Monday, December 23, 2013

The Sudden War in South Sudan

A couple of days ago I posted the news that the US has quietly made the first steps in getting involved in the world's newest war, the South Sudan civil war.  I finally saw an article in the Washington Post this morning that outlined the players and politics.  However, Stacy McCain, who has been on the story for weeks now, has fresh updates:

Obama to #SouthSudan: Good Luck
If you expected any determined U.S. action to end this civil war, my condolences on your Nobel Peace Prize disappointment:
“This conflict can only be resolved peacefully through negotiations. Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of longstanding support from the United States and the international community.”
This is just noise, which any rebel leader or armed tribal mob will scornfully ignore, if they even bother to notice because, contrary to the president’s assertion, conflicts often are revolved violently through the use of military force, and without regard to a lot of diplomatic chatter from “the international community.” The man with a gun in his hand generally only stops fighting when confronted with superior force, and there is nothing in Obama’s statement that indicates any effort by the U.S. in that direction. 

#SouthSudan: It’s Civil War Now
There has been a lot of verbal tiptoeing among journalists writing about the crisis in South Sudan, said to be “on the verge” of civil war, etc. But the country’s former vice president, Riek Machar, has now admitted that he is leading the rebels, some army officers have defected to Machar’s side, bloody tribal violence has erupted, foreign nationals are evacuating, U.S. troops were wounded by rebel fire, a key oil region is reported under rebel control, total casualties are estimated to exceed 1,000 — it’s past the “verge.” This is a civil war:
Rebels have seized the capital of a key oil-producing state in South Sudan, government officials said, as fears grew that the latest violence would spiral into an all-out civil war in the world’s newest country...
We’re clearly past the “teetering on the brink” phase:
Civilian helicopters evacuated US citizens from a city in South Sudan that has seen bouts of heavy machine-gun fire, but 3,000 citizens from countries including Canada, Britain and Kenya remain trapped there, a UN official has said...  The death toll from a week of violence in South Sudan has likely surpassed 1,000, though there are no firm numbers available, he said on Monday. The number of internal refugees is likely to exceed 100,000, said Lanzer, who is seeking urgent financial assistance from the international community.
and now:

The Sudden #SouthSudan Crisis
What is stunning about the situation in South Sudan is how rapidly it has spun completely out of control:
Eight days after a mutiny in South Sudan’s capital signaled the start of “unrest” (as reporters euphemistically phrase it), it was reported Monday that additional U.S. troops would be sent to Africa in preparation for possible further action. Four U.S. troops were wounded Saturday when rebels fired on an evacuation flight to the key South Sudanese town of Bor, about 125 miles north of the capital, Juba...
“Defense officials say the U.S. is moving additional Marines and aircraft from Spain to the Horn of Africa to provide embassy security and help with evacuations from violence-wracked South Sudan,” the Associated Press reported. “A defense official says the extra forces moving to Djibouti will bring the total U.S. troops there to 150, with 10 aircraft, including Osprey helicopters and C-130 transport planes.

Read the whole thing at The American Spectator.

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