Sudan analyst warns of ‘protracted’ war in South Kordofan, Blue Nile

September 12, 2011 (Sudan Tribune)

The war in Sudan’s southern frontiers of Blue Nile and South Kordofan could be protracted and eventually engulf the newly established state of South Sudan if Khartoum continues to resist political options, according to a Sudan expert.

Sudan’s army clashed with fighters of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in June and August respectively, giving rise to increased tension between Khartoum and Juba which the former accuses of aiding the rebels.

Fouad Hikmat, a senior Sudan analyst with the International Crisis Group (ICG), a Brussels-based research group, believes that the fact that Blue Nile joined South Kordofan in the war against Khartoum is all but surprising.

According to Hikmat, who was speaking in an interview with Sudan Tribune, what happened in South Kordofan meant that Malik Aggar, SPLM-N’s chairman and Blue Nile’s governor, had to eventually choose between remaining in the government and siding with his colleagues in South Kordofan.

Aggar, who was elected to his position in Sudan’s general elections of 2010, was sacked by the country’s president Omer Al-Bashir who declared a state of emergency in the Blue Nile and appointed a military ruler in it.

Hikmat explained that the government’s militarized responses in the two states are an attempt to scuttle the SPLM-N’s strong military force and its potential to be the vanguard of opposition to the government.

He pointed out that the Sudanese government drives the legitimacy of its actions from the principle of the state’s responsibility to fully control its territories and the fact that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between north and south Sudan stipulates that all SPLM forces should redeploy south of the 1956 borders.

In view of Khartoum’s ruling National Congress Party’s (NCP) failure to present an idea of how to establish political stability in the country as well as the “unfinished business” in the restive western region of Darfur and eastern Sudan, Fouad said, there is a possibility that the war would escalate with no end in sight.

He further warned that a “protracted” war risks drawing in the south and the entire region if no urgent action is taken.

The ICG analyst went on to suggest a way out, calling for an international conference on Sudan in order to persuade the Khartoum government to develop a program for stabilizing the country.

“If the NCP rejects this for the sake of its survival and narrow interests, the party will be saddled with the responsibility of breaking Sudan into pieces” Hikmat added.


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