Tag Archives: development

South Sudan VP James Wani Igga Returns To Juba From Abuja Summit

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Vice President HE James Wani Igga

By South Sudan News Staff

JUBA — March 7, 2014 … South Sudan Vice President HE James Wani Igga arrived in Juba from Abuja, the Capital of Nigeria on Thursday where he led a high level delegation to attend the just-concluded Human Security summit.

Upon arrival at Juba International Airport, His Excellence Igga, was received by the South Sudan Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Dr. Barnaba Marial Benjamin and other ministers and senior government officials.

“We had a very important visit to Nigeria. We arrived in Abuja on the February 27, it was a very big conference attended by over forty heads of states” the Vice President told reports in Juba. The seven-day conference centered on security, peace and development in Africa.

He said the South Sudan delegation, made fruitful engagements with a good number of heads of states within the sidelines of the conference where they briefed them on the political and economic situation in the country.

HE Igga also met with the Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan and discussed matters of bilateral relations and cooperation.

 

South Sudan: New Roads, All-Terrain Trucks Will Integrate The Region

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By Joe Odaby

Juba — September 9, 2013 (SSN) … Experts are pressing for opening alternate transportation routes from Nigeria to East Africa and using high-mobility all-terrain trucks in order to
overcome the absence of quality roads all over the region.

A recent Reuters report showed how much the development of East Africa, especially of the South Sudan, is hampered by the shortage of quality roads.

Every day up to 130 trucks from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia or even farther away arrive at the customs clearing area the size of a football field in the small border town of Nimule, South Sudan’s southern gateway to Uganda.

As Reuters put it, “once a sleepy outpost built by colonial ruler Britain to mark its southernmost presence in Sudan, Nimule has become an economic lifeline for South Sudan since the world’s newest state seceded from Khartoum in 2011 following decades of civil war”.

Landlocked South Sudan depends on its oil exports flowing north to fund its state budget, and remains vulnerable to shutdowns caused by disputes over pipeline fees and border conflicts with its former enemy Sudan.

With almost no industrial production and just some 300 km (190 miles) of paved roads, the new nation depends on truck drivers to provide it with everything from diesel to beer, condoms, trousers, laptops and frozen salami.

Whenever the road is blocked, supermarkets across the country struggle to get supplies.

Cross-border traffic has, however, been on the rise since a U.S.-funded project converted the dirt track from the British era into South Sudan’s only paved road.

The economic impact was immediate. “The new Nimule road has boosted trade and also lowered the transport cost of goods,” said Kimo Adiebo, professor of economics at Juba University.

Annual inflation has fallen to less than 10 percent from over 40 percent since the road was completed last autumn.

From Juba 205 km (128 miles) north of Nimule, some goods continue their trip on bumpy roads to the rest of a nation the size of France. It takes up to a month for soft drink cans from Dubai, loaded in Mombasa, to reach the countryside.

The border is open only from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the road from Nimule to Juba becomes dangerous at night with frequent accidents and bandits robbing passengers.

That total dependence on the Juba-Nimule road leads experts in Juba to press their Government and the Western neighbours of South Sudan – Central African Republic, Cameroon and Nigeria – for opening alternate transportation routes from the West to East Africa.

However, building the new roads is a costly and lengthy process while South Sudan needs alternate transportation routes right now – to provide for its remote deprived regions and to integrate the country torn apart by years of civil war. Many Western and local transportation experts agree that a quick and cost-effective solution will be procurement of high-mobility all-terrain trucks. A fleet of such trucks would help South Sudan to overcome the absence of quality roads and speedily integrate with its regional neighbours.

 

Obama Tries To Return South Sudan Into Khartoum’s Fold

By Joe Odaby

Juba – August 5, 2013 … In late-July 2013, the Obama Administration intensified its blatant intervention in the domestic political affairs of the Republic of South Sudan – a country considered a close friend of the United States. Washington intervened in an effort to sway the resolution of the government and political crises in Juba in favor of candidates and policies the Obama White House favor and against the democratically elected and widely supported President Kiir and his government.

In the process, the Obama Administration made demands of Juba, but offered no advice let alone assistance in resolving the country’s objective problems – themselves aggravated by US intentional, yet misguided, policies.

On July 27, US Secretary of State John Kerry called President Kiir, articulated US policy and threatened Juba. The State Department issued a “Readout of Call with South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit” that provides Kerry’s record of the call. The primary reason of the call was “to reiterate the United States’ concerns about the political situation in Juba,” as well as express concern about the escalating violence in Jonglei. Kerry described the message he delivered to President Kiir in terms of a tacit warning. “The world is watching to see if South Sudan pursues the path of peace and prosperity, or the tragic path of violence and conflict that has characterized much of its past. The United States will remain a steady partner to those who aspire to stand on the side of democracy, justice, respect for human rights, and who work for the brighter future the South Sudanese people deserve,” Kerry told President Kiir.

Kerry’s call was the beginning of a high-profile focus on, and harsh criticism of, the government of South Sudan in official Washington and the US media elite. The usually compliant New York Times wondered on July 29 about the reasons behind the sudden preoccupation of the highest echelons of the Obama Administration with South Sudan. “It’s also worth asking, why single out this crisis?” the paper’s Mark Landler asked. He suggested that the Obama Administration was putting more public emphasis on the possible displacement of 100,000 civilians in Jonglei than the death of 100,000 civilians in the Syrian fratricidal carnage.

The New York Times explained the quandary of the Obama White House. “The administration has strongly supported the South Sudan government, which is led by Salva Kiir, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. But now President Kiir is himself a problem: last week, he dismissed his vice president, who had threatened to challenge him for his party’s leadership before elections in 2015, and his entire cabinet.” Landler noted that Kerry’s call “amounted to a rap on the knuckles. [Kerry] warned the president to form a new government quickly, stop the ethnic clashes in Jonglei and crack down on soldiers in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army who are found guilty of human rights abuses.”

According to Landler, the focus on South Sudan reached the point that “[t]he National Security Council has held deputy-level meetings almost daily to determine how the United States should respond, both to the escalating violence in Jonglei and the governance problems. President Obama, they said, has been briefed about the crisis.”

Although the Obama Administration, and Secretary Kerry in person, pride themselves publicly on having supported the independence of South Sudan – this is only partially true. Internally, the US strongly opposed the breakup of Sudan and preferred autonomy for then Southern Sudan. However, it was the pressure from domestic political groups the Obama presidential campaign of 2008 could not ignore – particularly the Hollywood fund-raising dominated by George Clooney who is personally committed to South Sudan – that influenced Obama’s policy. Subsequently, pressure by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who insisted on the affirmation of President Bill Clinton’s Kosovo policy that led to unilateral secession and declaration of independence by the US supporting and endorsing yet another secession and independence, determined Obama’s reluctant support for the independence of South Sudan.

However, a major element of Obama’s own global policy is the empowerment of, and support for, Islamist regimes throughout the Arab World. Obama asserted this policy in his June 2009 speech in Cairo and hasn’t wavered despite the ensuing chaos and violence throughout the Arab World. The July 2011 secession and independence of South Sudan because of genocidal repression by the Islamist rulers of Khartoum stood in stark contradiction to Obama’s overall world view.

Hence, in the aftermath of South Sudan’s independence, the Obama Administration did not give up on the ultimate return of South Sudan into the Sudanese fold.

Toward this end, the US sought to stifle South Sudan by publicly tolerating, and even tacitly encouraging via Arab states, the Sudanese unilateral and unwarranted cutting of South Sudan’s oil exports – the new country’s primary source of vitally needed revenues. As well, Obama’s Washington led the West’s campaign demanding that Juba implements a host of domestic, political and economic reforms that would have been destabilizing and self-destructive given the country’s disorganized system of governance and enduring fratricidal violence (much of it sponsored by Sudan). The pressure manifested itself in limiting foreign aid – desperately needed to compensate for the absence of oil revenues (that were cut with the US consent).

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration did not pressure Juba all the way during 2011 and 2012 because the Obama reelection campaign desperately needed ever larger infusion of funds and public endorsement from Hollywood and thus couldn’t afford to alienate the stalwart Clooney. Obama was waiting for his second term. On March 25, 2012, Obama was caught on open mike explaining this point to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Obama pleaded with Putin and Medvedev “to give me space” until after the November 2012 elections because “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Thus, starting early 2013, Obama no longer needs his political supporters in Hollywood and elsewhere – and the difference in both domestic and foreign policies has been stark on numerous issues, not just the South Sudan policy.

In early summer 2013, in preparations for a possible nomination of a new Sudan envoy, the Obama Administration launched a thorough high-level assessment of the situation in, and policies toward, Sudan and South Sudan. The study’s main conclusion is that South Sudan will not be able to sustain for a long time and will return to the Sudanese fold is now closer to realization than ever before. Khartoum is cognizant of this and might try to expedite the process by force – preferably exploiting an Egyptian-Ethiopian conflagration over the Nile Dam. A US envoy might smooth and ameliorate implementation of Khartoum’s policies. 

The reunification of Sudan is closer than ever before because South Sudan is collapsing as the aggregate impact of economic destitute (aggravated by the shutting of oil experts) fueling grassroots discontent and internal political dynamics where four major presidential candidates representing four major tribal groupings can be manipulated into tearing their own country apart. The study concludes that “the hard won Southern independence [is] at risk.” At the same time, however, if Juba gets its act together – Juba can reverse the entire regional dynamics in its favor. “If the Southern leadership can restore the unity of its ruling coalition, it can take advantage of the Northern weakness,” the study notes. “After all, a more stable South poses the greatest threat to Bashir and his party in Khartoum.” However, the Obama Administration doubts that Juba can turn things around and senior officials at the White House recommend that Washington must not risk its favorable standing with both Cairo and Khartoum by siding with or supporting Juba.

It is in this context that Riek Machar – an unscrupulous, power hungry South Sudanese politician – has become a major player in the American game. Machar is convinced that if he gives the US-led West what they want – they will empower him over South Sudan or a once-again autonomous Southern Sudan. Hence, since early spring 2013 Machar started exploiting his position as the Vice-President of South Sudan in order to increase tribal tensions, undermine the state from within government vis-a-vis foreign powers, most notably Sudan. Throughout, Machar interacted with Western governments, foreign media elites and leftist-liberal NGOs. He gained support and encouragement to continue his quest for personal power by subverting and undermining his own democratically elected president and government from within the presidency and nascent political establishment. By summer 2013, Machar was ready to sacrifice the national interest in key issues such as the oil and security negotiations with Sudan on the altar of his unbridled personal lust for power.

Throughout, the US and the West have encouraged Machar and given him the impression that he is their favorite South Sudanese politician. This encouragement and help took shape in many ways – from facilitating access to media elite in the West, to high profile events in Western embassies, to favorable reporting of Machar’s dealings in Khartoum and other capitals, to political support by Western NGOs and their local proteges. The favoritism of the US-led West was inescapable in the political and media dynamics on the eve of the second anniversary of South Sudan. Furthermore, the Western intervention and favoritism became blatant to the point that several other politicians and senior officials decided to cast their lot with the West’s chosen candidate at the expense of their official role and government duties.

This created intolerable situation in Juba where then-VP Machar and his camp were undermining the already daunting task of Pres. Kiir and the government. There ensued a discernable slow-down in the government’s ability to cope with crises and take the nation forward despite horrific circumstances. It was under these circumstances that Pres. Kiir decided on July 23 to fire his entire cabinet and quickly establish a new one that will be streamlined, professional, proficient and effective. Despite Western protestations about the drastic move, even Machar acknowledged that Pres. Kiir has the legal mandate to fire any official, or all officials, he no longer trust to serve in his government. On July 31, the composition of the new government was virtually completed.

Now a private citizen, Machar, like anybody else in South Sudan, has every right to criticize the president and the government, become very active in the opposition, and seek high office in the 2015 presidential elections. Machar is now working hard, as is his wont, to become the leader of the opposition and their primary candidate in challenging Kiir in 2015. A civilized campaign focusing on issues rather than personal attacks will only enrich South Sudan’s fledgling democracy.

In the meantime, however, the United States and the Western allies should recall that President Kiir was democratically elected president in April 2010 with 93% of the votes. He still commands favorable public trust as confirmed by the latest US-government sponsored polling of South Sudan (conducted between April 24 and May 22, 2013). The results show that among all South Sudanese – 42% consider President Kiir “very favorably”, 29% consider him “favorably”, 13% consider him “unfavorably”, and 13% consider him “very unfavorably”. In contrast, only 27% consider then-VP Machar “very favorably”, 33% consider him “favorably”, 20% consider him “unfavorably”, and 11% consider him “very unfavorably”. Simply put, 71% of South Sudanese have favorable opinion of President Kiir while only 60% have favorable opinion of Machar.

With a new government sworn in, and some revenues from a few weeks of oil exports becoming available, President Kiir’s Juba has unique opportunity to begin to turn things around. Rather than continue stifling South Sudan, the Obama Administration and its Western allies should provide comprehensive assistance, expertise and encouragement. Rather than increasing pressure and making unrealistic demands for reforms, the Obama Administration and its Western allies should encourage economic development and stabilization.

Unlike most countries in the developing world, South Sudan does not need hand-outs. In the immediate term, South Sudan desperately needs assistance in securing long-term oil exports in order to alleviate the economic decay. In the longer term, South Sudan requires economic investments in developing the countries national riches and huge potential, as well as assistance in breaking the Sudanese siege by developing alternate routes for exporting oil and other natural resources.

Until such time, the Republic of South Sudan – staunchly pro-Western, committed to Judeo-Christian values, and inherently democratic – will continue to be a state betrayed by the countries it considered soul-mates – namely, by the US-led West.

South Sudan President Kiir Ends Government Paralysis, Fires Corrupt Cabinet

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By Joe Odaby

Juba — July 24, 2013 … On July 23, South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit issued a presidential decree removing Vice-President Riek Machar Teny and dissolving the whole government of South Sudan.

Kiir dismissed all 29 ministers and deputy ministers. Kiir did not appoint a new vice-president or national ministers and deputy ministers. The decree directed the under-secretaries of the various ministries to run South Sudan’s ministries until further notice. The decree also stipulated the new government will have only 18 national ministers and deputy ministers in order to streamline government work. A senior official at the presidency predicted that government ministers will be replaced in a “very short time, as soon as possible.”

Officially, Kiir’s presidential decree does not explain the reason for the major shake-up. Senior government officials, including some fired by the decree, called the undertaking a “reshuffle” that had long been expected given the mounting problems in government work. Nhial Bol, the editor of the independent Citizen TV, concurred. He believes that the president must have acted in order to end government paralysis. “Things have not been moving in the government because of this internal fighting over who is going to control the SPLM,” Nhial Bol said.

Fashoda Institute, the leading, Juba-based think-tank, asserts that “in embarking on the profound reshuffle of government, President Kiir put the national interest ahead of internal politics and the early posturing for the 2015 presidential elections”.

South Sudan is facing numerous emergencies and challenges as a result of the attempt at economic stifling by Sudan. The economic development of South Sudan has been arrested by the Sudanese blocking of oil exports – thus depriving South Sudan of its primary source of revenues.

The Fashoda Institute states that Sudan has been sponsoring – primarily through the supply of weapons, ammunition and funds – the sustenance and escalation of insurgencies and tribal violence throughout South Sudan to the detriment of internal development. Allegations of endemic corruption throughout the entire government – which already led Kiir to undertake drastic measures such as suspending two senior ministers – considerably restricted the availability of foreign aid.

“The ability of the Kiir Government to tackle these daunting challenges has been needlessly complicated by their cynical exploitation by Vice-President Machar”, reports the Fashoda Institute. “In recent months, Machar aggravated national crises and problems in order to further his own personal political ambitions – namely, present himself as a presidential candidate and would-be national savior. Thus, in early 2013, Machar abused his role as chairman of the National Reconciliation Committee in order to increase his power by stocking internal rifts and tribal-based tensions.

Under Machar, the integrity of the reconciliation process – so crucial for South Sudan tormented and fragmented population – was being sacrificed on the altar of his personal political ambitions. The Machar camp argued that national leadership should be transferred from the Dinka to the Nuer because, in the words of a Machar key supporter, “it’s our turn to eat”.

On April 15, President Kiir issued a decree which removed some of the executive powers delegated to Vice-President Machar. The Presidential decreed “the withdrawal of all duly delegated powers assigned to the Vice-President” and restricting him to “discharg[ing] only his powers as stipulated” under the draft constitution. Machar remained the Vice-President, member of the cabinet and the national security council – albeit with significantly less power and authority. As well, President Kiir issued a decree dissolving the National Reconciliation Committee that was to be chaired by Machar.

In early July, after Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir once again arbitrarily shut down the oil pipelines, Kiir dispatched Machar to Khartoum to lead the negotiations on the resumption of South Sudan’s vital oil exports via the Sudanese pipeline. Instead of hard bargaining and marshaling international law and agreements to push Khartoum to the corner – Machar was forthcoming, conciliatory and compromising.

He permitted negotiations to slide to uncharted territories and expressed eagerness to compromise at all cost. Significantly, Machar exceeded his mandate and discussed reaching understandings about the long-term relations between the two countries under terms favorable to Khartoum. In a subsequent meeting with a Sudanese opposition leader, Machar hinted at some regret about the break-up of Sudan. “If we did not survive as one country, we should now survive as two neighboring sisterly countries,” Machar said. Little wonder that official Khartoum hailed Machar’s visit and senior Sudanese officials told Arab diplomats they were ready for dialogue with Juba if the government is run by Machar. 

Ultimately, even Machar’s unilateral and unwarranted concessions were not enough because Khartoum exploited what it perceived to be Juba’s weakness and indecision to announce the complete shutdown of oil. Although detrimental to the future of South Sudan, Machar seems to be convinced that such a crisis would serve his own political ascent. Machar’s allies and confidants in London and Juba are convinced that Machar’s ascent to power is so important as to warrant intentional harming of the vital national interests of South Sudan. Simply put, the national interests should be sacrificed on the altar of expediting Machar’s own rise to power.

Machar’s allies and confidants explain that “a renewed oil cutoff could bring South Sudan to its knees, triggering a wider governmental collapse” which Machar “can capitalize on to force [Kiir] out and then rise to power.” This observation of Machar’s plans by his own allies and confidants sheds a sinister and significant light on Machar’s own conduct of the negotiations in Khartoum.

President Kiir will have a new and invigorated government that will be able to finally tackle the key challenges facing South Sudan: building alternate oil export venues – both short-term and long-term regional infrastructure; enhancing security and suppressing violence both internally and along the borders with Sudan and the Central African Republic; and launching overdue major social and economic development to put the country on a long-term ascent track. Juba will thus demonstrate activism – that is, initiate and launch major programs rather than be beholden to foreign aid.

President Kiir is correct in arguing that it was impossible to initiate anything beforehand because of the endemic lack of funds and government crises. Soon, with a new government in office and limited income from the short-term export push coming in – President Kiir’s Juba will be moving fast and resolutely to alleviate crises the moment this becomes possible.

The West Has Failed South Sudan

By Joe Odaby
South Sudan News

Juba — July 23, 2013 (SSN) … The Fashoda Institute, South Sudan’s leading think-tank, asserts in its latest analysis that the West has betrayed this young democracy.

Two years ago, on July 9, 2011, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s youngest nation. Independence came in the aftermath of more than two decades of genocidal liberation struggle and five years of failed stifling autonomy.

South Sudan has huge potential. The land is exceptionally rich. According to the CIA’s World Factbook, South Sudan’s natural resources include hydropower, fertile agricultural land, gold, diamonds, petroleum, hardwoods, limestone, iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, and silver.

Yet, presently, two years after independence, the Republic of South Sudan is one of the world’s poorest and under-developed countries.

South Sudan has a failed economy and non-existing infrastructure. The country is plagued by internal fratricidal violence and strife that aim to tear the country apart. The 2013 Failed State Index (FSI) ranks South Sudan near the top.

How come that a country with so huge a potential for development and success finds itself in such a dire state? The answer is that the industrialized world failed South Sudan. Simply put, the Republic of South Sudan is not a failed state – but a state failed by these states South Sudan considered best allies and friends.

Under the Obama administration, the US committed to Islamist-empowerment policies throughout the Middle East. Obama’s Washington did not interfere with Khartoum’s aggression and stifling policies that are aimed to return South Sudan into the Sudanese fold. Thus, Sudan’s continued flagrant disregard of international and bilateral agreements, as well as unilaterally stopping the oil exports from South Sudan, elicit only faint pro-forma criticism from Washington and other West European capitals.

At the same time, Obama’s Washington has led incessant international pressure on Juba to enact reforms, mainly social and internal, in complete disregard of the prevailing conditions in the country. The US led Western Europe in creating needless tension and pressure when help was due. Ultimately, the silence and tacit support of the US-led West encourages Khartoum to intensify the violent suppression of its own restive minorities, as well as sponsor much of the internal violence plaguing South Sudan and arresting its socio-economic development.

Until recently, the PRC and Russia that had invested mightily in Sudan were somewhat reluctant to reexamine their basic policies. Other members of the BRICS were also reluctant at first to alienate Khartoum and look at Juba. However, the national security and foreign policy establishments in both Moscow and Beijing are run by area experts.

They quickly identified the huge geo-strategic and geo-economic potential of South Sudan just as Sudan was succumbing to Islamist dictatorship and fratricidal violence. There began a gradual yet profound shift of attention and focus toward Juba in both Moscow and Beijing. The rest of the BRICS are sure to follow.

Hopefully, the West will also follow.

Instead of focusing on, and prioritizing, the impractical and unattainable – the West should join in focusing on the economic development of South Sudan. Once long-term oil export is restored, Juba will have the funds required for securing the state and embarking on long-term socio-economic development and reforms. And once a state need not worry about the availability of basic food staples and vital services such as education and medical services, as well as worry about meeting security threats to its very existence and stability, that state can focus on improving governance and implementing reforms.

In the case of the Republic of South Sudan – the challenge is easy to meet.

South Sudan does not need hand-outs. South Sudan is staunchly pro-Western, committed to Judeo-Christian values, and inherently democratic. In the immediate term, South Sudan desperately needs assistance in securing long-term oil exports in order to alleviate the economic stifling.

Ultimately, South Sudan requires economic investments and technological knowhow for developing its huge potential. As well, South Sudan needs assistance in breaking the Sudanese siege by developing alternate routes for exporting oil and other natural resources.

Until such time, the Republic of South Sudan will continue to be a state failed by countries it considered soul-mates – namely, by the US-led West.

 

Omar Al-Bashir Presses For War, Not Peace With South Sudan To Save Himself

By Joe Odaby

Juba — July 19, 2013 (SSN) … The Fashoda Institute, South Sudan’s leading think-tank, asserts in its latest analysis that Khartoum’s objective in provoking armed conflict with Juba  goes beyond the on-going drive to coerce South Sudan into giving up on independence and returning to the Sudanese fold. This time Khartoum is yearning for a major crisis that will serve its own domestic imperatives – particularly the building of international pressure on President Omar al-Bashir.

At the same time, Khartoum seems convinced that the crisis will not get out of control because of the limitations of force movements imposed by the rainy season. However, given the tenuous control Khartoum exercises over many of its cross-border proxies and in-home militias – Khartoum’s incitement to violence might get life of its own.

Mid-July saw a marked escalation in fratricidal fighting, ostensibly over cattle wrestling, throughout South Sudan. The escalation in Jonglei State has been the most intense. Confronting the ongoing rebellion led by David Yau Yau is compounded by new clashes between the rival Lou Nuer and Murle tribes in which thousands of rival militiamen are fighting each other and the military of South Sudan.

Over 100,000 civilians have been cut off from vital aid because of the fighting between the rebels and rival tribes. Because of the fighting and the rainy season overland travel is impossible in the Jonglei area and the UN does not have enough helicopters.

Fratricidal violence has now escalated to the point that both the South Sudan military and the UN warn they cannot provide security in most of Jonglei. “Much as we believe in the ideals of the responsibility to protect, our mandate as the government and the mandate of the UN cannot match with resources that are there,” South Sudan’s Deputy Minister of Defense Majak D’Agoot acknowledged on July 16. D’Agoot explained that, for example, in Jonglei’s Manyabol area the army had only one company and the UN had a handful of peacekeepers that are jointly confronting, and are vastly outnumbered by, some 7,000 militia troops.

UN officials note that this escalation of violence has been made possible by the large flow of weapons and ammunition from Sudan.

Meanwhile, the build-up of Sudanese military forces just north of the border continues. In July 2013, the Sudanese forces expanded their illegal presence in the Safe Demilitarized Border Zone (SBDZ). The Sudanese military is building new reinforced company-level encampments – each with three tanks, three or four howitzers, five to eight technicals, two or three supply trucks, and tents and other structures for some 150 – 200 troops. Such new encampments were detected in early July near the Sudanese towns of Keri Kera (White Nile State) and al-Miqenis (South Kordofan State) – near the northernmost tip of the South Sudanese border.

Meanwhile, Khartoum is raising the ante in the confrontation with Juba over oil exports from South Sudan. On July 18, Khartoum formally reaffirmed that Sudan will stop oil flow through its pipelines in early August despite signed agreements to the contrary.

“We have been notified through our embassy in Sudan that as of [August] 7th, the Republic of Sudan will cease oil belonging to South Sudan from passing through its territory,” Nhial Deng Nhial, South Sudan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The reason for this escalation is the growing pressure felt in Khartoum on account of the chaos in Egypt and falling support for Bashir from the African Union (AU). With Egypt increasingly looking at a war with Ethiopia over the Nile waters as a national diversion from the chaos and destitute at home – Sudan must also come up with excuses for its own military deployments to the south. The building tension with South Sudan provides this justification. As well, the AU’s disenchantment with Khartoum’s antics was aptly demonstrated during President Bashir’s heralded official visit to Abuja, Nigeria.

Bashir had to cut short the visit and literally flee Nigeria for fear of arrest over the ICC warrant. Hence, Bashir is petrified that once his immunity as a head of state is stripped away he’ll end up in The Hague. Hence, despite previous promises to retire in 2015, Bashir must now get reelected, and the promise of returning South Sudan is an invincible crowd pleasing theme. Ultimately, the Sudanese government is refusing to accept or legitimize the very independence of South Sudan. Hence, reigniting of populist Islamist zeal over the reoccupation of South Sudan remains an infallible cause.

Khartoum is cognizant that the Islamist youth will rally in support for any confrontation with South Sudan irrespective of their plight or domestic destitute. Thus, for Bashir’s Khartoum banging the war drums is a sure diversion from the building domestic and international pressure.

The Fashoda Institute’s analysis point out that Juba will not accommodate Khartoum’s need for a diversion. Nor will Juba succumb to the growing pressure from Khartoum. President Salva Kiir articulated the resolve of South Sudan in his Independence Day speech on July 9. “The Republic of South Sudan attained freedom and independence after a generation long and bitter struggle in which our people were subjected to untold atrocities and genocidal persecution. Yet, we held together and endured the ordeals, and overcame the hardships. The untold sacrifices of so many led to our cherished freedom and independence,” President Kiir declared.
“This freedom, which we won through so much blood, sweat and tears, will never be reversed by current challenges.”

It is high time Khartoum internalizes this.

 

East Africa Committed To South Sudan, President Kiir’s Success

 

By Philip Johnston

Juba — July 11, 2013 … One of the main accomplishments of the two years of South Sudan’s independence is broadening regional cooperation in East Africa and unwavering support neighboring countries give to this youngest independent democracy.

That support was highlighted during the second independence anniversary celebrated in Juba, South Sudan on July 9th.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has received pledges of cooperation and committment from Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Botswana, South Africa, UN, EU, USA and the African Union.

Despite the effects of the oil shutdown, used by the Jihadist regime of Khartoum to strangle South Sudan, the regional East African leaders underscored the tremendous progress South Sudan has made in its bid to develop the country devastated by the two decades long civil war.

“When I was coming, flying over Juba, I looked down through the window of the plane, seeing the expansion of the city, I thought we were lost. Juba has grown in such a very short time”, said President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda. He wondered how much more would have been achieved had precious time not been lost in the many years of civil war.

“We must learn from each other and share experiences of each our recent past and work together to form a future that will be beneficial to all of us,” said said Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Calling for regional integration, President Kagame said South Sudan is bound to contribute to peace, security and development in the region and Africa as a whole. He said there is need to strengthen intra-African infrastructure and create economic growth in the region.

Reaffirming the commitment of his government to work with South Sudan and the region, the Rwandan President called for unity in the region to avoid what he said is “divide in action”.

Botswana’s President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, former South African President Thabo Mbek and UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Hilde Johnson, were many among regional and international dignitaries that graced the second independence anniversary attended by hundreds of thousands of South Sudanese at the Dr. John Garang Mausoleum in Juba.

US Secretary of State John Kerry stated: “On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, we extend our best wishes to the people of the Republic of South Sudan on the second anniversary of your independence.”
 

Kerry added: “The vision that South Sudan laid out for itself two years ago requires a sustained commitment to democracy and good governance, justice and accountability, and respect for the rule of law and the human rights of all of South Sudan’s people. We support South Sudan’s efforts to institute governmental reform at all levels, resolve outstanding conflicts, promote economic growth, and ensure peace and stability. The United States remains committed to helping South Sudan build a more prosperous, inclusive, and democratic society – one that is at peace internally and with its neighbors. On the second anniversary of your nation’s independence, the journey continues and we stand ready to help support economic prosperity, democratic governance, and respect for human rights in South Sudan for years to come.”