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Welcome to the World, South Sudan

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The residents of southern Sudan have voted overwhelmingly to split off from the northern part of the country. Pending final results and a peaceful process, South Sudan will be the newest nation on the planet, though it may not ultimately choose “South Sudan” as its name; the alternative “Nile Republic” sounds more appealing to potential tourists.

Formal independence would occur on July 9.

While the northern regime has pledged to support an amicable separation, several issues could cloud the process. There’s strife in the Abyei border region. Most of the oil reserves are in the south, which is inhabited mostly by Christians and animists, while the population of the north is primarily comprised of Arab Muslims. The status of the many southerners living and working in and around the northern capital, Khartoum, is uncertain; and many are heading south, worried about the possibility of the north falling under Sharia law. And the regime in the north is weak anyway—the country is about as close to a “failed state” as any nation on Earth, and there’s concern that the new nation may be another failed state in the making.

But among many in the south, where over 98% of voters have cast their ballots for separation, the mood is cautiously upbeat.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.