Thursday 30 January 2014

Soft Colonialism…

Khalid Mustafa Medani (associate professor of political science at McGill University, Canada) on the political unrest in Sudan, and how it’s all our fault:
Behind the violence in South Sudan, according to much of the coverage, is a power struggle between political rivals in the ruling Sudan People Liberation Movement (SPLM), and a conflict rooted in hostility between two of South Sudan's largest ethnic groups: the Dinka and the Nuer.
So, basically, little different from the rest of Africa?
However, the roots of the conflict are more complex.
Oh, really?
They stem from political and economic grievances, shared by the majority of South Sudanese: the persistent, undemocratic nature of the government in Juba; and increasing competition over the country's resources, particularly oil.
And it’s that oil that Khalid thinks is the problem. Or rather, might provide a solution.
South Sudan is more dependent on oil than any other oil-exporting country in the world. Between 2005 and 2011, oil exports amounted to $9.5bn (£5.8bn) and accounted for 98% of total state revenues. But rather than utilising this revenue to invest in infrastructure and public services to improve livelihoods, the government financed a military and security apparatus, itself factionalised along ethnic lines.
Well, so what, you might say? It’s up to a sovereign country how they use their resources, isn't it? Anything else is colonialism, isn't it?
Today the west has a responsibility not only to bring a halt to the violence, but to work towards a lasting and sustainable peace in the country.
Clearly not. Or, if it is, it’s the sort of colonialism that the progressives like:
… western nations must use their considerable influence with Juba to insist on fully implementing the key protocols of the 2005 peace agreement – including governance and constitutional reform, disarmament of militias, and, most importantly, a national oil policy that is accountable to the aspirations and basic needs of the country's citizens.
Yes, I can’t see how insisting a country change it’s political structure isn't a form of colonialism either.

Perhaps it helps to be a progressive?


Fidel Cuntstruck said...

The violence in South Sudan can be ended if the west uses its influence.

Err .. Khalid, that's been tried already - remember Iraq?

So the ruling party take the Oil revenues and build themselves a Military machine rather than distributing any of the wealth to the people?

Well, colour me gobsmacked! Perhaps what Sudan needs are the services of a Globe-trotting Peace Envoy? There's one floating about who has experience of this, has his own transport and, for a consideration of just a few million Dollars, will jet in and get you all in his "Big Tent".

I'm not sure many of the warring leaders will take too kindly to being told to be "like .. cool" about all this unrest, and there's always the risk of one of them shooting the bugger ... the more I think about this, the more it seems like a win - win actually ;0)

andy5759 said...

The imposition of democracy seems to be the oxymoronic way to go these days.

JuliaM said...

We can't resolve our own issues with warring 'tribes'; why think we can solve those of other countries?