South Sudan a Year On: Statehood in Perspective

South Sudan a Year On: Statehood in Perspective

By on July 6, 2012   

July 9th will mark the first year-anniversary of the South Sudanese state coming into existence, after it its seceded from Sudan following two bloody civil wars that weakened the economy and the social fabric of the two states, and years of negotiations and peacemaking. As global attention focuses on evaluating the nascent state’s performance during its first year of statehood, it’s important to be aware of the challenges it faced not only after independence but also before it achieved it; the thing that will be affecting its performance for years to come. Analysing South Sudan’s performance during the last year could shed light on the complex changing nature of statehood and the often exaggerated expectations we associate with it in today’s international affairs, not only as citizens and scholars but also as statesmen and diplomats.

South Sudan’s Struggle for Sovereignty

Sudan fought two civil wars in the post-WWII era: the first lasted from 1955 to 1972 and the second began in 1983 and ended in 2005 with the signing the Comparative Peace Agreement (CPA) between the Government of Sudan (GoS) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SPLM/A) in Nairobi. Even though minorities have always existed on both sides, the South has historically been predominantly inhabited by Christians and animists who view themselves as sub-Saharan, while the North has been populated mostly by Muslims who consider themselves Arabs. These social fault lines gave rise to tensions even before Sudan declared its independence in 1956.


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