Conflict Analysis And Conflict Reflection

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The purpose of this paper is to highlight both conflict analysis and conflict reflection. The essay describes among other things the scene of the conflict, the participants, location and its impact on the conflict, the bone of contention, the presence and distinction between surface-level problem and the underlying problem as well as a closer look at all the above.

Conflict Analysis

The conflict discussed here was between two war-torn leaders of a country in Africa, South Sudan. The conflict scene was a region militia group often breeds and attacks the people in politically motivated wars. Although not directly involved, political leaders in this country namely the president and his deputy, have been cited to be the reason for the conflict given that they had fallen out pushing the deputy to go in hiding. The angle of this paper is that of a covert operator working for a global humanitarian organization that attempted to do a conflict resolution task in the country. Before the conflict, the president and his deputy had a cordial relationship, running the government smoothly. The communities involved in the conflict directly were also peaceful and cooperated before the leaders fall out. The real reason for the conflict can be traced to a time when the deputy showed interest in being the president and the president feeling threatened, got uncomfortable. Thus, the relationship between the two sides was built on trust and loyalty and the emergence of mistrust greatly affected the peace between them. The repercussions have been felt widely ever since, with communities losing loved ones in endless community clashes.

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Conflict Drivers and Triggers

Being Africa’s youngest nation, South Sudan has continued to struggle with maintaining a calm demeanor even after the 2015 Peace Agreement was signed with the help of the United Nations and other regional leaders. The Agreement was not implemented, leading to a more serious conflict between the two factions which saw more than 50,000 people killed in 2016 (Mutanda, 2019). As a result, many citizens have been affected by hunger as normal agricultural seasons got disrupted by the war while more continue to die due to lack of proper healthcare. Conflict assessments continue to be done previously by collaborators within the region with assistance from global bodies such as UNICEF. It is clear that the location of the conflict might heavily influence the success or lack thereof, and that there could be more reasons why the conflict exists in the first place.

Just like any other conflict, the South Sudan conflict’s underlying problem has been identified as an uneven distribution of resources. An oil-producing country like South Sudan is highly susceptible to resource division-related conflicts. Although the surface level problem seems to be political rivalry, there is a deeper issue to solve and which is how the regions get their share of the country’s resources. Resources are among the biggest triggers of conflict. Resources disputes in South Sudan have ignited deadly violence between ethnic groups thus frustrating efforts to contain further conflicts. In this case, resource-related dynamics largely influence political stability. Even inter-familial disputes often originate from resource allocation and before becoming a full-blown conflict. Therefore, there is a clear correlation between the surface level problem which appears to be a political rivalry between President Salva Kiir and the opposition leader Riek Machar and the underlying problem which is the resource disputes.

Conflict management strategies

Bearing in mind that conflict management does not involve the suppression of it but handling it, it is important to look at some of the strategies that were used in conflict management efforts in South Sudan. Leaders Riek Machar and President Kiir agreed (Onditi, 2017), upon calls by regional peace bodies and well and internal agencies, to find a solution to the chaos in their country. When the two finally came together, they employed the strategies of compromise and collaboration which helped quell the war that had hit most regions. This method appeared effective, with each of the leaders pledging to retaliate, come together and build the world’s youngest nation. Global humanitarian organizations present in the country also played a pivotal role in providing a conducive environment for victims’ recovery. One would know the outcome of the strategies because of the calm that engulfed the country, a clear sign of change and peace. The result of the peace agreement was visible and spelled a win for both the participants and the communities. Although the two leaders deepened their relationship for the good of the country, it was not for long. Differences emerged between them soon enough, further jeopardizing the peace that had started forming. Looking back, it is clear that variables such as equal opportunities and resource mapping efforts could have helped give a lasting solution.

Reflection of the Analysis

From the above exercise, there have been a few lessons worth taking. First, that conflict comes with two levels of problems; the surface level problem as well as an underlying problem for the concerned parties to discover the underlying problem, deliberate actions have to be taken such as bring the warring sides together and getting their sides of the stalemate. The other lesson is that one of the biggest triggers of violence and conflicts in any community is resource allocation. An equitable share of resources is likely to result in a harmonious coexistence while the opposite fuels disputes that can escalate to unwanted proportions.


In conclusion, conflicts are in most parts of the world and are usually fueled by disputes which escalate to higher proportions. In South Sudan, an African country and the youngest in the world, for instance, resource distribution has been cited as the major cause of conflicts. Conflicts have also been known to result in fatal wars if not managed well. Some of the popular conflict management strategies that have been used in South Sudan include collaboration and compromise. And even though South Sudan has not achieved peace in totality, more efforts continue to be put by the international communities to help that nation.


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