Andrew S. Natsios

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Peacekeeping troops patrol at night in the town of Abyei, disputed territory between Sudan and South Sudan, in December. Albert Gonzalez Farran/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

If the conflict in Syria tops the list of the world’s worst civil wars today, the one in South Sudan is a close second. Over the past three years, more than three million South Sudanese civilians have been displaced inside the country or have fled abroad because of fighting and atrocities — including more than 340,000 just to Uganda over the past six months.

A special commission of the African Union concluded in October 2015 that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed, by the government of South Sudan “pursuant to or in furtherance of a state policy,” and by opposition forces, too.…  Seguir leyendo »

A New Approach for South Sudan

For a year and a half South Sudan has been torn apart by a civil war. The multitribal coalition that ruled the country after it gained independence from Sudan in 2011 — and that had governed the area for some years before then — has collapsed. The conflict was triggered by the competing personal ambitions of the leaders of various factions within the ruling party, as well as a dispute over whether the government of South Sudan should cooperate with, or try to unseat, the Sudanese government in Khartoum. Although the conflict did not start as a tribal war, President Salva Kiir, who is Dinka, and his rival Riek Machar, the former vice president, who is Nuer, have both appealed to clan loyalties to rally supporters and recruit soldiers, giving the conflict a poisonous tribal dimension.…  Seguir leyendo »

South Sudan faces its most severe crisis yet. Born by referendum in 2011, after a lengthy war with Sudan that killed 2.5 million people, the young country is now in the throes of a political crisis that is devolving into a tribal conflict.

After the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended the North-South war, Salva Kiir, the current president of South Sudan, built a country out of a fragile coalition of tribes and regions. I served as the United States envoy to Sudan from 2006 to 2007, and the Salva Kiir I knew then was committed to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Omar al-Bashir’s 23-year rule in Sudan has known almost ceaseless civil war, the recent secession of South Sudan and an indictment for genocide by the International Criminal Court against Bashir himself. Currently, his government is under attack by various rebel armies with an estimated combined strength of 60,000, as well as protests sparked by the withdrawal of gas subsidies, massive budget deficits, failed harvests and steep increases in food prices. Bashir’s days may be numbered.

Yet his removal would not end the conflict; it could even trigger a new civil war. The groups challenging Bashir are united by their common hatred of him and his party rather than by a shared vision for Sudan’s future.…  Seguir leyendo »

Another food crisis has spread across North Korea, caused by yet another poor harvest and Pyongyang’s disastrous currency ma­nipu­la­tion scheme, which wiped out the savings many people had used to feed themselves. We do not know how many people are dying, but it is not as bad as the famine of the 1990s, which killed as many as 2.5 million people.

The Obama administration pledged 240,000 metric tons of food aid and nutritional supplements for children just as the president’s North Korean envoy, Steve Bosworth, announced that Washington would resume four-party nuclear talks. Bosworth acknowledged that the food aid would demonstrate to the North Koreans “that they are getting something in return for the freeze in their nuclear activities.”…  Seguir leyendo »

It is not good short-term politics to escalate the war in Afghanistan. However, it is necessary to avoid the political and security debacle that would arise from an American failure there. We are in Afghanistan to prohibit the rise of an enemy regime or a failed-state environment that would endanger Americans. Failing to do so would be much worse for the Democrats than the fatigue voters will feel from a prolonged, ugly fight in another foreign land. For his sake and ours, President Obama should be in it to win, not just interested in doing the minimum necessary to follow up on his 2008 campaign rhetoric about staying tough on terrorism.…  Seguir leyendo »

Thirty Sudanese political leaders will meet in Washington today with 170 observers from 32 countries and international organizations, as well as four African former prime ministers, to confront the issues that are slowly pushing Sudan over a cliff. The United States ought to be in a commanding position to mediate in these negotiations, as it did in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended 22 years of civil war between Sudan's North and South. But disputes within the Obama administration are inhibiting U.S. efforts to stop Sudan's slide toward civil war at a time when unified American leadership is essential.

First, let's consider the situation.…  Seguir leyendo »