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Monday, 30 December 2013

How the United States was midwife to the mass slaughter in South Sudan

Stop the War Coalition
Peter Van Buren

History is just one of those hard things to ignore, especially in South Sudan.

In 2011, the US midwifed the creation of a new nation, South Sudan. Though at the time Obama invoked the words of Dr. Martin Luther King speaking about Ghana (“I knew about all of the struggles, and all of the pain, and all of the agony that these people had gone through for this moment”) in officially recognizing the country, many were more focused on the underlying US motives, isolating the rest of Sudan as part of the war on terror, and securing the oil reserves in the south for the US

The State Department rushed to open an embassy in South Sudan, and US money poured in to pay for the new government.

Like his counterparts from Iraq and Afghanistan when the US was still in charge of those places, the new South Sudan president was brought to the White House for photos, all blithely pushed out to the world via the Voice of America. The two leaders were said to have discussed “the importance of maintaining transparency and the rule of law.”

In 2012 then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the nation as part of an extended effort at creating B-roll footage for her 2016 campaign, and Obama publicly applauded a deal brokered between Sudan and South Sudan on oil pipeline fees that the White House claimed would “help stem the ongoing violence in the region.”

However, like in Iraq, Afghanistan and so many other places that fell apart while being democratized and stabilized by the US (one also thinks of Libya, itself part of the African continent), the rush to mediagenic proclamations without addressing the underlying fundamentals led only to catastrophe. 

A scant few years later, South Sudan is at the brink of civil war and societal collapse, the US is evacuating another embassy and indeed one variety or another of “rebels” are shooting at US military aircraft arriving in their country in violation of their national sovereignty. Those who believe that the US efforts in South Sudan do not involve special forces on the ground and drones overhead no doubt will have a nice Christmas waiting up to catch a glimpse of Santa.

Obama, apparently unwilling to remember how he stood aside while an elected government recently fell apart in Egypt, went on to double-down on hypocrisy by stating in regards to South Sudan, “Any effort to seize power through the use of military force will result in the end of long-standing support from the United States and the international community.”

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