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The unique structure of the SPLA means that the same kleptocratic principle applies to local leaders and army commanders in rural areas. This generates the “rent-seeking rebellion” cycle:

The level of fatalities among soldiers and civilians is completely disproportionate to the claims of the rebel leader or mutineer.

This in turn [...]

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Alex de Waal, Chad Hazlett, Christian Davenport and and Joshua Kennedy co-authored a new article in Social Science & Medicine,”The epidemiology of lethal violence in Darfur: Using micro-data to explore complex patterns of ongoing armed conflict.” Below is the abstract, full text available through the journal.

This article describes and analyzes patterns of lethal [...]

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There are 745 generals in the SPLA. That’s 41 more than in the four U.S. services combined, and second only to Russia’s 887 generals and admirals in the world.

The following graph represents the best estimate for the numbers on the SPLA payroll, plus the Southern Sudan Police Service (which numbers 48,000-50,000). The [...]

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The conventional explanation for South Sudan’s weak performance is that it lacked capacity. That was the premise on which international donors began major capacity-building programs immediately after the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. But how public money is actually spent suggests something else.

The following figure, from the World Bank, “Public expenditures in South Sudan: [...]

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Introduction
A civil war ignited in South Sudan on 15 December 2013. Despite the best efforts of mediators from Ethiopia and Kenya, and pressure from the United States and others, the war has not stopped. The forces of the Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GoRSS) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and [...]

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Any political process must take into account South Sudan’s unique and painful history. The biggest task is an all-inclusive national discussion on what it means to be a nation. The political elites should listen to the wisdom of pastors and civil society leaders, who are insisting that the politicians return to the path of dialogue and healing. The road to a viable state lies in national reconciliation.

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