Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 22 December 2016

Final Stretch: UNSC to sanction South Sudan


By Steve Paterno

In a last ditch effort to exert some semblance of influence over South Sudan, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is finally bracing to table a US proposed sanctions regime against South Sudan for up or down vote. The efforts to impose sanctions against South Sudan have been tried several times at the Council, and all failed. These proposals have never been attracting enough support necessary to sail through for adaptation. Hence, they have been hampered on very many occasions.

Despite the uphill battle, the US administration, which is responsible for these sanctions regime against South Sudan at UNSC, has ever been relentless and adamant that it finally decided to risk it for a vote, coming December 23, 2016. Thus far, it is reported that the bidding garner only seven votes in favor, short by far of a minimum threshold required for passage. Nevertheless, this may yet presents the ultimate opportunity for a lame-duck American administration to exercise some political leverage over South Sudan, if there is any.

Ever since the war broke out in South Sudan three years ago, the US administration has been growing frustratingly against the leaders of South Sudan—the very leaders who are being blamed for the conflict. United States along with its allies argue that targeted sanctions that include armed embargo, asset freeze, and travel restrictions on responsible individuals, among other punitive measures would go a long way in resolving the deteriorating security, economic, and humanitarian situation currently afflicting the country.

In spite of this view, other members of the UNSC stand in stark contrast, offering completely different perspectives. For example, Japan is arguing that it prefers to contribute toward South Sudan in a more ‘pragmatical and constructive’ ways. For its part, Japan already has boots on the ground as parcel of a peacekeeping contingent and is also very much involved in developmental projects in the country. A Japanese foreign ministry official is quoted by news outlets as saying, "we can’t accept America’s proposal.” The said official further underscores that it is “extremely rare” for his country to disagree with its closest ally, the US on pertinent issues such as this. China, a very important voting member also publicly expresses its reservations by opposing sanctions against South Sudan. The African countries and some of the other voting bloc in the Council stand firmly in solidarity with South Sudan by rejecting the notion of sanctions as unwarranted at this point. And as for Russia, another important permanent Security Council member, it is asserted that it does not even maintain diplomatic channel of communications with America, because of a long running feuds. So, these two countries ain’t even talking to one another as the US is making rounds in trying to pursuit other members of the Council to approve the motion. As such, this proposed motion is doomed to failure.

Even then, the most significant point to highlight is to ask the fundamental questions: are sanctions against South Sudan necessary and if so, would it achieve its intended objectives? The short answer is that the long history of sanctions often produces adverse effects. This will be the exact scenario awaiting in the case of South Sudan.

Steve Paterno is the author of The Rev. Fr. Saturnino Lohure, A Romain Catholic Priest Turned Rebel. He can be reached at stevepaterno@yahoo.com

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  • 22 December 2016 13:39, by Akook

    USA despite unnecessary blames is currently the one fighting hard on behalf of South Sudan government by colluding through IGAD TO BLOCK DR Machar entry into battle field and Pagak. It would already been a different story running up and down capturing and recapturing of Malakal, Bentiu etc

    repondre message

    • 22 December 2016 13:45, by Akook

      USA has been very cool even not doing what it suppose to be doing without asking anybody. No wonder Russia tries filling the gaps.
      USA and its allies no one to sanction genocidal government in Juba.
      They can go alone if there is a will to stop mass civilians slaughtering by government militias. Freeze their monies and you will see running up and doing the right things. Does that need Russia?!

      repondre message

      • 23 December 2016 11:14, by Redeemer

        Why are you so desperate for another long way to achieve peace like the way you chose war over elections for regime change in the country, coming of Riek to Fangak means more death on Nuer

        repondre message

      • 27 December 2016 01:09, by Gatluak jal

        Akook, exactly that was the plane, for some of you with shortsighted thinking believe that Westerns countries will react negatively to word GSS for Machar. But some of us don’t the global arrangements which will makes it difficult for outsider to interfere into Sovereignty nation. Second, the USA know that Dr. stalling Machar leadership in the country will be the totally deserter for this nation.

        repondre message

    • 27 December 2016 02:00, by Gatluak jal

      You are right, even the looming sanction is specifically designed to punish Macahr because he was the one calling for arms resistant recently and that the united states don’t need continuation civil war in South Sudan. Dr. Machar straps in South Africa because of America influenced in the region.

      repondre message

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