This process contributed to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which supposedly ended the north-south war. However, the CPA left several hundred details unresolved -- tough ones like a definitive north-south border, refugee resettlement and a satisfactory split of oil profits from Sudanese fields.
Meanwhile, in Sudan's miserable west, Darfur bleeds despite the presence of U.N. peacekeepers. The United Nations also has a peacekeeping force in south Sudan, which hasn't prevented occasional firefights between the North and South.
The 2005 CPA created a "national unity" government in Khartoum, but North and South Sudan are increasingly appropriate names. The SPLA has become the GOSS -- Government of South Sudan, which regards Kenya as an ally. Recall the Somali pirates who hijacked a freighter loaded with tanks and other weapons. The bill of lading said Kenya. The likely destination? The GOSS.
Now back to President-elect Obama. After his election, a GOSS spokesman requested a U.S.-led peacekeeping force in south Sudan. Why? Perhaps expectations spurred Kenya's holidays as much as pride. Kenya and GOSS may assume they will have a great deal of influence on U.S. policy in the region.
Obama rhetorically promised hope and change, and seeded great expectations.
As 2005's fragile peace frays, more war threatens Sudan. Of course, war threatens Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, and war rages in Somalia, in Chad, in Congo ... and the daunting list goes on.
Beware this irony: Great expectations unmet seed grand disappointments -- and add new bitterness to devilishly complex conflicts.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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