Does the US has Influence in South Sudan Conflict?
May 05, 2014 (Nyamilepedia) — As the US secretary of states, John Kerry, dines with president Salva Kiir in Juba, the government was planning new major offensives to retake the rebels’ strongholds in Unity state and in Upper Nile state.
Kerry spent 90 minutes in Juba while attempting to persuade the government of Salva Kiir to end the conflict, however, the conflict intensifies as he leaves Juba.
Before coming to Juba Kerry met the African leaders and mediators in Ethiopia to encourage the peaceful and “forceful” means to end the conflict. Kerry has urged the East African countries to send in deterrent and protection force (DPF) to South Sudan.
The deterrent force, which was proposed over a month ago, would be funded by the US through a military aid diverted from South Sudan army that is still splitting. The two warring parties opposed the idea in March, however, Juba begins to accept the idea.
Neighboring countries such as Uganda and Egypt have also signed military cooperation with the Kiir led government at their own capacities.
Uganda has been fighting to end the conflict since December, citing undisclosed military cooperation signed in January 2013 or economics interest, but their efforts have failed.
Uganda’s forceful step was partially supported by the United states and United nations to end the conflict in the shortest time possible but the mission fails to achieve the objective. Now the US is adopting a regional troop while urging the Uganda government to withdraw its army.
The exhausted Ugandans army prepares to leave the country as the regional deterrent force plans to take over, however, Egyptians are recently accused of joining the conflict with intent to fight alongside the government troops.
The opposition leader, Machar, did not commit to confirm the accusation, however, rebels sources battling government troops in Ayod and Nasir have reported capturing Egyptians and Ugandans in the battle fields.
Although more than 10, 000 people have died and more than a million displaced, US begins to relax their pressure on Salva Kiir’s government and seems to approves the “forceful steps.”
Juba has threatened to see the UNMISS leaves the country in July when their mandate expires, a move that is believed to put more pressures on the UN and the international community, more than the sanctions threatened by the US government.
Although it is yet to be seen, the US may threaten to sanction the armed opposition more than the government, to maintain favorable bilateral relations with Juba.
With Bor’s UN base attack and other investigations pending, UNMISS and US are seen to acknowledge the longed “legitimacy” of Salva Kiir’s government in spite of strings of “War crimes” and threat of sanctions attached
The Kenyan president, whose case is still pending in the international criminal court for similar tribal rifts in his country, has also pledge not to watch the genocides unfolding in South Sudan, a move that seems connected to the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni.
Kerry on his part seems to approve the use of force, however, his subsequent reactions on Monday in Angola seems to overshadow his earlier statements in Juba.
“So he committed very clearly his intention to do exactly that: take forceful steps in order to begin to move to end the violence and implement the cessation of hostilities agreement, and to begin to engage on a discussion with respect to a transition government.” Kerry said in Juba.
Kerry left Juba hoping to hear peaceful development, however, that hasn’t been the case. Juba may coincidentally call for peace before rebels retaliate to retake the towns captured last week.
While in Angola, Kerry continued to threaten with sanctions, “serious implications” and “possible consequences”.
“Let me make it clear, if there is a total refusal by one party or the other to engage… not only might sanctions be engaged, but there are other serious implications and possible consequences,” Kerry said while speaking from Angola, the latest stop on his Africa visit.
“The parties need to recognize that they signed a cessation of hostilities agreements, both of them, and the international community is prepared to take steps to see that it is honored, by putting additional troops,” Kerry added.
However, it is not clear if the South Sudanese warring parties value such threats. Many accusations against the west have flooded the media in the recent days.
Salva Kiir and his cabinets have accuse the west of supporting the rebels, colonization and wanting compensations for their previous contribution during the CPA that brought independent.
“People have come to fight us indirectly by saying they haven’t had a slice of the profits yet they “brought the independence” while the South Sudanese actually fought for and got their independence,” President Kiir told his colleague in Ethiopia.
The president has also communicate succinctly that he would seek his solutions from his African counterparts.
“African problems are African problems and they should get solutions from African leaders. The problem is that some of us think solutions to our problems would come from somewhere else. This thinking must change otherwise we will have solutions which do not address our problems imposed on us”, president Salva Kiir said on Sunday.
The Minister of Information, Michael Makuei Lueth, also defies previous contributions by the US government, even in preference to the hostile Northern neighbor.
“If any party should take credit, it should be the government of Sudan and its leader, Omar al-Bashir, for taking the brave decision to agree to the CPA and for being the first to recognize South Sudan upon the referendum [on independence]. He attended our Independence Day celebration.” Makuei narrated.
“The Americans had reservations about the CPA. They were not very enthusiastic about the agreement due to perceived leftist tendencies of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). Prior to the agreement, they had only been in contact with the leadership of Sudan.” Makuei Lueth recalls.
Despite promises on peaceful steps, military solution seems to be the better options to both sides. Machar accuses Juba of inviting foreign troops, in violation of Ceasefire agreements, and threatens to fight on until the foreign troops are withdrawn from the country.
Salva Kiir, on the other hand, continues to seek military aid from any willing countries and rely more on military tactics than the peaceful means.
Salva Kiir appoints a new chief of staff, from his home town to replace James Hoth Mai, a Nuer from Nasir. The new chief of staff pledges to crush the rebellion or capture Machar within 30 days.
South Sudan has had more than 5 minor rebel groups in the last nine years but the government of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar failed to quilt any rebellion militarily.
More than 70% of the national army has defected to Machar, as reported by the national government. Defection of troops from the government began in December and it continues.
While Machar is joined by partially armed white army, the chief of staff has recruited a huge army, mostly from his own home town.
Although the warring parties embrace diversity, critical decision making are dominated by either Dinka in the government or by the Nuer in opposition.
Civilians targeting along ethnic lines started in Juba, in house-to-house search of Nuer ethnic groups, but retaliatory ethnic targeting have been reported in major towns in Jonglei, Upper Nile, Unity, Western and Northen Bahr el Ghazal states.
Machar and Kiir are set to hold their first face-to-face meeting on Friday as peace process continues in Addis Ababa. A new agreement to freeze military confrontations for 30 days is on trial.