Dialogue or Destruction? Organising for Peace as the War in Sudan Escalates

Sudan's civil war, already one of the deadliest conflicts since World War II, has entered its most destructive phase to date. Oil revenues have allowed the government to purchase increasingly lethal weapons, more effectively pursue population-clearing operations, and expand the use of its greatest comparative advantage, air power. The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) has greater manpower to deploy on multiple fronts, has also acquired more sophisticated arms, and is engaging government forces in more intense conventional battles. With battle lines and negotiating positions so clearly drawn, the efforts to energise the IGAD peace process have so far been useful, but not sufficient. The window of opportunity for peace in Sudan is beginning to close. A much more robust effort must be undertaken both by the IGAD states and, in their support, by the international community if peace is to be made. In the first instance, this requires quick construction of a considerably more detailed peace strategy, including the organisation and deployment of serious leverage. Absent this, the Sudanese people will be condemned to increasing death and destruction, and a wide swathe of Africa will remain subject to the destabilising consequences.