While South Sudan was supposed to be celebrating its 5th independence celebrations, the usual story happened. And of course you know it. I am not one of those who were surprised.
Like I argued in December 2013, South Sudan is a foreign creation and any serious inquiry into her dysfunctions should begin from there. It is the very foreign forces pitting Salva Kiir against Riek Machar, and chances are that none of the protagonists may come out of this alive- unless some sanity prevails in DC and Abu Dhabi. While it is true that there is a historical connotation to this conflict (Dinka and Nuer), the foreign arm looms larger- so much so that The Washington Post reported today that US’ baby in the mid of south Sahara is at the brink of collapse. Few may understand what that means. Few may understand the intricacies involved. And the story dates far back. In fact, many believe South Sudan’ clamor for independence was home-driven. Sorry!
When Col. Garang, instead of quelling the mutiny by 105BN in 1983, supported the mutineers and led the formation of SPLA against Khartoum, he was not acting on his behalf. Let us remember that Garang was fresh from Ft. Benning, GA, in the USA. One thing that shows us that SPLA was not a result of black suffering were internal divisions within and lack of coherent uniform ideological orientation. There was almost no common cause uniting them, despite that the Dinka and the Nuer were the largest bulk of the oppressed blacks. Because there was no unity of purpose and a spacious ideological vacuum, the result is this infighting, also ignited, and which did not surprise some of us.
Because they were united by foreign interventionists with another agenda than the plight of ordinary South Sudanese, the result is the killing of the very ordinary South Sudanese the SPLA claimed to protect. While the internal factors played a part, it was largely a tightly knit group never numbering more than seven people, which in the era before email, began gathering regularly at Otello, a restaurant near Washington’s DuPont Circle, composed of John Prendergast, Eric Reeves, Brian D’Silva, Ted Dagne and Roger Winter who created South Sudan. Do you remember that on 4th July 2010, Paul Kagame decorated Roger Winter?
This group, with close ties to the CIA and Oil corporations, are responsible for the warfare that engulfed Uganda, Rwanda, DRC and Sudan. U may need to recall that SPLA war crimes (read the ‘Denying “The Honor of Living”: Sudan, a Human Rights Disaster’) were buried under the carpet like the RPA or the NRA. Fast forward, Machar, touted as the de-facto leader of the SS felt demoted and sidelined and another power blocker is willing to help. This time- Eastern! The result: Mass atrocities as usual.
A little bit backward: The story actually begins in 1978. Garang, and Brian D’Silva studied together at Iowa State University. After graduation, D’Silva went with Garang to Sudan to teach at the University of Khartoum. D’Silva was a Ford Foundation visiting professor at U-Khartoum but the mainstream media omitted the reference to Ford, a known conduit to the covert U.S. intelligence sector and foreign interventions. Why is this history relevant? In the early 1980’s, Sudan was run by the CIA’s man Jaafar Nimeiri, who was ousted in 1985, and USAID maintained tight ties with the CIA.
From 1985 to 1989, the Reagan Administration maintained a strong allegiance to the unstable Islamic government prior to the ascension to power of Omar al-Bashir. USAID at the time was deeply involved in agriculture, especially interventions in plantations and gum arabic production. Gum arabic is essential for soft drinks (Coke, Pepsi, Fanta) and beer, and for ice cream and other foods, and Sudan has a near monopoly. Gum arabic imports were exempt from president Clinton’s trade embargo of October 1997. Rep. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) sponsored the gum arabic loophole and Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.) backed it: N.J. is home to three major corporations importing gum arabic. USAID operations became more and more untenable from 1985, and were completely displaced in 1989 under the Islamic government of Omar al-Bashir. Under USAID cover, Silva laid a foundation, and was a liason btn Garang and the Pentagon/ Congress.
What is happening today is that Machar is supported by the Arab world, alongside the Eastern block (that rare convergence), while Kiir is supported by the usual suspects (Downing Street and WH, through their allies in the region). Thus; the story unfolding is not new to some of us. It is the game plan running the world- from Iraq to Cremea and Syria. The devil is in the details.