Unrealistic hopes, Pres. Obama’s Visit won’t bring Peace to South Sudan

BY: J. Nguen, Canada, 31/JUL/2015;

Hope is an “expectation of positive outcome, with confidence and to cherish a desire with anticipation.” Thus is the mindset that my people have about President Obama’s visit to the continent of Africa, East Africa in particular.

They say President Barack Hussien Obama’s visit to East Africa is a positive step and a hope in progress to achieving peace in South Sudan. Peace can return to suffering people of South Sudan.

That the war-torn nation called South Sudan shall suffer no more. It sounds logical and pleasant in every one’s ear, me included. We and they experiencing peace and stability as a result of America’s President’s visit to South Sudan’s vicinity, Kenya and Ethiopia would be undeniable gift.

However, I disagree, this is a false hope, unless certain approaches are undertaken and change occurred on America and its people do things.

My disagreement so to speak, is based on the American Government’s foreign policy, particularly its decision making process in the event of ending wars.

There has never been such a quick fix to war by American Government and its policy makers and it’s unlikely to occur this time around. America’s solutions to conflicts are long and often centered on America’s national interest.

As President Obama tours East Africa, I bet there will be tough and strong talks spewing out from the world’s most powerful President. Evidence of this toughness was seen in Kenya and Ethiopia at African Union address.

Unfortunately these strong words are not always enforced. They do not mean anything. If someone said empty threats, I concurred.

This has happened before, too many times. It happened in Iraq. Late President Saddam Hussien of Iraq gassed Kurdish people with chemical weapon before the eyes of the international community in the 1980s and thousands innocent civilian Kurdish Iraqis have died and nothing happened as a result.

The United States and other nations made loud noises followed by strong condemnations but never acted upon them. I believe it is a strategic policy of instilling false hopes to suffering masses to avoid blame of responsibility and inaction in the face of injustices.

To bring this rhetoric close to home, the United State of America allowed Rwandans to butcher themselves in 1994 in their watch and so is the United Nations.

Relative to South Sudan, President Kiir has ready butchered 20,000 innocent Nuer civilians in cold blood and no actions were taken.

Much more personal to President Obama, he was himself lied to and even called a “liar” by President Kiir Mayardit. Many Americans were infuriated by these insults to their president and no action was taken to discipline the undisciplined mad general of South Sudan.

Though this happened in a face–to–face meeting between President Kiir of South Sudan and U. S. President and even on Americans’ soil, President Kiir didn’t apologize, I supposed.

To remind my readers on the circumstance in which this event happened, it was in a formal conversation between the two.

President Obama took a centre stage and told Kiir that the government of South Sudan was supporting Sudan’s rebels. When Kiir responded, he told Mr. Obama to fact-check his Satellites imageries.

In other words, Kiir was basically telling President Obama that he was lying and nothing was truthful on the topic under discussion. While in this regard the whole world knew the Government of South Sudan was indeed aiding the Sudan’s rebels.

In contrary, Kiir chose the high road and insulted his counterpart; the world most powerful man and in position of power by calling him a liar in his face.

President Obama was reported to have been outraged and disgusted by disrespectful remark but didn’t do anything.

The buck didn’t stop there, when USA, UN, EU and Great British threatened to impose sanctions against Kiir’s regime for massacring his own citizens, Kiir replied that he was not intimidated by the ‘stick’ of sanctions waved by Western powers, saying “let them hit wherever the like to hit.”

In defiance, Kiir went ahead anyway and ordered onslaught against innocent civilians in Unity State. Thousands of civilians were killed as a result. The American Government and the rest of the world watched on and didn’t do anything either.

Therefore, these are parts of my doubts, why I believed President Obama’s visit to East Africa shall never bring peace to South Sudan, his are empty threats.

My other argument lies on how double-faced this nation has become.
A decision to use force in American Government has multiple layers to traverse through. Above all, such decision must clearly define America’s national interest.

For South Sudan case, Americans’ national interest is murky not well defined because China controlled South Sudan’s oil fields and in part lands leased.

Therefore, it will take U.S to act forcefully on South Sudan civil war because there are not benefactors in anyway should peace come now to South Sudan.

For the warring parties, it’s unlikely that President Kiir regime will settle peacefully and through peaceful means. With the help of Uganda government militarily, the regime has already trashed too many agreements including the ceasefire signed on January 2014.

In numerous times, Kiir’s regime has also denied UN’s passage to relief corridors to save the dying populations in Upper Nile region. In all these cases, the world including U.S never acted on humanitarian ground defending common humanity and right of man to life.

Further, the recent IGAD’s Compromised Proposal Agreement is already trashed too before President Obama returned home to North America.

For example, Kuol Mayang Juuk, Kiir’s Government defense minister called it an invasion of nation’s sovereignty if allowed. He told his generals that this peace proposal is meant to disempower them and put Dr. Riek on the path to toppling the government.

Mr. Ateny Wek Ateny, President Kiir’s official spokesperson called the proposal “too complicated and too difficult for his government to swallow.”

Evidently, these are the realities on the ground on the side of the government. One may argue these are individuals’ utterance and may not mean anything as far as government’s position is concerned.

My counterargument is that Kiir’s government is ran by individuals of Dinka descent, particularly those who have already spoken out against the proposal. I bet the government’s position on the IGAD’s Compromise Proposal won’t deviate much from that of Kuol and Ateny.

Besides, President Obama is well aware that his visit to East Africa is not a blessing to South Sudan problem and the visit will not bring peace in any way to the war torn nation.

News outlets have already reported some indications validating my point. It was reported that President Obama was “strategizing … next steps in the event” present peace “doesn’t succeed.”

For instance, tough sanctions and East Africa military task force were pronounced to protect civilians and create buffer zone between the warring parties.

This proposal doesn’t grant peace and not tough enough. The other dumb idea was the fact that Uganda was in the meeting as part of East Africa’s countries to bring peace to South Sudan, yet, the Uganda Defense Forces (UPDF) are in South Sudan fighting alongside President Kiir government.

The other the issue that stuck out in this proceeding is the so-called Friends of South Sudan. They are Americans and have lobbied the Americans’ Government to push for South Sudan independence during CPA, in 2005.

They were personal friends to late Dr. John Garang and not to the people of South Sudan. So, because South Sudan has gained its independence in 2011, these individuals think they owned South Sudan and its people.

For example, in the current conflict in South Sudan, they have taken sides and some whom are still working for the government of South Sudan. Dr. Francis Mading Deng is the Government of South Sudan ambassador to United Nations and while Ted Dagne and Roger Winter were President Kiir’s official advisors.

Their mouthpiece, Eric Reeves is a diehard supporter of G10, allegedly called “the Garang Boys” who just surrendered to the Government of South Sudan. Mr. Reeves has been very bold and negative against Dr. Riek Machar, the armed opposition leader.

To my dismay, Eric Reeves never acknowledged the victims of South Sudan government. According to him, Dr. Riek is the sole culprit of all wrongs. The truth is the man is out of touch and no sound minded person should ever listen to him. The bottom-line, Eric Reeves is a shame to good American people.

This is where fault line lies. The Friends of South Sudan are now part of IGAD-Plus negotiating peace for South Sudan. Yet neutrality of this group is questioned. They have vested interest.

If I may, the Friends of South Sudan is a negative post and should be removed from IGAD-Plus. I urged President Obama to take extra care dealing with this group. They don’t mean any good whatsoever to South Sudanese people.

I conclude this writing with Nyaleel’s story. Nyaleel is a ten year old girl whose mother was burned alive by Kiir Mayardit forces and allies militias in Leer. My aim is to stress that my people need peace.

The story begins that blood run deep; it’s called motherly love. This is no longer a case for Nyaleel because she has no mother. Her mother with other 80 women and girls were killed.

They were burned alive by President Salva Kiir Mayardit’s forces in Leer. Nyaleel’s mother underwent gruesome and excruciating pain. She didn’t die in peace. It was this past June 2015 when Nyaleel’s mother was burned alive because she was a Nuer and from Dok-Nuer.

It was one of the devilish brutalities to say the least. It’s reminiscent of crimes committed against Jews by Nazi. Subsequently, the world is much safer without Adolf Hitler then and now.

This was remarkable and humanistic at best. Though, I sincerely believed President Obama will not bring peace to South Sudan in his visit to East Africa, as a brother, I urged him and the world to take necessary steps to rescue people of South Sudan.

Not more empty threats but forceful actions.

Evidently, President Kiir and his dying institutions will not accept IGAD’s Compromise Agreement Proposal. The end game must be, Kiir and whoever that opposes peace must be forced to accept it.

As piece of wisdom, they say do not envy a sinner. Well, I do. The world should and so is Nyaleel. President Kiir and likes must be held to account to end impunity.

J. Nguen is a South Sudanese living in Canada. He can reached at jamesnguen@gmail.com.

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