International actors should actively work toward resetting the levers of structural power within the political economy so that a less violent South Sudan is possible.
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Regional considerations have always played a prominent role in South Sudan’s security landscape. Indeed, the country was born from a regional fissure between what are today Sudan and South Sudan. This schism has been subsequently shaped and influenced to varying degrees by all of South Sudan’s neighbors. These dynamics have continued with the country’s descent... Continue Reading
Rule of Law in a Weak State South Sudan’s descent into civil war in 2013, 2 years after independence, has devastated families, communities, and institutions—including judicial institutions. Already fragile following decades of war against Khartoum, state institutions had yet to penetrate throughout the territory, and many were still in the process of formation. Areas that... Continue Reading
Countries emerging from conflict confront numerous challenges relating to the reform of their security sectors. Some countries succeed in addressing those challenges, are able to reform their security sector gradually, and achieve peace and stability for their people as a consequence. Other countries fail to do so, at times contributing to the recurrence of conflict.... Continue Reading
The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) identifies security sector reform (SSR) as one of the most crucial issues that need to be addressed if South Sudan is to attain peace. The prioritization given to SSR in the ARCSS is illustrated by the fact that it... Continue Reading
Introduction Decades of conflicts in South Sudan have eroded the separation of roles and mandates between the political class and security actors, leading to a deliberate and disastrous convergence. One of the results of this entanglement is that security agencies have become central to politics, as have politicians in military and security matters. As a... Continue Reading
When South Sudan achieved independence in 2011, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/ Movement (SPLA/M) and its leader, Salva Kiir Mayardit, took control of a system of governance that transcended the lines between the formal and informal sectors, military and civilian elites, government and nongovernment actors, as well as licit and illicit sources of revenue. Instead... Continue Reading
A “gun class”—the fusion of security leaders with political power, class, and ethnicity—is at the heart of the predatory governance system that has taken root in South Sudan. Changing this trajectory will require redefining the roles of political and security actors.
The status quo in South Sudan is unsustainable. South Sudan must undertake fundamental reforms if it is to avoid a descent into a Hobbesian state of lawlessness and rule by the strong.
Scholars and security practitioners share their visions on the priorities and prerequisites needed for South Sudan to reestablish stability in the face of conflict, political paralysis, and humanitarian crisis.
Despite the continued conflict in South Sudan, accountability for human rights violations can be initiated drawing on the recent UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan investigative report.
Now in its fifth year, South Sudan’s current conflict has displaced 4.5 million people—the same number of southern Sudanese displaced during the entire three-decade Sudan civil war.