De Waal on Sudan and South Sudan

WPF Executive Director Alex de Waal brings years of research, activism and policy on Sudan and South Sudan to his analysis of its on-going challenges. Here, we capture some of his recent work on the evolving situation.

 

Visualizing South Sudan's Predicament: Rent-seeking Rebellions
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 27, 2014

"Violence in South Sudan is turbulent in this sense: it is hard to keep track of the various actors and their allegiances, but stepping back from the month-to-month changes, a coherent pattern persists over the years."

 

Visualizing South Sudan's Predicament: Kleptocracy as Governance
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 24, 2014

"In a kleptocratic system, there is no such thing as public office: all positions are defined by the capabilities they offer to the post-holder to use the rents accruing to that position, for whatever purposes he or she may determine. This purpose may be private enrichment, the advancement of a political or factional cause, pursuing a laudable goal such as sponsoring the arts or education—or even providing the necessities of life to poor people who depend on the office-holder’s largesse."

 

Visualizing South Sudan's Predicament: The Oil Shutdown
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 20, 2014

"In January 2012, as a response to a dispute with the Government of Sudan on the terms in which South Sudanese oil was to be transported to market—and as a reaction to the Sudanese authorities diverting its oil to their own refineries and ships—the Government of the Republic of South Sudan decided to shut down its entire national oil production. Such a decision had never before been made by a country." 

 

Visualizing South Sudan's Predicament: The SPLM Strategy for the CPA Interim Period
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 18, 2014

"By the end of the Interim Period, SPLA commanders were even enlisting thousands of disgruntled youth simply to stop them being tempted to join anti-SPLA militias."

 

Visualizing South Sudan's Predicament: The Culprit: The Army
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 13, 2014

"There are 745 generals in the SPLA. That’s 41 more than in the four U.S. services combined, and second only to Russia’s 887 generals and admirals in the world."

 

What Actual Spending Tells Us About South Sudan's Governance
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 6, 2014

"The conventional explanation for South Sudan’s weak performance is that it lacked capacity. That was the premise on which international donors began major capacity-building programs immediately after the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But how public money is actually spent suggests something else."

 

Visualizing South Sudan's Predicament
Blog contribution
Reinventing Peace
March 5, 2014

"South Sudan was deep in crisis from the moment of its independence. Its problem not lack of technical capacity, skills or international goodwill, advice and funds. Its problem was a political economy of rent-seeking that has reached an extreme—also known as a kleptocracy. The center of gravity of this problem is the SPLM/A leadership, which failed to regulate, let alone eliminate, massive corruption and ethnic patronage."

 

Examining Vicious Cycle Of Ethnic Violence In South Sudan
Audio interview with Alex de Waal
National Public Radio
January 20, 2014
"...And one of the problems, unfortunately, is that because of the justice of their cause, many of the foreign friends of South Sudan held them to a lower standard than others. And I think the time has come for some really rather tough love for the Southern Sudanese there - the U.S. government and the friends of South Sudan to begin to apply the same standards as they would elsewhere, And say we're going to try and encourage a much more properly representative form of governance, that really allows the people of South Sudan, who suffered so much for so long, to have a stay in something that is supposed to be a government of liberation."

 

A Failure of Leadership in South Sudan
Audio interview with Alex de Waal
The Take-Away
January 9, 2014

The 2011 vote for independence brought people together and the new African nation of South Sudan was born but, according to Alex de Waal, executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, from early on there was an appearance of unity that in reality “masked many unhealed wounds.”

 

Breakdown in South Sudan: What Went Wrong — and How to Fix It
by Alex de Waal and Abdul Mohammed
Foreign Affairs
January 2, 2014
"The current conflict has three main dimensions — a political dispute within the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM); a regional and ethnic war; and a crisis within the army itself.The political dispute is long-standing: Since before independence in July 2011, the SPLM leadership has been split several ways, including over whether to confront the government of Sudan in Khartoum or cooperate with it, as well as over the distribution of power and wealth within South Sudan."

 

South Sudan must resolve ethnic conflicts to be a nation at peace
by Abdul Mohammed and Alex de Waal
Washington Post on December 29, 2013
"There is an opportunity to halt South Sudan's slide into war and state failure, but it must be seized within days or it will be lost. This requires the leaders of South Sudan to rise above narrow, tribalistic, zero-sum politics and develop a national program. President Salva Kiir and other members of the country's political elite--in government and in opposition, inside South Sudan and in the diaspora--must respond to this challenge now or go down in history as having betrayed their people."


Making Sense of the Protests in Khartoum
by Alex de Waal
African Futures October 11, 2013
"The immediate challenge for the opposition is intellectual. Sudan’s political economy needs a structural transformation, and dismantling the ruling party and security institutions will not achieve that. Over the sixty years since self-rule in 1953, Sudan has tried different basic formulae for governance including centralizing modernization (of different ideological strands), liberal parliamentarism, and unity in diversity. The challenge is to find a combination of all three, which in turn means there must be an inclusive national dialogue. The immediate challenge for the opposition is intellectual. Sudan's political economy needs a structural transformation, and dismantling the ruling party and security institutions will not achieve that. Over the sixty years since self-rule in 1953, Sudan has tried different basic formulae for governance including centralizing modernization (of different ideological strands), liberal parliamentarism, and unity in diversity. The challenge is to find a combination of all three, which in turn means there must be an inclusive national dialogue. The immediate challenge for the opposition is intellectual. Sudan’s political economy needs a structural transformation, and dismantling the ruling party and security institutions will not achieve that. Over the sixty years since self-rule in 1953, Sudan has tried different basic formulae for governance including centralizing modernization (of different ideological strands), liberal parliamentarism, and unity in diversity. The challenge is to find a combination of all three, which in turn means there must be an inclusive national dialogue."