This briefing considers the changing political situation in Sudan with a particular focus on the future of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) and the evolving political and security dynamics in the Two Areas. It is the third in a series of rapid response updates by the Rift Valley Institute for XCEPT.

See Update 1 ‘What Next for the Juba Peace Agreement?’ and Update 2 ‘What Next for the Juba Peace Agreement? Evolving political and security dynamics in Darfur’.

Key points

  • Long-term conflict in the Two Areas, falling largely along ethnic lines, has caused deep-rooted grievances, in particular around governance. There has never been an inclusive process to address these grievances and reach a consensus on how people should be ruled.
  • The National Congress Party (NCP) regime’s collapse created a vacuum and political competition, to which communities responded by adopting different strategies to defend their interests, and which are playing out in tandem with peace efforts in the Two Areas.
  • These efforts, which could have started a process of addressing conflict drivers and finding consensual governance solutions, have so far not been inclusive or widely supported.
  • After the October 2021 military coup, the state of the peace efforts is uncertain, which could lead to further discontent in the Two Areas. Different communities and political actors are dealing with the uncertainties in different ways:

    • Former NCP allies in South Kordofan are using different strategies to ensure their political survival. Some are engaging with the SPLM/A-N (al-Hilu) as a way to ensure their interests are protected, while others are opting for a confrontational approach and perceive any gains by the SPLM/A-N (al-Hilu) as harmful to them.
    • In West Kordofan the Misseriya – currently in control of the State level administration – were a strong NCP ally, but due to their refusal to fight the government’s war against the SPLM/A-N after 2011, their relationship with the Nuba is not as strained as it might otherwise be. If future peace deals do not threaten their interests, the Misseriya are less likely to compete with others, including the SPLM/A-N (al-Hilu).
  • It is highly unlikely that the Mil-TG (military component of the transitional government) will resume a peace process with the SPLM/A-N (al-Hilu) without an independent Civ-TG (civilian component of the transitional government) urging it to do so. What is more, given that the SPLM/A-N (SRF) has reached many of its goals through the JPA, they are unlikely to support the resumption of a process that could politically empower their rival.
  • The most likely outcome of the alignment of Mil-TG and SRF interests is that there are no incentives to pursue peace efforts in the Two Areas.