N. K. Tikhomirov " Regional conflicts. The Problem of Southern Sudan" (Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2006, 212 p. Ed. by A. A. Tkachenko) is a full-length historical study of the origin and evolution of the South Sudanese problem, its domestic, regional and international aspects.
The author is a historian and diplomat, who has worked for many years in the Sudanese direction at the Russian Foreign Ministry, and examines the problem of Southern Sudan in the context of the country's modern and contemporary political history. At the same time, he strives for the most objective and impartial presentation possible, based on documents and facts and not deviating from the historical truth in favor of the political situation.
In the chapter devoted to the period of foreign colonial rule (from the end of the 19th century to 1956), the author was able to objectively show the motives, features and contradictory results of the British colonial policy towards Southern Sudan. The section on the activities of Christian missionaries is of great interest. The author does not avoid the question of the ambiguous role of Egypt, which supported the struggle for independence of Sudan, but also those Sudanese political forces that by forcibly Arabizing the South "actually took the first step towards the future confrontation between the North and the South" (p.28).
The problem of Southern Sudan is presented in the book as multidimensional, evolving under the influence of various factors-political, socio-economic, ethnic, religious and others. Thus, with the discovery of oil fields in Southern Sudan in the early 1980s, the problem acquired an additional resource dimension, which further aggravated relations between the North and the South. This circumstance, along with others, is also associated with the growing involvement of an increasing number of external actors in the conflict, which has long had a regional dimension and has repeatedly been a source of tension between the Sudan and Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, and Egypt.
The reader will find in the book a detailed historical account of the zigzags of the policy of successive regimes and governments in the country towards the South, the positions of the opposition political forces of the North (in particular, the Sudanese Communist Party) and political organizations of the South. Thus, the author describes in detail the political platform and structure of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SNM), which is currently the main political force representing the interests of the South.
N. K. Tikhomirov's research clearly shows the responsibility of politicians and politicians for the aggravation of the South Sudanese conflict up to the civil war. This applies, first of all, to the central government in Khartoum, which pursued a policy of violent Arabization and Islamization, opposing the provision of adequate forms of autonomy, and splitting the southerners politically, ethnically, and territorially-administratively. This applies to a certain extent to the actions of politicians in the South - manifestations of separatism and radicalism, including refusal to negotiate, exposure to external forces. This also applies to the actions of external forces (both interested States and missionary organizations), which, as this study shows, often tried to channel the desire of Southerners for equal rights in the direction of separatism, use separatist organizations of the South as a lever of pressure on the Sudanese government or to solve their other political tasks. In this context, the author provides interesting information about Israel's support for the South Sudanese opposition in the 1960s and 1970s and its motives.
It should be emphasized that the author is not inclined to an exclusively accusatory bias in assessing the impact of external regional and global forces. On the contrary, it carefully examines the role of African, Arab, European States, the United States, the role of the United Nations and regional organizations such as IGAD1 and the African Union (formerly OAU), as well as religious organizations in developing regional and international initiatives aimed at resolving the South Sudanese conflict and ending the civil war. Of particular interest is the analysis of US policy towards Sudan since the early 1990s and the intensification of their mediation efforts to resolve the situation in South Sudan after September 2001.
In general, much, if not the main, attention is paid in the book to the analysis of the settlement experience
conflict between South and North Sudan. Two chapters are devoted to the history of the signing and main provisions of the 1972 Addis Ababa Agreement and, more importantly, to the analysis of its implementation and the factors that prevented its implementation. The author notes, in particular, the lack of financial opportunities, difficulties with the integration of former militants into socio-economic life, but the main attention is paid to the political steps of the government of J. R. R. Tolkien. Nimeiri of the early 1980s, which led to a new round of confrontation and a protracted civil war.
Of particular interest is the section of the book that analyzes in detail the twists and turns and results of several rounds of intensive negotiations that lasted more than two years on the principles and parameters of a settlement between the Government of the Sudan and the SND. They began with the signing of the Protocol on Peace in the Sudan in Machakos, Kenya, on July 20, 2002, and ended with the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in the Sudan in Nairobi, Kenya, on January 9, 2005. In March 2005, the Agreement was supported by the UN Security Council, which decided to deploy an integrated UN mission in the Sudan to facilitate its implementation.
The importance of the agreement, as the author emphasizes, lies primarily in the fact that it put an end to the fratricidal war in the South, which lasted for more than 20 years. The country gets an opportunity to restore and develop its economy, strengthen security, and build an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.
According to the agreements reached, the South is granted autonomy, including self-government and an equal share of natural resources, primarily oil, and the Islamic legislation in this region of the country is canceled. The final decision on the status of the southern regions of Sudan should be decided in a referendum at the end of the 6-year transition period in 2011. The author sees the latter as a kind of guarantee for democratic transformation in Sudan.
The author's forecasts and his vision of the prospects for the development of events are undoubtedly important. Considering the considerable difficulties that the Sudan will have to overcome in the practical implementation of the agreement, the author does not consider them insurmountable, however, given the political will of the parties.
The author also expresses his thoughts on the question, the solution of which will have enormous consequences not only for Africa, but also for other regions of the world - whether Sudan will remain a single state in 2011, or whether southerners will prefer the creation of an independent state, which could signal the redrawing of many borders on the African continent. The author seems to share the opinion expressed by J. Garang2 that the question of independence of the South can arise only if the North does not fulfill the agreements reached and the idea of a New Sudan - democratic and free from Islamic political sectarianism - becomes unattainable.
N. K. Tikhomirov's in-depth study of the problem of Southern Sudan and the experience gained in efforts to solve it is important and useful, in our opinion, not only for those who are professionally connected or interested in the Arab and African world, but also for all those who are engaged in research or practical solutions to ethno-confessional political conflicts. Much of what is presented in this book can be understood and applied to critical situations in other parts of the Sudan, in particular in Darfur, in other African countries and beyond.
G. PROZOROVA, Candidate of Historical Sciences
1 IGAD is an African Intergovernmental Organization for Development.
2 John Garang - leader of the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, First Vice-President of the Sudan, President of South Sudan, killed in a helicopter crash in 2005. See: Seregichev S. Sudan after J. Garang: Prospects for the peace process - "Asia and Africa Today", 2006, N 1.
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