ONE YEAR AFTER the Republic of South Sudan celebrated its independence, people in the capital of Juba still speak hopefully about freedom and dignity after decades of war. But the sad reality is that the south, freshly minted as a nation, and Sudan, from which it seceded, face deepening instability. True, in the past year they did not fight a full-scale war like the one that cost 2 million lives, but that’s about the best that can be said. Both countries remain in terrible shape.
A halt in oil shipments from the south is punishing both economies. Most of the oil reserves are in the south, but the export pipelines cross through the north. In January, South Sudan cut off oil shipments to the north, complaining of onerous transit fees and theft. Sudan claimed it confiscated crude in lieu of payments. Oil provided 98 percent of South Sudan’s hard currency, and without it, the south’s economy is crumbling.