Fluid States and Rigid Boundaries on the East Bank of the Nile in South Sudan

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Mathew Pritchard
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The R-ARCSS was designed as an all-encompassing package of measures that would help end the civil war in South Sudan. Yet, in reality it does not efficiently address some of the root causes of the conflict. More than addressing those in a manner that connects both bottom-up and top-down drivers of tension, it focuses on elements of a power-sharing agreement and paves the way for resource sharing arrangements.

This brief examines how and why grievances emerge and how these can be instrumentalized by national and local-level actors to secure access to territory and resources, with significant effect on the political stability and security at the local level. It takes the debate around the number of states as an example of how administrative decisions on sub-state boundaries and the administrative power that derive from those decisions can re-enforced competition over governance and territory. This is best illustrated by increased politization of disputes between the Padang Dink and the Shilluk living on the east bank of the White Nile. The brief ends with a number of takeaways for international actors working to support the peace process in South Sudan.
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