South Sudan

South Sudan Named 'Most Fragile State'


viagra geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 150%;”>According to the latest ranking by the Fund for Peace, an independent, nonpartisan, non-profit research and educational organization that works to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security, “the most current figures leave very little doubt that the country is once again on the precipice of a full civil war, if not embroiled in one already.”

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The group said as of May 2014, according to estimates by the United Nations as well as other international donor and relief agencies, the number of displaced stands at over a million, with over 10,000 dead.

“In addition, it is estimated that over 80,000 people are sheltering at UN camps with over 300,000 having crossed into Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda to escape the fighting. Adding another layer of impending crisis, the UN has estimated that up to five million people, or half of South Sudan’s population, is in need of humanitarian aid,” wrote Patricia Taft for Fragile States Index 2014.

“With UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warning of a catastrophic famine in the coming months and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry voicing concern over an impending genocide, it seems that things are going to get much worse before they get better.”

War broke out in South Sudan in December 2012 following a botched coup attempt by sacked Vice President, Dr Riek Machar, uprooting lives of thousands and leaving a trail of bloodshed and destruction.

Peace talks which were underway in Addis Ababa, have been adjourned pending consultations with African Union after the rebel movement stormed out of a conference hall in Addis.

It remains unclear if President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar will be able to form an ‘inclusive government’ by mid-August as demanded by IGAD.

Fund for Peace says it promotes sustainable security through research, training and education, engagement of civil society, building bridges across diverse sectors, and developing innovative technologies and tools for policy makers.

“A leader in the conflict assessment and early warning field, the Fund for Peace focuses on the problems of weak and failing states. Our objective is to create practical tools and approaches for conflict mitigation that are useful to decision-makers,” reads part of the research body’s profile.

Taft further wrote that in the meantime, South Sudan’s economy, based on oil exports, has once again ground to a halt with signs that outside investors, including China, are growing weary with having their investments and infrastructure constantly under siege.

South Sudanese businessmen, including a Diaspora population that returned in the wake of independence, are also once again fleeing the country, further hampering the economy as well as removing a critical brain trust.

“And, as noted by the UN Secretary General in May as well as other international aid organizations, South Sudan may soon be facing its worst food crisis in years, with a combination of weather conditions and warfare making crop cultivation impossible. On most fronts, it seems, there is no end in sight to the current misery,” cautioned Taft.

Light at end of tunnel

The researcher said despite South Sudan’s turmoil, there are a few causes for hope that while certainly not a panacea or cure-all may, with support, be able to staunch the current arterial flow.

The first is the role that the region and its countries have played in South Sudan.

Taft recalls that from the start, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya have all had a strong interest in an independent and stable South Sudan and have lent pivotal support to the government in Juba.

“To be sure, without the intervention of Uganda as well its support to several local, pro-SPLM, militias, it is likely that the government would have already lost Juba to opposition forces, as well as other territory,” she wrote on Wednesday.

“The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), an East African sub-regional body, has played a pivotal role from the outset in trying to negotiate an end to the crisis through peace talks and, as of this writing, formalizing plans to deploy a 2,500-strong peacekeeping force to augment the beleaguered United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

While each country may have their own reasons for becoming involved in the South Sudan crisis, thus far there has been a surprising show of regional cohesion and a willingness of both regional (the African Union) and sub-regional (IGAD) organizations to shoulder a significant amount of burden.”


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