Scenarios for Sudan: Avoiding Political Violence Through 2011

August 6, 2009
Alan Schwartz

More political violence will be hard to avoid in Sudan, barring a quick change in current trends, according to a new USIP report. Much of the outcome hinges on the handling of issues that involve the 2011 referendum on whether the South secedes from Sudan.

The lack of governance capacity in the South and failure to resolve tensions between the North and South are two major factors that could lead to future conflict if they are not addressed before the referendum, author Alan Schwartz finds. He runs through three scenarios for possible outcomes – a costly secession; civil war, from tinderbox to conflagration; and muddling through -- and recommends ways Sudan and international community can work to avoid such political violence in the coming years.

About the Report

This report summarizes three workshops designed to explore opportunities to avoid political violence in Sudan through the end of 2011. Sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace, these workshops took place during April and May 2009 with assistance from PolicyFutures, LLC. Twenty Sudan experts participated. The author, Alan Schwartz, principal and cofounder of PolicyFutures, LLC, teaches and facilitates the use of analytic tools and techniques, including scenario planning. He is an affiliated professor at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. He holds an LLM in administrative law from Georgetown University Law Center and a JD from University of Pennsylvania Law School. In October 2006 he published USIP Special Report 174, “Scenarios for the Insurgency in Iraq,” and in July 2005 he published USIP Special Report 142, "Iraq Election Scenarios: Anticipating Alternative Futures."

August 6, 2009