The new civil war in South Sudan began in December 2013. It soon proved to be a disaster for
the population, a threat to the integrity of the world’s youngest state and an embarrassment
and conundrum to the international community. The article surveys the first year of this war.
It outlines the course of military engagements, the consequences of the war for the people of
South Sudan and the ways in which a peaceful settlement has been sought. During 2014 external
initiatives and threats of sanctions were employed to prod the warring parties into a productive
process, but with only limited success because each side entrenched itself while waiting for
the other to collapse. Developments in January 2015 indicate that the time might be ripe for a
negotiated settlement: the parties have reached military stalemate and negotiations have sketched
the contours of a settlement. What remains is the haggling over the finer points of a political
compromise. However, mediators and the parties must pick up the pace because yet another
year of war will possibly result in the disintegration of South Sudan as a polity.
Civil war, peace negotiations, South Sudan, SPLA, SPLM, UNMISS
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