Sanctions for South Sudan?

So it looks as if Russia and Angola have blocked new sanctions against leaders of South Sudan‘s opposing factions.

Once again there are diverging opinions on the best course of action among campaigners and academics. The Enough Project, Amnesty International
and Human Rights Watch have written to the UN Security Council demanding action. Here’s what John Prendergast, founding director of the Enough Project, said:

It is imperative that continued human rights abuses and ceasefire violations in South Sudan be met with real consequences from the international community.  Decisions are being made on both the government and rebel side to undermine the implementation of the peace deal. If there is no cost for that intransigence and for the human rights crimes that result, then we can expect the war to continue, business as usual.

But Alex de Waal takes a very different view, arguing that a “political marketplace” analysis suggests it would back the protagonists into corners:

With a tightened political budget, the only way for a leader to stay in position is to narrow his political base. Hence Salva must reward his closest circle of supporters (who are his most immediate threats), which means discarding others. He must shift from buyout to coercion.

That is why an international squeeze on political payments may cause Salva to increase repression. He will do this because it is demanded by the logic of survival. Salva’s not a good leader, but bad international policies can compel him to become a worse one.

I’ve generally found de Waal to have offered the more convincing analysis of conflicts in Darfur and elsewhere.


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