Category: Politics

Where next for Machar: Ethiopia closes door on him & Khartoum wants him gone?



Dr Machar — who is currently in Khartoum after fleeing Juba on July 11— has been denied asylum in Ethiopia where he had hoped to take refuge after completing treatment in the Sudanese capital.
In Khartoum, Machar has been restricted from engaging in political activities, with Sudan saying he is only welcomed on “humanitarian” grounds.

In Juba, Dr Machar has since been replaced as the vice-president by his former lead negotiator, Taban Deng Gai.

South Sudanese ousted vice president, Dr Riek Machar, is increasingly becoming a pariah in the region with Ethiopia now declining to give him asylum, while Sudan is restricting his political activities.

Dr Machar — who is currently in Khartoum after fleeing Juba on July 11— has been denied asylum in Ethiopia where he had hoped to take refuge after completing treatment in the Sudanese capital.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in a media interview on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York this week, said that Addis Ababa “does not need someone who is leading an armed struggle on its soil.”

After the civil war broke out in Juba in December 2013, Ethiopia had hosted Dr Machar for most of the two-and-a-half years of the peace negotiations led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad). But Addis Ababa is now bowing to pressure from Juba and the dynamics of the deployment of the UN-backed regional protection force.

Ethiopia was supposed to provide the bulk of the 4,000 troops and this was going to complicate their participation if the country gave asylum to Dr Machar.

In Juba, Dr Machar has since been replaced as the vice-president by his former lead negotiator, Taban Deng Gai.

No political activities

Dr Machar suffered another blow on Thursday when the Sudanese government stopped him from holding a press conference in Khartoum after holding a week-long SPLM-IO leadership meeting to discuss the ongoing political crisis in South Sudan.

Information Minister and government spokesperson, Ahmed Bilal Osman, announced that Dr Machar was in Khartoum for treatment only and is therefore not allowed to conduct political activities. Mr Bilal said that Khartoum was waiting for the implementation of the security arrangements so that Dr Machar could return to South Sudan.

However, Dr Machar maintains that he can only return to Juba after the deployment of the regional protection force, which Juba appears to be reluctant to have more troops join the current 12,000 under the UN Mission in South Sudan.

According to the UN Security Council Resolution, the protection force is supposed to act as a buffer between President Salva Kiir’s soldiers and those of Dr Machar, and to secure humanitarian supply lines and key installations.

The government of South Sudan had protested to Sudan for hosting Dr Machar but Khartoum has maintained that they are hosting the ousted leader —who arrived in Khartoum in August from northeastern DR Congo — on “humanitarian” grounds.

The ‘South Sudan Report’ and the morality of profiting from a neighbour’s misfortune

By Charles Onyango-Obbo, DAILY MONITOR, Uganda, SEP/14/2016, SSN;

The much-anticipated report on corruption and war-profiteering in conflict-wracked South Sudan was published on Monday.

Produced by investigative unit “The Sentry” co-funded by American actor George Clooney and activist John Prendergast, it spent two years following the money trail.

It reports some extraordinary looting, nepotism, and corruption by the South Sudan political and military elite who have made themselves rich while the country has been impoverished by a civil war of their making.
There are no saints and villians, both President Salva Kiir and his former deputy and rival Riek Machar have their snouts in the murk.

The report makes for sad reading, but one cannot help reflect on the ways in which South Sudan is different from almost every country in the region. Almost everywhere else, you have a few years of idealism and an attempt to do good after independence or liberation. Then the “revolution” stalls or is hijacked, and the corruption starts. No such thing for South Sudan.

The new country hit the ground stealing, so to speak. The other thing, which shouldn’t really be surprising, the report says the top leaders in the country have invested in property in neighbouring Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda. It also says that they have interests in Australia.

Army Chief, Gen Paul Malong, also the grand polygamist of Juba, and the man blamed for a lot of the recent madness in the country, has at least two luxurious mansions in Uganda in addition to a $2m mansion in Nairobi.

It’s last bit that interests us most today, because Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia have also been the regional mediators.

If you are God-loving or a human rights activist, you would find something terribly wrong with that because it seems the three countries are actually profiting from the conflict in South Sudan, so how can they be expected to go the extra kilometre to make peace there. And wouldn’t the ability of the belligerents to invest in these countries give them an easy way out and thus remove the incentive for them to compromise for peace?

However, the South Sudan conflict has also stunk up the neighbourhood, increased regional risk, and taken away some points from its attraction as an investment destination. The loss, some economists argue, is higher than the gain.

But if you flip the argument, you could argue that because neighbouring countries also get refugees (as dramatically illustrated in Uganda’s case with the new flood of South Sudanese refugees), suffer from loss of trading opportunities, and are hit by the “stink factor” referred to earlier, they deserve some “compensation”.

Profiting from a neighbour’s misfortune is one way of doing this.

These events, however, also point to some changes in our region, as indeed the rest of Africa, since the economic liberalisation wave kicked off at the end of the 1980s.

There are more private businesses, more rich people, and more thieving politicians who are skimming off the fat.
All these people now need “first stop” destinations where they hedge against future instability at home, a place where they can keep their money, buy expensive homes.

Next, they move to “second stop” destinations – London, Geneva, New York – where they stash their wealth to hedge against the bigger “Africa risk”.

For this reason, it has become important for countries to invest in “stability” in ways it wasn’t 30 years. The reward for being viewed as stable can be huge – both honest and crooked people – will take their money out of their countries and put it in yours, giving your economy – especially the banking sector – a liquidity boost.

If you get it wrong, like South Sudan has, everyone will steal and take their loot out. It’s a diverse business with a grey (or even dark) side, because you don’t just need stability. You also require a certain permissiveness that guarantees these people who bring their money confidentiality.

In other words, that no one in Kampala will come to ask Malong where he found the $2 million to buy his villa.

For example, it is said that Paul Kagame’s Rwanda, the anti-corruption republic, has not really ended corruption as such, it has driven a lot of it off the radar. So what do Rwanda’s corrupt do? They use Uganda and Kenya as their “first stop” destinations to stash their “unexplained surplus”.

On the other hand, the “Rwandaphonie” business people in eastern DR Congo stash their money in Rwanda, because there, it is safe from seizure from the bouts of “anti-Tutsi” politics that often erupts there.

So there is that bit – a “first stop” destination can also be a sanctuary. It’s complicated.

Mr Onyango-Obbo is the editor of Africa data visualiser and explainer site Twitter@cobbo3

Critique of Prof. John Akec’s Mistaken UN Trusteeship

BY: James Okuk, PhD, Juba University, SEP/18/2016, SSN;

As my part-time top boss at University of Juba, I would like to thank the Vice Chancellor, Prof. John Akec for keeping his private hobby of public writing. Many intellectuals of South Sudan and in many other African Countries abandon their hobbies when they become bosses. He needs to be appreciated and encouraged to keep up this consistency and freedom of expression.

What attracted my attention is Prof. Akec’s reference to St. Augustine and Thomas Hobbes to justify his apologetic defence of Juba’s suspicion and reservation on the awaited Regional Protection Force. I’m saying this because I have been a lecturer of “Comparative Political Thought” in the esteemed University of Juba since 2012, both to Arabic and English patterned students of the Department of Political Science.

The evolution of political thought, some of which are practiced in many countries to date, is an area I have admired with great interest. Thus, I must thank the electronic engineer, Prof. John Akec, for becoming an active participant in the classic political field, though.

I would have wished to invite him to attend a special lecture on the context and content on St. Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Hobbes and Jean Bodin who had put forward some rigorous political thinking in the history of human governance, especially in regard to ‘Sovereignty and the Sovereign’ in time of ‘Peace’ and ‘War’.

Those great thinkers of the middle ages in Europe were concerned much about “Sovereignty of the Monarch”. This political situation was broadened and cemented by the Treaty of Westphalia (October 1648) that legitimised the limited European Nation-States’ Systems and Principles between the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of France and their respective Allies.

However, the French Revolution (known also as the people’s bread revolution) and the American Declaration of Independence (known also as the people’s land revolution) made the Westphalia Treaty irrelevant for constitutional liberalism and democratisation of the modern nation-states. The Centre of ‘Sovereignty’ shifted from ‘I the King for the State’ to ‘We the People for the Nation’.

The sovereignty as far as St. Augustine and Thomas Hobbes were concerned was about “I the King” only with disregard to the centrality of the people and their dignified livelihood welfare. Is this what Prof. John Akec is trying to argue for South Sudan now?

Even Hobbes conditioned the necessity of the sovereign and the government on “not killing the subjects and also not instilling fear in them.” The Hobbesian Leviathan was for absolute peace and security of the people. Once the sovereign and the government break this condition, then they should immediately lose the value to continue ruling the nation in a state.

St. Augustine has also conditioned the sovereignty on ‘Peace and Justice’, with permissible ‘War of a Just Cause’, conducted through right intention, declared by a competent authority with good faith, and using proportional military force while discriminating the non-combatant citizens (i.e women, children, the elderly, the clergy, etc.) from the warriors of the sinful ‘City of Man’ who are being punished by divine authority to repent and return to goodness of ‘City of God’ for everlasting eternal grace.

Once peace and justice is denied to the citizens, then the sovereign and government should be prayed upon for divine fire of deposition and salvation for a new replacement.

Jean Bodin defined sovereignty as “Absolute”, “Indivisible” and “Complete”, the attributes which are not nearer to the situation of the divided South Sudan on the power of their current government.

Therefore, Prof. Akec shouldn’t kindly misquote these intellectual historical giants to mislead the public about ‘sovereignty’ and how UN Protection Force is “Trusteeship” in another name.

If the Prof. isn’t yet aware and informed about the matter, let him now know that the UN Charter since the end if World War II in 1945 doesn’t allow ‘UN Trusteeship” for an independent state with full UN and other regional organisations memberships.

The UN Charter and AU Constitutive Act predicate the modern sovereignty on: a)Protection of the population without discrimination, b) Undivided loyalty of the citizens to the state, c) Enforceability of government powers in all the jurisdictional and integral territory, d) Cooperation with the UN and other international and regional bodies based on treaties, mutual recognition and other legitimate obligations, and e) Viability of the state and sustainability of its government among other nations.

Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States (December 1933) is what has defined the modern and contemporary state, not necessarily the traditional medieval nation-state any longer. Article (1) defines a state as a person of international law that possesses a) permanent population (i.e, not Refugees or IDPs), b) a defined territory, c) government, and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Also the Westphalia principles of equality of states, non intervention of one state in the internal affairs of another state and “forgiving the sins of the past” are no longer practiced in vacuum, especially when the UNSC, in accordance with the UN Charter, defines a situation as ‘threat to international peace and security’ as it came out in Resolution Number 2304 (2016) and acts via a “peace-keeping” long-term strategy or “peace-enforcement” emergency response in accordance with the principle of “the Responsibility to Protect”.

The Republic of South Sudan should not be made an exception on the evolution of the power of multilateral diplomacy and international relations. The Juba Varsity Prof. Akec has missed the intellectual goal that a professor shouldn’t afford to mess up with.

The Regional Protection Force and UNMISS-Plus is not and can’t turn into a formal trusteeship force in South Sudan because their mandate is clear and supplementarily limited to restoring the direly needed peace and security environment in the embattled country from all fronts.

That was why Juba signed a Joint Communique on 4th September 2016 with the UNSC Members who came to the country for first hand information and experience of the gravity of the situation.
Dr. James Okuk is a lecturer of politics in University of Juba reachable at

UN Confidential Report blames Pres. Kiir and Army Chief Malong for ordering July 8 large-scale attack

Various News agencies, JUL/09/2016, SSN;

The confidential report points the finger at President Salva Kiir and army chief of staff Paul Malong as having ordered the large-scale attacks that began on July 8.

A UN panel of experts has concluded that heavy fighting that engulfed South Sudan’s capital Juba in July, forcing vice president and ex-rebel leader Riek Machar to flee, was “directed by the highest level” of the country’s military.

The confidential report seen by AFP on Thursday points the finger at President Salva Kiir and army chief of staff Paul Malong as having ordered the large-scale attacks that began on July 8.

“The relatively large scale of the hostilities which featured the deployment of MI-24 attack helicopters, in coordination with ground forces, reinforced by armed units, support the conclusion that the fighting was directed by the highest level of the SPLA command structure,” said the report.

In the report, the experts quoted South Sudanese officers as saying that only Kiir and Malong have the authority to order the attack helicopters into combat and that Malong acted “with Kiir’s full knowledge” during the offensive.

The finding dismissed suggestions that the violence in Juba, which led to the collapse of a fragile unity government cobbled together from a year-old peace deal, was carried out by rogue elements.

More than 300 people died in the fighting from July 8 to 11, tens of thousands fled the country, and the United Nations reported a surge in sexual violence, mostly by the ethnic Dinka-dominated soldiers against Nuer women and girls.

The two-and-a-half year conflict has escalated from a “primarily political to a tribal war,” said the report.

Attack on aid workers ‘well-coordinated’

The panel found that dozens of soldiers gang-raped and beat aid workers in a “well-coordinated attack” on a Juba housing compound on July 11.

Over four hours, between 80 and 100 soldiers overran the Terrain compound, beat and abused, raped and gang-raped at least five international aid workers and executed an employee of a non-governmental organization.

“The soldiers damaged every single room, and looted the compound extensively, taking over 25 vehicles,” the panel said.

“Considering the degree of violence inflicted, the high number of armed actors who participated, the vast quantity of items stolen and the systematic damage exacted on the sprawling compound, the panel has concluded that this attack was well coordinated and cannot be considered as an opportunistic act of violence and robbery,” it added.

The panel described the attack as a “clear turning point in the level brutality inflicted by South Sudanese soldiers on international humanitarian personnel,” it added.

A separate UN investigation has been established to report on whether UN peacekeepers failed to protect civilians including the aid workers at the Terrain compound who sent several text messages to the UN mission pleading for help.

The experts said arms sales to South Sudan’s military were continuing, citing the recent purchase of two L-39 jet fighters, one of which was used in combat operations in July.

Kiir’s government has entered into contact with a Lebanese-registered firm, Rawmatimpex, to build a small arms manufacturing plant in South Sudan, but the outcome of those talks are unclear, according to the panel.

South Sudan descended into war in December 2013 when Kiir accused Machar of plotting a coup.

Tens of thousands have died and more than 2.5 million people have been driven from their homes.

South Sudanese government forces have acquired two jet fighters and truckloads of small arms ammunition and were seeking to manufacture bullets, UN sanctions monitors said in a confidential report seen by Reuters news agency.

The report on arms flows and security threats to South Sudan added that opposition troops have not received any significant arms shipments from abroad.

The monitors also said that armed government actors were imposing “debilitating movement restrictions” on UN peacekeepers.

They warned that the economy of the world’s newest nation had effectively collapsed because of government policies that included buying weapons instead of funding social services.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Juba, said that the report is likely to anger those who should benefit from social services, which are already underfunded.

“South Sudan’s economy has been in freefall since it floated its currency against the dollar in December last year,” she said.

“Half of South Sudan’s population live beneath the poverty line, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. South Sudan’s consumer price index is up 700 percent from this time last year. It is difficult for ordinary civilians to get food from the market.

“Some civil servants can earn as little as two or three dollars per month, which makes it hard for them to be be able to sustain their families.”

More than 200,000 people rely on humanitarian assistance, Morgan added.

The report strengthens the case for an arms embargo, a move recommended by the monitors to the Security Council in January. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has also called for an arms embargo.

“There is no evidence to suggest that more weapons are required in South Sudan for the government to achieve a stable security environment,” the UN monitors said.

“Rather, the continued influx of weapons … contributes to spreading instability and the continuation of the conflict.”

The report said that while Sudan had provided small arms, bullets and logistical support to opposition troops, they “found no evidence to date that Sudan – or any other neighbouring country – has provided heavy weapons … which has limited the opposition’s ability to mount large-scale operations”.

However, the monitors received reports that government troops have made significant, ongoing arms procurements, including the likely recent acquisition of two L-39 fighter jets.

“While the panel has received preliminary reports from two sources that the jets were serviced and painted in Uganda, the panel has not yet been able to confirm their origin or if these jets have been purchased or are on loan,” the monitors said.

Two truckloads of ammunition were transferred to the capital, Juba, from Uganda in June, while late last year South Sudanese army chief Paul Malong asked a Lebanese company to begin developing a small arms ammunition manufacturing facility in Juba, the monitors said.

“It is not clear from currently available information whether this project has proceeded in the intervening period,” they added.

A Czech Air Force L-39C

Role Military trainer aircraft
Light ground-attack aircraft
Manufacturer Aero Vodochody
Designer Jan Vlcek[1]
First flight 4 November 1968
Introduction 28 March 1972 with the Czechoslovak Air Force[2]
Status Out of production, in active use with various air forces
Primary users Soviet Air Force
Czechoslovak Air Force
Libyan Air Force
Syrian Air Force
Produced 1971–1996[3]
Number built 2,900[3]
Developed from Aero L-29 Delfín
Variants Aero L-39NG
Developed into Aero L-59 Super Albatros
Aero L-159 Alca


Talk of arms embargo

In the wake of deadly violence in Juba in July, the council said it would discuss an arms embargo if Ban reports this month that the government was not cooperating with the deployment of 4,000 more peacekeepers and was obstructing 12,000 UN troops already on the ground.

A UN peacekeeping mission (UNMISS) has been in South Sudan since the country gained independence from Sudan in 2011.

The UN monitors said that in rhetoric and action, government-affiliated forces “have actively threatened the operations and personnel of UNMISS and other UN agencies, and both parties have continued to target humanitarian workers”.

During the violence in July, between 80 and 100 uniformed soldiers overran Juba’s Hotel Terrain compound, home to the staff of international organisations, and in four hours killed an ethnic Nuer journalist and raped at least five foreign aid workers and other staff working at the compound, the monitors said.

The monitors said that given the number of soldiers involved, the number of items stolen and the systematic damage inflicted, “this attack was well coordinated and cannot be considered as an opportunistic act of violence and robbery”.

The UN Security Council has long threatened to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan after the country spiralled into civil war in 2013, but veto powers Russia and China are wary that such a move would benefit opposition fighters because it would be harder to monitor them than to police the government.

The Security Council set up a targeted sanctions regime for South Sudan in March 2015, then in July blacklisted six generals – three from each side of the conflict – by subjecting them to an asset freeze and travel ban.

A political rivalry between President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and opposition leader Riek Machar, a Nuer, sparked the civil war.

The pair signed a shaky peace deal a year ago, but fighting has continued. Machar fled the country after the violence between their troops erupted in July.

The monitors said in the report – which was requested by the Security Council – that “the actions and policies of the two major parties” pose the most severe security threats to the peace deal and the transitional government.

“The focus of many of the central military and political figures on mobilising their respective tribes has continued to escalate the conflict from a primarily political to a tribal war,” the monitors said. END

A South Sudanese who fought and died before July 2011 is a martyr; the one who is fighting in present internal wars, dies a tribesman: Bishop Yugu

By Professor Deng Awur Wenyin, SEPT/01/2016, SSN;

It was Sunday August 21st, 2016. The 11 o’clock English service was on in Juba All Saints’ Cathedral. The preacher was Jackson Moses Pitia, Dean of the Cathedral. The main readings were Psalms 46: 1-11, Jeremiah 1: 4-10, Hebrews 12: 18-29 and Luke 13:10-17. The theme of Pitia’s sermon was: “God is our refuge and strength”. The topical example he gave is the exodus of South Sudanese to other countries as refugees, because of the civil strife which started on December 15th, 2013. He said we inside the country and refugees, our prayers strengthen us.

All the churches in their different denominations and the mosques, have been preaching for peace, forgiveness and reconciliation. Some of the preachers even weep in their preaching and prayers. Indeed, our religious institutions are working for peace.

The most senior priest in the service was Assistant Bishop Frazer Yugu. As it is the rule in the Church, the duty was on Bishop Yugu to make the benediction. Normally this authority who closes the service and dismisses the congregation, would make some comments and commendations on the sermon, or at least say something in the form of an announcement.

Bishop Yugu commended Dean Pitia for the splendid sermon by asking the congregation the usual questions: What is this current war for? Who is fighting who? And why? He made a brief analysis of the wars which were fought by South Sudanese from 1955 to 2011 and then declared: any South Sudanese who fought and died in any of those wars, is a martyr.

Then, by way of distinction, he furthermore declared: any South Sudanese who is fighting and killed in an internal war after 2011, dies a tribesman.

When I tried to work out the rationale of that statement, it means to me that the qualification for martyrdom is for a South Sudanese who fought and got killed in a war against foreign invasion. For some of our younger generation who might not have been exposed to our history of resistance and struggle, foreign invasions in our land go back as far as 1821. The start was the Turco – Egyptian invasion led by Mohammed Ali Pasha. At that time the Sudan was a loose territory without strict borders.

That period (1821 – 1881) lasted for 60 years. It was the then southern Sudanese who suffered most because slave trade was applied on them. Then came the Mahdist revolution or the Mahdiya (1881 -1899). Instead of the revolution being a salvation for all the Sudanese, the Mahdists expanded the slave trade in the whole of southern Sudan. The Mahdists reigned for 18 years.

Then came the Anglo – Egyptian reconquest of the Sudan (1899 – 1956) in which the official name of the country became the Anglo – Egyptian Sudan. That period was 57 years. Then came the period which the northern Sudanese called independence (1956 – 2011). That period was 55 years.

It was supposed to be genuine independence for all of us but alas, the old treatment of southerners and outlook of the Turco – Egyptian, Mahdists and Anglo – Egyptian Sudan periods, did not change. In fact the South Sudanese had forecasted and therefore the new struggle started in August 1955, just some four months to independence.

So from 1821 – 2011 there was good cause to continue fighting. With that historical background of having resisted all sorts of foreign invasions and mistreatment for 190 years, why are our people killing themselves these days?

It is unfortunate that historical tribal competitions, ambitions and rivalries have been brought to town to be used for attaining political power. Attainment of political power has its own history in the European civilization.

Great Britain, Germany, France, Belgium and Portugal scrambled for Africa and established the European model of rule. On independence that model was inherited, thus in Africa today we have elections, legislatures, cabinets and judiciaries. The United Nations (UN), which was a result of the European wars which they call World Wars One and Two, has accepted as the standard the European model of acquiring power.

Tribes like the Jieeng (Dinka), Nuer, Chollo (Shilluk), Mundari, Murle, Otuho (Latuka), Boya, Didinga and Toposa, just to mention a few, should not import their cultural conflicts to the town. For example the Jieeng and Nuer have a long history of fighting among themselves in the toch (open plains and swamps) where their cattle graze.

Also cattle rustling is a factor. There they do not fight over any power but mainly for acquisition and control of pastures and watering places. Let the reader be informed that the Jieeng (Jaang in Nuer) and the Nuer are first cousins.

Some individuals would distort that fact but to no success. Observe their languages, names and initiation system, respectively. For example, the forehead marks of my Agaar section of the Jieeng are the same ones on the Nuer foreheads.

Even these tribes know when and where to fight. In December 2013 when the fighting broke out in Juba, the fighting which was, because of Riek and Kiir, taken to be a Jieeng–Nuer war, some individuals from my hometown, Rumbek, tried to mobilise the Agaar youth for war against the Nuer.

But the youth and elders wanted to know where the Nuers were attacking from. When the answer was Juba, they said no, they can’t be mobilized for that war because their Nuers attack from Bentiu, not Juba. The essence was that the fighting in Juba was a government affair, not their customary war.

Regrettably, the Lou Nuer do not see the logic of the Agaar: they have allowed themselves to be manipulated by Dr Riek Machar, wading all the way from Leer in Bentiu area on the West Nile, to raise the white army (jech mabor) to fight the Jaang. It seems to me the Bentiu youth tend to think like the Agaar. This is because Dr Riek could not raise a White army in Bentiu area.

I would like to underline a point which I think is important. Though the Jieeng and Nuer were the majority in the SPLA liberation war, the war which culminated in the independence, nevertheless South Sudan is not a country for two tribes alone so as to compete over it. The country belongs to all the tribes.

Since we have inherited the European mode of governance from the Sudan, we want a political leader to come to power through the will of the people.

In 1978 the people of the then Southern Region of the Sudan, through their Regional Assembly, elected Gen. Joseph Lagu president of the High Executive Council (HEC). Majority of the Jieeng members of the Assembly voted against their tribesman, Moulana Abel Alier and instead voted for Gen. Lagu.

Lagu’s Ma’adi tribe is a minute one on the Ugandan border but notwithstanding, he was elected because of his role in the Anya-Nya Liberation Movement. Gen. Lagu did not organize a fight to be president but presented himself humbly to the people’s representatives.

In conclusion, a question to you, the reader, and to myself as well, is Bishop Yugu right or wrong when he makes a distinction between a person who died in a liberation war, and a person who dies after the liberation wars, in these trivial wars, as a tribesman?

For my part, before I choose, I would like to ascertain the precise meaning of martyr. A dictionary meaning of the word is that a martyr is a “person who … dies for a cause or belief.”

What is the cause or reason to fight to die after the liberation? Riek? Or who? What is the belief to fight to die for? Folktales about Ngun-Deng?

Therefore, I entirely agree with my bishop that those who died during the liberation wars, are martyrs but those who are dying in these uncalled for internal wars, are dying as tribesmen. William Deng Nhial, Aggrey Jadein, Ezboni Mondiri, Dominic Muorwel Malou, Fr Saterlino Lohure and many others died in the struggle while poor. Their riches is July 9th 2011.

Of course Bishop Yugu didn’t make that judgment out of the blue. He is a well-informed bishop about topical issues. He and some of us are aware that, many individuals, civil societies and even the government, have been describing this Riek’s war as a senseless war.

Then he logically concludes that someone who fights and dies in these senseless Riek’s war can’t be a martyr. Such a person would be like an animal killed not according to Jewish or Islamic rituals. The meat of such an animal can’t be eaten by a Jew because it is unclean and a Muslim can’t eat it as well because it is fatis or not pure, because it is not halal. In Islam halal is something allowed and haram is something prohibited. Any unclean meat or thing in Judaism and Islam is negis or nasty.

In our Christian faith taking someone’s life is a sin.

The Nation Mirror daily of August 30th, 2016 had the following title for its editorial: “Can we stop killing ourselves?” My answer: Yes we can. But how and when?

US–IGAD Endorsement of Dr. Riek’s Replacement and its Implications

BY: Joseph Oreste Odhok, AUG/30/2016, SSN;

At last there was a sigh of relief when the news of Dr. Riak‘s safe evacuation broke on August 17,2016. As the bona fide 1st Vice President, South Sudanese people and the world at large were eager to hear from him about his next move in relation to resurrecting the peace agreement.

Contrary to the people’s expectations, the US and IGAD surprisingly and to the disappointment of all, abruptly abandoned the AU’s summit previous position on SPLM/A – IO leadership which calls on reinstatement of Dr. Machar as the 1st Vice President to salvage peace agreement.

The US State Secretary John Kerry, uttered remarks in Nairobi on August 22,2016, in which he endorsed Machar’s replacement by Gai, saying there was a legal provision in the agreement that allows for such a replacement “in the interim.”

Kerry did not adequately explain his use of the phrase “in the interim” whether he meant Riek could be reinstated or not. His remarks were later reaffirmed by Elizabeth Trudeau, the US State Department Spokeswoman.

Following US position on the subject matter, IGAD through its Spokeswoman, Sharon Kaku, stated that “it was up to the South Sudan Government to decide who should be the Country’s 1st Vice President.” And “The decision would be accommodated.” She confirmed.

As a result of this abrupt shift in position of the Regional Group (IGAD) and its chief influential ally (US), President Kiir’s illusion of ruling the Country for life and subjecting its people under his tribal hegemony and oppression is now revived.

He is now strong enough to strike hard his opponents and march forward to consolidate his position. Last Week while being briefed by his security Aides, President Kiir warned against the call for Dr. Riek’s reinstatement by foreign diplomats.

In another development, Festus Mogae, the chairman of Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission –JMEC- has succumbed to President Kiir and promised to work with him and his deputy Taban Deng. “I will give advice and also listen and seek government advice for peace building in the country”. Mage said in a press statement after meeting with President Kiir and his new deputy Taban Deng.

This new development of events comes at the same time Dr. Riak was discharged from hospital and they seem well coordinated. However, what seems unusual this time around is the US acting in a unilateral fashion without its other two allies of TROIKA— UK and Norway.

The Question that poses itself is: Why the Dramatic Shift in US and IGAD Position, and What are the Implications?

When the Security Council Resolution 2304(2016) was adopted, authorizing peacekeeping force for protection of civilians, it was envisaged that South Sudan would cooperate and allow in the protection force. Threats of imminent arms embargo against the country, and imposing selected economic sanctions against the regime hardliners could have acted as a warning sign to the regime.

This strategy seemed not to work as the regime refuses to comply but instead puts forward its own terms. Demanding the UN renegotiate the provisions of the resolution before it accepts the force.

Their defiance was further bolstered by positions of Uganda and Sudan backing away from contributing troops to the force. The regime would have welcomed participation of its mentor and ally, Uganda thereby paving the way to accept the force.

It appears Uganda tactically knew what it was doing and Sudan distant itself to avoid accusations.

Reading from the mindset of Kiir and his military elite which is evidenced by their past and recent brutal actions against civilians and aid workers, the US fears the regime would proceed to commit most heinous crimes of unimaginable magnitude if the UN insists on sending in the protection force without the consent of its despot leaders.

Might be the US being the Country which drafted the proposal for the protection force bears the greatest responsibility and had to act according to what it deems suitable and necessary. Provided its action(s) is neutral and intended for realization of peace and stability of South Sudan. This, the US has done already through its continued support to IGAD and provision of humanitarian aid assistance.

It should have sought ways and means to augment its efforts and force the government to accept the protection force without preconditions.

It remains unclear as to why the US should come out loud and clear in support of Juba brutal and dictatorial regime, which until recently, combed the country’s bushes, in pursuit of his peace partner to eliminate him and eventually kill the peace agreement.

Could it be that the super powers are scrambling for the country’s untapped resources and that Syria’ scenario is likely to be replicated in South Sudan?

What is the need of presence of President Festus Magae and his JMEC when the peace agreement has already been nullified by President Kiir and Taban? And is it not ironic to talk of a protection force while you have endorsed the new government set-up which claims it has one army and one commander in chief that needs no foreign forces?

Answers to these question lie with the US and its allies but the coming weeks will surely tell us the true nature of things in the country.

The US and IGAD should have taken President Kenyatta‘s warning very seriously. He said “trying to isolate Riak Machar will not be in the best interest of peace”. He was speaking out of accurate knowledge of the realities on the ground.

The armed opposition force under Dr. Machar is intact and still loyal to him in their various locations. If the new 1st VP claims to have troops why doesn’t he visit them in their locations and attend to their needs? His recent attempts to sell his traitorous ideas to some armed opposition generals were a fiasco and were made public.

It is very unfortunate that some countries in the region still continue to support the regime either out of ignorance about the regime unwillingness to implement the peace agreement and its brutal actions against its citizens, or they so deliberately chose to work with it for their shared interests.

To succinctly state the fact, South Sudanese have been abandoned by the world and that it is for them to settle their own disputes using their home grown solutions. Call it a civil mobilization method as Mogae recently put it.

The Government is already on the offensive in many areas and its preparations are underway around Malakal, Renk and Maban counties.

Now with the hopes of peace now once again evaporated and the causes of the conflict remaining unresolved, while the people of South Sudan are left alone to settle their dispute, fierce and all-out war is imminent.

The SPLM/A–IO and the newly formed democratic revolutionary alliance are likely to team up against Kiir tribal militia and its mercenaries. I do not think the regime has got the capacity to fight a sustained war given its economic woes and the shaky nature of its political system. Especially when it is fighting against all the other ethnicities of the country.

The Demise of National Unity in South Sudan and the Way Forward

BY: Dr. LAKO Jada Kwajok, UK, AUG/18/2016, SSN;

“We don’t like you. My plan would have been to order the South Sudanese soldiers to capture the airstrips in Torit, Juba, Bahr Al-Ghazal and Upper Nile so that no government aeroplanes would land. We would then capture the steamer, and then declare our intention to secede from you [Northerners]. We are not politicians nor do we know politics. We do not like you at all – we cannot forget the atrocities that you committed against our ancestors. If it means death, so be it!”

The above are the words of our hero, Daniel Jumi Tongun during his interrogation in the aftermath of the Torit Mutiny on 18/08/1955. The British lured the Equatoria Corps mutineers into surrendering to the Sudanese government.

All those who surrendered totaling 300 soldiers including the leader of the revolt, Lieutenant Ronaldo Loyela were summarily executed by firing squads. Those were the esteemed martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the independence of South Sudan. Their colleagues who never trusted the British and hence didn’t surrender withdrew to the mountains and later formed the nucleus for the Anya-Nya movement.

Daniel Jumi Tongun and Marko Rume were arrested following the discovery of a telegram linking them to the mutineers. The two only escaped execution because 10 to 20 of the accused who were brought to testify against them, denied ever knowing the two suspects.

It was a display of bravery and readiness for self-sacrifice on both sides. On one hand, the mutineers knew they were in deep trouble but that didn’t make them betray their civilian leaders. On the other hand, the two leaders exhibited unwavering stance and were not afraid to tell the Jallaba exactly what Southerners felt about them.

Before the mutiny, it was known to few people that Tongun did write a letter to the Equatoria Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) in Torit urging them to postpone their plan to a later date. He advised them to wait for the return of the leading Southern members of parliament like Benjamin Lwoki and Buth Diu Thung who were in Khartoum at the time.

But tensions reached a boiling point following the evacuation of families of the northern soldiers, the ordering of the No. 2 company of the Equatoria Corps to travel to Khartoum and the arrest of Lieutenant Emilio Taffeng; one of the few high-ranking Southern officer.

These events prompted the Equatoria Corps NCOs to proceed with the execution of their plan without heeding the advice of their civilian leaders.

Resistance to foreign invasion or intrusion was a common denominator in the relation between the various communities of South Sudan and all the aliens.

However, the Torit mutiny was the first concerted effort by the Southerners against foreign rule. It ushered in a new dawn of collective endeavours by all the communities towards the realisation of the independence of South Sudan.

That era also witnessed the emergence of the spirit of national unity and a belief that our destinies as different tribes are intertwined.

South Sudanese national unity was though in its early stages of evolution and many would have expected it to grow much stronger as communities establish more ties through learning each other languages, the development of a common language (for example Arabi Juba), intermarriages and commercial activities among other factors.

Alas! The progression everyone expected became a sort of regression and those early stages in mid-1950’s turned out to be the golden era of South Sudanese national unity. The question that comes to mind is what went wrong?!

I believe three factors bear much of the blame for the demise of South Sudanese national unity.

The initial damage to our national unity occurred with the signing of the Addis Ababa Peace Agreement (AAPA) on March 12, 1972. Although General Joseph Lagu, the leader of the Southern Sudan Liberation Movement (SSLM) included Joseph Oduho (one of the hawks) in the negotiating team, people in Equatoria remained skeptical about the peace process.

Some South Sudanese politicians including members of the SSLM who were staunch supporters of South Sudan’s independence like Eliaba Surur, refused to endorse the peace initiative. Tongun thought that Aggrey Jaden, former President of the Southern Sudan Provisional Government and Francis Mayar, a lawyer who lived in Kinshasa should have headed the peace delegation to Addis Ababa.

Tongun and Chief Lolik Lado of Liria were dismayed by Abel Alier leading the government delegation. Lolik asserted that by sitting on the side of Northerners, “Alier made it easier for the North to get more from the South and difficult for the South to get more from the North.”

Many South Sudanese are still oblivious about the reason why Alier was chosen by Numeiri to lead the government delegation. From the Northerners’ perspective, it made sense because Regional Autonomy for the South was Alier’s idea in the first place and he was known to be a strong supporter of the unity of Sudan.

Nevertheless, Alier could have garnered support for his administration by fostering the fragile national unity through inclusive and equitable policies. Instead, he pursued a tribalistic policy turning Southern Sudan into a brutal police authority under his Chief of Police Ruben Mag.

The Kokora (re-division) movement in Equatoria was the natural result of Alier’s failed policies.

The emergence of SPLM/SPLA in 1983 was met with little enthusiasm if at all in Equatoria. Dr John Garang was never a well-known political figure in South Sudan before 1983.

There hadn’t been any covert mobilisation of the masses or enlightenment about the objectives of the movement.

The fact that it resorted to looting, rape and unlawful killings of members of the other ethnicities made many people particularly the Equatorians believe that the SPLM/SPLA is a tribal movement bent on settling grudges with the Equatorians for bringing about Kokora.

Additionally, two more reasons contributed to the limited recruitment of the Equatorians into the movement. The name of the movement and its objectives were a big problem for them. How could they sacrifice their lives for the liberation of Sudan when they have fought for nearly two decades to secede from it?!

And to a lesser extent, the general impression that the SPLM/SPLA was a communist movement didn’t help in attracting recruits in Equatoria to join it. Having many known communists at the helm, the formation of the Red Army and allegiance to the former Soviet Union and its allies were enough evidence to back their belief.

During the early stages of the movement, Garang used to persuade the secessionists that they can fight up to Kosti at the borders with the North and leave those who were for the liberation of the whole Sudan to proceed northward.

It was misleading and dishonest as there can’t be two objectives for a liberation movement.

A few years ago, I watched a video clip shown inadvertently by General Malaak Ayuen over SSTV where Garang questioned the wisdom of the Bashir’s government in striking a deal with Dr Riek Machar, the secessionist while continuing to fight him the unionist.

The truth of the matter is that Garang was a unionist and many SPLM/SPLA cadres still believe in the New Sudan vision. From the outset, the New Sudan vision appeared unachievable to many people especially those who know the intricacies of the Sudanese society and politics.

But most worryingly it was irreconcilable with the demand of the Equatorians and others for total independence from the North. With such a conflict of objectives, national unity became a casualty of all the eventualities.

With President Kiir at the helm in Juba following the independence of South Sudan, the tide could have been turned favouring a cohesive society which would ultimately salvage our national unity.

Kiir had the perfect circumstances at the beginning of his reign for a successful or even an iconic Presidency. He took charge of a country that owed no loans to any foreign governments or international monetary institutions. A government that had billions of US Dollars of oil revenues stashed in its coffers, vast untapped natural resources and a reasonable number of technocrats to lead the modernisation process.

Apart from the Abyei issue which is a little bit complicated, the rest of the territorial claims against our neighbours are amenable to amicable solutions. Only a few countries in the world received the kind of support we enjoyed at the United Nations at the time of joining it. All the major world powers and the international organisations were backing us.

What else would any President hope for? People were overly happy with their newly earned freedom and would have excused the President for any petty shortcomings.

Well, rather than using the massive oil revenues to launch a robust economic development and growth, he squandered the billions of Dollars through corruption that is unheard of in modern history. Tribalism and nepotism became the order of the day.

The enthusiasm that filled the hearts of the young graduates and the young entrepreneurs during the celebration of the first independence day soon settled into a profound despair in the face of unemployment and lack of business opportunities.

The Juba massacre of the Nuer civilians that plunged the country into a civil war was a tremendous blow to national unity. And it didn’t end there as numerous atrocities were also committed by the SPLA against the other Non-Jieng communities.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the President didn’t relent in pursuing his divisive policies that saw the establishment of the illegal 28 new states. In doing so, he hammered the last nail in the coffin of national unity.

South Sudan will never be at peace in the absence of a system of governance that is acceptable to all the communities. Those who think they possess the power to maintain the status quo are just deceiving themselves and postponing the inevitable.

As we can see now, the communities that were considered in the past to be noncombatant have taken up arms to defend themselves and the war has spread to every and each corner of South Sudan.

The current regime has clearly failed and continuing the same system of governance would fall within the definition of insanity which is repeating the same thing with the hope of getting a different result.

In the first place, we must understand that technically South Sudan is not a nation but a group of mini-nations or tribes trying to live together in a territory that was “tailored” for them by the colonialists. There is no doubt that some of the tribes in Equatoria would have preferred to live together with their brethren across the borders in Uganda and the DRC.

The same applies to the Nuer and the Anuak people who probably would have opted for their communities to be within one territory in each case rather than being divided between Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Hence, it’s imperative that we adopt the system of governance that would meet the aspirations of all the communities in South Sudan.

In a world of reason, federalism would have been the right choice to address the need for devolution of power from the centre to the states. But the events that have occurred which were often beyond reason and the magnitude of the damage inflicted on the social fabric of the country – showed that the situation requires more than federalism as a solution.

Now in South Sudan, we have people who were made refugees three times in their lifetime. They were refugees in the neighbouring countries during the Anya-Nya War, through the SPLM/SPLA War and finally in the current Kiir’s War.

When are they going to live peacefully and enjoy life in their God-given land?! Father Saturnino Lohure must be stirring in his grave of what has become of South Sudan.

The only system of governance that would bring about a lasting peace in South Sudan is a confederation of states. Switzerland is a Confederate state and ranks No. 8 on the list of the richest countries in the world. Belgium is a hybrid of a federation and a confederation and remains one of the most stable and advanced countries of the world.

In the case of Serbia and Montenegro, despite sharing the same ancestry and ethnicity, yet they initially chose a confederation which subsequently became two independent states.

Looking around the world, one cannot help admiring the Swiss Confederacy that has been there since 1291.

Dr. Lako Jada Kwajok

( 1 ) The First Sudanese Civil War – by Scopas S. Poggo, Assistant Professor of African American and African Studies at Ohio State University, Mansfield campus.
( 2 ) War and Peace in the Sudan 1955 – 1972, by Cecil Eprile.

Why South Sudan should accept deployment of 4,000 regional protection forces.

BY: Chol Deng Yol , South Sudan, AUG/15/2016, SSN;

Political manipulation is amplifying in South Sudan to the extent that the informed folks have become uninformed; truth have become untruths, deceptions and deceits proceed honesty, allegation turns newscast and news chances claims. There is just too much confusion; the public is disordered with unsubstantiated information here and there.

Two weeks ago, politicians organized peaceful demonstrations in all states of South Sudan to protest against foreign forces intervention following IGAD’s communiques on South Sudan. One week later, the same politicians, after the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, accepted deployment of what they called “Protection” force to South Sudan, defeating the purpose of the earlier organized peaceful demonstrations in the country.

The very innocent general public including school children who were organized into peaceful demonstrators, even though, rejecting deployment of foreign troops were puzzled by the government shifting position to unconditional acceptance of the foreign troops.

To some informed citizens, the government shifting position was translated as a ploy to score some diplomatic scores regionally.

The uninformed majority duped as “peaceful demonstrators” were made to understand that UN was set to take over the Country’s affairs. To the poor uneducated and unconscious South Sudanese, there existed little knowledge on the difference between the so-called UN Trusteeship/stewardship and regional protection forces.

Erroneous analysis of the root causes of our problems will always make fools of us, the South Sudanese.

Transiently, we are in current crises because of power struggling among the SPLM elites. These elites, because of their thirst for power, have fragmented the legendary SPLM party into IO, IG, DC, and SPLM Equatoria etc.

To the politicians, the knowledge gaps among the general population have turned into golden opportunity to misinform the uninformed citizens to rebel against the international community, particularly the UN, instead of against the very politicians who have mishandled the affairs of the sovereign state, South Sudan.

From time to time, our South Sudanese politicians lie to the public that the UN and the international community should be blamed for the ongoing political crises because they both have interests to proclaim the sovereignty and leadership of the government.

But the question begs; to whom is the principle of sovereignty attested to? Do we have sovereign state or sovereign individuals in South Sudan?

In modern societies, individual persons do not have sovereignty unless they are absolute rulers like the Pharaoh, but this is the case yet again in South Sudan.

Our politicians act as if they are above the sovereignty of this beloved country forgetting that they are under the sovereignty of another entity called South Sudan. Naturally, we, the South Sudanese are impatient with high temperatures but these high dispositions will always put our beloved country at risk.

Cognizant of our people temperament and the government’s way of handling political and diplomatic issues, the recent adoption of the UNSC resolution 2304 (2016) on the deployment of 4000 regional protection forces to South Sudan was a clear assessment to the South Sudanese diplomatic maturity; the world has resorted to our neighbors, with their fickle interests, to fix our house, a move that will likely be rejected by the government.

For the government of South Sudan to maintain her face globally, acquiescence to the deployment of the regional forces remains the only viable option otherwise the current regime will be isolated diplomatically.

What the government should do now is to work-out the “exit” strategy for the regional protection forces; negotiate the size, mandate, weapons and contributing countries.

Direct confrontations with IGAD, African Union (AU) as well as the UN Country member states will not only scare away investors, including big financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank, but also will motivate possibility of placing South Sudan under some form of international supervision.

Threats of arms embargo and sanctions may be avoided only if our government avoids further falling-out with the United Nations country member states as well as the UN Security Council.

I would conclusively advise our government to approach diplomatic matters with sober thoughts because in the middle of difficulty lies any opportunity, otherwise accepting regional forces is far much better than the UN Trusteeship.

LATEST: Kiir rejects deployment of 4,000 regional troops to South Sudan, the implications

International Press: AUG/14/2016, SSN;

Regardless of the Kiir government’s latest rejection, the UN has approved the deployment of 4,000 foreign troops to South Sudan. Presidential Spokesperson Ateny Wek Ateny, told the media that the government of President Salva Kiir on whose behalf he spoke, will not cooperate with the United Nations approved force “because we will not allow our country to be taken over by U.N. Any force that will be called Juba Protection Force will not be accepted.

Ateny made the remarks after the government convened a cabinet meeting at which it was resolved to send a letter rejecting a proposal authorizing deployment of protection force from the region under the united nations mission in South Sudan.

The letter prepared by the minister of cabinet affairs, Martin Elia Lomuro and approved by president Kiir likened the deployment of 4,000 foreign troops to “invasion and interference in the internal affairs”.

Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda are expected to contribute the bulk of the troops who will be authorised to use “all necessary means — including undertaking robust action — to fulfill their mandate”.

The force would ensure security in Juba and at the airport and “promptly and effectively engage any actor that is credibly found to be preparing or engaging in attacks”.

The council would consider imposing an arms embargo on South Sudan if UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reports that there are impediments to the deployment.

Ban will deliver a report to the council in 30 days and a vote on the embargo could take place in five days if he finds that the government is uncooperative.

South Sudan’s war has raged for two and half years, fuelled by growing stockpiles of weapons.

Britain voiced disappointment that the embargo was not imposed immediately with deputy ambassador Peter Wilson telling the council: “We must and we will return to this issue.”


The vote followed a week of tough negotiations, with China, Russia and Egypt voicing concerns over deploying UN peacekeepers without the government’s full consent.

South Sudan’s ambassador said his government rejected the resolution, telling the council that details of the deployment — including timing and the weapons the troops would be allowed to carry — must be negotiated with Juba.

“Consent of South Sudan would have been important as it would have given the force the necessary freedom to carry out the outlined mandate tasks,” said Akuei Bona Malwal.

Uganda, an ally of President Kiir, said it would not contribute troops to the force, even as the UNHCR reported that 110,000 South Sudanese had crossed into Uganda, by latest reports.

“No one thinks this regional force will be a cure-all to the instability and the violence that exists there,” US deputy ambassador David Pressman told reporters. Sudan also declined to join this regional force.

The United Nations Security Council took vigorous action on Friday to greatly strengthen a peacekeeping force in South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, ravaged by civil war and suffering for nearly three years. The South Sudanese government immediately vowed not to cooperate.

A resolution, passed by an 11-to-0 vote with four abstentions, basically gives the United Nations far more authority in South Sudan, backed by thousands of additional troops and lethal force if needed, to protect civilians and pressure armed antagonists in the conflict — including government soldiers. It also threatens to impose an arms embargo on the country.

The Security Council’s approval came as the mandate of the current peacekeeping operation, known as the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, or Unmiss, was about to expire. Unmiss has not been effective, as a peace agreement has been repeatedly ignored.

The resolution, sponsored by the United States, represents an unusually robust action by the Council, invoking its rarely used coercive power to militarily intervene when international peace and security are considered to be threatened.

David Pressman, an American ambassador at the United Nations who attended the vote, criticized the South Sudanese government for what he described as actions that had crippled Unmiss’s ability to operate.

“Until the leaders of South Sudan are willing to put what is good for their people before themselves — putting peace ahead of personal ambition and power — and until they show the will to find a political solution to this grinding conflict, the people of South Sudan will continue to suffer from the bloodshed and instability their leaders wreak,” Mr. Pressman said after the resolution was approved.

South Sudan’s government opposed the strengthened peacekeeping mission, raising the possibility of clashes between the country’s armed forces and foreign soldiers deployed there by the United Nations.

Under the resolution, the United Nations’ mission will be extended for at least three months, and a new 4,000-soldier “regional protection force” will be deployed in Juba, the capital, and other strategic locations, including the airport.

The new force represents an increase of over 30 percent in armed personnel for the United Nations mission of 12,000 troops, which has been unable to stop episodic bouts of killing and abuses, including widespread rape, by both government forces and rebel factions.

United Nations soldiers and aid workers have been repeatedly harassed and attacked, and in some cases killed. Thousands of South Sudanese civilians, fearing for their lives, have been living in United Nations sites in Juba and other locations.

The resolution specifies that the new force, which diplomats said would mostly be drawn from neighboring countries, will be authorized to “promptly and effectively engage any actor that is credibly found to be preparing attacks, or engages in attacks, against United Nations protection of civilians sites, other United Nations premises, United Nations personnel, international and national humanitarian actors, or civilians.”

The resolution does not impose an arms embargo on South Sudan, as Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, some member states and outside advocates, including international rights groups, had wanted.

But in what was intended as a coercive step, the resolution allows an arms embargo to be imposed if the government does not cooperate.

The resolution’s failure to achieve a unanimous approval of the 15-member Security Council partly reflected the difficulties it has often faced in deciding on any action involving the use of military force.

Russia, China, Egypt and Venezuela, the Council members that abstained, had criticized some provisions in the resolution. Russia and China in particular have been reluctant to take actions that they view as incursions on another country’s sovereignty.

Still, the Russians and Chinese did not feel strongly enough to exercise their veto power, which both have as permanent Security Council members.

South Sudan’s promise as a newly independent state in 2011 devolved into civil war two years later, and has left tens of thousands dead and more than 2.3 million people displaced.

Soldiers loyal to President Kiir — who belongs to the Dinka ethnic group, South Sudan’s largest — battled troops led by Riek Machar of the Nuer ethnic group, which is believed to be the second largest.

Troops on both sides committed human rights abuses against civilians on a devastating scale, United Nations human rights officials and other groups have found.

A peace deal officially ended the fighting last year. Mr. Machar, who had served as vice president before he was dismissed in 2013, agreed to become Mr. Kiir’s deputy again and returned to Juba in April.

But fighting broke out again between the two sides on July 7, killing hundreds. Mr. Machar’s residence was destroyed and he fled the capital. He has refused to return to Juba until more international troops are deployed.

Last week, an investigation by the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, placed most of the blame for the violence, which it said included mass rapes, on Mr. Kiir’s forces. Mr. Hussein said that while some civilians were killed in the crossfire, others were summarily executed by government forces who appear to have singled out members of the Nuer, an ethnic group loyal to Mr. Machar. The investigation also found that these same forces committed most of the 217 cases of sexual violence, many involving minors.

The resolution also calls for an arms embargo, but only if the government does not cooperate with the expanded peacekeeping force. The Security Council has threatened several times in the last 18 months to block arms shipments without making good on the threat.

And the Obama administration, apparently fearful of losing leverage with Mr. Kiir, has refused to cut off the arms flow. While such a ban would affect both sides, experts believe it would have more impact on the government, the only side with heavy weapons, including helicopter gunships from Ukraine.

Severing that supply chain, as well as the trade in tanks and artillery, could actually get Mr. Kiir’s attention.

Prospects for a UN Arms Embargo on South Sudan: IGAD, AU and Security Council in support!

By Luuk van de Vondervoort, a former member of the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan, AUG/11/2016, SSN;

With clear signs that the UN Security Council may be ready to implement a proposed arms embargo on South Sudan, the HSBA recently published detailed assessment found out that there are important dissimilarities between Darfur and South Sudan that could make an embargo in South Sudan more impactful, with positive implications for the protection of civilians and the stabilization of the security situation.

There are signs that the UN Security Council may be ready to take this step in South Sudan.

But, unlike Sudan, South Sudan is a relatively isolated country with very limited infrastructure, including roads or airports capable of accommodating aircraft with heavy-lift capacity. The country is heavily dependent on foreign
aid, particularly since the near complete collapse of revenues in the wake of falling oil production and global oil prices.

The country has virtually no indigenous manufacturing capability and therefore currently imports all weapons and ammunition. Similarly, there is limited capacity to service or repair damaged equipment, as evidenced by the abandoned military hardware that litters many areas in the country.

Instead of seeking spare parts to repair such hardware, South Sudan frequently looks to import entirely new
equipment, also as this is more lucrative for those signing the contracts.

All of these factors mean that, from a technical perspective, the implementation of an embargo is much more feasible in South Sudan than in Darfur. Active monitoring of the few main entry points into the country would make weapons importation much more difficult.

It is often pointed out that the country is already awash with weapons, which would limit the impact of an embargo. This is true, but it ignores the role of heavy weapons in the conflict.

The recent July 8 fighting in the capital, Juba, saw the use of Mi-24 attack helicopters, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and other heavy weapons. The continued availability of these weapons has significantly encouraged those who seek a military solution at the expense of political compromise.

An embargo is likely to have its greatest impact on these heavy weapons systems — as it has in Darfur, and as the HSBA report noted—as they are the easiest to track and monitor, including by satellite, as has been already demonstrated by the UN Panel of Experts for South Sudan.

An embargo would also inhibit South Sudan’s efforts to establish its own internal weapons manufacturing capability, which the government has shown recent interest in advancing.

Given South Sudan’s high dependence on donor support, there is a drive for transparency in the country’s finances that would also support the efficacy of an embargo.

Donors do not want their funds being diverted for the purchase of attack helicopters, so those member states supporting the humanitarian response in South Sudan have a strong incentive to report on violations of an embargo.

The likely necessity of South Sudan receiving comprehensive international support to alleviate its acute financial crisis will mean stringent conditions and controls on expenditure.

Contrary to the situation in Sudan, this international financial scrutiny would lower the additional resources and
political capital required for monitoring and thus enforcement of the embargo.

With regard to regional support for an embargo and the dynamics of the Security Council, once again there are important differences between South Sudan and Sudan. The key suppliers of weapons to Sudan, the Russian Federation and China, as the HBSA report notes, have consistently rejected active policing of the embargo.

But in South Sudan, China, Israel, and Ukraine, all previously important weapons suppliers, have all expressed
significant reservations over the conflict in the country. There is evidence that some of these suppliers have begun to unilaterally withdraw — or at least limit — support for weapons sales to South Sudan.

Ukraine, for example, has found itself in a difficult position: it requires the support of the United States and the European Union in response to its conflict in eastern Ukraine, and seeks to align itself with EU policy, which includes the Union’s own arms embargo on South Sudan.

Ukraine is therefore both a significant weapons supplier, having provided the Mi24 helicopters, but now supports an arms embargo. Ukraine’s shift in position is indicative of a broader change among Security Council member states on the embargo in recent months, illustrating a concern that the conflict is spiraling out of control and likely to lead to regional insecurity if left unaddressed.

The role of some regional states, specifically Uganda, is a concern. Uganda has been vocal in rejecting a weapons embargo, and has been a significant conduit for weapons during the conflict. However, there is reason to believe
that Uganda’s resistance to the embargo would be moderated if it was put into effect.

The Ugandan government was not happy to be mentioned in the UN Panel of Experts’ report to the Security Council and the international scrutiny that accompanied it.

Furthermore, Uganda’s strategic importance to key allies, such as the United States, has somewhat declined as it has sought to limit involvement in both the counter-Lord’s Resistance Army operations and the African Union (AU) mission in Somalia.

The recent AU meeting in Kigali showed Uganda to be largely out of step with most of the region on South Sudan. Ugandan President Museveni is seemingly reassessing his position, as evidenced by his call on South Sudanese President Kiir to accept a regional intervention force.

At the same time as Uganda has become more isolated over South Sudan, Sudan’s relationship with the international community has been more cooperative than at any time in the past decade, and this may be affecting its role in providing arms to South Sudanese elements.

While there is evidence that Sudan has supplied weapons to the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-in Opposition (SPLA-IO), Khartoum appears to have resisted the rebels’ requests for heavy weapons, which suggests that it is closely monitoring the situation and moderating its engagement accordingly.

Ultimately, it is a matter of degree to what extent an embargo will reduce the arms flow to South Sudan. But an embargo will have at least one foreseeable impact, which is that certain sellers who do not wish to be seen as
contravening international law will withdraw from the market.

This will not discourage individual arms smugglers and the countries that supply them. But the black market tends to deliver bad quality or inappropriate weapons at excessive prices, thereby increasing the cost of doing business in South Sudan, both literally and politically.

Apart from such technical aspects, an embargo serves an important political function that is mentioned in the HSBA report but easily underestimated.

So far, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development-IGAD, the AU, and the UN Security Council have only threatened an embargo. The Government of South Sudan appears increasingly immune to these threats and expects no action.

The embargo would signal, first of all, that there is resolve inside the Security Council to push through with new, previously untried measures—and that more may follow. This would signal that the government does not act on an
equal standing with other sovereign nations that are allowed to freely purchase weapons on the international markets, because these countries do not use weapons to systematically kill their own citizens.

Juba has been incredibly sensitive to any such signalling and understandably so: the implicit message is that the current crop of leaders is unworthy to be the representatives of its people.

Delegitimizing the current leadership on the basis of its actions, particularly if the embargo is clearly tied in with language on human rights violations, can drastically change the tone of the debate and demonstrate that the international community is looking beyond the Kiir-Machar dichotomy.

Embargoes can outlive their use when they are not sufficiently tailored to support diplomatic efforts and political developments. In South Sudan, the Security Council should introduce the embargo while simultaneously outlining a pathway to its lifting by tying the embargo to milestones that the conflict parties need to achieve.

Conditions for partial lifting could include a lasting cessation of hostilities and an integration of forces.

Ultimately, the embargo could be fully lifted once a newly-elected government is in place that meets basic criteria of governance and protection of civilians. This requires more committed diplomacy that’s based on active monitoring and a solid understanding of the power dynamics inside South Sudan and the region.

But this would make the embargo a fully-fledged part of a political solution for South Sudan’s future instead of an empty gesture setup to fail.

(Luuk van de Vondervoort was the arms expert on the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan until mid-2016.
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Emile LeBrun
HSBA for Sudan and South Sudan
Small Arms Survey