separation hasn't occurred, at least not officially, However,
it is becoming more obvious that South Sudan is an increasingly autonomous political entity.
A new acronym for South Sudan has appeared : the GOSS (Government of South
Sudan). The border flare-ups in Fall
2007, and the scrape over control of oilfields, clarified the division. Now 2011
is only three years away. That's the year of "the plebiscite," according to the
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Sometime in 2001 the south will conduct a
plebiscite to determine whether or not it will become a fully separate nation.
January 20, 2008: During 2007 13 UN aid
workers were killed in Darfur, and 147 abducted.
January 15, 2008: The South Sudan leadership
has pledged to never return to war, and speed up the end of nepotism, tribalism
and embezzlement, while speeding up the development of the entire South Sudan. The
long war between the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) and Sudan killed
hundreds of thousands and left the region destitute and arguably the SPLA won.
But corruption in its various guises ("nepotism, tribalism, and embezzlement")
keep regions destitute and poverty also kills.
January 13, 2008: Two US security
experts visited Sudan to "review embassy security." The investigation of
security measures follows the murder of USAID official John Granville and his
Sudanese driver. Granville was murdered on January 1.
January 12, 2008: Darfur's Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) is beginning to establish its own civil authority in
regions under its control. JEM claims to control a substantial area of Darfur. JEM
has begun organizing what it calls three new states. The JEM's new Al Wahat
State covers most of the Darfur region's north and northwestern areas. The
decision to declare its own "states and administrative districts" is a step
toward declaring a new country. It remains to be seen if JEM can actually protect the area (external
defense) and maintain order (internal administration and police functions).
January 12, 2008: Poland will deploy
400 peacekeepers to Africa to serve with European Union peacekeeping forces in
Chad and the Central African Republic. The Polish force will have two
helicopters. The Polish unit is currently scheduled to deploy along the
Chad-Sudan border, which means it could easily become part of a European
peacekeeping contingent operating as part of the UN-AU hybrid force in Sudan's
Darfur region. At least that seems to be the implicit understanding. The Polish
announcement followed a commitment by Belgium to send two aircraft. On January
11, France agreed to provide 2000 troops and five helicopters for the EU force
in Chad and the CAR.
January 11, 2008: Some 7,000 South Sudan soldiers have completed
their withdrawal from Blue Nile State. Blue
Nile State is to be garrisoned by soldiers from northern Sudan.
January 9, 2008: UN leaders believe
that the UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping effort in Darfur could fail. There are three
reasons for this: (1) the continuing violence in the region (ie, chaotic
violence from multiple sources); (2) lack of cooperation by the Sudan
government; and (3) inadequate equipment for peacekeepers, especially a lack of
aircraft (helicopters). Of course, none of this is news to anyone who has been
following events in Darfur. From the get-go the Sudan government has been
against a UN-led peacekeeping force and has done everything it can to stall the
process. The Sudan government refers to a UN force as "imperialist" a cover
for a European invasion of western Sudan. That's a political propaganda pitch that still has some traction
around the world. However, in this case it failed, in part because the Sudan
government's war in Darfur includes attacks on black African farmers. Sudan has
used and continues to use a variety of other stalling tactics. For example, the government is also slow to
issue visas to aid workers and international officials. That's intentional. The
Sudan government has also prevented a UN engineer task force from working on
roads and improving airfields in Darfur. An effective peacekeeping force must
be supplied and that means adequate roads and airstrips. As for the violence, on January 7, 2008, a UN
convoy in Darfur was attacked and a local Sudan Army officer admitted his
forces attacked the convoy. The government later denied the attack and blamed
it on the rebels. That's probably a lie on the part of the Sudanese government,
but the fact is, in Darfur peacekeepers are caught in a crossfire.