Two contending world powers, the U. S. and China, are behind the fighting in South Sudan. Their aim is to control access to huge oil reserves there. The U.S. military also wants to increase its presence in Africa, where it is already involved in 49 countries.
The conflict also has roots in the colonial era. The British empire dominated Sudan, Africa’s largest country, and forcibly maintained a rigid separation of north from south. British capital went to northern Sudan, enabling it to develop industrially. What is now South Sudan was segregated and held down, and it is now one of the world’s poorest places, with 80 percent illiteracy.
In 2011, South Sudan became the world’s newest country with key support from the USA. The new government was not revolutionary. Its two political factions, now in combat, set up a regime that promoted ethnic antagonism by handing out jobs and farmland based on ethnicity. It imposed heavy austerity in order to pay back IMF loans. Militarily, South Sudan is a state run by rich, armed, regional elites.
Neither the “rebels” nor the governments of South Sudan and Sudan deserve support in this grim conflict, which has displaced nearly a million people. The U.S. has pledged $50 million for humanitarian aid, and spent hundreds of millions on military assistance.
People in the U.S., especially, must demand no foreign intervention in this war, and imperialists out of South Sudan and Sudan.
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