Analysis: Fighting in South Sudan, Potentially Ongoing



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In July
of 2011 when South Sudan gained independence, there was a world of promise.
While the
country ranked near the bottom in almost all human development indicators, it
appeared to have shed the chains of a despotic government in Khartoum and had
natural resources and an environment that gave it great potential for
development.

The
greatest resource the country has is oil, which history has shown can either be
a blessing or a curse.
Supporters
hoped that petrodollars would allow for rapid development and a transition to a
democracy that respects human rights and is friendly to foreign direct
investment.


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Over the
last two-and-a half-years, the promise has yet to translate into real growth or
development and the world’s youngest state is taking significant backwards
steps in the form of horrific violence and internal fighting.
Estimates
are that about 500 people have died and 800 more have been wounded since what
appears to be a failed coup attempt a week a ago. President Salva Kiir blames
the fighting on those loyal to his dismissed former vice president Riek Machar.
The
accusations against Machar lend an ethnic as well as a political
element to the conflict. Kiir is a Dinka from the country’s largest ethnic
group, while Machar is from the Nuer tribe.
A week
before the fighting began, Machar, along with several other dismissed former
high-ranking officials in Kiir’s government, accused Kiir of “dictatorial
tendencies.”
Douglas
Johnson, a South Sudan expert who has written widely on the Nuer and is familiar
with Machar, seems to share his belief, telling Reuters that he believes this was a
spontaneous uprising and “…Kiir is using the excuse of putting down a coup to
suppress political dissent,” by going after Machar.
According to government sources the fighting is
completely under control, but foreign observers are less convinced. U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he is “deeply concerned” about the situation
and U.S. President Barack Obama stated the country was “…at the precipice…” and
that “…recent fighting threatens to plunge South Sudan into the dark days of
its past.”
Political
Scientist Jay Ulfelder, whose success at predicting mass violence has been
discussed previously on AFKInsider, has taken to
fatalist prognostication. He predicts the country now has about a 70 percent
chance of mass killings before 2015. The model defines mass killings as more
than 1000 civilians killed from a discrete group such as a ethnic or political
group. As a matter of comparison, “high-risk” states generally have around a
10-percent chance of such atrocities in the model.
In
addition to the death toll, the violence has already taken a particularly
troubling turn, with “Luo Nuer” youths, a sub-group of Machar’s
Nuer ethnic group, attacking a U.N. base that was sheltering
civilians, killing an unknown number of civilians and two
Indian peacekeepers.
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At the
time of the attack, 32 civilians had gathered at the base for protection. The
South Sudanese government has also reported to the U.N. Mission in South Sudan
(UNMISS) that youth are being mobilized by various groups and directed towards
the U.N. facility in Bor, which is currently housing approximately 14,000
civilians. All told, estimates have the number of civilians seeking U.N.
protection at 35,000 in a country of just more than 11 million.
Attacking
U.N. facilities is a mark of a particularly brutal and lawless conflict.
Such
instability has also had a tremendous effect on the business of multinationals in the
country. Approximately 200 oil workers have also sought refuge in U.N.
facilities until they can be brought to safety by China National Petroleum
Corporation, the main operator. Additionally, over-ground transportation has
been halted “with hundreds of trucks stuck at border crossings with Uganda and
Kenya…”
In South
Sudan, ethnic tensions between the Nuer and Dinka groups are fresh in many
memories. There have been clashes in Bor, the site of the U.N. facility housing
14,000 civilians, along with the site of a 1991 Dinka massacre at the hands of
the Nuer.
Such
long-ingrained ethnic tensions are considered by scholars of civil conflict to be
among the most difficult to overcome in favor of peace. Predictably, such
conflict lends itself to historically significant “us-versus-them” narratives
that can be difficult to break.
On this
site we have discussed in great detail the difficulties for
businesses associated with instability. Difficult security situations along
with long periods of interruption for various conflict-related reasons create a
near-impossible atmosphere to conduct business.
While the
South Sudanese government claims to have a handle on the fighting and a
pan-African delegation is attempting to mediate between groups, the attacks on
U.N. installations along with the apparent ongoing ethnic tensions lend to the
belief that conflict and civil upheaval in the country are far from complete.
Andrew
Friedman is a human rights attorney and consultant who works and writes on
legal reform and constitutional law with an emphasis on Africa. He can be
reached via email at afriedm2@gmail.com or via twitter
@AndrewBFriedman.
Thanks  to afkinsider.com

In July of 2011 when South Sudan gained independence, there was a world of promise.
While
the country ranked near the bottom in almost all human development
indicators, it appeared to have shed the chains of a despotic government
in Khartoum and had natural resources and an environment that gave it
great potential for development.
The greatest resource the country has is oil, which history has shown can either be a blessing or a curse.
Supporters
hoped that petrodollars would allow for rapid development and a
transition to a democracy that respects human rights and is friendly to
foreign direct investment.
Over the last two-and-a half-years, the
promise has yet to translate into real growth or development and the
world’s youngest state is taking significant backwards steps in the form
of horrific violence and internal fighting.
Estimates are that
about 500 people have died and 800 more have been wounded since what
appears to be a failed coup attempt a week a ago. President Salva Kiir
blames the fighting on those loyal to his dismissed former vice
president Riek Machar.
The accusations against Machar lend an
ethnic as well as a political element to the conflict. Kiir is a Dinka
from the country’s largest ethnic group, while Machar is from the Nuer
tribe.
A week before the fighting began, Machar, along with
several other dismissed former high-ranking officials in Kiir’s
government, accused Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies.”
Douglas
Johnson, a South Sudan expert who has written widely on the Nuer and is
familiar with Machar, seems to share his belief, telling
Reuters that he believes this was a spontaneous uprising and “…Kiir is
using the excuse of putting down a coup to suppress political dissent,”
by going after Machar.
According
to government sources the fighting is completely under control, but
foreign observers are less convinced. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
said he is “deeply concerned” about the situation and U.S. President
Barack Obama stated
the country was “…at the precipice…” and that “…recent fighting
threatens to plunge South Sudan into the dark days of its past.”
Political Scientist Jay Ulfelder, whose success at predicting mass violence has been discussed previously
on AFKInsider, has taken to fatalist prognostication. He predicts the
country now has about a 70 percent chance of mass killings before 2015.
The model defines mass killings as more than 1000 civilians killed from a
discrete group such as a ethnic or political group. As a matter of
comparison, “high-risk” states generally have around a 10-percent chance
of such atrocities in the model.
In addition to the death toll, the violence has already taken a particularly troubling turn, with “Luo Nuer” youths, a sub-group of Machar’s Nuer ethnic group, attacking a U.N. base that was sheltering civilians, killing an unknown number of civilians and two Indian peacekeepers.
At
the time of the attack, 32 civilians had gathered at the base for
protection. The South Sudanese government has also reported to the U.N.
Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) that youth are being mobilized by
various groups and directed towards the U.N. facility in Bor, which is
currently housing approximately 14,000 civilians. All told, estimates
have the number of civilians seeking U.N. protection at 35,000 in a
country of just more than 11 million.
Attacking U.N. facilities is a mark of a particularly brutal and lawless conflict.
Such instability has also had a tremendous effect
on the business of multinationals in the country. Approximately 200 oil
workers have also sought refuge in U.N. facilities until they can be
brought to safety by China National Petroleum Corporation, the main
operator. Additionally, over-ground transportation has been halted “with
hundreds of trucks stuck at border crossings with Uganda and Kenya…”
In
South Sudan, ethnic tensions between the Nuer and Dinka groups are
fresh in many memories. There have been clashes in Bor, the site of the
U.N. facility housing 14,000 civilians, along with the site of a 1991
Dinka massacre at the hands of the Nuer.
Such long-ingrained ethnic tensions are considered
by scholars of civil conflict to be among the most difficult to
overcome in favor of peace. Predictably, such conflict lends itself to
historically significant “us-versus-them” narratives that can be
difficult to break.
On this site we have discussed
in great detail the difficulties for businesses associated with
instability. Difficult security situations along with long periods of
interruption for various conflict-related reasons create a
near-impossible atmosphere to conduct business.
While the South
Sudanese government claims to have a handle on the fighting and a
pan-African delegation is attempting to mediate between groups, the
attacks on U.N. installations along with the apparent ongoing ethnic
tensions lend to the belief that conflict and civil upheaval in the
country are far from complete.
Andrew Friedman is a human
rights attorney and consultant who works and writes on legal reform and
constitutional law with an emphasis on Africa. He can be reached via
email at afriedm2@gmail.com or via twitter @AndrewBFriedman.

– See more at: http://afkinsider.com/34640/fighting-in-south-sudan-potential-ongoing-instability-violence/#sthash.aedAI07g.dpuf

In July of 2011 when South Sudan gained independence, there was a world of promise.
While
the country ranked near the bottom in almost all human development
indicators, it appeared to have shed the chains of a despotic government
in Khartoum and had natural resources and an environment that gave it
great potential for development.
The greatest resource the country has is oil, which history has shown can either be a blessing or a curse.
Supporters
hoped that petrodollars would allow for rapid development and a
transition to a democracy that respects human rights and is friendly to
foreign direct investment.
Over the last two-and-a half-years, the
promise has yet to translate into real growth or development and the
world’s youngest state is taking significant backwards steps in the form
of horrific violence and internal fighting.
Estimates are that
about 500 people have died and 800 more have been wounded since what
appears to be a failed coup attempt a week a ago. President Salva Kiir
blames the fighting on those loyal to his dismissed former vice
president Riek Machar.
The accusations against Machar lend an
ethnic as well as a political element to the conflict. Kiir is a Dinka
from the country’s largest ethnic group, while Machar is from the Nuer
tribe.
A week before the fighting began, Machar, along with
several other dismissed former high-ranking officials in Kiir’s
government, accused Kiir of “dictatorial tendencies.”
Douglas
Johnson, a South Sudan expert who has written widely on the Nuer and is
familiar with Machar, seems to share his belief, telling
Reuters that he believes this was a spontaneous uprising and “…Kiir is
using the excuse of putting down a coup to suppress political dissent,”
by going after Machar.
According
to government sources the fighting is completely under control, but
foreign observers are less convinced. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
said he is “deeply concerned” about the situation and U.S. President
Barack Obama stated
the country was “…at the precipice…” and that “…recent fighting
threatens to plunge South Sudan into the dark days of its past.”
Political Scientist Jay Ulfelder, whose success at predicting mass violence has been discussed previously
on AFKInsider, has taken to fatalist prognostication. He predicts the
country now has about a 70 percent chance of mass killings before 2015.
The model defines mass killings as more than 1000 civilians killed from a
discrete group such as a ethnic or political group. As a matter of
comparison, “high-risk” states generally have around a 10-percent chance
of such atrocities in the model.
In addition to the death toll, the violence has already taken a particularly troubling turn, with “Luo Nuer” youths, a sub-group of Machar’s Nuer ethnic group, attacking a U.N. base that was sheltering civilians, killing an unknown number of civilians and two Indian peacekeepers.
At
the time of the attack, 32 civilians had gathered at the base for
protection. The South Sudanese government has also reported to the U.N.
Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) that youth are being mobilized by
various groups and directed towards the U.N. facility in Bor, which is
currently housing approximately 14,000 civilians. All told, estimates
have the number of civilians seeking U.N. protection at 35,000 in a
country of just more than 11 million.
Attacking U.N. facilities is a mark of a particularly brutal and lawless conflict.
Such instability has also had a tremendous effect
on the business of multinationals in the country. Approximately 200 oil
workers have also sought refuge in U.N. facilities until they can be
brought to safety by China National Petroleum Corporation, the main
operator. Additionally, over-ground transportation has been halted “with
hundreds of trucks stuck at border crossings with Uganda and Kenya…”
In
South Sudan, ethnic tensions between the Nuer and Dinka groups are
fresh in many memories. There have been clashes in Bor, the site of the
U.N. facility housing 14,000 civilians, along with the site of a 1991
Dinka massacre at the hands of the Nuer.
Such long-ingrained ethnic tensions are considered
by scholars of civil conflict to be among the most difficult to
overcome in favor of peace. Predictably, such conflict lends itself to
historically significant “us-versus-them” narratives that can be
difficult to break.
On this site we have discussed
in great detail the difficulties for businesses associated with
instability. Difficult security situations along with long periods of
interruption for various conflict-related reasons create a
near-impossible atmosphere to conduct business.
While the South
Sudanese government claims to have a handle on the fighting and a
pan-African delegation is attempting to mediate between groups, the
attacks on U.N. installations along with the apparent ongoing ethnic
tensions lend to the belief that conflict and civil upheaval in the
country are far from complete.
Andrew Friedman is a human
rights attorney and consultant who works and writes on legal reform and
constitutional law with an emphasis on Africa. He can be reached via
email at afriedm2@gmail.com or via twitter @AndrewBFriedman.

– See more at: http://afkinsider.com/34640/fighting-in-south-sudan-potential-ongoing-instability-violence/#sthash.aedAI07g.dpuf
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