7th times the charm

As most of you are aware, the civil war in South Sudan continues, and the questions of “will peace be brought upon the country?” and “how will that happen?”  is continuously asked. Throughout the civil war many ceasefires have been signed and broken, currently they are up to their 7th ceasefire agreement on August 27th.  This ceasefire was signed because of intense international pressure. Both sides were warned that sanctions would be imposed on the country if peace wasn’t secured soon. So president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar came together to agree on a new ceasefire.

But will this ceasefire stick is being questioned, and there are a couple of reasons why. Already the rebel leader Riek Machar has accused the government of violating the ceasefire with the army attacking his forces, but the military denies it. He also accused them of launching a “belligerent convoy” which was bombarding villages as it was making its way through rebel territory. Riek Machar stated that his troops would remain committed to the ceasefire even with the attacks, but if they continue he would act in self-defense.

Why does it seem so hard for this country to keep peace though? Macharia Muenea professor of international relations said

“It’s very hard to have a sustainable peace when those signing it are not truly committed to the terms of the ceasefire deal”

There are different obstacles that a country can face when trying to create peace between two groups.

  • The two main rivals- will they actually stick to their word and keep peace or will they not?
  • The terms of the deal- Are both sides satisfied with the deal, if not, can peace still be achieved?
  • South Sudan’s neighbors- Are they only helping one side and agitating and frustrating the other causing the other to want to fight more?
  • Unity on both sides- Are both sides unified as a group. If one side isn’t unified then it will cause uncertainty between them and they won’t know what they want as a group.
  • Deepening ethnic animosity- One ethnic group is more in charge causing a grievance between the people that is hard to fix.

With that being said, do you think peace can be reached in South Sudan? Do you think they need to fight this out to be able to come to an agreement that they can stick to? Do you think that because they felt pressured to sign this 7th ceasefire from other international forces it will have less of a chance of working? Do you believe that third parties are helpful, what can they do to help this conflict and what can they do to help stabilize the country and create peace that will last?

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5 thoughts on “7th times the charm

  1. If it took 7 cease fires to get the civil war to a halt, then continued warfare is inevitable. War is obviously in the interest of both belligerents since they feel that if they keep fighting they have a chance at victory. Also a negotiated settlement is hard to reach and thought of impossible by rebels who expect that the government will renege on the deal when it gains strength. In civil wars, interventions have a track record of prolonging civil wars. When interveners leave things just get worse. In this case, perhaps letting them fight it out can wear them out and prevent recurring conflict.

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  2. Very informative blog post, thank you! As you stated, it is difficult for a ceasefire to be maintained when one or all sides are not committed or happy with the terms of the ceasefire. The fact that the ceasefire itself would not exist without international pressuring I think is a very telling sign that this one will not last, either, as unfortunate as that is. Unless both sides truly want to end the fighting and want to reach an agreement, no lasting peace will be achieved.

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  3. The government and the rebel group is afraid of international pressure, that is why they signed earlier ceasefire and also worry about sanctions. Then if unfortunately 7th ceasefire is broken, third parties should imposing sanctions on both sides. It will not the best answer to stop this fight however, perhaps, it will prevent recurring conflict. They will try to figure out to end the fighting for getting out of sanctions. Terms of the ceasefire deal should be very strict.

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  4. Longstanding peace in this conflict seems far fetched. Neither side is willing to compromise with the other. While rebels are typically portrayed as the good guys it’s always hard to tell how the rebel leaders will act after achieving power.

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  5. Although unfortunate, this cyclic nature of recurring ceasefires almost certainly means that war will not change in this region and that continued conflict will plague this area. However that is a “glass half empty” mentality. this could very well mean the end of fighting in this location, whether it be conventional peace or the eventual peace through superior firepower bing exhibited by one side of the conflict

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