Sudan Coaching England?
Sudan may be having something to offer England after all: Its bitter experience of how to deal with rising separatist sentiments within the country.
If things go as desired and pushed by Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), in less than two years chosen deliberately to coincide with a 700-year battle that the Scotland won against England, Scots will go to polls to cast their vote whether to stay with the Union Jack or go their own way.
With the growing emotional sentiments, the tendency is more likely that people will vote with their hearts, not minds. Former federal oil minister in Sudan Dr Lual Deng used to argue that the South was getting the best of the deals: having complete control on the South destiny, income and security, while it shares in governing the North. But that kind of logic does not augur well with rising nationalist feelings.
That is why what the CPA called for working to make unity ‘attractive’ turned out to be an elusive target, hard to achieve if there were a chance in the first place. Equally, that will most likely be the fate of yet to be offered proposals by Prime Minister David Cameroon on more devolved powers. On one hand, the Scots seem to have lost confidence in the three major political parties: the Tories, Labor and Social Democrats as a recent report in the Washington Post showed.
In a way that seems like replicating Sudan’s case and the legacy of the Southerners strong belief that separation was a natural conclusion of too many promises un-honored. It is does not matter whether that feeling is justified or not; or whether there was a Southern responsibility to that or not.
Moreover, for a growing segment of the Scots, voting for separation in the yet to be decided referendum looks like a natural culmination of a series of steps that moved power gradually and over time to Edinburgh from London.
Interesting also to note that oil will be at the heart of argument and the push for the Scots separation. The wealth sharing agreement within the CPA was designed in such a way that it helped in pushing for separation. If under the CPA, the South was getting 50 percent of the oil it produced within its region, it looks logical to vote for separation and keep the 100 percent within the South. But more important is that having oil makes South Sudan a potentially viable state with stream of hard currency income. Oil produced from the North Sea make future independent Scotland a country with a good potential economically.
However, as separation has cost Sudan its brand as the biggest country in Africa, it will undermine the United Kingdom’s standing as a leading power on the world stage. More important and in one of the ironies is that the push for breakup is in direct conflict with one of globalization tenets: to go for bigger and bigger sizes and volumes.
It is not only that we are back to the state of small is beautiful, but it is another sign of a growing fragmentation at world stage this time.
By Alsir Sidahmed, 27/02/2012