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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.