South Sudan: Bilateral agreements or marriages of convinience?
March 27, 2014(Nyamilepedia) — Apparently, the South Sudanese officials are on despondency and despair campaign to marry off the world’s newest nation for military might. South Sudan became independent in 2011 after over fifty years of civil wars, which claimed over 4 millions lives. Despite the war was physically fought by the Sudanese on the battlefields, many countries, if not individuals, are now claiming their due credits in the face of an internal conflict that has shaken the region.
Countries like Uganda have intervened militarily, shelling and bombing civilians in various states across the country, defending the South Sudanese government from South Sudanese themselves. Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan president, has openly declared his intentions to “defeat” Riek Machar in December, but the war is still escalating despite intensive recruitments and foreign interventions.
The latest in the military wedlock is Egypt. Zimbabwe is on trial! This week the minister of Foreign affairs, Mr. Marial Benjamin, was quoted on the state-owned television, SSTV, begging sympathy from Harare to protect oilfields.
“Zimbabwe should join IGAD countries to help protect South Sudan oilfields,” said Benjamin, referring to the East African regional group, the Inter-governmental Authority on Development.
Similar miltary protection was requested a few weeks ago, directly from the IGAD as a block by the pres. Secratary Ateny Wek, but was later denied. Juba fears that “deterrent protection forces” can be as well used by TROIKA(US, UK and Norway) and allies, who will be funding it, to enforce an interim government that may exclude Salva Kiir and Dr. Riek Machar.
Marial made this latest appeal in the capital Juba, when meeting with Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Sudan Kufa Chinoza. Kufa believes his country would lend the needed support, however, he did not specify the form of support(s) Harare would offer.
“We are following the Addis Ababa talks closely. We’ll support every efforts including that being mediated by IGAD to bring peace to South Sudan,” Chinoza told SSTV on Wednesday, after meeting with Benjamin.
In his visit to Egypt on 09 March 2014, Marial secured a military support to be deployed in South Sudan. This was well perceived because the Egyptian president, Adly Mansour, became the second president, after Museveni, to accept that there was a coup in Juba.
Although Egypt ascertained that the force would join the UN Peacekeeping mission, Juba believes that the force is a military aid that would help secure oil fields and other areas of interest. Either way, Egypt will take advantage of South Sudan to monitor Ethiopia. The two northern neighbors have not been in good terms following disputes over the water of River Nile.
In a related report, Mr. Marial Benjamin, has submitted an application for South Sudan to join Arab league. This comes after Marial attended the Arab League Foreign Ministers 140th meeting at the League’s headquarters in Cairo, Egypt,on 09 March 2014.
Although South Sudan does not meet many requirements to be admitted into the league, one main precondition for admission is the official language. South Sudan will have to adopt Arabic language as the national language and the official language for instruction in national institutions, including schools.
The world’s newest state seceded from Sudan in 2011, parting off with sharia laws and Arabic language, which many South Sudanese view as the tools for marginalization. A few South Sudanese speak the official Arabic, with less than 40 percent of the population speaking the adopted Arabic Juba. Arabic Juba is known for its shallow orthography and many locally invented terms that are foreign in the Arab world.
Like many other cooperate and bilateral agreements signed in the last two years, the main benefit that the Juba government intend to reap from joining the Arab world and other blocks is military support to quell rebellion. Arab world is also an alternative to threaten the West, EU and the UN after the Juba government felt out with the international community.
President Salva Kiir views the world body, the United Nation, as a “parallel government” and supporters of rebels in his country. His deputy, Wanni Igga, as a good citizen, is undertaking an astronomical challenge to fight “colonization”. However, it is not very clear whether the campaign against the West is what drags Robert Mugabe into play or whether Museveni would handle to fight off the west in both Uganda and South Sudan.
Ugandan army, the UPDF, which is currently protecting Juba and Bor may withdraw in a couple of weeks. Coincidentally, the UNMISS’s mandate expires in June and Juba would critically review their soaring relationship with the UN. Without the UN Peacekeeping forces, the Ugandan army or the “deterrence protection force”(DPF), South Sudan would be left in a dire situation.
Marial, like his counterparts, have toured the regions and beyond, in search of military support to quell the self-imposed rebellion. However, it is not very clear how the Juba-led government would face any subsequent rebellions, if not the current.
The country has been rampaged by rebellions, barely, a year after President Salva Kiir came to power in 2005. Most of the earlier rebel groups laid their guns in acceptance of duped amnesties. Some of the earlier rebel leaders met their fates, while others were arrested, following the amnesties. Others rebel groups, like Cobra of David Yau Yau are carefully negotiating separate peace talks with the government.