By Chol Deng Yol, South Sudan
In the first place, without the influence of the international actors, South Sudan would have not negotiated for the comprehensive Peace Agreement that culminated into the declaration of independence of the Republic of South Sudan. Following the independence, South Sudan chose to establish diplomacy with the current-running-away nations with a hope in the upkeep of peace and in the creation of positive changes. Without diplomacy much of the world’s affairs would not exist, South Sudan is not exceptional.
These countries established relationship with South Sudan, most probably, to “represent” their state’s interests and to conduct negotiations or discussions designed to identify common interests for the purpose of achieving the state’s goals and avoiding conflict. Finding a common interest is vital in conducting negotiations because with a common interest representatives are able to devise a solution that is in the interest of both sides. For example, in Juba, the United States State Department has been engaging South Sudanese audiences through civil societies to speak about politics, security, and their values to help create an environment receptive to US national interests.
In the aftermath of Juba’s incidence, a ceasefire between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice-President Riek Machar is holding for a third day in Juba yet several countries are busy evacuating their citizens from South Sudan. Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, India and Uganda among others have already started taking their citizens out of the country whereas the US embassy in Juba said it was organizing flights to evacuate non-essential staff and all US citizens wishing to leave.
Now that these world powers, once perceived as’ watchdogs” of peace in South Sudan, are retreating from Juba, the local populations are made to believe that the security situation in the country is deteriorating and therefore the nation state is set to collapse in the nearest time possible. With such evacuations, the possible worse scenarios will be that South Sudan will definitely become a war theatre possibly for both internal and external forces. In essence, with South Sudan loosing diplomatic relationship with the world, the country would be at a constant state of war, and war would in fact never end because war normally ends with diplomatic negotiations. The possibilities are that;
Uganda has already begun to send troops to Juba with veiled intention of securing their market interest albeit branded in what seemed like evacuation of their so-called nationals in South Sudan. Uganda, a landlocked country, has no market penetrations in other countries as in South Sudan. Regionally, South Sudan remains the only major consumer of Uganda produces as there is no any other nation in the region that will accept Uganda products in large quantities.
The Republic of Sudan, will not fold her arms watching Uganda advancing her economic interest in South Sudan given the fact that the oil pipes transit fees proceeds constitutes three-quarters of Sudan’s GDP. Besides, South Sudan government relies on Sudanese Oil Pipelines 100% in exporting oil to the international Market.
The Sudan Arm Forces (SAF) under the umbrella of the East African regional combating Forces will definitely take over the vital oil facilities in Upper Nile and Unity State. Chinese will send in troops as well to defense their staff, equipment and interest in the oil fields. All these forces together with local legionnaires will join hands to overwhelm the SPLA fighting forces in pursue of their variable interests. Sudan and Uganda being the major dominating factors would definitely ensue in a protracted war linking their ever-stretched accusation of each country of hosting armed groups of JEM and LRA.
As indicated in the recent IGAD’s communique, the troika countries with Ethiopia and Kenya will send-in their mighty ground and air forces to fight the SPLA with intent to bringing down the government of Kiir, Machar and Wani Igga, at the pretext of evacuating non-essential staff and all non-South Sudanese citizens wishing to leave the country. President Barack Obama has already sent 47 troops to Juba to protect the US embassy and its staff. Besides, 130 more personnel were being sent to Djibouti to stand ready for deployment if necessary.
Remorsefully, in what seems to be an exaggerated evacuation of staff by embassies of Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, India and Uganda among others will circuitously pulled-in UNMISS and other INGOs operating in South Sudan, to consider similar exercise in evacuating their international staff, to safer places in Uganda or Kenya. If this happens, there will be big gaps in the protection of civilian; humanitarian assistance including food, medicines and non-food items for the displaced persons.
These embassies/INGOs with their evacuations exercises have all the rights to do so in line with their safety procedures however they are also sending wrong signals to the very people whom they have come to support. They (Embassies) should reconsider their moves and try to engage the warring parties to re-assemble on the round table for more peace dialogues, instead of deserting the people of South Sudan.
Now that everyone is fatigued of the South Sudanese politics and her people, the ball is now left to the South Sudanese leadership to take courage and sail the country forward. With or without the external powers, our land and its endowments will always remain ours and with this in mind, I called upon the Presidency comprising of President Kiir, Dr. Riek and Wani Igga, to unify their ranks in salvaging the image and integrity of this beloved country. Foreign troop’s interventions in Iraq, Syria, Mali, Libya and Somalia have shown little successes but only protracted wars that have either resulted into new uprisings in the forms of ISIL, and El-Shabaab in Somalia. We cannot accept such interventions but only political dialogue in South Sudan as we are the only masters of our own destiny.
By Chol Deng Yol, South Sudan
The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer.