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As South Sudan implodes, America reconsiders its support for the regime - The Economist

South Sudan, the world's newest country, is like a jigsaw puzzle that has been broken apart, soaked in petrol and set alight. It will not be easy to put back together. It seceded from Sudan in 2011, after half a century of on-off rebellion and a peace deal in 2005. In a referendum, 99% of South Sudanese (who are mostly black and non-Muslim) voted to separate from the Arab, Muslim north. Sadly, clashes between different ethnic groups within South Sudan began almost immediately after independence.


The mayhem is now many-sided. The other tribes (of which the country has about 60) accuse Mr Kiir of funnelling government jobs and cash to Dinkas, and of using the national army to assert Dinka supremacy. Terrified non-Dinkas have formed armed groups to defend their homes, land and cows--and sometimes to raid the neighbouring villages. The government sees these groups as rebels to be exterminated, and tacitly encourages the ethnic cleansing of areas thought to support them. All sides slaughter civilians.

In Wau, Dinkas walk in the streets without fear (except at night, when robbers prowl). Meanwhile, tens of thousands of non-Dinkas huddle in tented camps nearby, guarded by UN peacekeepers. The non-Dinkas say they are too scared to return home. Many report being raped if they venture out to collect firewood. "Now it is death for anyone who is not a Dinka. If you can't talk like a Dinka, if you don't have the right [ritual] scars, they shoot you, no questions asked," says Abdullah, a farmer. "They want to clear the other groups and take control of everything. They kill you and take your land to graze their cattle on."

Out of South Sudan's pre-war population of 12m, the UN estimates that 2m have been displaced internally and another 2m have fled abroad. So bad is the violence that some flee into the war-ravaged Central African Republic, or into Sudan's troubled region of Darfur. Though South Sudan is fertile, more than half of its people face hunger. A famine earlier this year was averted by food aid. Diarrhoea, cholera and malaria have spread rapidly, along with kala-azar (a deadly parasitic disease carried by sandflies).

The economy is a disaster. The state depends on oil, which is 95% of exports. Not only has the oil price fallen by more than half since 2011, but output has collapsed in the fighting. The IMF guesses that real income has been cut in half since 2013. Inflation is over 300% a year. The government is short of cash. Unpaid soldiers rob civilians with impunity.

Much of the budget is stolen. Absurdly, half of the government's net oil revenues are spent on petrol subsidies--the government insists that fuel should be sold for far less than it costs. As a result, petrol stations have run dry. Outside each one, black-market traders sell fuel in water bottles for more than ten times the official price. The finance minister says fuel subsidies should be scrapped, but faces resistance from those who pocket them.

by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:15:20 PM EST
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As South Sudan implodes, America reconsiders its support for the regime

IOW, The Emperor and his cohorts haven't yet found a way to get rich off the situation. I mean, if they can't get richer, what's the point?

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 12:06:35 AM EST
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The median age in South Sudan is 17, just a stone's throw from Lord of the Flies territory.
by Andhakari on Sun Oct 15th, 2017 at 11:40:21 AM EST
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Nice to see around these parts again Andhakari!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 11:07:55 PM EST
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