South Sudan: Will there be Peace?


It seems that South Sudan is on its way to signing a new peace deal, however what value, if any do these latest propositions for peace hold?
South Sudan is the worlds youngest state, established in 2011, yet peace in this country can quite easily be described as something that exists exclusively in a theoretical fashion. South Sudan became an independent nation following many years of almost unrelenting conflict whilst it was still considered Sudan. Nevertheless, the separation from a warring nation only brought along with it ghastly apparitions from it pasts. Civil war, famine, and disease caused by conflict will without a doubt write themselves into the history books of South Sudan’s archives. Conflict Arose in 2013 after a ferocious power struggle between president Salva Kiir and his former vice president, Riek Machar. Since early 2014 ,Kiir and the rebel party have consecutively established,broken, signed, and resigned peace deals. Up until the most recent negotiations in August.
The recent peace deals that were established in August, signed under international pressure, were quickly followed by reports from the UN security council who stated that both parties were “persistently failing to implement a permanent ceasefire and [were]failing to agree meaningfully to security arrangements that are requisite for the establishment of the transitional national government.” What is most profound here is that the intervention of external body states acted as zero incentive to the disputing parties to preserve agreements.
The “Compromise Peace Deal” that was signed in August contained the typical components of any peace deal agreement to share power; implement a ceasefire,take steps towards constructing a national military and security sector,a consideration of division of national wealth, elections, and a justice process. What must be considered in this dispute between Kiir and the opposition is that the dialogue has been, and continues to be, largely mediated by Intergovernmental authority on Development (IGAD).
IGAD’s role in the continued peaces processes in South Sudan ,and its seldom success, makes for an inquisitive examination. Upon delving into the core of the arguments it is immediately apparent that where the oppositions have been discussed they have been addressed in a manner that would not lead one to think that that there has been a great violation of the law by a group of organised criminals. The rebel oppositionists have been afforded the privilege of being considered in the discussions as not war criminals, but participants in the discussing the peaceful resolution of the country’s future.
If this were really the case and there has been no uprising against a legitimate government by a defiant fighter group, why is there need to discuss peace? Actions such as this not only facilitate the violent conflicts that are currently occurring, but also shows rebels that in order to create viable avenues to achieve goals, deviation from the law is necessary.
The decision to approach talks in this manner can hardly be seen as anything less than bad conduct and a parody of good political practice. A second issue to note are the conditions that are contained within the peace deal. IGAD’s efforts to supposedly create peace had already forecast “the event of a deadlock in the exercise of executive powers.” Rather than these terms radiating a sense of optimism and future success, they indicate a lack of confidence in its strategies and take a small step in the direction of further conflict. Instead of dissolving the current issues present in the Sudanese government IGAD seems to have rather provoked greater challenges and the incentive to remain at war looms heavily over South Sudan.
In recent years South Sudan has signed up to 8 peace deals, all of which have not been entirely adhered to. Consequently the question that must be asked is this, what distinguishes these current negotiations from previous ones and can any sort of assurance be found in these shiny, new peace deals that are seemingly reoccurring failures. If the present peace deals resemble its predecessor it may be that South Sudan will remain at war until proper discussions of the situation are more frankly addressed.