Sudan-South Sudan Military Conflict

Sudan-South Sudan Military Conflict

Military conflict between Sudan and South Sudan triggered by border and/or resource disputes


Unresolved disputes between Sudan and South Sudan over contested borders and the sharing of oil revenue threaten to draw the countries into a military conflict. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of 2005 led to South Sudan’s independence in 2011, but failed to demarcate new country borders or develop mechanisms for sharing oil revenue, which is reliant on South Sudan’s oil reserves and Sudan’s refineries and pipelines.

An unsuccessful attempt to settle the disputes in 2011 brought the countries to the brink of war and in March 2013, Sudan displayed its willingness to undertake cross-border attacks when it led a military incursion into the contested Abyei region. Internal pressures within both countries further exacerbate regional instability.

As a major donor of humanitarian aid to Sudan and the leading international donor to South Sudan, the United States has committed extensive resources to promoting democracy and respect for human rights in both countries and helped to facilitate the CPA in 2005.

Another fruitless attempt to resolve these disputes would further exacerbate tensions, threatening military escalation, and further undermining U.S. efforts. An outbreak of military conflict could have larger ramifications, as an increase in refugee and internally displaced populations could destabilize Sudan, South Sudan, and neighboring countries.

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