The peace talks between South Sudan’s government and the rebels, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-In-Opposition (SPLM-IO), have been suspended. Leaders from both sides have both stated that they intend to reach a peace settlement. At the end of November both sides indicated that a final deal was all but settled. That turned out to be false. There has been next to no progress on what are very divisive issues, the chief one being power-sharing in the transitional government. The rebels insist that their leader be prime minister and the prime minister be the governments’ chief executive. The rebels say the current government leader would be president and head of state but have little executive authority. The government refuses that deal. Another very divisive subject is wealth-sharing. How will the oil revenues be split? The government still refuses to provide definitive data on the national debt. Basically that would mean telling the world how much South Sudan has borrowed, since oil revenues were minimal during the long confrontation with Sudan over pipeline transport fees. Meanwhile, the European Union’s December 15 threat to impose financial and personal sanctions on the government and rebels has angered both sides. The EU is also urging an international ban on providing weapons and military supplies to the warring South Sudanese factions.
December 23, 2014: China is preparing to send the first 180 (of 700) peacekeepers to South Sudan to protect Chinese oil operations there. That is the main purpose of the peacekeepers although the official reasons may vary over time.
December 22, 2014: South Sudan announced it is concerned about threats of violence during the Christmas holidays. It has reinforced police and military units in its capital, Juba, and major towns. Fire fighting units and wildlife protection agents are also participating in security operations.
December 21, 2014: South Sudan government and rebel representatives have adjourned peace negotiations. A spokesman for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said that the Christmas and New Years holidays were the reason for the adjournment. IGAD mediators also acknowledged that they are dissatisfied with the lack of progress. Despite a ceasefire agreement in early November, fighting continues. Mediators, however, praised the government rebels for an agreement that would create 27 ministries staffed by both loyalists and rebels. South Sudan’s states would also be given more autonomy.
Agents of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) paramilitary security force raided the Sudanese Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) offices in Khartoum. SOHR was conducting a workshop in monitoring human rights violations and on how to report to the media on human rights violations. Opposition leaders have accused NISS of increasing police pressure on human rights organizations and opposition political groups.
December 20, 2014: Gunman in Sudan’s East Darfur state attacked a UN peacekeeping patrol. Three UNAMID Pakistani peacekeepers were wounded in the attack. A helicopter flew the wounded peacekeepers to a UNAMID medical facility near Nyala, capital of South Darfur state.
December 19, 2014: Fighting between the Tuba and Pukun communities in South Sudan’s Western Bahr el Ghazal state ( Kangi district) has left at least three dead. Officials called the incident a revenge attack.
December 18, 2014: South Sudan’s rebels (SPLM-IO) passed a resolution demanding that the South Sudan president step down from power. This is an about face from early November when the rebel leader indicated he and the president had reached an agreement where the president would remain president.
December 16, 2014: Sudanese forces and allied militias are accused of committing crimes against civilians in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. It is also believed that some government-controlled villages in the state are little more than detention camps.
December 15, 2014: One year ago, on the night of December 15, 2013, fighting broke out in Juba between Dinka and Nuer members of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA). The fighting in Juba spread throughout the entire country, leading to the South Sudan Civil War. Casualty estimates vary widely. A common figure is for the number of people slain in violence related to the civil war is 20,000.
December 14, 2014: Sudan’s president declared himself victorious over the International Criminal Court (ICC). The ICC had charged the Sudan leader with genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. The ICC halted its investigation after its lead prosecutor accused the UN Security Council of failing to support the inquiry. The ICC has called on the Security Council to put political pressure on Sudan and its president and to pressure countries visited by the Sudanese president to arrest him. That is unlikely since the Sudan leader only visits Moslem nations and there is an understanding that Moslems do not arrest Moslem officials from another Moslem state, no matter what.
December 13, 2014: The Sudan government has asked the UN Security Council to cancel its resolution authorizing the ICC to investigate the Sudan government and its leaders for alleged war crimes committed in Darfur. Sudan is seizing a political opportunity. The Security Council did not support the ICC’s request to put political pressure on Sudan to cooperate in the investigation.
December 12, 2014: The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) peacekeeping headquarters reported heavy combat between government forces in Upper Nile state. There was an outbreak of fighting between the government troops and an armed group of young rebels. The combat occurred in Upper Nile state 40 kilometers south of the town of Renk.
The Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) claimed it had captured three districts (Jabal Nimir, Ruseiris and al-Daldako) in Sudan’s South Kordofan state.
South Sudanese rebels (SPLM-IO) claimed to have taken control of Fangak County (Jonglei state). The government denied the rebel claim.
December 11, 2014: South Sudan and Sudan have once again failed to reach a border demarcation agreement. The talks, which began December 7, were billed as an attempt to formalize an agreement covering the non-disputed areas along the border. Approximately 80 percent of the border is classified as undisputed. However, the two countries discovered that they still have sources of dispute. The sides even disagreed on where the demarcation line should begin.
The Sudanese military promised to crush the SPLM-N rebellion in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. The Sudanese military made the promise earlier this year when it launched its Operation Decisive Summer. African Union-sponsored peace discussions between the government and the SPLM-N collapsed earlier this month.
December 9, 2014: UNMISS announced that it has destroyed several hundred weapons its peacekeepers seized from internally displaced people (IDPs) living in UNMISS-protected camps near South Sudan’s capital, Juba. The weapons included assault rifles and machetes.
December 8, 2014: South Sudan officials condemned a violent assault in the Abyei region that left four people dead. Abyei is a disputed territory on the Sudan-South Sudan border. South Sudan claimed that a Misserriya militia group initiated the violence.
The Sudanese military claimed that SPLM-N rebels shelled the outskirts of Kadugli (capital of South Kordofan state) using Russian-made 122 mm rockets.
December 6, 2014: Rival communities attacked several villages in Sudan’s West Darfur state. Officials claimed that cattle rustling was initial cause of the violence in the village of E’esirni (Kereinek area).
December 4, 2014: The African Union mediator announced that peace negotiations between the Sudan government and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Liberation Movement--Minni Minnawi Darfur rebel groups will be suspended indefinitely. The talks are being held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
December 3, 2014: The Sudanese Army claimed that it killed over 50 rebels in a battle (near the village of Balanja) in South Kordofan state.
December 1, 2014: The Sudanese forces fought with SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan’s Alahimar area. Sudan claimed that its soldiers had taken control of Alahimar.
November 30, 2014: A former UN UNAMID peacekeeping official is calling the UNAMID operation a failure. Other observers agree. UNAMID was supposed to protect civilians and humanitarian agency workers and attacks on civilians and aid workers continue. Sudan blames rebel groups. Most observers blame Sudanese forces and their militia allies.
November 28, 2014: Officials in South Sudan’s Jonglei state are asking citizens to support a grassroots peace agreement between Dinkas and Nuers living in and around Panwel village. Local residents initiated the talks.