How Obama’s last shot of hostile policy towards South Sudan dismally failed at the UN Security Council

Posted: January 3, 2017 by PaanLuel Wël Media Ltd. in Bol Madut Ayii, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Bol Madut Ayii, Juba, South Sudan


President Kiir with President Obama of the USA at the White House, Washington DC

January 3, 2017 (SSB) — The United Nations Security Council is one of the powerful organ within the United Nations that composed of fifteen members, the five permanent members include China, France, Russian Federation, The United Kingdom and The United States of America and ten non-members states elected for tow year terms by general assembly with end of term date include Angola, Egypt, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Senegal, Spain, Ukraine, Uruguay and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic).

The Security Council is empowered under ARTICLE 41 of the UN charter to enforce the peace by imposing non-military measures, including comprehensive economic sanctions. As UN sanctions have shown to cause massive harm to civilian populations, the question has arisen whether the Security Council is bound by any legal norms in designing and imposing economic coercion on population and if so, what are these norms?

Back to topic, on Friday 23rd Last year the UNSC held a secession at which it sought votes from its members to make a decision on measures to be taken about the situation in South Sudan, but it failed to meet the legal quorum. In that secession there were seven votes in favor and eight abstentions.  To meet the legal quorum and make a binding resolution on the matter presented on table for debate requires nine members votes in favor and not vetoes by the United States, France, Russia, Britain or China to be adopted.

In that secession Japan, Russia, China, Angola, Malaysia, Egypt, Venezuela and Senegal abstains from the voting process. To me, I think the proposed arm embargo and target sanctions are not the permanent solutions to end crisis in the world’s youngest nation. I have wrote and said several times that what the people of South Sudan need now is the support from the international community to implement the August 2015 agreement on the resolution of conflict in South Sudan.

Instead of proposing sanctions the UNSC and international community should keep on engaging the parties to the ARCISS to implement the agreement in letter and spirit in order to prepare conducive environment for general elections comes 2018. There are already signs of commitments shown by President Salva Kiir, and his recent declaration of national dialogue is the positive step that need support from the AU, IGAD and UN.

The national dialogue if conducted timely and in conducive environment will allow South Sudanese to express their grievances on table in order to find an amicable and permanent solution to the situation that the country has been undergoing. Threats of sanctions will not encourage leaders to implement the agreement and will also endanger the situation.

The history of sanctions imposed on some countries by UN proved that sanctions being arm embargo, target or economic sanctions cannot be a solutions.

The impact of United Nations sanctions on Iraq by then has sparked a worldwide debate on all aspects of sanctions, including their legality. The legal debate continues a long-running discussion among international lawyers on the law of UN sanctions. From the Un Security Council’s first imposition of mandatory sanctions, the use of sanctions has been surrounded by legal controversy. The first mandatory use involved sanctions against Rhodesia in 1966. The debate at that time centered on whether the Security was acting within its authority under the UN charter in mandating sanctions in a situation not squarely within the original charter conception.

In the view of this writer, the proposed sanctions would have never been effective though pushed by Samantha Power. Target sanctions on individual being assets freeze or travelling ban will not make any progress in search for permanent peace in South Sudan. The question now should not be whom to impose target sanctions or why not to impose arms embargo on South Sudan? Instead it should be how UN can support the parties to implement the 2015 agreement so that the civil population in South Sudan can have permanent peace in order to taste the fruits of their struggle for freedom.

It is historical undeniable that the USA government and its people stood firmly with the people of South Sudan in their hundreds years of walk to freedom. It will not make sense to inflict suffering on the same persons you help in dark days, yes there may be interests of America which might not have been met because America always give any support with expectation of kickbacks, but that unfulfilled interests of yours should not be asked by working against the existence of the very nation that you need to get your interest from.

The Friday unsuccessful vote seems to be the last shot of Obama hostile policy towards South Sudan and this writer expect from the incoming elected President of USA Donald Trump not to falls in the same hostile policy. Indeed no superpower nation that can be your close ally without engaging with diplomatically, the government of South Sudan through her ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation should act quickly and use diplomatic approaches with the new administration of Trump to strongly cements the bilateral/multilateral relations so that the old ties of USA and people of South Sudan duration Bush administration is revive.

There may be some individuals in the US Congress who are of Obamist hostile policies, those congressmen should be engaged diplomatically such that they don’t have any negative campaign against South Sudan in United Nations.

As the world’s youngest nation, things may not run well as USA may expect it, it is a matter of gradual changes, a civil population or freedom fighters that has been at war with enemy for hundred years cannot be turned into more democratic states over night. It took so many years for America and other advanced nations to be where they are today and therefore, will be immaterial to conclude earlier that South Sudanese have failed to run the nation smoothly without going through some challenges.

There have been several civil wars in America for more good years, since her proclamation of Independence on July 4th 1776 America has been at war of racism till now. The leadership and people of South Sudan are indeed facing so many challenges in the processes of nation building but there is a great hope that this country will rise up one day as one of the strongest nation.

In conclusion, it seems that God has been there for us always and it is high time for us to show that we are able to help ourselves before we pray to God for divine help. The enemies of South Sudan tried several times and they narrowly failed, so we should not be ignorant to fix our things properly such that we put our house in order to avoid opening doors for outsiders.

As South Sudanese, we should declare the year 2017 as year of peace, forgiveness, dialogue and reconciliation so that we revisit and revive our unity during days of struggles rather than dividing ourselves on tribal lines. “Together as South Sudanese from diverse cultures, religions and languages we can build a great South Sudan voluntarily united by the rich diversities of its people”

May God bless South Sudan!!

The writer is an LL.M candidate at College of Law, University of Juba and is reachable via

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, the city and the country you are writing from.

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