China, America, And A brand new Cold Struggle In Africa
Is the Conflict in South Sudan the Opening Salvo in the Battle for a Continent
[This story was reported in partnership with the Investigative Fund on the Nation Institute. Further funding was supplied by the generosity of Adelaide Gomer.]
Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com
Juba, South Sudan — Is that this country the primary hot battlefield in a new chilly conflict Is the conflict tearing this new nation apart actually a proxy combat between the world’s two high financial and army powers That’s the way in which South Sudan’s Data Minister, Michael Makuei Lueth, tells it. After “midwifing” South Sudan into existence with billions of dollars in help, assist, infrastructure initiatives, and navy support, the U.S. has watched China emerge as the most important beneficiary of South Sudan’s oil reserves. Consequently, Makuei claims, the U.S. and different Western powers have backed former vice president Riek Machar and his rebel forces in an effort to overthrow the country’s president, Salva Kiir. China, for its part, has performed a conspicuous double sport. Beijing has lined up behind Kiir, even as it publicly pushes each sides to find a diplomatic answer to a simmering civil battle. It is sending peacekeepers as a part of the U.N. mission even as it additionally arms Kiir’s forces with tens of tens of millions of dollars value of new weapons.
While specialists dismiss Makuei’s state of affairs — “farfetched” is how one analyst puts it — there are average South Sudanese who additionally believe that Washington helps the rebels. The U.S. definitely did press Kiir’s authorities to make concessions, as his supporters are quick to remind anybody keen to pay attention, pushing it to launch senior political figures detained as coup plotters shortly after preventing broke out in late 2013. America, they say, cared extra a couple of handful of elites sitting in jail than all the South Sudanese suffering in a civil battle that has now claimed greater than 10,000 lives, resulted in mass rapes, displaced more than 1.5 million folks (round half of them children), and pushed the country to the very brink of famine. Opponents of Kiir are, nevertheless, fast to mention the significant portions of Chinese weaponry flooding into the nation. They ask why the United States hasn’t put stress on a president they now not see as respectable.
While few exterior South Sudan would ascribe to Makuei’s notion of a direct East-West proxy battle here, his conspiracy idea should, at least, serve as a reminder that U.S. and Chinese pursuits are at play on this conflict-torn nation and across Africa as a complete — and that Africans are taking note. Almost wherever you look on the continent, you can now find proof of each the American and the Chinese language presence, though they take quite different varieties. The Chinese are pursuing a ruthlessly pragmatic financial power-projection technique with an emphasis on focused multilateral interventions in African conflicts. U.S. policy, in contrast, appears both extra muddled and more military-centric, with a heavy focus on counterterrorism efforts meant to bolster amorphous strategic interests.
For the final decade, China has used “soft power” — assist, commerce, and infrastructure projects — to make major inroads on the continent. In the process, it has set itself up because the dominant foreign player here. The U.S. on the other hand, increasingly confronts Africa as a “battlefield” or “battleground” or “war” in the phrases of the men running its operations. Lately, there has been a considerable surge in U.S. navy activities of every kind, including the establishing of army outposts and each direct and proxy interventions. These two approaches have produced starkly contrasting outcomes for the powers concerned and the rising nations of the petrochemical solvents continent. Which one triumphs may have profound implications for all events within the years forward. The variations are, perhaps, nowhere as stark as in the world’s latest nation, South Sudan.
A Midwife’s Tale
Starting within the 1980s, the efforts of an eclectic, bipartisan collection of American supporters — Washington activists, evangelical Christians, influential Congressional representatives, celebrities, a rising State Division star, a presidential administration focused on regime change and nation-building, and one other that picked up the mantle — helped convey South Sudan into existence. “Midwife” was the phrase then-chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry selected to describe the method.
In recent years, no nation in Africa has received as a lot Congressional attention. And on July 9, 2011, South Sudan’s Independence Day, President Barack Obama released a stirring statement. “I am assured that the bonds of friendship between South Sudan and the United States will solely deepen in the years to come back. As Southern Sudanese undertake the hard work of constructing their new country, the United States pledges our partnership as they search the safety, development, and responsive governance that may fulfill their aspirations and respect their human rights.”
As the brand new nation broke away from Sudan after a long time of bloody civil conflict, the U.S. poured in billions of dollars in humanitarian assist and pumped in a whole lot of millions of dollars of navy and security help. It also invested closely in governmental establishments, and built infrastructure (constructing or repairing roads and bridges). It sent navy instructors to prepare the country’s armed forces and advisors to mentor government officials. It helped to beef up the training sector, worked to facilitate financial growth and American investment, and opened the U.S. market to duty-free South Sudanese imports.
The brand new nation, it was hoped, would bolster U.S. national safety interests by injecting a heavy dose of democracy into the guts of Africa, whereas selling political stability and good governance. Particularly, it was to function a democratic bulwark towards Sudan and its president, Omar al-Bashir, who had once harbored Osama bin Laden and is wanted by the International Criminal Court docket for crimes in opposition to humanity in that country’s Darfur region.
When South Sudan broke away, it took a lot of Sudan’s oil wealth with it, turning into sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer behind Nigeria and Angola. In taking these resources out of Bashir’s arms, it provided the promise of extra power stability in Africa. It was even expected to serve Washington’s military goals — and soon, the U.S. began employing South Sudanese troops as proxies in a quest to destroy Joseph Kony and his murderous Lord’s Resistance Military.
That was the dream, not less than. But like Washington’s regime change and nation-constructing initiatives in Iraq and Afghanistan, things quickly started going very, very incorrect. As we speak, South Sudan’s armed forces are little more than a group of competing militias that have fractured alongside ethnic lines and turned on each other. The country’s political institutions and economic system are in shambles, its oil manufacturing (which accounts for about ninety% of government income) is crippled, corruption goes unchecked, towns have been looted and leveled during latest fighting, the nation is mired in an enormous humanitarian disaster, famine looms, and inter-ethnic relations could have been irreparably broken.
The China Syndrome
Through the years when America was serving to bring South Sudan into existence, another world energy also took an curiosity in the country — and a very totally different tack when it got here to its development. After having invested a reported $20 petrochemical solvents billion in Sudan — a country lengthy on the U.S. sanctions blacklist — China watched as the new nation of South Sudan claimed about seventy five% of its oil fields. In 2012, newly inaugurated South Sudanese President Salva Kiir traveled to China the place he sipped champagne with then-President Hu Jintao and reportedly secured a pledge of $8 billion to construct up his country’s infrastructure and assist its oil sector. (A high Chinese envoy later dismissed reports of such a sum, however hinted that China was prepared to make even higher investments within the country if it achieved a long-lasting peace with its northern neighbor.)
Two years later, the China National Petroleum Corporation, with a forty% stake, is now the largest shareholder within the Better Nile Petroleum Operating Firm, the top oil consortium in South Sudan. It additionally leads another vital consortium, the Higher Pioneer Working Company. Throughout the primary 10 months of 2013, China imported nearly 14 million barrels of oil from South Sudan. That provides up to about 77% of the country’s crude oil output and twice as much as China imports from vitality-rich Nigeria. While South Sudanese oil accounts for only about 5% of China’s whole petroleum imports, the nation has nonetheless provided Beijing with a new African accomplice. This was especially helpful as a U.S. and NATO intervention in Libya in 2011 created chaotic situations, causing China to endure heavy losses ($20 billion in line with Chinese language sources) in varied energy and different initiatives in that nation.
“At the top of the day, China’s primary curiosity is stability in order that they can function on a business foundation. And to achieve that stability they’ve needed to get more involved on the political side,” says Cameron Hudson, director for African affairs on the employees of the Nationwide Security Council on the White House from 2005 to 2009. “They have a very massive presence in Juba and are doing a lot of enterprise beyond the oil sector.”
In reality, just days earlier than South Sudan plunged into civil conflict late final year, the deep-pocketed Export-Import Financial institution of China was reportedly making ready to supply the nation $2 billion in loans and credit score to build six key roads — together with a 1,500-mile freeway to link the capital, Juba, with Sudan’s main port — essential bridges throughout the Nile River, schools and hospitals in every county, a hydropower plant, a government conference heart, and a staple of Chinese language construction schemes in Africa, a stadium.
Lately, Chinese language Premier Li Keqiang promised to expand cooperation with South Sudan in commerce, agriculture, development of infrastructure, and vitality. Meanwhile, a separate $158 million deal to repair and develop the airport in Juba, financed by China’s Export-Import Financial institution and carried out by a Chinese language firm, was introduced. In addition, China has just shipped practically $40 million in arms — tens of millions of rounds of ammunition, thousands of automated rifles and grenade launchers, and hundreds of machine guns and pistols — to Salva Kiir’s armed forces.
China’s interest in South Sudan is indicative of its relations with the continent as a whole. Beijing has long seemed to Africa for diplomatic cooperation in the worldwide arena and, with the continent accounting for more than 25% of the votes in the general Assembly of the United Nations, relied on it for political help. More recently, economics has turn into the paramount issue within the rising relationship between the rising Asian energy and the continent.
Hungry for vitality reserves, minerals, and other uncooked materials to gasoline its domestic progress, China’s Export-Import Financial institution and different state-controlled entities usually offer financing for railroads, highways, and different major infrastructure tasks, often tied to the usage of Chinese corporations and staff. In exchange, China expects long-time period supplies of wanted natural resources. Such relationships have exploded in the brand new century with its African commerce jumping from $10 billion to an estimated $200 billion, which far exceeds that of the United States or any European nation. It has now been Africa’s largest buying and selling companion for the final 5 years and boasts of having struck $400 billion value of deals in African development tasks which have already yielded nearly 1,four hundred miles of railroad track and almost 2,200 miles of highways.
Sources traded for infrastructure are, nevertheless, only one facet of China’s expanding economic relationship with Africa. Wanting down the road, Beijing more and more sees the continent as a market for its manufacturing products. Whereas the West ages and sinks deeper into debt, Africa is getting younger and growing at an exponential pace. Its inhabitants is, according to demographers, poised to double by the middle of the century, leaping to as many as three.5 billion — larger than China and India combined — with working-age individuals far outnumbering the elderly and kids.
With its capability to provide items at low prices, China is betting on being a serious provider of a growing African market in terms of food, clothes, appliances, and other shopper goods. As Howard French, author of China’s Second Continent notes, “a variety of economic indicators show that the fortunes of giant numbers of Africans are bettering dramatically and can likely continue to take action over the subsequent decade or two, solely quicker.” In line with the Worldwide Monetary Fund, 10 of the 20 economies projected to grow quickest from 2013-2017 are located in sub-Saharan Africa. Final 12 months, the World Financial institution attributed 60% of Africa’s financial growth to client spending. Beijing could even gasoline this rise further by relocating low-skilled, labor-intensive jobs to that continent as it develops extra expert manufacturing and excessive-tech industries at home.
One Chinese export integral to Beijing’s dealings with Africa has, however, largely escaped notice. Within the space of a decade, as French points out, a million or more Chinese language have emigrated to Africa, shopping for up land, establishing companies, plying petrochemical solvents nearly every conceivable trade from medicine to farming to prostitution. These expats are altering the fundamentals of cultural and economic change throughout the continent and creating one thing wholly new. “For all of China’s denials that its overseas ambitions might be in comparison with these of Europeans or People,” writes French, “…what I was witnessing in Africa is the higgledy-piggledy cobbling collectively of a new Chinese language realm of curiosity. Here were the beginnings of a brand new empire.”
This mass influx of Chinese language pioneers has bred resentment in some quarters, as have heavy-handed techniques by Chinese language firms that often ignore local labor legal guidelines and environmental laws, freeze out native employees, mistreat them, or pay them exceptionally low wages. This, in flip, has led to situations of violence against Africa’s Chinese, as has Beijing’s support for unpopular and repressive governments on the continent. Such threats to the safety of Chinese language citizens and enterprise interests, in addition to general political instability and armed conflicts — from Libya to South Sudan — have given China still one other cause to construct-up its presence.
Historically, Beijing has adhered to a non-interference, “no strings attached” international policy — which means no requirements on accomplice nations by way of transparency, corruption, environmental protection, human rights, or good governance — and, as opposed to the United States, has avoided overseas military innovations. While it has lengthy contributed to U.N. peacekeeping operations — the one form of international intervention Beijing considers authentic — China has generally operated far from the entrance lines. However things are subtly shifting on this score.
In 2011, after the U.S.-backed revolution in Libya imperiled 30,000 Chinese residing there, the People’s Liberation Military coordinated air and sea assets in the biggest evacuation mission in its historical past. And as the struggle in Libya destabilized neighboring Mali and a U.S.-skilled officer overthrew that country’s elected president, China despatched combat troops — for the primary time in its historical past — to hitch U.N. forces in a bid to stabilize a nation that the U.S. had spent a decade bolstering by counterterrorism funding.
Then, when U.S.-backed South Sudan slid into civil conflict late last year — and 300 Chinese language staff had to be evacuated — Beijing departed from the palms-off approach it had taken only some years earlier with Sudan, ramped up diplomatic efforts and pushed exhausting for peace talks. “This is one thing new for us,” said China’s particular envoy to Africa, Zhong Jianhua. This was, he famous, the start of a “new chapter” in insurance policies by which China would now “do more [when it comes to] peace and safety for this continent.”
More recently, Beijing managed to broker an unprecedented association to broaden the mandate of the U.N. Mission in South Sudan. Along with “protection of civilians, monitoring and investigating human rights abuses, and facilitating the supply of humanitarian help,” in accordance with Overseas Policy, “Beijing quietly secured a deal that will put the U.N.’s famed blue helmets to work defending staff in South Sudan’s oil installations, the place China has invested billions of dollars.” Although defending the oil fields is akin to taking the government’s side in a civil conflict, the U.S. France, and Great Britain backed the plan to guard oil installations underneath a U.N. mandate, citing the significance of the vitality sector to the way forward for the country. In return, China will send an 850-man infantry battalion to bolster the U.N. mission, including to the 350 military personnel it already had on the bottom here.
With regards to defending their infrastructure, “the Chinese language have gotten superb at deploying peacekeeping forces,” Patricia Taft, a senior affiliate with the Fund for Peace, tells TomDispatch. “The Chinese have, in East Africa and also West Africa, inserted themselves as a safety presence, primarily to guard their oil pursuits, their infrastructure, or whatever financial initiatives they’re deeply invested in.”
Yun Solar, a fellow at the Stimson Middle and an expert on China’s relations with Africa, doesn’t see these recent developments as a militarization of China’s mission, but as a symptom of elevated investment within the countries of the continent. “China cares more about safety issues in Africa… because of its own national interests,” Solar tells TomDispatch. “It means China will contribute extra to the peace and safety issues of the continent.” And it appears that evidently Beijing is now doing so, in part on America’s dime.
Winners and Losers
U.S. taxpayers, who fund about 27% % of the cost of United Nations peacekeeping missions, are actually successfully underwriting China’s efforts to protect its oil pursuits in South Sudan. Washington continues to pour assist into that nation — greater than $456 million in humanitarian assistance in fiscal yr 2014 — while China has pledged far less in humanitarian relief. Meanwhile, Juba has tied itself ever more tightly to Chinese language vitality interests, with plans to borrow more than $1 billion from oil corporations to maintain the government afloat as it battles the rebels.
Taft sees these offers with largely Chinese language firms as both risky for South Sudan’s future and probably ineffective as properly. “It’s putting a band-assist on a hemorrhaging artery,” she says. David Deng, analysis director for the South Sudan Legislation Society, echoes this: “We’re mortgaging our children’s future to battle a pointless war.”
South Sudan appears emblematic of a larger development within the race between Washington and Beijing in Africa. In 2000, China’s trade there handed $10 billion for the primary time and has been rising at a 30% clip annually ever since. Nine years later, China overtook the U.S. to develop into the continent’s largest buying and selling partner and, by 2012, its commerce was almost double that of the U.S. — $198.5 billion to $ninety nine.8 billion. Whereas the United States recently announced that $900 million in unspecified “deals” with Africa might be unveiled at an upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, it’s going to nonetheless continue to path far behind China when it comes to commerce on the continent.
For the Chinese language, Africa is El Dorado, a land of alternative for a million migrants. For America, it’s a set of “ungoverned areas,” “austere locations,” and failing states increasingly dominated by local terror teams poised to develop into world threats, a hazard zone to be militarily managed by way of special operators and proxy armies. “In Africa, terrorists, criminal organizations, militias, corrupt officials, and pirates proceed to take advantage of ungoverned and under-governed territory on the continent and its surrounding waters,” reads the Pentagon’s 2014 Quadrennial Protection Review (QDR). “The potential for quickly developing threats, particularly in fragile states, together with violent public protests and terrorist assaults, could pose acute challenges to U.S. pursuits.”
“Recent engagements in Somalia and Mali, wherein African international locations and regional organizations are working along with international partners in Europe and the United States, may present a model for future partnerships,” adds the QDR. However a have a look at these poster-child nations for U.S. involvement — one in East and one in West Africa — instead gives proof of America’s failings on the continent.
In 2006, the Islamic Courtroom Union (ICU), a unfastened confederation of indigenous Islamist groups searching for to impose order on the failed state of Somalia, defeated the Alliance for Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism, a U.S.-supported militia, and pushed the U.S.-backed warlords out of Mogadishu, the capital. In response, the United States green-lighted a 2007 invasion of the nation by Ethiopia’s military and secretly sent in a small contingent of its own troops (nonetheless operating in Somalia to this present day). This succeeded only in splintering the ICU, sending its moderates into exile, while its hardliners formed a way more extreme Islamic group, al-Shabab, which became the key Muslim resistance drive in opposition to al-Shabab, Washington’s Ethiopian proxies.
Al-Shabab skilled a great deal of army success earlier than being beaten back by the Ethiopians, troops from a U.S.-supported Somali transitional government, and effectively-armed peacekeepers from the U.S.-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). These forces had been, from 2009 onward, joined by proxies trained and armed by U.S.-ally Kenya, whose personal army invaded the nation in 2011. Their forces in Somalia, finally folded into the AMISOM mission, are still deployed there. On the run and outgunned, al-Shabab responded by threatening to take the war beyond its borders and shortly began to take action.
In different phrases, what started as an area Islamic group attaining, in response to a Chatham Home report, “the unthinkable, uniting Mogadishu for the primary time in 16 years, and reestablishing peace and security,” shortly became a transnational terror group in the wake of the Ethiopian invasion and other acts of intervention. In 2010, al-Shabab carried out a bomb attack in Uganda as a punishment for that country’s contribution to the African Union mission in Somalia. In 2011, it launched an escalating series of shootings, grenade attacks, and bombings in Kenya. The following 12 months, the formerly Somalia-centric outfit further internationalized its efforts as one in all its leaders pledged obedience to al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri. In 2013, the group carried out a devastating attack on the Westgate Mall in Kenya that killed 67.
Earlier this year, al-Shabab extended its attain even further with its first-ever suicide attack in Djibouti, the tiny Horn of Africa nation that contributes troops to AMISOM and hosts French troops, a key European proxy force for Washington on the continent, in addition to the only avowed U.S. base in Africa. “The assault was carried out against the French Crusaders for his or her complicity within the massacres and persecution of our Muslim brothers in the Central African Republic and for their active position in training and equipping the apostate Djiboutian troops in Somalia,” read an al-Shabab assertion that also highlighted a U.S.-backed French navy mission in the Central African Republic.
In the months since, the group has repeatedly launched murderous assaults on civilians in Kenya and continues to threaten Uganda and Burundi, which also contributes troops to AMISOM, with future assaults. It has even gained regional associates, like Al-Hijra, an underground group accused of recruiting for al-Shabab in Kenya.
After 9/11, on the alternative facet of the continent, U.S. packages like the Pan-Sahel Initiative and the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Partnership, pumped hundreds of thousands and thousands of dollars into coaching and arming the militaries of Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania, Nigeria, Algeria, and Tunisia, again in order to advertise regional “stability.” Whereas U.S. Special Operations forces were teaching infantry tactics to Malian troops, the Chinese had been participating very otherwise with that West African nation. Regardless of Mali’s lack of natural sources, China constructed a key bridge, a hospital, a stadium, a significant government constructing, several factories, miles of highways, and a $230 million waterworks undertaking.
The U.S. wasn’t, however, left totally out within the cold on the development front. The State Department’s Millennium Problem Corporation (MCC), for instance, spent $71.6 million to develop the Bamako Airport. The contract, however, went to a Chinese language firm — as did many MCC contracts across Africa — as a result of American firms have been uninterested in working there regardless of guaranteed U.S. financing.
What Washington was making an attempt to construct in Mali came crashing down, nevertheless, after the U.S. helped topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, inflicting that country to collapse into a morass of militia fiefdoms. Nomadic Tuareg fighters looted the weapons stores of the Gaddafi regime that they had beforehand served, crossed the border, routed U.S.-backed Malian forces and seized the northern part of the nation. This, in turn, prompted a U.S.-educated officer to stage a army coup within the Malian capital, Bamako, and oust the democratically elected president.
Soon after, the Tuareg rebels had been muscled apart by heavily-armed Islamist rebels who began taking over the nation. This, in turn, prompted the U.S. to back a 2013 invasion by French and African forces which arrested the whole collapse of Mali — leaving it in a permanent state of occupation and low-level insurgency. In the meantime, Islamist fighters and Gaddafi’s weapons were scattered across Africa, contributing to better instability in Nigeria and Libya, in addition to increased menace levels in Chad, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Senegal, and Togo. It evidently also spurred an audacious revenge attack in Algeria that left more than 80 useless and an assault on a French-run uranium mine and a nearby navy base in Niger in which no less than 25 individuals were killed.
Two Systems, One Continent
In 2000, a report ready under the auspices of the U.S. Army Warfare College’s Strategic Research Institute examined the “African safety environment.” Whereas it touched on “internal separatist or rebel movements” in “weak states,” in addition to non-state actors like militias and “warlord armies,” there is conspicuously no mention of Islamic extremism or major transnational terrorist threats. Following the 9/11 assaults, a senior Pentagon official claimed that the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan would possibly drive “terrorists” out of that nation and into African nations, however when pressed about precise transnational dangers on that continent, he admitted that even hardcore Somali militants “really have not engaged in acts of terrorism outside Somalia.”
Despite this, Washington dispatched personnel to Africa in 2002 and started pouring money into counterterrorism efforts. Since then, the U.S. has steadily elevated its military footprint, its troop levels, and its missions on the continent — from night time raids in Somalia and kidnap operations in Libya to the construction of a string of bases dedicated to surveillance actions across the northern tier of Africa.
For all the time spent coaching proxies, all the propaganda efforts, all the black ops missions, all the counterterror funds, the results have been dismal. A glance at the official State Department record of terrorist organizations indicates that these efforts have been mirrored by the growth of radical militant groups, together with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group added in 2004, al-Shabab in 2008, Ansar al-Dine, Boko Haram, Ansaru, and the al-Mulathamun Battalion in 2013, and Libya’s Ansar al-Shari’a in Benghazi, and Ansar al-Shari’a in Darnah, as well as Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia, and the Egyptian militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, all in 2014. And that’s hardly a full record. Not included are varied terror organizations, rebel forces, separatist movements, armed groups, and militias just like the Motion for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, fighters from the group formerly referred to as Seleka and their rivals, anti-balaka militiamen in the Central African Republic, Taureg separatists of Mali’s National Motion for the Liberation of Azawad, the Congolese Resistance Patriots, Burundi’s Nationwide Forces of Liberation, and others.
Over these years, as the U.S. has chased terror teams and watched them proliferate, China has taken another route, devoting its efforts to building goodwill by public works and winning over governments via “no strings attached” insurance policies.
“Our objective is not to counter China; our aim is not to include China,” President Obama mentioned throughout a visit to Asia earlier this 12 months. In South Sudan, as in Africa as a complete, America appears increasingly unable to even keep up. “On sure levels, we can’t or won’t compete with China,” says the Fund for Peace’s Patricia Taft. “China will proceed to eclipse us in terms of financial interests in Africa.” The U.S. is, however, still preeminent within the political sphere and that affect, she says, will proceed to trump anything China can at the moment provide.
The query is: For how lengthy
Cameron Hudson, previously of the National Safety Council and now the performing director of the middle for the Prevention of Genocide on the U.S. Holocaust Museum, thinks strengthening partnerships with the Chinese language could result in major dividends for the United States. “They have extra skin in the sport,” he says of Beijing’s relationship with South Sudan. “They have a rising set of interests there.”
Benediste Hoareau, head of political affairs for the East African Standby Force — a rapid intervention power in-the-making, consisting of troops from the region’s militaries — expresses similar sentiments. He believes within the often repeated axiom of finding African solutions to African issues and says that the overseas powers should present the funds and let African forces do the fighting and peacekeeping in South Sudan.
Hoareau, in reality, sees no want for a contest, new Cold Conflict or in any other case, between the internat