Sunday, July 10, 2011

South Sudan Gains Statehood

When I first saw the news yesterday morning, with images of jubilation among the population, I thought, hmm, how's this going to work out? Sudan is one of the world's most crisis-ridden states, as measured by Foreign Policy Magazine "Failed States Index, 2011."

And see Los Angeles Times, "South Sudan, world's newest nation, is instantly one of the most troubled":

The countdown clock ran out, the flag ascended over the fledgling capital and a new nation born from Africa's longest civil war and the deaths of 2 million people joined the world.

The mood was euphoric Saturday in Juba as the Republic of South Sudan formally declared its independence from the north, its bitter antagonist for generations. For the day, at least, a people weary of conflict were willing to ignore that their nation came into being as one the world's most troubled states.

Dozens of heads of state gathered outside the mausoleum of southern war hero John Garang at a massive ceremony featuring marching soldiers. Thousands of ordinary Sudanese crammed into the parade grounds, singing and cheering.

The man sworn in as South Sudan's first president, Salva Kiir, stood alongside his old nemesis, northern President Omar Hassan Ahmed Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes in the western region of Darfur. Bashir's presence was a powerful sign that he has acceded to the partition, however grudgingly.

It is not exactly true to say the country is starting from scratch, because it has been building the rudiments of a functioning government since the 2005 peace deal that made independence possible. But nationhood comes fraught with outsized problems.
More at the link. And see also, New York Times, "After Years of Struggle, South Sudan Becomes a New Nation" (via Memeorandum).

RELATED: From James Traub, at Foreign Policy, "Bashir's Choice."