The United States Institute of Peace published my briefing on the High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF), intended to revive the stalled 2015 peace agreement in South Sudan. I offer recommendations for the international community in anticipation of the launch of the HLRF, suggesting its success hinges on clarifying serious ambiguities that exist in its design, including the questions of who will participate and the extent of the agenda. Read more here.
The Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee invited me to testify on the crisis in South Sudan on July 26, 2017. Video of the hearing and copies of the written testimony are available here.
The premise of Joshua Meservey’s recent Heritage Foundation report is sound. It is high time for the United States to hold accountable those responsible for the conflict in South Sudan. In Washington and around the world, there is and should be immense frustration with South Sudanese elites presiding over the collapse of their country. In response, that collapse demands practical, urgent realism, if the priorities of saving lives, reducing suffering, and ensuring regional and international security interests, including those of the United States, are to be advanced.
Meservey makes 19 recommendations. While his analysis is generally accurate, many of the recommendations that follow are problematic. The most radical proposals are: Continue reading
Last week, African Arguments published my article on the perils and limitations of the recent international call for a comprehensive ceasefire in South Sudan.
I argue that:
The achievement of peace in South Sudan is not, and has never been, dependent on demands made from New York, Washington, Addis Ababa or Nairobi. It has always depended on the South Sudanese. But as the fighting in the country continues, international actors should be aware that even an apparently uncontroversial policy such as the demand for a ceasefire can have complex, and potentially adverse, implications.
Read the full text here.
The leading U.S. government voices on South Sudan will soon be out of office. Over the last eight years, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and USAID Administrator (and formerly, Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director at the National Security Council) Gayle Smith have given the South Sudan file prominence and attention in Washington that the South Sudanese government scarcely appreciates. To the long list of things in flux in American foreign policy in 2017, we can probably add: a decline in U.S. attention towards South Sudan.
Many in the increasingly repressive and intolerant Juba government were quick to publicly gloat at the election of Donald Trump. The defeat of the Democrats was further occasion to express disdain at the Obama administration and what Juba perceives as its championing of policies unjust to South Sudan.
Although it remains in doubt, if the United Nations Security Council finally imposes an arms embargo on South Sudan this week, the international community may feel that it has responded to the dire warning of genocide made 19 days ago. But the ingredients for genocide in South Sudan are already assembled, and even if the resolution is passed, putting in place the practicalities of an effective sanctions regime will take too long. It is already too late for the embargo to play a fully preventative role in future atrocities.