Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Marked Difference in Governing

When we hear and read so many opinions on the future of Sudan/Southern Sudan, I find it remarkable that "analysts" will paint both northern and southern leaders with the same brush and miss the obvious differences.

More specifically, I recently read some remarkably poor analysis from Chatham House on Sudan and its future. While I will spare readers my negative review of this poorly reasoned report, one thought begs mention; the difference in leadership exhibited between the northern junta and the Government of Southern Sudan.

I'll sum it up in how each side deals with a similar situation; tribal conflict, community tensions and open warfare (open warfare in Sudan, dear readers, is simply community tensions that have been incubated).

First, the regime in Khartoum has a boilerplate response: send in the troops, bomb civilians and generally break things and hurt people. Oh, and resist outsiders trying to help protect innocents when the "solution" gets too savage.

Conversely, the Government of Southern Sudan, though certainly not perfect, takes a different approach to the same problem: send in the President to mediate, encourage resolution and bring the facts to the people.

I'd have to say, this is a stark contrast that is often overlooked by the professional "analysts."

Follow up:

Certainly worthy of another post, but the Government of Southern Sudan has completed a (long-overdue, perhaps) security policy. A worthy and telling quote that is nub of the document's purpose, and the governments' security and governing mission;

“The Government of Southern Sudan exists for the ultimate purpose of ensuring the security and sovereignty of the people of Southern Sudan …Though we have limited resources, we will seek to minimize risk while focusing our efforts on those activities that are most vital to securing our interests,”

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sudan peace partners submit new set of filings on Abyei

Readers may note that we've written about the importance of the Abyei boundary issue in north-south political terms. Simplified, the issue is one of the significant hurdles to minimizing tension (flowing from the ambiguity over a contested border) and setting up the dialogue/process/framework for whatever may happen in the 2011 referendum on separation. This is the current focus point for north-south tension, and neither side wants to concede political points to the other -- the risk of alienating their constituencies in the area is too great, and the oil reserves under the area are too valuable.

The CPA did spell out a process for determining the common border, but the northern partner rejected the outcome of the commission mandated with researching the subject and presenting their findings. The parties agreed to binding arbitration in the Hague and the process is moving forward. Here's the relevant data:

The SPLM/A and Government of Sudan submitted a second round of arguments to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague, which is tasked with ruling on the dispute over the Abyei Boundaries Commission.

Abyei is an oil-rich area also used by Misseriya and Dinka pastoralists to graze cattle.

The two signatories of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, Government of Sudan (GoS) and the SPLM, agreed in June 2008, in a roadmap to resolve Abyei disagreement, to refer their dispute to an arbitration tribunal. They formally referred their case to the PCA on July 12, 2008.

. . .

The opposing legal teams will now review each other’s arguments and respond with a third written submission to the tribunal on February 28, after which no additional written submissions will be provided unless requested by the arbiters. Oral hearings are then scheduled for April 18-23 after which the tribunal must issue its final decision within 90 days — no later than the end of July of this year.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sudan’s Growth to Fall After Oil Peak

All things considered, looks like a depressing lede, but the last sentence is telling: a decline in pan-Sudanese growth from 12.7 to 7.9 percent. A growth rate of almost 8 percent is nothing to sneeze at.

Sudan’s oil production will peak next year before it starts to consistently fall, according to a new forecast.

Oil and gas liquids production will increase by one third (30.3 percent), with volumes peaking at 700,000b/d in 2010, according to a Business Monitor International forecast.
But the oil and gas volumes will then steadily fall to 596,000b/d by the end of the 2018, according to Business Monitor.

And growth is forecast to fall from 12.7 percent in 2008 to 7.9 percent this year.

Sudan Election Law

Having participated in more than a few elections in my time, the importance of a country's or state's election law cannot be understated. It establishes, for all intents and purposes, the playing field, referrees, grandstands and rules for the election contest.

Historically, Sudan has had some seemingly functionable and interesting election laws. Unfortunately, few would argue that the elections were fully fair or uncompromised by the regime du jour.

In accordance with the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Government of National Unity Constitution, Sudan (that's north and south folks) has updated its election laws.

I have some reservations about the law from the start, mainly due to the constitution of the election commission (all nomintated by President Bashir and approved by Vice President Kiir). This sets up a formula where Bashir can nominate people he knows Kiir will not accept, thereby delaying the stand up of the commission and delay of the elections.

There's more to it, and we'll post an update here shortly. We also expect the Government of Southern Sudan to pass its own election laws. More on that soon, too.