Compound Fractures: Political Formations, Armed groups and Regional Mediation in South Sudan

In September 2018 the warring parties in South Sudan signed the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS). The R-ARCSS will be implemented in a daunting environment – over the course of the five-year conflict, political and security arenas have grown increasingly fractured. For the agreement to succeed, political and military leaders must convince the population of South Sudan and the broader international community that they are committed to transforming the way politics is done. This report gives an overview of the main political and security actors in South Sudan to inform policy options moving forward. Research was conducted through a literature review and a series of interviews with officials in the government of South Sudan, members of political and armed opposition groups, academics, faith leaders, civil society members, regional policymakers, diplomats and international experts, in both Juba and the wider region, between June and August 2018. The first section traces the evolution of the conflict since December 2013, the second provides an overview of the main armed groups and political formations in the country, the third focuses on the IGAD mediation, and the conclusion offers a series of recommendations to inform IGAD, the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN) and other policymakers as they work to promote a sustainable solution to the crisis.