Why arming South Sudanese rebels could end the war

SPLA-IO soldiers. Photo: AP

By Duop Chak Wuol

January 24, 2018 (SSNA) — There are those who believe that the main armed opposition, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-In Opposition (SPLM/A-IO), under the leadership of former First Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, or any rebel group opposed to Juba’s regime should not be supplied with weapons and ammunition by any country or entity. The same people also believe that by denying the SPLM/A-IO access to modern weaponry, peace will be achieved, perhaps magically — it is from this absurd notion that the search for peace in the war-torn South Sudan has become rather elusive. In this article, I argue that peace can only be achieved through two options: the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the international community must force Salva Kiir to fully accept and implement the August 2015 power-sharing agreement, or else allow South Sudan’s rebels to be armed with modern weapons and ammunition.

There is no doubt in my mind that the second option would be worse for Kiir’s regime. One can easily assume that Kiir would gladly choose the first option in an attempt to try to save his skin given the fact that the armed groups would depose him in a short period of time if he dared to choose the second choice.

It is a known fact that a peaceful solution to any armed conflict requires all parties to the conflict to make compromise. Both oral and documented texts on oppressive regimes show that nearly all dictators tend to fear their rivals. I believe that Kiir and his supporters are not happy hearing any proposal that suggests arming the rebels with modern weapons. History and publicly available data also show that most brutal governments end up being toppled militarily, and the Juba regime is no exception.

I also believe that if Kiir and the 2015 peace hijacker, Taban Deng Gai, heard the sound of a modern tank, missile, or any other weapon around Juba today, Kiir would immediately be first to beg the international community to help him find a peaceful solution tomorrow. The First Vice President Taban is a political, greedy man who decided to collude with tyrant Kiir to hijack the August 2015 Peace deal after rebel leader Machar refused to appoint him as petroleum minister.

Kiir is a scheming autocrat. He managed to fool the world for more than four years. The best way to bring his savage regime to its knees is by equipping South Sudanese rebels with the latest weapons. The people of South Sudan want a peaceful resolution to this armed conflict, but this war will not end peacefully if IGAD does not change its agenda for Uganda. Kiir must be forced to unconditionally accept the revitalization of peace. If the tyrant still refuses to agree to peace revitalization, then the only way to force him to accept peace is for rebels to reach out to their global friends, arm themselves, and forcibly remove this bloodthirsty tyrant from power.

Salva Kiir has mastered deception — the regime does this by cunningly using Uganda, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Ukraine, and other nations to buy lethal weapons on its behalf. It is true that imposing an arms embargo on Kiir’s regime would not end the civil war, but it could minimize the flow of deadly weapons Kiir has been receiving. Kampala, Cairo, Asmara, Nairobi, and Kiev are known investors in Juba’s atrocious regime — meaning, Kiir has no shortage of weapons even if the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) imposed an arms embargo on his regime. But UNSC has the power to punish these heartless countries. For instance, the UNSC could prevent these nations from selling arms by placing a weapons sale ban on them or sanctioning their military corporations that continue to ship deadly weapons to Juba.

At times I feel that the community of nations wants the people of South Sudan to accept Kiir as their leader regardless of his cruelty. My feeling is shaped by the previous failed actions of IGAD.

Imagine a person “X” has been told to embrace the tyranny of a certain merciless being. Let us assume X agreed to the idea. Then, we can practically conclude that X’s life is indirectly in the hands of such a ruthless entity. We can also logically conclude that X’s decision to accept living under such an autocratic creature may have been influenced by an ulterior motive, or else X’s conscience lacks coherent judgment. This brief narrative illustrates that Salva Kiir Mayardit resembles the persona of the merciless being, while X epitomizes the people of South Sudan. I know for a fact that most people who live in Juba live in complete fear.

What would happen to a man walking on Juba’s streets who publicly denounced Kiir’s savage leadership? Just imagine.

I am aware that Kiir’s tyranny is so intense that he cannot even differentiate his hunger for power from his carnages. However, war is not a good thing because it brings destruction, suffering, and of course death. Kiir kills with impunity. He believes, strangely enough, that his ruthlessness is justified. His reasoning is that he does not want any capable South Sudanese leader to get the presidency. I would like South Sudanese communities to embrace togetherness and reject the division Kiir has caused. The level of hatred between communities is deep, but one man cannot be allowed to destroy the country. South Sudan is not Kiir— Kiir is merely a cold-blooded dictator who strongly believes that using unknown gunmen to kill people in Juba is a good political doctrine. The use of unknown gunmen to terrorize Juba’s residents is not a good policy. In fact, it shows Kiir failed his moral and national obligation, and must be toppled from the presidency. The tyrant is determined to defend his regime to the last bullet, but arming the rebels would indisputably force him to accept peace.

Those who think that supplying the rebels with modern weapons is wrong are not thinking critically. It has been well over three years since peace talks began, but Kiir successfully blocked execution of the agreement by using delaying tactics and other means to impede the implementation process. South Sudanese rebels must address Salva Kiir’s days in power using the power of modern weapons if he refuses to abide by the principles guiding revival of peace. Kiir does not listen to table-talks. The man is a world-class hoodlum — he really needs to see a few missiles fly over his disgraceful presidential palace.

The author can be reached at [email protected].

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