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Quandary in South Sudan: Should It Lose Its Hard-Won Independence?

“Would the same international bureaucrats that undertook massive state-building experiments in Iraq and Afghanistan come to Juba to lead another failed political intervention?” he added. “It all seems fantastical, doomed and extremely unlikely.”

Other scholars take a middle view. Amir Idris, chairman of Fordham’s African and African-American Studies department and a frequent writer on South Sudan, said that an international trusteeship should be considered — but only as a last resort.

He says the most important issue is that a new government be built with new people, including academics and technocrats.

“South Sudan has no chance of transitioning itself to a functioning state unless the edifice of the current leadership is brought down,” he said.

Bronwyn Bruton, the deputy director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, called South Sudan’s leaders “such a disaster.” She said that Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar are “corrupt,” “self-interested” and “willing to stoke ethnic conflict and commit horrible violence in pursuit of power.”

“Genocide is beginning to look inevitable,” she said. “The situation could hardly be more hopeless.”

But she worries that no country has the appetite to spearhead a meaningful intervention. The Obama administration considered several ways to help usher in a political transition, a former administration official said, but eventually concluded it was not feasible. It’s not as if Mr. Kiir or Mr. Machar or their inner circles, who are widely believed to continue to profit from oil and conflict, are going to volunteer to step aside. Thousands of armed men are intensely loyal to them, and even a few friends left in Western capitals make the case that the South Sudanese government has stabilized Juba in recent months, has become more inclusive and should be allowed to stay.

One glimmer of hope comes from across the continent. In the last few days, troops from several West African countries banded together to eject Gambia’s president, who tried to stay in power illegally.

If such resolve was demonstrated in this part of Africa then maybe, the interventionists argue, South Sudan’s leaders could be pushed aside and the country would be allowed to breathe.

Source: NYT > World

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