Some time ago, I discussed a rather sober assessment of South Sudan’s economy. It appeared that Sudan would be able to continue fighting and that South Sudan would be unable to do so. However, a new assessment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) offers a new perspective. Sudan is facing “daunting challenges.”
The IMF noted that Sudan lost 75% of its oil reserves when South Sudan became a nation. Without the production from Heglig, Sudan would be in catastrophic economic trouble, but it is not in great shape now. In a posting from a couple of weeks ago, I noted something that has become much more significant. I said that:
While having the upper hand, Sudan should be somewhat concerned. Yes, it has substantially more financial resources to commit to war, but it will also have to spend those resources at a much higher rate to prosecute a war, even a defensive one. The difference in the motivation of the soldiers is paramount. The Sudanese soldiers would be fighting for money to support their families. Sudan is going to have to pay its soldiers substantially to motivate them.
If Sudan’s economy is in bad shape, then this dynamic becomes exceedingly important. Sudan will begin to see desertions from its armed forces and certainly from mercenary groups that it supports. People fighting for money will stop fighting when the money stops flowing or if the tide of battle turns against them. One cannot support a family if he dies. Thus, such soldiers are much more likely to abandon the fight if it gets difficult. People fighting for survival and people fighting for freedom will continue to fight. If in South Sudan and perhaps soon after, the SPLA-North, were to put anti-aircraft weaponry in the field of battle, removing the massive advantage of Sudan, the tide of the entire war could change.
In the meantime, regardless of the fighting, there are people starving in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with the rainy season rapidly approaching. That is a battle the people of the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile cannot afford to lose.