid attention to South Sudan, increased the pressure. Haley met with Kiir and demanded that he engage in the talks. The revitalization forum brought the government together with opposition leaders – some of whom quickly formed new rebel groups – and opposition political parties hoping to benefit from a future power-sharing agreement. The crowd of small opposition groups outside Machar`s party formed the South Sudanese Opposition Alliance. [fn] Interviews with crisis groups, opposition leaders, Addis Ababa and elsewhere, 2017-2018. Taban`s SPLM/A-IO faction joined the transitional government. Most opposition groups, armed and unarmed, participated under the banner of the South Sudanese Opposition Alliance.
Machar`s SPLM/A-IO faction negotiated independently. During the talks, which focused on reviewing some provisions of the 2015 agreement and forming a new agreement, the opposition alliance applied en bloc for part of the power within the government and security forces. Since the resurgence of the civil war in South Sudan on July 7, 2016, efforts have been made to ensure a return to peace in the country through various initiatives at the national and regional levels. The establishment of the High-Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – a seven-member regional bloc composed of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda – at its extraordinary summit of heads of state and government on South Sudan on 12 June 2017111 was crucial in convening the parties to the negotiations in South Sudan. in order to relaunch the ARCSS. .