Analyses Contributor's Stephen Par Kuol

How Kiir’s Regime Thrives On Hot Air Diplomacy

By Stephen Par Kuol,

Mr. Salva Kiir looks into a hat presented to him by the former US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, during a visit to Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)
Mr. Salva Kiir looks into a hat presented to him by the former US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry, during a visit to Juba, South Sudan(Photo: file)

Sept 1, 2017(Nyamilepedia) —— Any astute spectator on or behind the scene of the prevailing crisis in South Sudan cannot miss the paper trail of condemnations that have compiled volumes against Salva Kiir’s regime since December 2013. From the AU Commission of Inquiry Report of January 2015 to the UN Penal of Experts Reports of July 2016 to EU and TRIOKA statements against declaration of 28 states in violation of ARCISS in October 2015, the most recent statements of TRIOKA and the UN Penal of experts testimony before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee dated July 2017, plus numerous JMEC reports, the fault lines of the ongoing crisis in South Sudan can not be more clearer. In another word, the verdict is loud and clear: Salva Kiir manufactured this crisis, financed it, committed genocide and scraped the ARCISS in the full view of the world public.

The mind- numbing contradiction though is that the same authorities who compiled those reports have failed to do any thing tangible to deter the violent behavior of this fascist regime. Until today, the same regime being bashed as ethnocentric, genocidal, fascist, corrupt and rogue is still recognised as the legitimate custodian of South Sudan’s sovereignty by virtue of being in control of the city-state called Juba. So far, the sovereignty Kiir and the company have arrogated to J1 is what they use as a shield to survive against all odds.As we have seen over the years, the vicious beast is survivalist by instinct. It survives and thrives on the tone and tune of what I call hot air diplomacy and the crisis itself. Over time, the rogue regime has developed precocious skills to manoeuvre its way through the tumultuous waters of this protracted crisis getting away with rape, murder and all kinds of diplomatic hostilities including military attack on US diplomats in their own CD registered vehicle. The regime can get away even with murder of an American journalist they derogatorily profiled as a white rebel. Exploiting this potent western diplomacy with neither looming stick nor dangling carrot, Kiir has bought time and favors to militarily crash his political opponents who are hand tied and diplomatically isolated.

Taking the world for a long ride, Salva Kiir says one thing and does completely the opposite on the ground. He will declare unilateral cease-fire and launches scorch earth military offensive at the same time. He will agree to the deployment of 4000 Regional Protection Force but will do every thing to alter their mandates as stipulated in the UNSC Resolution#2034 to weaken their capacity. Those who can correctly read the Id and gut of Kiir-dit can easily tell that he is relapsing back to his initial position that” there is no need to send even a single UN soldier to South Sudan”. Kiir signed ARCISS with his 16 points reservations to justify dishonouring it with straight face and uses the very agreement he has dishonoured to legitimise his junta dubbed TGONU.  As a ploy to buy legitimacy, Kiir has embarked on so many gimmickries. Along this direction, he had to initiate a diversionary monologue sugarcoated as national dialogue in the middle of a raging war to avoid any inclusive political process that might challenge his legitimacy and the validity of the ARCISS he totally scarped since July 2016.

In tandem with his allies in the region, the international community is diplomatically blackmailed through those gimmickries and face-saving projects such as High Revitalisation Forum and reunification of the SPLM under the patronage of his mentor, Kaguta Museveni. Thence, the regional and the world leaders are left in the cold of a lackluster diplomacy. Confused by Kiir’s regional allies and Washington DC Pundits, the positions of the AU, TROIKA and the UN on the resolution of South Sudanese conflict have remained ambiguous. Even the US, which has been rhetorically the loudest against the excesses of Kiir’s regime, does not have a well-defined foreign policy for South Sudan and the region as things stand today. Whatever is still in the book is that of Obama administration that acknowledged its own failure as it exited the White House early this year. Since then, the people of South Sudan have been left to fend for themselves amidst scorch earth offensive, famine, economic crisis, mass displacement, genocide and wanton death in the brutal hands of the well known unknown gunmen in Juba. The decay of this diplomatic discourse is underscored by the gross injustice that the helpless victims at the receiving ended are hand tied and asked to denounce the violence while the monster is left free to roam and roar without any fear of reprisal.

Under the darkness of the existing state of emergency, Kiir’s hoodlums have been left at loose liberty to engage in arbitrary arrest, kidnaping, summary executions and long detention of citizens without access to fair judicial process. This has created a culture of impunity and silence eliminating the space pushing. This has then pushed the targeted communities against the wall of armed resistance in self-defense against the political persecution, servitude and systematic genocide. The human security has thus drastically deteriorated, the economy has collapsed and the living condition is below the poverty line.

It goes without informing the records that South Sudan is precariously on the precipice to the pendulum of immanent death as a nation. That is why we have been calling upon the international community to come to the rescue of our downtrodden people. The fallacy of the African p problem, African solution has been exhausted in this case of South Sudanese crisis. The rag-tagged mediation of IGAD has miserably failed to resolve the crisis. Hence, it is time for the United Nations, African Union and TRIOKA to practically intervene by using their diplomatic leverage on the key regional players such as Uganda, Kenya, Sudan, and Ethiopia. Only those global powers can bring it to their attention that investing in Kiir’s tyranny is not in the best interest of their people who are already bearing the brunt of this war in term of refugees crisis and trade impediments.

It is time to be straight with Kiir and his allies in the region that resolving the crisis by might of arms is a perilous false start. This time around, the international community must look into the interest of the people, not the almighty demigods in control of the garrison towns. It is crucial to listen to the opposing political voices, civil society groups, faith based groups and other national stakeholders. It must also be realised that empowering the other political forces in the country to balance political power is another way to bring Kiir to the table. In any case, Kiir simply needs some heat or extreme cold in the form of arms embargo, coordinated sanctions and diplomatic isolation. Another long over due remedy is the establishment of Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS) to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing criminal responsibility for war crimes to halt the existing culture of impunity. As provided for in the defunct ARCISS, the peace process must go hand in hand with justice and accountability. The word as the title denotes is that the querulous language of this Hot Air Diplomacy will not cut it with Kiir’s fascist regime.

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