Military or Political Solution to the Conflict in South Sudan?
By Malakal C Luak C,
April 28, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Imagine that you wake up in a beautiful morning, very excited. You turned on your laptop computer to browse South Sudan news from Nyamilepedia and Sudan tribune websites. From the headline, you have learned that Salva Kiir has announced his new government through appointments. In the Greater Upper Nile, Gordon Buay Malek was appointed as the Governor of the Upper Nile State, James Kok Ruei as the Governor of Jonglei State, Nguen Monytuil retained his position as the Governor of Unity State. In the Greater Bhar El Ghazel, Salva kept his current governors. However, in the Greater Equatoria, all the three governors were replaced by 3 politicians from Warrap State. The White Army in the Greater Upper Nile region has disbanded and surrendered their guns to Salva Kiir. All the SPLA forces operating in the Greater Upper Nile States were recruited from Northern Bhar El Ghazel and Warrap State. The hell has not gone lose yet.
Salva Kiir has also instructed his SPLA-officers to forcibly transport the Shilluk and the Nuer tribes from the Greater Upper Nile to be mixed with tribes in Bhar El Ghazel and Equatoria regions. Salva Kiir signed a contract with Indian company to use the whole greater Upper Nile for agriculture development. Three days later, Salva Kiir made a historic announcement on South Sudan Television (SSTV) that General Gatwech Dual, General Koang Chuol Ranley, General Peter Gatdet Yaka, General Tanginye, General Dau Aturjong, Dr. Riek Machar, Hon. Taban Deng, and Gen. Alfred Lado Gore, who were captured and held as Prisoners of War (POWs) by Salva Kiir, would be publicly executed for treason charges. These may not be illusions in the fantasy world if Salva Kiir were to win this war militarily.
Despite the fact that Salva Kiir believes in military solution to the armed conflict, the events on South Sudan soil indicate an opposite reality. Within this week, the Juba government has been demoralized by the loss of territories in all strategic frontlines. In Unity State, Salva Kiir’s SPLA forces have lost Wangkei Payam, Rupkona, and possibly may loss the state capital Bentiu as the fighting intensified inside the town. In the Upper Nile State, the Shilluk tribe men have finally realized Salva Kiir’s evil plans of displacing Shilluk from their land, but only to repopulate it with Dinka, an instance of the first colonialism in the 21st Century. Chollo SPLA forces backed by the Chollo White Army, under the overall command of General Johnson Olony, have driven away the vulnerable Upper Nile State government and took control of the State Capital Malakal.
They have repulsed so many SPLA-Juba reinforcements from Northern and Southern parts of Malakal, from Akoka and Baliet Counties. The Minister of Defense in Salva Kiir’s Juba government, General Kuol Manyang Juuk, packed a lot of bags with money to bribe top Chollo leaders; the Chollo leaders pocketed the money, but did not drop an inch from the conditions given to the Juba government. General Kuol Manyang refused to visit Malakal fearing to be caught and to be held as a hostage.
The Chollo demand is to replace Governor Simon Kun Puoch with a politician from Chollo tribe. General Johnson Olony also wants to replace General Johnson Gony Beliu, the SPLA-Juba Head of sector II in Division Seven of Upper Nile State. However, it is still unknown whether or not the Juba government would fire Simon Kun Puoch from the gubernatorial post and be replaced with able Chollo Governor who would sympathize with the harsh conditions faced by the Shilluk tribe in the Upper Nile State.
The SPLA-IO forces are not sleeping either. After the SPLA-Juba attacked their positions in the three states of the Greater Upper Nile, violating the IGAD-led ceasefire, SPLA-IO have gained some important territories. In just two days, Tonga, Atar, and Galechial have been captured from Salva Kiir’s SPLA. Baliet County may fall soon. In Jonglei State, Salva Kiir’s SPLA forces that were sent to attack Lou Nuer areas, have returned embarrassingly without any shootings, disobeying orders from their superiors from Juba. A president who believes in military solution to the conflict, such as President Salva Kiir, must be confident that his soldiers can gain territories from rebels in all fronts, but that is not the case so far.
It would be such a wise decision if Salva Kiir would choose political solution over military solution to the conflict in the country. On February 16th, 2007, it was reported by the IRIN News Network that a military solution is not an option in ending the war in Darfur, and instead, the parties to the Darfur conflict must agree to a peace process.
In August, 2013, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria has called for continued political efforts, both inside the country and internationally, to end the Syrian conflict. Lakhdar Brahimi on the BBC went on to say that there is no military solution to the conflict. On March 23, 2015, the President of Ukraine said there is no military solution to the conflict with Russia. Most of the recent historical accounts support the political means to end civil wars and the Juba government of South Sudan must understand this reality, especially when Salva Kiir’s SPLA continues to loss territories on daily basis to the SPLA/M-IO under the leadership of Dr. Riek Machar Teny-Dhurgon.
Salva Kiir may not accept to sign the IGAD-Plus peace documents, but his Juba government may completely collapse as suggested by so many experts. The prices of food items are skyrocketing in the markets. It was reported by the South Sudan Television that Governor Nyandeng Malek urged President Salva Kiir to intervene to the food shortages in Warrap State where the president comes from. Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Stephen Dhieu Dau, said the price of oil has dropped to just $10 per barrel, the cheapest price in the whole world.
South Sudan official must accept this type of humiliation because other options have been exhausted. There have been daily defections of both military officials and political leaders from the SPLA/M-Juba to the SPLA-IO under Dr. Machar leadership. The previous leaked IGAD-Plus document of final peace deal on the other hand looked unfavorable to Juba government. If political and military sanctions would be imposed to the government because of this unnecessary obstruction to peace processes, it would only be some salt on the wounds, compounding problems to Juba government. For example, arms embargo would force the Juba SPLA to their knees in all fronts and Salva Kiir would resign from presidency, giving Dinka Counsel of Elders some chance to select his replacement.
Salva Kiir’s health is also deteriorating. He recently went to Turkey to seek medical intervention. Many sources have indicated that President Kiir has recently resorted to heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages, which could lead to sudden alcohol-related death. The words that usually come out from Salva Kiir’s mouth have only been venomous or poisonous to his tribal government. Recently, he threatened the Juba national MPs to extend his terms in the office for additional 3 years or would dissolve the parliament, having said that the parliamentarians have been lazy officials who sleep on their job.
The current South Sudan Civil War has intensified in many front lines. Salva Kiir would not accept the defeat and may order reinforcements to his scattered SPLA armed forces. Nevertheless, a lot of facts from the recent past backed up the positive observation that there is no military solution to any armed conflict. While the conditions in the country have deteriorated, the international community may force the warring parties to strike a final peace deal or face sanctions, which may only harden their positions. In case Salva Kiir continues to believe in his military solution to the conflict, whatever has been the recent military policy of the SPLA/M-IO has to be maintained and promoted by giving political orientations to the frontline generals.
The SPLA/M-IO information ministry must utilize the media to inform supporters and sympathizers to the general cause and policies of the movement. The media warriors would pick it up, strike, and hurt Salva Kiir in his sensitive body parts. In the SSRA meeting held in Canada, Hon. Hussein Mar Nyuot said that it is dangerous to lose a fight to natural fools because they do not have commonsense to know when to stop bullying their opponents. Juba government is led by people as such and it is the responsibility of any supporter of the SPLA/M-IO to exert some extra efforts to topple the Juba government as quickly as possible. Aluta Continua!
Malakal C Luak C lives in Canada. He has been very active on the social media since the conflict started. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org