Sudan's Pyrrhic independence

8/24/2011, 3:29 p.m.
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At the end of the day, the logic of two Sudans is hard to fathom. They share so many natural networks; rivers, animal and human migration patterns and natural resources. The best scenario that could arise from this new period of separation is that each side truly appreciates how much they depend upon the other. The stakes are high for economic cooperation, especially around oil exports, which form the largest share of each economy. South Sudan can neither produce nor export it without help from the North. Meanwhile, Northern Sudan's trading prowess and port access is useless without products to sell and distribute.

The optimal scenario is that the two countries would eventually develop a pragmatic approach to matters of mutual concern, but for now, good fences will have to suffice. For the South, that means a resolution of the border demarcation in Abyei, the contested, oil-rich region around the North-South border. For the North, it means that the South must largely stay out of the internecine conflicts in Darfur and Southern Kordufan--something that will be difficult for Southerners given their strong ethnic ties and support they enjoyed from those regions during the independence struggle.

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