08.01.2017 Author: Jean Perier

As Sudan Gets Messier, Washington Gets Wealthier


Both business and political circles in the United States have long been making efforts to put all oil-producing regions of the world under their direct control. In this regard, one can observe the role they played in the signing of the so-called Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 between Sudan and South Sudan as an integral part of these efforts. This move paved the way for a referendum of independence in 2011 that resulted in the legal separation of the country. However, a number of disputes between Sudan and South Sudan remain unsolved to this date, including such matters as the control over oil resources and the status of the Abyei region.

On November 18, the UN Security Council expressed its readiness to impose sanctions on South Sudan in order to prevent further escalation of violence in the country. In a press statement the members of the Security Council strongly condemned all attacks on the civilian population of South Sudan, as well as cases of ethnic cleansing, xenophobic remarks and racial discrimination that are taking place across the region. The United States Permanent Representative to the UN Samantha Power has recently put into circulation a draft resolution to impose an arms embargo on South Sudan and further targeted sanctions amid warnings by a senior UN official of possible genocide.

However, analysts say, the introduction of this draft is nothing but an attempt by the US State Department to divert public attention away from the role Washington plays in the worsening of the armed conflict in Sudan.

The armed conflict in the Republic of South Sudan began in late 2013 between the representatives of the dominant Dinka and Nuer tribes, just six months after official recognition of the state. The conflict has already resulted in massive civilian casualties and more than a million people displaced.

However, the conflict escalated even further on July 7, 2016, two days before the fifth anniversary of country’s independence. Despite the peace agreement signed in Juba, clashes between supporters of President Salva Kiir and the former president Riek Machar renewed. According to the official UN investigation, a total of 14,000 blue helmets deployed in South Sudan were unable to effectively protect civilians from the violence.

According to UNICEF, a total of 16,000 minors are also taking part in the fighting. The report provided by this organization shows that in 2016 alone, militant groups recruited over 650 minors into their ranks.

The situation in South Sudan is further complicated by the growing number of weapons supplied to the country by a number of European players which are in turn a result of policy emanating from the United States.

Thus, according to United Nations experts, a Bulgarian firm delivered a shipment of small arms ammunition and 4,000 assault rifles to Uganda in July 2014, which were later transferred to South Sudan. It’s been reported that a Moldovan private firm played the role of mediator in this deal.

Moreover, the sitting Ukrainian government, brought to power by Washington, made a large shipment of weapons to the authorities of South Sudan back in 2014, while ignoring the fact that it bore the responsibility for numerous war crimes and cases of genocide carried out in part with these weapons. This has been explicitly stated in the recent UN Investigation Group report.

During the civil war in South Sudan, its authorities purchased a number of Mi-24 helicopter gunships, along with 830 light machine guns and 62 heavy machine gun shipped from Ukraine. The total worth of the contract signed with the Ukrainian company Motor Sich amounted to 42 million dollars.

Canada’s CBC would report that a Canadian arms manufacturer Streit Group exported 173 Cougar and Typhoon armored vehicles that were produced in the United Arab Emirates to South Sudan.

Last July, Spanish security services detained Polish billionaire Pierre Dadak for smuggling weapons from Eastern Europe to South Sudan. The billionaire who resided in Ibiza was widely known for his close ties to Washington. Police officers stated that Pierre Dadak was responsible for a shipment of a whopping 200,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles, a number of tanks, as well as rocket launchers to South Sudan after purchasing these weapons in Eastern Europe.

Against the background of the constant flow of weapons and ammunition into this conflict-ridden region, one could hardly expect anything other than the continued escalation of the conflict and continued massive violations of international humanitarian law. Therefore, the government of South Sudan is hardly capable of controlling the situation in various parts of the country.

That is why, in addition to multiple international problems, which Barack Obama and the members of his administration leave behind, Donald Trump will face an urgent need to find a solution to the Sudanese conflict beginning with his first day in office.

Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”