U.S. lawmakers, frustrated by South Sudan violence, question aid
Publish Date: Jan 16, 2014
  • mail
  • img

WASHINGTON- U.S. lawmakers expressed deep frustration on Wednesday over the wave of violence in South Sudan, questioning whether it made sense for Washington to continue sending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the fledgling democracy.

Four weeks of fighting, often along ethnic lines, has been ringing alarm bells in Washington over the prospect that the conflict could spiral into full-blown civil war, spawning atrocities or making South Sudan the world's next failed state.

U.S. Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the latest fighting "infuriating," and blamed it largely on South Sudanese leaders' unwillingness to build an inclusive state.

"It appears that the greatest threat to South Sudan post-independence is South Sudan itself," the California Republican said at a hearing on the turmoil.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a similar hearing last week, at which lawmakers from that chamber similarly said the country risks losing U.S. aid if its government and rebels do not end a wave of violence.

Washington has spent billions of dollars - congressional aides estimated $600 million per year - to help build the fledgling nation, including allowing weapons sales to its government and providing security training for its armed forces.

Unlike many African countries, South Sudan enjoys the strong interest of a broad range of U.S. lawmakers, who backed the push by largely Christian and African southern Sudan to split from Muslim- and Arab-dominated northern Sudan and form the world's youngest state three years ago.


But both Republicans, who hold the majority of seats in the House, and Democrats, who hold a majority in the Senate, are now questioning that support.

"We're starting to hear it more and more in our districts, that we've put so much time, attention, money into this situation ... and the outcomes seem to be terrible," said Representative Juan Vargas, a California Democrat.

Republican Representative Ted Yoho of Florida said Washington would do better to emulate China, which does not donate to South Sudan as the United States does, but is nonetheless the country's largest trading partner with major stakes in its oil industry.

U.S. officials said President Barack Obama's administration is putting pressure on both sides as well as on South Sudan's neighbors to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict.

"Neither the United States nor the international community will accept the armed overthrow of the democratically elected government of South Sudan," said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for African Affairs.

She said the international community is looking at options, including sanctions against individuals deemed responsible for the crisis, to hold accountable anyone responsible for human rights violations or blocking efforts to achieve peace.

"They are on both sides, within the government as well as those anti-government forces," she said.

The fighting since Dec. 15 has pitted President Salva Kiir's SPLA government forces against rebels loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar, bringing the oil-exporting country close to civil war.

At least 1,000 people have been killed, with some estimates as high as 10,000, and more than 200,000 have been displaced. Oil exports - key to South Sudan's economy - have plummeted, adding to regional instability.

On Wednesday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni admitted for the first time to helping Kiir fend off the rebellion. Museveni said Ugandan troops had this week helped defeat rebels outside Juba, and some had been killed in battle. Museveni also blamed Machar for turning political differences into a military confrontation.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
IS claims deadly Tunisia bus bombing
The Islamic State group on Wednesday claimed the bombing of a presidential guard bus in the Tunisian capital that killed at least 12 people....
Kenyan president fires five graft-tainted ministers
President Uhuru Kenyatta fired five government ministers embroiled in corruption scandals in a cabinet reshuffle late Tuesday amid growing criticism of runaway graft in Kenya....
Germany to send 650 troops to Mali to relieve France
Germany will send up to 650 soldiers to Mali, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, to provide some relief to France in its global fight against the Islamic State jihadists....
Nigeria faces separatist pressure over oil wealth sharing
When Boko Haram captured territory in Nigeria's northeast last year and declared a caliphate, there were real fears for the sovereignty of Africa's most populous nation....
Turkey shoots down Russian war plane on Syria border
NATO member Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war....
US issues global travel alert due to
The United States issued a worldwide travel alert on Monday warning American citizens of "increased terrorist threats" in the wake of the Paris attacks...
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter