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Sudan Third Civil War 2005- ????

Prior to independence, the unified Sudan had fought two civil wars. The second civil war ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that was put in place from 2005 to 2011. The CPA set standards for sharing oil revenue (50:50 split) and a timetable toward a referendum on the South's independence. A referendum took place in January 2011 in which the people of the South voted to secede from Sudan. In July 2011, Sudan became two countries: Sudan (Khartoum) and South Sudan (Juba). However, there are still unresolved issues that have caused tension between both countries after independence.

The border separating Sudan and South Sudan is still not officially defined, and some areas remain contested. The current de facto border was established when Sudan gained independence in 1956; it is known as the 1956 border. The CPA called for the border to be demarcated, and a Technical Border Committee (TBC) was established in 2005 to demarcate the 1956 border. The committee agreed on most of the border, but five areas remain disputed.

In January 2012, South Sudan voluntarily shut in all of its oil production because of a dispute with Sudan over oil transit fees. Following South Sudan's secession, Sudan requested transit fees of $32-36/barrel (bbl) in an attempt to make up for the oil revenue loss, while South Sudan offered a transit fee of less than $1/bbl. Tensions escalated at the end of 2011 when Sudan began to confiscate a portion of South Sudan's oil as a payment for unpaid transit fees, and shortly after, South Sudan shut down production.

The 12 February 2012 announcement that Sudan and South Sudan signed a nonaggression pact occurred the same time media headlines were warning the two nations were inching their way to war, making it difficult to discern which it was going to be, peace or war? The answer seemed both. Certainly from an economic standpoint peace would be the most advantageous route. That would allow oil-rich but landlocked South Sudan to send its oil through Sudan, which is oil poor but has the infrastructure that would allow the oil to be piped to a port for shipment elsewhere. War, too, seems to be a likely option, as the two nations argue over borders and oil transit fees. Perhaps the present situation, neither a full peace nor all out war, will be the ongoing condition until an event, or series of events, tips the nations one way or the other.

The problems inherent between the two nations stem in large part from how they divided. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 between the northern and southern parts of Sudan was intended to end the Second Sudanese War and allow the southern part of Sudan in six years to have a referendum on its independence. There were other aspects to the CPA, including demilitarization, revenue sharing and borders, though this last part planned for an additional referendum in the sensitive oil-rich area of Abyei near the historical division between the north and south. It is possible the two would not have been able to agree on independence for South Sudan had the exact demarcation of Abyei been fully decided. On 9 July 2011, following a referendum held in January the same year, the independent nation of South Sudan was born, and immediately found itself in turmoil with its northern neighbor.

With neither side trusting the other, disarmament never occurred. With Abyei being a tremendous economic prize, border disputes were inevitable. With Sudan charging what South Sudan felt was an exorbitant oil transit fee, South Sudan stopped sending its oil northward, resulting in both countries losing a tremendous amount of revenue their economies can ill afford to lose. Corruption, lack of transparency, and a long history of bilateral hatred makes negotiations even more difficult. South Sudan has the additional burden of intertribal warfare, which is costing large numbers of lives and is stretching even further an already overextended military.

Though Juba and Khartoum seemed to realize it is in their best economic interest to pursue peace, as evidenced by their recent signing of the non-aggression pact, many feel a major war between the two is a strong possibility, as evidenced by the bellicose words periodically emanating from both sides. Perhaps the best chance of peace is pressure from China, which is both heavily invested in oil facilities in the region and dependent on South Sudanese oil to help fuel its economy. Thus, it would not be surprising to find the Chinese behind any peace moves between Sudan and South Sudan.

The AU Peace and Security Council and UN Security Council were able to forge a strong, united front to pull Sudan and South Sudan back from the brink of war in April and May of 2012. But fighting in Darfur and ongoing conflict in the Two Areas spread into Northern Kordofan. According to the UN, clashes since late April 2013 between the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SRF) displaced approximately 63,000 people in the areas of Um Ruwaba town in Northern Kordofan State and Abu Kershola town in Southern Kordofan State.

In Northern Kordofan, as in Darfur and the Two Areas, the Government of Sudan prevented international NGOs from deploying international staff to project sites in affected areas. International agencies are required to operate through national NGOs or government ministries. While some local groups, including the Sudanese Red Crescent Society, are able to conduct assessments, Government of Sudan-imposed restrictions in SRF-controlled areas have prevented international relief organizations from conducting assessments, suggesting that trends and needs could be even worse than known.

After nearly 15 months of intermittent negotiations, South Sudan restarted oil production in April 2013. Despite the progress that has been made to reconcile differences, several unresolved issues remain and production may be curtailed again in the future.

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