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by Bjinse on Sat Oct 14th, 2017 at 08:02:46 PM EST
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
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
[ Parent ]
Current Affairs
Why not build The Wall, after all? Oh yes, it will be expensive, and contentious, and time-consuming. Most of the land along the border is privately-owned, which will inevitably entail "lengthy legal proceedings, political blowback and substantial expropriation payments." Yes, there's a lot of doubt about whether a wall would even be effective in deterring border crossings, especially by cartel operatives, who can certainly afford ladders, and have been paying Border Patrol agents to look the other way for years already. Yes, it is a frivolous pet project of Trump's, not a serious solution to any immigration problems the Democrats supposedly care about. Yes, it's a clear waste of taxpayer money.

But here's the most important consideration: when you have a group of people, like those in Trump administration, who are determined to do evil, it is much, much better for them to be wasting money than using it efficiently. If Trump wants to pour money and time into The Wall, and Republicans in Congress are willing to go along with him, and Democrats can barter substantive, permanent relief for Dreamers and some other classes of undocumented people in return, that would actually be a pretty tempting offer. The construction of The Wall will be a logistical nightmare, and almost certainly won't be finished by the time Trump's term is up--and even if it is, well, walls are much quicker to take down than they are to put up. We can mark our calendars for a big bulldozer parade along the border, followed by dancing in the streets.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Oct 18th, 2017 at 04:36:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There would be substantial ecological damage from that silly wall.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 02:17:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How can erection or destruction of a physical barrier damage the ecology of "emanations" such as social media?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 07:35:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
communicable disease.

USA imposes economic sactions against 'Ba'athist Iraq' commerce beginning 1990.
USA invades Iraq 2003. With USA military troops. And armament. Recruits Shi'ia militia and politicians.
Total Iraqi combatant and civilian casualities undefined.

Iraq's state and militia defend its territory.
Veterans & Widows Say Big Pharma Funded Terror in Iraq

Dozens of families of U.S. troops killed or wounded in Iraq sued some of the world's biggest pharmaceutical companies Tuesday, claiming they paid millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Iraq's Health Ministry for lucrative contracts, which financed the Iran-backed Shiite Mahdi Army.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 12:14:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We did this
A digest of events and political groups forming New Zealand's newest government.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Oct 19th, 2017 at 08:32:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
City of Dickinson, TX
Hurricane Harvey Repair Grant Application and Agreement by and between the City of Dickinson and

[...]

11. Verification not to Boycott Israel. By executing this Agreement below, the Applicant verifies that the Applicant: (1) does not boycott Israel; and (2) will not boycott Israel during the term of this Agreement.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 05:05:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
William O. Douglas, "Judicial Treatment of Nonconformists"
during the Red scares, 1939-1975
In the October 1943 term, there had been a similar case from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Dunne v. United States (138 F 2d 137), in which we denied certiorari. The case involved two conspiracies--advocacy of the overthrow of the government by violence, and advocacy of disloyalty and insubordination in the armed services. No overt acts were charged apart from advocacy. Yet the case, emotionally speaking, was less appealing than Dennis because Dennis was in the classic framework of teaching.
[...]
The arrival of Earl Warren made part of the difference. Moreover, I think the notorious and high-handed way in which the loyalty security program was administered was making itself felt on the judicial conscience. In any event, the Court construed executive orders and regulations concerning the discharge of "subversives" from government employment quite strictly, to give the accused employees a full measure of procedural due process of law. [See "The Case of Emily Geller" for an example of a loyalty security hearing.]
[...]
The Court also did a shade better when it came to loyalty oaths. The vice of many loyalty oaths is that they look to the past, not to present fitness or future promises of behavior. They punish a person for acts which may not have been unlawful when committed. They have all the essential earmarks of bills of attainder historically used to inflict punishment on unpopular minorities. A person seeking a public post can of course be tested for present loyalty and for his disposition toward law and order. But disqualifying him because of past actions or thoughts that are not necessarily relevant to present fitness is punishment for acts which may have been innocent when done. Certainly a person put on the blacklist for public employment suffers punishment of an acute and measurable amount. (For more on blacklisting, specifically in Hollywood, click here.)

&tc.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 01:47:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Clan politics endanger Somaliland's presidential election
When Jamal Ali Hussein, the former CEO of Citibank Tanzania and a Harvard alumnus, decided to directly engage in Somaliland politics six years ago, many Somalilanders were hopeful and believed that his positive impact would be visible in a short period. He later managed to be nominated as the presidential candidate of the Justice and Welfare Party, also known as UCID. He was accompanied by his vice presidential candidate Abdirashid Hassan Matan, another young educated but novice politician. However, Hussein's and Matan's political inexperience came to light soon....

Donald Trump's comments on Africa at the UN were, um, odd
"Africa has tremendous business potential, I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. I congratulate you, they're spending a lot of money. It has tremendous business potential, representing huge amounts of different markets. It's really become a place they have to go, that they want to go."


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 11:53:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a good thing that The Nation is erecting its "paywall" now before, yanno, Mr Snowden reveals all.

source: ["]Secret["] US Military Documents Reveal a Constellation of American Military Bases Across Africa

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Fri Oct 20th, 2017 at 12:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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