Despite global efforts to help the failing state, Sudan continues to experience conflict and major human right abuses within its borders. In 2011, the world was shocked to see al-Bashir permit South Sudan’s secession. As the South celebrated their independence, the world held their breath and watched as the South’s secession did not mitigate conflict so much as it created new forms of conflict.
It has been two years since the South declared its independence and very little progress has been made in Sudan and South Sudan. Yes, state building takes both patience and time. Of course, Sudan is no exception. However, does the world have enough patience to continue helping Sudan when none of its previous efforts have prompted any substantial success?
While the world’s reaction time to Sudan may have been slow, it has tried to help Sudan in various ways. Providing peacekeeping troops, mediating negotiations, monitoring the ceasefire, supplying aid, and attempting to influence al-Bashir are just some of the many ways that the international community has tried to help Sudan. And yet, none of the world’s efforts have been effective thus far (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/17/time-running-out-to-find-sudan-conflict-solution/).
Back in 2005, Sudan created the Framework for Sustained Peace, Development, and Poverty Eradication. The world was hopeful that the six-year plan would produce results, however to the world’s disappointment, it sparked little progress (http://www.regjeringen.no/nb/dokumentarkiv/Regjeringen-Bondevik-II/ud/Veiledninger-og-brosjyrer/2005/framework_sudan.html?id=419475).
Just this past March, the article, “The AU welcomes progress in Sudan-South Sudan relations” optimistically reported on a meeting between the two countries in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. Both nations signed security agreements that were geared towards ending conflict and restarting oil production, giving the world hope that perhaps this time, change would ensue (http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45902).
However, an article published just one month later claims that a meeting between Sudan and the Sudanese People’s Liberation Movement went poorly. Even though Sudan’s meeting with South Sudan was effective, the South allegedly backs the SPLM, who remain a “humanitarian situation” for Sudan (http://www.voanews.com/content/no-progress-in-sudan-and-splm-north-talks/1650079.html). Without reaching an agreement with both parties, success is not guaranteed, for South Sudan continues to support the rebel group who in return continue to attack Sudan (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/17/time-running-out-to-find-sudan-conflict-solution/).
Even though Sudan’s recent meetings are not entirely indicative of whether or not Sudan will remain a failed state, Ambassador Princeton Lyman poses the question of whether or not “time is running out to find Sudan conflict solution” (http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/17/time-running-out-to-find-sudan-conflict-solution/). As stated before, state building takes time. However, Lyman claims that the clock is ticking and Sudan needs to start making progress now.
If anything, the past suggests that Sudan’s future lies entirely in Sudan and South Sudan’s hands. The international community has not been able to help the conflict thus far and they are unlikely to be of much assistance in the near future.
Additionally, in order to truly be effective, conflict resolution must originate from within Sudan and South Sudan. Omar al-Bashir is at the root of many of Sudan’s problems, for he perpetuates and facilitates much of the conflict. In order to reverse Sudan’s trajectory towards state failure, al-Bashir must change his attitude and behavior. Likewise, South Sudan cannot support the SPLM and claim that it is trying to cooperate with Sudan. Ultimately, both countries must be driven by an intrinsic desire to end conflict in the interest of their people; without a unanimous and internal will, there will never be a way.
The international community may feel discouraged about its inabilities to help thus far, however it should not abandon hope or its patience. Sudan is not a lost cause. However, the international community should recognize the limitations of its efforts and accept its role as a bystander in the situation. While it should continue to support and assist the two countries in their pursuit to stability, external nations cannot hope to solve the Sudanese conflict themselves. The future of Sudan is not doomed, however it is entirely dependent upon Sudan and South Sudan’s internal determination to prevent their states from failing.