President Salva Kiir has played a weak hand well since his main rival was forced out of Juba in July. To avoid new flare-ups in South Sudan’s three-year-old civil war, Kiir and regional states should step up their work on a more inclusive transitional government and peace deals with local rebel groups.
Originally published in Sudan Tribune
Originally published in Daily Monitor
Ethnic Shilluk rebels under Johnson Olony, part of Riek Machar’s Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), defeated rebels under Gen. Tanginye and Gen. Yohannes Okiech, part of forces loyal to Lam Akol, chairman of opposition Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-Democratic Change (SPLM-DC) party, early Jan in former Upper Nile state; Tanginye, Okiech and prisoners killed in fighting. Rebels and govt forces clashed several times around Malakal, Khor and Gabat, former Upper Nile state late Jan. After U.S. proposed UNSC resolution including sanctions and arms embargo late Dec, govt refused to meet U.S. Asst Sec State Thomas-Greenfield on visit to Juba 18 Jan. President Kiir 14 Jan created four new states bringing total to 32. Kiir’s meeting with Egyptian President Sisi in Cairo 9 Jan strained relations with Ethiopia which has rejected Egypt troop contributions to proposed UN Regional Protection Force in S Sudan. Kenyan authorities detained two S Sudanese opposition figures 23 and 24 Jan on unknown charges pending deportation.
The 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan reached a milestone with the formation of a transitional government in Juba in April. Yet fault lines like those in the Equatorias remain outstanding. A committed, inclusive political response is vital to stop low-level conflicts continuing indefinitely.
Talks led by East Africa’s IGAD offer the best chance to end South Sudan’s spreading war. International partners must put aside their disillusionment and rally to the regional body’s new IGAD-PLUS mechanism to help mediators reach a deal.
South Sudan’s Jonglei state is emblematic of the regional, national and local challenges to peace and of the limitations of trying to resolve a conflict by engaging only two of the nearly two-dozen armed groups in the country.
Refocusing international engagement as well as the peace negotiations is essential to stop South Sudan’s raging civil war from claiming ever more lives.
From the war's outset the UN never tried to maintain a death toll [in South Sudan]. Guesses vary from 50,000 up to 300,000. It demonstrates a shocking lack of humanity that no one has tried to establish the scale of violence.
The over-focus on a new peacekeeping mandate at the expense of political developments in the country [South Sudan] reflects international disunity and a lack of political strategy.
We need some kind of political solution to this conflict, and this resolution doesn’t do that.
It's time for real talk because while the diplomats are playing games, it will be the South Sudanese who are dying
It [South Sudan's peace agreement] halted the fighting, created a framework for reform, transitional justice and elections and prevented regional powers being further sucked into South Sudan's war
International actors are struggling to respond to the evolving situation in South Sudan, meanwhile regional actors are busy creating facts on the ground.
In this Q&A, senior analyst for South Sudan, Casie Copeland, explains what is behind the fighting in Juba and what can help prevent the conflict spiralling out of control.
The honeymoon period is now over for the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan, which formally ended the civil war in August 2015. Its guarantors need to act urgently in the next days to save it and prevent the country from returning to full-scale combat.