The Sahel and Northern Uganda

The Head Heeb has a nice piece updating the interconnectedness of conflicts in Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic.

And a new theater may be opening in southern Sudan, where the Machakos peace may be collapsing before the world's eyes. Since the 2002 peace accord and the installation of a national unity government last year, the south has experienced a tentative recovery and thousands of displaced persons returned to their homes. Three days ago, however, the peace was broken when a clash between government and SPLA troops in the southern town of Malakal escalated into a pitched battle in which hundreds died. The latest reports indicate that calm has returned to the city and high-level delegations are attempting to mediate, but these efforts face uncertain prospects amid the southern ethnic groups' growing discontent over their marginalization. Unless regional conciliation is extended to ethnic groups as well as governments and militias, and unless the international community makes a sustained commitment to peacekeeping and development rather than choosing sides, the Sahel conflict zone may continue to expand.

Of course, the conflict zone has already expanded, playing a role in destabilizing the talks between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda in Juba, Sudan. The LRA this week suspended the peace talks, claiming the cessation of hostilities agreement had been violated.

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