Signed in January 2005 following more than 20 years of civil war, Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was hailed as that country’s ‘second independence’ and the last, best chance for a united, democratic, and peaceful Sudan. A few years later, the story was different: as the stepping stone to an independent South Sudan which collapsed into a bloody internal war and as a temporary truce between north and south. There was an array of conflicts, often associated with local rivalries over administrative positions and boundaries, and resources such as grazing land and water. For the internationals, and for the second-order politicians who had no such mastery of the political arena, the CPA was a text that should be interpreted detail-by-detail. The independence of South Sudan was the default option for the CPA: a mechanical reading of the text and its political logic led automatically to that conclusion.