12 October 2012

The State of the Game between Juba and Khartoum

I continue to be fascinated by the nature of the strategic interaction between Juba and Khartoum, without really pretending to understand it very well. As it turns out, Juba's strategy seems to be push ahead with a Kenya pipeline whilst resuming export through North Sudan in the meantime, to give them an alternative option. So what is Khartoum's optimal response to such a move?

A friend suggests that Khartoum's strategy is to continue to create chaos in Jonglei (South Sudan) in order to disrupt future exploration, knowing that a Kenyan pipeline would not be economically viable without further discoveries.

I thought I'd also email someone who is an actual game theory expert, who makes the interesting point that - a little counter-intuitively - it may actually be in Khartoum's interest to encourage the development of a Kenya pipeline, as a way of credibly committing themselves to continued future cooperation on mutually favourable terms.
Paraphrasing the words of the great philosopher Sting, “If Someone Does Not Trust You, Set Them Free“.

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