Jul 21, 2014
In South Sudan, the clans of the president Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar have been fighting a bloody civil war for the past five months. On April 15 and 16, several hundred people died when Riek Machar’s militias entered the town of Bentiu. A few days later, Salva Kiir’s forces assaulted the United Nations base.
It’s a situation leading to genocide and it is the culmination of the policy that the United States has carried out.
South Sudan was created in July 2011 after a long armed fight against the Sudanese central government led by the SPLA. The U.S. government lent military support to the SPLA, with its intelligence services providing training in the U.S. for the movement’s main leader, John Garang, a former colonel in the Sudanese Army. Uganda, a regional ally of the U.S., furnished the SPLA with a safe haven to use in transporting weapons. The SPLA’s attacks on the population were just as bloody as those of the Sudanese Army troops they were fighting. In reality, all of them were little more than a coalition of warlords, recruiting their own armies on a regional basis.
From the beginning they fought among themselves. Riek Machar fought against John Garang and Salva Kiir and even rejoined the Sudanese regime at one point. In order to fight against his former allies, he mobilized the Nuer population, from which he originated, against the Dinkas. The ethnic rivalries that these warlords have cultivated follow along the lines stirred up by the former British colonizers; they continue the same murderous path today.
The U.S. leaders knowingly brought these men to power, hoping to weaken the Sudanese regime that had been hostile to their interests. And they expected a greater access to Sudan’s oil, most of which is located in the South.
Thus the U.S. backed the partition of Sudan, both in the United Nations debates and on the ground. The warlords’ armed gangs merged into the army, which at that point was “national” in name only. The population no longer had access to roads, hospitals, or doctors, but its new leaders could lay claim to a large share of the profits stemming from oil drilling and from grabbing humanitarian aid coming into the country. This same jackpot is what the leaders are fighting each other for today, pitting the different populations against one another and plunging them into a living hell. One third of the population is living off humanitarian aid, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and many survive only in precarious UN refugee camps.
U.S. policy over the past several decades has played a major role in bringing the situation to this point.