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The West Fails to Social Engineer South Sudan

September 19, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN — The purpose of capital cities is usually to showcase their nations. By this standard, undeveloped Juba, in South Sudan, illustrates the daunting challenges that face the world’s newest and poorest nation.

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Gaining independence in July 2011, South Sudan’s birth was not auspicious. Sudan was the largest country geographically in Africa, with significant ethnic, tribal, and religious differences between north to south. Hopes for a liberal, prosperous future died in 1989 when General Omar al-Bashir seized power from the democratically elected government, which had begun negotiating with rebels in the south. His rule, only recently ended, was marked by decades of repression and war.

Fighting was particularly bitter in the south. Estimates of the dead and displaced stand at two million and four million, respectively. (Separate conflicts in Darfur, the Blue Nile, and the Nuba Mountains also resulted in significant casualties.)

Under international pressure and in expectation of sanctions relief from the United States, al-Bashir negotiated an end to the civil war in the south in 2005. Secession won overwhelming support in the referendum that followed, leading to independence for South Sudan in 2011.

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But in December 2013, President Salva Kiir Mayardit claimed that Vice President Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon had attempted a coup. Machar denied the charge and fled; soon fighting erupted between competing factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. The combat lines are heavily, but not completely, ethnic. Several abortive ceasefires followed, with a power-sharing agreement signed in August 2015. Unfortunately, it quickly broke down, and was followed by renewed fighting and a split in Machar’s faction. A fresh peace accord was agreed to last year and suffered the usual delays. Now a new coalition is supposed to take power in November.

The consequences of all this have been catastrophic: in a nation of 12 million, perhaps 400,000 have been killed, 4.3 million have been displaced, and even more face famine. Incomes and living standards have collapsed. Civil war typically does not …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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