My Personal Appeal to the International Community: For God Sake, Do Not Impose Bad Peace on South Sudan

Posted: August 1, 2015 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Commentary, Contributing Writers, Editorials, Featured Articles

Instead of Imposing Bad Peace, the International Community Should Seek Sustainable Peace in South Sudan.

By Hon. Arop Madut-Arop, Oxford, UK

Waiting for peace from Addis Ababa

Waiting for peace from Addis Ababa

August 1, 2015 (SSB) — As a concerned citizen, who have been at the epicentre of the politics of South Sudan, during its long tortured history of liberation struggle, I find myself obliged to write to the international community, and to the IGAD countries in particular that, they should not look at the political developments in South Sudan; a state which has just emerged from five decades old protracted destructive wars with its people traumatized, in the same way as they look at their own affairs in their developed countries and their affluent societies; a move which is very disheartening and indeed very frustrating to the people of the South Sudan.

As Sudan’s old agenda to destroy the South Sudan or at least to make her weak in order to reclaim the lost paradise, apparently with the connivance with other IGAD countries; and tacitly with the blind support from the international community, I would like to bring into the attention for those who would like to rescue South Sudan with the following comments, which I feel will be very educative and informative. Please bear with me if my comments to enlighten the international community appear lengthy.

Firstly, after the independence of South Sudan from the bondage of the successive Islamic Khartoum rogue regimes in 2011, the people of South Sudan had expected that the international community would have come in and help start sustainable socio economic development, on the top the rehabilitation of the projects and infrastructure totally destroyed during the war; using the pledged multi-donor fund when the peace descended on the South Sudan in 2005. The people of the South Sudan had also expected that, the international community to assist the young nation to organise itself politically, socially and economically. If with genuine move and good will to help the South Sudan to build itself as to become a nation state, the international community with the large money pledged could have assisted the new fledgling state to harmonise is people, who have been scattered by the successive wars to different parts of the world, where they had acquired different cultures and now needed to be harmonised as they converged on their new found country.

Secondly, the people of South Sudan have also assumed that, the US Government which has midwife the birth of the young nation would have been at the forefront of friendly countries that would have come in, with its abundant expertise of all disciplines, right from the time, when their country became an independent state. This could have been the noble USA start of socio economic development in their youngest country and to establish democratic system of governance in which US is renounced. Instead USA waited until the South Sudan descended into the December crisis with a stick holding it on the warring parties without carrots.

Thirdly the people of South Sudan are now worried that, if their country is allowed to collapse, with the apparent connivance of countries with vested interest in its abundant untapped resources; the beneficiary will be the Sudan which will immediately seize the opportunity and re-annex it to its chaotic Islamic Nation of God. Another regrettable thing I would like to bring to the attention of international community, is that, unlike other countries in the region, where the rebels fighting against their governments for instance: Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, CAR and DR Congo, are condemned out rightly and joint actions taken against them, the international community and some IGAD countries have unfortunately singled out the rebellion in the republic of South Sudan, as a special case which needs urgent attention and special treatment. Otherwise one may ask, what is so special about South Sudan that all the affluent countries hold their sticks on her warring parties with a threat of sanctions, if they do not cooperate to stop the war and accept peace; while not blaming the other crisis ridden countries?

Fourthly, a similar important issue to emphasise here is that, the same pressure which is now being brought to bear on the South Sudan warring parties, to reach peace with the immediate effect, by international community, should have equally been brought to bear on the other conflict affected countries in the region; some of which have been fighting ceaseless destructive wars for decades like Sudan, for instance, whose president had even been indicted by the International Criminal Court for atrocities committed by his regime against his own people in Darfur region. It would be for the interest of maintaining peace in the region that, concerted efforts to resolve all the current rebellions together, would indeed demonstrate that IGAD countries are serious in their efforts to bring peace to their crisis prone region.

Fifthly, it would also be very important to inform the international community that it would be useful for the IGAD countries to resolve concurringly all the destructive on-going wars in South Sudan and Sudan, the latter which has been fighting ceaseless destructive wars that have killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions of people from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The continuous insecurity in the Sudan will have serious impact on peace in South Sudan. Thus the need to resolve the two conflict in the two countries concurringly.

Sixthly, UN as a neutral body, whose purpose of its existence it is to moderate, mediate and reconcile any disputes arising between states and non state actors in any conflict arising, in a peaceful way, should not also hold the same view as indicated by the recent UN secretary general statement in which he has endorsed the imposition of economic sanctions and arms embargo on the two parties to the on-going conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, as being preached by the Troika Countries and some IGAD countries. UN as a peace making body should have rather resort to high ground diplomacy to find ways and means of providing solutions amicably, regardless to how long it may take to bring acceptable permanent peace to South Sudan.

The people of South Sudan do very much believe that the US Government in particular, who midwife the birth of their new nation is well placed to influence international community not to destroy this unfortunate vulnerable four years old country by the use of economic sanctions and arms embargo. USA would rather seek consultation with all the experts in the country, some who have made researches and have written books about the people of the South Sudan about how best it will take to bring amicably solution to the on-going crisis in the younger nation. From this premise, Britain the former ruler knowledgeable of the historical development of the South Sudan and its people could guide the European and the IGAD countries; not to speculate or think of punishing the warring parties but pursue better ways of bringing peace to the world youngest nation, regardless as to how long it may take to bring peace.

Seventhly, commenting on the recent steps that have been taken by the Troika countries and the European partners to impose economic sanctions and arms embargo on the two warring parties on the on-going crisis in South Sudan; I am afraid, this apparent good intentioned move, may add more fuel to the already smouldering fire. As a matter of fact, the silent majority in South Sudan, are expecting that US, as an assumed friendly country to the people of South Sudan, should have not allowed herself dragged into supporting the IGAD countries, some of who apparently, have vested interests; like the republic of Sudan for instance, that has directly or indirectly, been, allegedly fanning the rebellion with the aim to reclaim its lost Paradise.

Looking critically at what may happen, if economic sanction and arms embargo were imposed on the two warring parties in the South Sudan civil war, as presently being proposed by the IGAD with the support of Troika countries and with the UN sanction, and in the event, I strongly believe that several predictable scenarios would happen. These possible scenarios are enumerated here below for scrutiny and perusal.

In the first scenario, the government of South Sudan, with no enough weapons to resist the rebels fighting against her and no money to maintain itself, may survive at the skin of its teeth. The end results will apparently be that, without enough resources to meet its obligations, as a government, many of its officials and workers that would be affected negatively by the economic sanctions may be forced to leave the cities and walk to the countryside, where they will be faced with a number of predictable experiences. One of such regrettably experiences which readily comes to mind, is the experience of the Republic of Somalia.

When the western powers helped the overthrow of President Siyiad Barre, accusing him as a communist oriented leader, the republic of Somalia, the once peaceful and prosperous country, was unfortunately split overnight, into two hostile weak countries; north and south. Whereas, the people of Somaliland appear to be coexisting harmoniously to a certain extent, the people of Southern Somalia; despite the fact that they are indigenous and homogeneous; speaking the same one language, practicing the same culture and the same religion, Islam, have been fighting mercilessly and ceaseless wars, without remorse, among themselves: tribe against tribe, one sect against another sect, ethnic groups against other ethnic groups. This should be avoided by all means to repeat itself in the world youngest nation, the Republic of South Sudan.

The second predictable scenario has to do with the fact that, both the RSS Government and Dr Riek Machar SPLM IO rebels, with the arms embargo en force, will definitely continue to receive weapons in the middle of nowhere or may be from across the country’s open borders and particularly, from Sudan Government, which is allegedly assisting them currently. The rebels can even barter weapons in the black market with cattle and continue fighting the pro government forces. As for the government, with the country, already awash with thousands of illegal arms in the hands of scores of tribal militias and armed cattle rustlers, roaming in the countryside, may embark on disarming and collect these illegal weapons and use them to protect itself from the rebels fighting against her. The predictable endgame would be that the entire country would be thrown into chaos like what is now happening in Somalia, Libya and Iraq countries.

One more important issue that I would like to draw the attention of those countries who are bent of destroying South Sudan in the guise of extracting her from the jaws of the on-going conflict is that, with the possible breakdown of law and order in the country, as a consequent of the arms embargo, described previously, the people of South Sudan, with their time honoured culture of killings and revenge killings, a culture where an injury to one is an injury to all, will turn South Sudan into a worse situation than what is currently happening in countries like (God forbid) Syria, Iraq and Yemen that have been turned into breeding grounds for terrorism; where terrorists roam about, killing thousands of their people and destroying properties at will, without due regard to humanity or religious ethics and with no neutral bodies to bring them together and negotiate peace in amicable manner.

It was apparently the Dinka and the Nuer time honoured culture of an injury to one is an injury to all, which apparently fuelled the December crisis; in the sense that, when some elements among the Nuer people, heard that some of their tribesmen have been killed by elements of Dinka community in Juba, without waiting to know what actually went wrong, immediately went on revenge killing spree. Consequently; all the innocent Dinka people who have nothing to do with the demise of their people in Juba and, who had peacefully settled among the Nuer’s counties and villages, were mercilessly mowed down.

Regrettably, since the killing of the thousands of Dinka people in the Nuer counties, no one has ever talked about them; not even the recent leaked AU Human Rights Report (now released to the parties) has mentioned them. In order to draw much attention to the readers of my piece about the time honoured social fabric of South Sudan, let me quote late Sir Winston Churchill, which I believe, may reflect of what has been happening and may continue to happen in the youngest nation, the Republic of South Sudan and which should not be allowed to continue unhindered. After the Anglo-Egyptian forces invaded the Sudan in 1898 and made it a colony, late Sir Winston Churchill who was accompanying the invaders later wrote in his famous Book, The River War. Sir Winston Churchill stated.

We found two Sudans;’ the military Sudan (northern Sudan) and the really Sudan (Southern Sudan). On the northern Sudan Churchill stated that it is inhabited by a hybrid people of Afro Arab admixture, who have produced people that would cost you a lot to convince them that they are wrong. As for the people of South Sudan, Sir Churchill said. We found them hunting, dancing, marrying and dying. More than one hundred years on, while the people of military Sudan show no change in their mindset, the people of South Sudan are still hunting, dancing, marrying (marrying many wives) and dying –killing one another. This can explain what has been and is happening in the modern day, Republic of South Sudan. Therefore those who would like to help the young republic to come out of its predicament must avoid imposing solution on its people. Rather to devise wise and feasible means to restore peace to their country.

As a concern citizen I am appealing to the international community and IGAD countries to approach the on-going conflict in the South Sudan with wisdom and by consulting with all international experts and the use of high level diplomatic means to help resolve the issue of their young nation, which has just emerged from the five decades old wars, and with its people still remaining traumatised and needs all the nursing.

The international community and people of good will; on the top the IGAD countries, should better assist in restoring peace and stability no matter how long it would take to bring sustainable peace, to the war ravaged South Sudan amicably, instead of the current move or speculation to punish her with a threat of economic sanction and arms embargo. This will not work but may throw her headlong into the same situation like Libya where thousands are dying at seas daily as they scramble to reach Europe after the collapse of their country.

Comparatively when the leaders of Libya and Iraq governments, were overthrown with no alternative democratic systems put in place, their countries have now become breeding grounds for extremist terrorists, the Jihadists, now roaming the two countries at will, killing and maiming people without regard of humanity or religious ethics.

May I conclude my appeal by saying that, it would be advisable for Britain a former colonial ruler which is very knowledgeable of the area and apparently very aware of the social fabric and mindset of the people of South Sudan to coach the Troika and IGAD Countries to abandon the temptation to impose a bad peace on a country inhabited by an amalgam of disorganised and illiterate tribes each at one another throat; people who are still living in primordial era.

Similarly economic sanctions and arms embargo should not be considered or speculated at all, because they will complicate things further than provide solutions. It will therefore be instructive to negotiate a permanent ceasefire first, after which mediation can then start between the two parties no matter as to how long it would take to reach acceptable and endurable peace.

I am therefore appealing to members of international community and particularly the IGAD Governments that, in order to bring about a sustainable peace to the war ravaged South Sudan, it would be very necessary to negotiate and to sign a permanent ceasefire first and then bring the parties to the conflict to a round table conference and start a nonstop marathon negotiation on the IGAD Plus current comprehensive compromise proposal on the table.

Importantly, signing a ceasefire first, is very important because experience has shown that, it is only during a sustainable ceasefire, that wanton atrocities; killing, revenge killing, kidnapping, maiming intimidation and all forms of violence are halted. This create conducive atmosphere for the negotiation process. It can also give a breathing space to the warring parties so as to think of the best ways of addressing the conflict and South Sudan people are best known for their time honoured culture of making peace among themselves, if left alone.

It will therefore be very important at this stage to inform the international community, that when the Dinka and the Nuer concluded peaceful coexistence at Wunlit village in Western Upper Nile in the 1990s after years of savage killing themselves and kidnapping of women between the two people, it was the very two leaders who are now fighting one another, Dr Riek Machar who was in charge of Western Upper Nile and General Salva Kiir then Commander of Bahr al Ghazal who initiated, negotiated and concluded a sustainable peace between the two people. Gratefully, the Wunlit peace agreement became a prelude to the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Furthermore, the Wunlit peace initiative was negotiated using the traditional mechanisms. This approach has already been initiated recently by the African most revered statesman, the former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi, when he brought the elders of the two people to Kenya two months ago and made them (Nuer and Dinka elders) discussed how to bring pressure to bear on the two leaders who hail from them, Salva Kiir a Dinka and Dr Machar a Nuer. The result of President Moi initiative is already yielding fruits on the ground.

My personal appeal to the IGAD Plus Mediators is to abandon the temptation and the urge to the two warring parties to sign the peace agreement on the 17th August 2015. The IGAD Plus decision is the description of an imposed peace, therefore a bad peace. This was indicated by the recent President Obama statement when he addressed the recent African Union summit in Addis Ababa. President Obama said:

“Yesterday, I met with leaders from this region. We agreed that, given the current situation, Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar must reach an agreement by August 17th — because if they do not, I believe the international community must raise the costs of intransigence. And the world awaits the report of the AU Commission of Inquiry, because accountability for atrocities must be part of any lasting peace in Africa’s youngest nation”.

It will be important to state that, when South Sudan people heard of the coming of President Barack Obama, their hopes were raised that President Obama, whose Nilotic blood is running under his vein, was expected to call on the two leaders General Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar and urged them to stop the war and bring peace to their war afflicted people. It was also assumed that President Obama was well briefed by his country intelligence regimes and political scientists in the USA establishment. If he was well briefed, the unfortunate threat of holding the stick of the warring parties with no carrots or incentives that would have made the two people accept his appeal, has worried the South Sudanese that, President Obama came to push the South into the Somalia, Iraq, and Libya like situations.

Regrettably USA intelligence regimes have failed their President. The intelligence regimes should have informed their President that the two warring parties in the South Sudan have been fighting their war of liberation without external help first for seventeen years 1955-1972 and later 21 years 1983-2005. USA intelligence regimes have further failed to bring to the attention of their Honourable President that if economic sanctions and arms embargo did not bring peace to the Sudan and Zimbabwe for instance, it will never bring peace to South Sudan. South Sudan people are worried that international community has become an NGO, a body which is run by interest groups.

In brief it would have been better if the international community can resort to embark on high ground diplomacy. This is a better approach that would succeed to bring peace to the South. IGAD have also failed to bring peace to the South Sudan during the last 20 months; apparently because most of the IGAD countries have vested interest e.g. Sudan authorities who would be too happy to see South Sudan fail so that they can grab it and re-annexed to their chaotic Islamic nation of God.

Needless to remind President Obama that the Republican Party initiative which brought peace and independence to the South Sudan in 2005, was coincidental, because of the pressure brought to bear on President George W Bush by the Churches who helped brought him to the White House in 2002. The Churches effectively used religious prosecutions and persecutions of the Christians by the successive Islamic regimes in Khartoum who have been using huge Islamic money aimed at effort to export Islam Religion not only to South Sudan but beyond its confines; a move which if not halted would have had serious implications on American interests in the region.

It was against this background that President Bush appointed a former pastor, senator Dannforth to spearhead peace negotiation between the Sudan government and the SPLM. The coming of the USA to the aide of South Sudan was importantly also due to the presence of Osama Bin Laden an Islamic zealot in the Sudan which forced Washington to help restored peace negotiation between the Sudan Government and to the South Sudan based SPLM; but not because for the love of the people of South Sudan as indicated by President Obama, when he made that unfortunate comment in which he supported the idea to impose bad peace on the South Sudan by using stick without carrots. In this regard let me attempt to back up my comment by quoting what Andrew Natsios, a former US envoy to South Sudan in the George W Bush administration told New York Times recently; when he called for a need for new approach for the talks on the upcoming IGAD Plus talks on South Sudan. Hon Andrew Natsios stated.

“The United States government and European countries should initiate new talks with new sponsors. And the immediate priority of those discussions should be to weaken the military capacity of the warring parties while urgently brokering a humanitarian cease-fire,” he wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Thursday. Andrew Natsios said; the so-called IGAD-Plus talks have failed to bring about a viable peace agreement because some of the mediators are not impartial brokers, citing Khartoum, which has allegedly been supplying South Sudan with weapons to keep the country unstable, adding that;

“The most effective military troops there now are the Ugandan People’s Defense Force, which President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda sent in to help Mr. Kiir, who is a friend and ally, stay in power. Ethiopia, which has a significant Nuer population, can press only gingerly the Nuer rebel leaders and commanders in South Sudan,” he added. The former US envoy to South Sudan further proposed that, senior military commanders from the two sides be included in the negotiations. “In fact, they must be: When in the past, the government in Juba has issued humanitarian access permits to United Nations relief agencies, commanders in the field have ignored them and stopped aid shipments,” stressed Natsios. Allowing commanders participate in the talks, he said, will most likely see them enforce what they agreed upon at the negotiating table.

According to Andrew Natsios, local Christian churches and local civil society groups should be encouraged to start grassroots reconciliation initiatives, especially to ease tensions between the Nuer and Dinka. “The churches in particular, which claim the loyalty of 60 percent of the population, are a rare indigenous actor with both moral authority and a reach that transcends tribe and region,” he wrote on Thursday. The former US envoy urged international aid agencies to fund the training of church leaders in mediation techniques and set up a pilot program to create local dispute-resolution committees using church leaders, with a view to eventually extending it across the country.

In conclusion, I would like to recommend to the IGAD plus Mediators that when they convene the upcoming meeting, perhaps in a week time in Addis Ababa, they must do the following. Firstly, since it has been duped as the last round, the parties must be told that they would not leave Addis Ababa until a sustainable peace is signed.

Secondly, the two parties must be asked to establish two distinct political parties that would form a coalition transitional government of national unity, when peace has been realised. In my humble opinion SPLM has failed to run the country as a one united party because some of its leaders have over ambition that may have contributed negatively to the December 2013 and may be a cause of continuing discord which may bring the country back to the worst conflict.

Precisely, the once mighty SPLM has already split into three factions, the SPLM in the government, SPLM In opposition and SPLM DC. These are main three distinct parties that should be encouraged to go their own way. This will be a good beginning of multi party democracy in South Sudan and President Obama would have done good thing to his ancestor land if he had availed much money to attract South Sudanese to end the war and embrace multi party democracy.

Finally if the two main parties are created, it will be then that they will enter into a marathon peace negotiation, which will include all the stakeholders which must include the traditional leaders and elders and. It would be then that a sustainable peace could be achieved, in the country hence the beginning of the new era and thereby, interim period could begin.

Arop Madut-Arop is author of two publications: Sudan Painful Road To Peace; a full story about the founding and development of the SPLM/SPLA (2006) and The Genesis of Political Consciousness in the South Sudan (2012). The two books can be found at Amazon website.

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made are the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article or news analysis, please email it to SSB do reserve the right to edit material before publication. Please include your full name, email address and the country you are writing from.

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