After South Sudan Who will become Independent?
July 9th has come and gone on the calendar. The Republic of South Sudan has become the newest independent state in Africa. Although the separation was generally peaceful there are underlying tensions that could quickly lead to Armed Conflict. But now there is a question that needs to be asked: Is Southern Sudan going to be the final state to gain independence?
The Short answer has to be No. There are efforts underway in the “Breakaway” region of Somaliland to be recognized as an Independent State. There have been reports that Kenya has done so and there is a push for Britain to do so as well. Several years ago there was an effort by those seeking this to have the US follow along through an attempt to pass legislation in Congress. Officially the position of the United States is that the Administration will wait until the African Union does this. So this means that there is a remote chance that this will happen.
Another Country that may have such a similar effort occur is Nigeria. We all have heard of the situation in the Niger Delta. It generates income coming into the Country with its oil reserves but there is little investment in the infrastructure in the region. A Militant Group the NDLF (Niger Delta Liberation Force) has urged President Jonathan to convene a SNC (Sovereign National Conference) to see if the Niger Delta can have a peaceful separation from the rest of the Country without bloodshed.
Another Potential Flashpoint has to be the Casamance region in Senegal. This has been the scene of an on-again/off-again insurgency against the Wade Regime. This region which lies along the border with the Gambia has had the rebels being supported by Guinea in the past. As long as there is not any resolution in this situation and is allowed to fester than problems could break out in West Africa yet again.
It would be a sin of omission not to discuss the situation in the Eastern DRC. Although it has not advocated Independence from Kinshasa the Central Government has been unable to effectively administer the region due to poor infrastructure, corruption and outside actors. So the Kivus currently operate with little oversight. It is possible to conceive that Rwanda or even Uganda can attempt to either separate territory in order to annex it outright or to create a situation whereupon they can create an “independent buffer state” to enhance their agenda for the region and to gain access to the copious natural resources in these two provinces.
This means that the State Department, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency will really have to maintain constant vigilance monitoring these situations so that any information can be presented to the President in a quick and timely manner. This has not always been the case in recent months however. But these situations are just the tip of the iceberg…..
The Author Comments on US Policy towards Africa and publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet. It can be found at confusedeagle.livejournal.com