Revolutionary War Amid Southern Chaos


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Despite the talk of preserving a union with Sudan, most Southerners were simply counting the days until they could bid their Northern oppressors farewell.


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The year I met Koang, I was traveling throughout the Upper Nile region doing research on local armed conflicts. Koang was in his late twenties and doing what many of the most educated and capable youth around him did—working for a U. Koang was born in , the eldest of six, in the predominantly Nuer town of Akobo. He returned to South Sudan in , married a Dinka woman with whom he had two children, and began working for a local NGO, and later, the United Nations.

Koang and I convened outside a local shack of a restaurant and ordered sodas as the sun set behind a grove of thorn trees. He eased into a discussion about intercommunal violence—the breakdown of traditional authority, the proliferation of weapons, the ways young men thought about their roles in the community. He talked in specifics—policy solutions, training programs, tools to begin repairing a social fabric shredded by war—then placed these issues in a larger context, discussing the kinds of institutional changes he thought would enable his community to overcome the past and prepare itself for an independent future.

I asked how he might turn his ideas into political action. Wearing a slightly pained smile, he dismissed the notion. Comrades Salva Kiir, Riek Machar, and the commanders who had led the fight against Khartoum were a venerated class. This deference to a military elite was an understandable legacy, and one that could not be fully appreciated by an outsider.

But it was also undermining this soon-to-be nation, as many of the ex-generals were ill-equipped to build an administrative state. There were many others like Koang, rising stars who honored the struggle but whose minds were trained on the next set of challenges. One could imagine them working, debating, and building institutions in these critical formative years, save for these complicated notions of debts owed.

The only recourse, it seemed, was to await generational change, when the aging commanders would die or go of their own choosing. Two years after Koang and I first met, he and his fellow South Sudanese voted overwhelmingly to secede, and on July 9, , the Republic of South Sudan declared its independence. But the honeymoon did not last long. South Sudan came undone just two years later, when its liberation heroes turned their guns on each other, plunging the new nation back into chaos.

Newly arrived refugees from South Sudan wait to be registered at the Ngomoromo, Uganda, border post to be transferred into a resettlement center on April 11, Today, South Sudan remains mired in conflict. Hundreds of thousands are dead, and more than 4 million have been displaced. It requires going back further, to the origins of the movement.

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And it requires insights from its leaders, from their most ardent critics, and from ordinary South Sudanese. Three answers emerged. A new study, four years in the making, details the secret global supply chain sidestepping international arms embargoes on South Sudan. Its freedom fighters have turned into brutal oppressors, and it is near to becoming another failed state, despondent U. First, John Garang, the ambitious and charismatic leader of the SPLM, built a liberation movement that was highly militaristic, but that lacked political orientation—and a political architecture.

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Conscious of the internal divisions that had beset earlier rebellions, Garang resolved to maintain unity by keeping a firm and singular grip on power. He felt he could do that later. The conflict that erupted in is often misunderstood as the product of a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and deposed Vice President Riek Machar. But an accurate rendering of the SPLM crisis, and the war it ignited, requires a wider lens. While individual positions and alliances shifted with time and circumstance, at least three factions vied for control throughout an eight-year stretch from to , each maneuvering for influence under the banner of the SPLM.

The party soap opera would play itself out before and after independence, all the while eroding internal trust and coherence. From the outside, the SPLM may have appeared coherent—its symbols, flag, and rhetoric distracting from the cancer within. But in this toxic atmosphere, governance suffered; the SPLM could hardly advance a coherent vision or deliver on a development agenda amid the constant tug of war.

May is also facing calls from inside her Conservative Party to quit so that another leader can take over the next stage of Brexit negotiations. She is due to meet Conservative backbenchers later today. Jeremy Corbyn says the "country is on hold" because of government's Brexit "paralysis", calling on the PM to "change course or go". The announcement comes days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Yishai to take Yachad out of the race for the 21st Knesset to avoid losing right-wing votes. Recent polls indicated that Yachad will fail to garner enough votes to reach the 3. In a statement, the press group says that delaying entry to journalists through the Erez crossing was in violation of a Supreme Court ruling on the matter.

The public discussion set for later this evening will also discuss the activities of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, the peacekeeping force deployed between Israel and Syria in the Golan. Though neither Blue and White leader Benny Gantz or his now defunct company are directly named in the report, Haaretz last month reported that police spent millions of shekels on a pilot program run by Fifth Dimension that offered artificial intelligence solutions to law enforcement agencies.

Israel says that more than 2, violent incidents have emanated from the Gaza Strip since Hamas-orchestrated weekly border demonstrations erupted a year ago. An Israeli statistical review published found that Palestinians launched 1, rockets from Gaza, hurled 94 explosive devices and Molotov cocktails across the security fence and committed acts of arson against Israeli forces. The report says that rocket fire killed one person in Israel and injured Palestinian attacks on the security fence killed one Israeli soldier and wounded Israel has come under criticism for using disproportionate force against unarmed protesters.

Over the past year, nearly Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire. Pittsburgh City Council passes initial gun-control legislation introduced in the wake of the synagogue massacre. The council began hearing public comment on the bills this morning, and later voted place restrictions on military-style assault weapons like the AR rifle that authorities say was used in the attack that killed 11 and wounded seven.

A final vote could come as early as next week pic. Gun-rights supporters are promising to file suit if the council passes the legislation. They say state law prohibits municipalities from regulating guns. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggests that an upcoming US peace plan would break with longstanding understandings on issues such as Jerusalem and Israeli settlements, saying the old approach had failed. Police sappers defuse an incendiary device attached to a cluster of balloons that landed in an agricultural field in the Lakhish Regional Council, in southern Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his top defense officials earlier today to discuss the recent flareup in the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu, who is also defense minister, met with IDF chief of staff Maj. They have no money, they have no oil, they have no nothing.

The IDF says it received a report regarding an injured Palestinian, but does not give further details. The Palestinian Medical Relief Society confirmed Muzher was working with them, saying in a statement he was shot while trying to treat a person wounded in clashes. In a blog post, the social network says it previously linked expressions of white nationalism with broader concepts of nationalism and separatism — such as American pride or Basque separatism, both of which are still allowed. Around 1, Soviet military advisors soon landed in the Congo. The Americans also feared that a Soviet-aligned Congo could form the basis of a major expansion of communism into central Africa.

The involvement of the Soviet Union alarmed the United States. The American government under Eisenhower, in line with Belgian criticism, had long believed that Lumumba was a communist and that the Congo could be on track to become a strategically placed Soviet client state.

Lumumba's appeal for Soviet support split the government and led to mounting pressure from Western countries to remove him from power. In addition, both Tshombe and Kalonji appealed to Kasa-Vubu, who they believed to be both a moderate and federalist, to move against Lumumba's centralism and resolve the secession issue. On 5 September , Kasa-Vubu announced on national radio that he had unilaterally dismissed Lumumba , using the massacres in South Kasai as a pretext and with the promise of American backing. From the coup onwards, Mobutu was able to exert considerable power in Congolese politics behind the scenes.

Following Kasa-Vubu's reinstatement, there was an attempted rapprochement between the Congolese factions. Tshombe began negotiations for the end of the secession and the formation of a confederal Congo. Although a compromise agreement was reached, it was prevented from taking effect as negotiations broke down amid personal animosity between Kasa-Vubu and Tshombe.

Lumumba escaped house arrest and fled eastwards towards Stanleyville where he believed he could rally support. A meeting of the UN Security Council was called on 7 December to consider Soviet demands that the UN seek Lumumba's immediate release, his restoration to the head of the Congolese government and the disarming of Mobutu's forces. The pro-Lumumba resolution was defeated on 14 December by a vote of 8—2.

Still in captivity, Lumumba was tortured and transported to Thysville and later to Katanga, where he was handed over to forces loyal to Tshombe. News of the execution, released on 13 February, provoked international outrage. Gizenga's soldiers then shot 15 political prisoners in retaliation, including Lumumba's dissident Minister of Communications, Alphonse Songolo. Since its initial resolution of July , the UN had issued further resolutions calling for the total withdrawal of Belgian and mercenary forces from Katanga in progressively stronger terms.

By , ONUC comprised nearly 20, men. In September , an attempt to detain a group of Katangese mercenaries without violence during Operation Morthor went wrong and turned into a fire-fight. His aircraft crashed before landing at Ndola Airport , killing him and everybody else on board. Resolution , issued in November , called for ONUC to respond to the deteriorating human rights situation and prevent the outbreak of full-scale civil war. The resolution "completely rejected" Katanga's claim to statehood and authorised ONUC troops to use all necessary force to "assist the Central Government of the Congo in the restoration and maintenance of law and order".

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Faced with international pressure, Tshombe signed the Kitona Declaration in December in which he agreed in principle to accept the authority of the central government and state constitution and to abandon any claim to Katangese independence. Diminishing support and Belgium's increasing reluctance to support Katanga demonstrated that the state could not survive indefinitely.

A ceasefire was agreed upon soon thereafter. Indian UN troops, exceeding their orders, then occupied Jadotville, preventing Katangese loyalists from regrouping. Following the end of the Katanga secession, political negotiations began to reconcile the disparate political factions.

Under Tshombe's interim government, fresh elections were scheduled for 30 March and the rebellion broke out in the central and eastern parts of the Congo. The period of political crisis had led to widespread disenchantment with the central government brought in by independence. Demands for a "second independence" from kleptocracy and political infighting in the capital grew.

The political instability of the Congo helped to channel wider discontentment into outright revolt. Disruption in the rural Congo begun with agitation by Lumumbists, led by Mulele, among the Pende and Mbundu peoples. The rebels, who called themselves "Simbas" from the Kiswahili word for " lion " , had a populist but vague ideology, loosely based on communism, which prioritised equality and aimed to increase overall wealth. Straggling Western missionaries retreated to their respective embassies, which in turn requested UN assistance.

The new state was supported by the Soviet Union and China, which supplied it with arms, as did various African states, notably Tanzania. After its early string of successes, the Simba rebellion began to encounter local resistance as it encroached on areas outside of the MNC-L's old domain. The People's Republic also suffered from a lack of coherent social and economic policy, contributing to an inability to administer its own territory. Albertville and Lisala were recaptured in late August and early September.

In November , the Simbas rounded up the remaining white population of Stanleyville and its environs. The whites were held hostage in the Victoria Hotel in the city to use as bargaining tools with the ANC. In order to recover the hostages, Belgian parachute troops were flown to the Congo in American aircraft to intervene.

On 24 November, as part of Operation Dragon Rouge , Belgian paratroopers landed in Stanleyville and quickly secured the hostages.

In the aftermath of the intervention, Belgium itself was publicly accused of neocolonialism. As a result of the intervention, Tshombe lost the support of Kasa-Vubu and Mobutu and was dismissed from his post as prime minister in October Instead of seeking a compromise candidate, Kasa-Vubu again unilaterally declared Kimba to be Prime Minister, which was again rejected, creating a political deadlock.

With the government in near-paralysis, Mobutu seized power in a bloodless coup, ostensibly to stop the impasse, on 25 November Once established as the sole source of political power, Mobutu gradually consolidated his control in the Congo. The number of provinces was reduced, and their autonomy curtailed, resulting in a highly centralised state.

Mobutu increasingly placed his supporters in the remaining positions of importance. In the years after the Congo Crisis, Mobutu was able to remove many opposition figures from the crisis who might threaten his control. Tshombe was sent into a second exile in after being accused of treason. In , Tshombe was sentenced to death in absentia and the same year was kidnapped in an aeroplane hijacking and held under arrest in Algeria.

His death in , allegedly from natural causes, has provoked speculation that the Mobutu government may have been involved. The issues of federalism, ethnicity in politics and state centralisation were not resolved by the crisis and partly contributed to a decline in support for the concept of the state among Congolese people.

He was succeeded by his son, Joseph Kabila. The Congo Crisis holds great significance in the collective memory of the Congolese people. The latter notion has largely shaped the political aspirations of a substantial number of Congolese. The Congo Crisis is usually portrayed in historiography as a time of intense disorder and disarray; there is wide consensus that Congolese independence was a calamity. This interpretation often juxtaposes the crisis with the supposed stability of the Congo under Belgian rule before and under Mobutu's regime after The turmoil of the Congo Crisis destabilised Central Africa and helped to ignite the Portuguese Colonial War , especially the war of independence in neighbouring Angola.

Sociologist Ludo De Witte []. The crisis caused the newly independent African states to reconsider their allegiances and internal ties. In particular, it led to the division of African states into factions. Moderate-leaning states joined the Brazzaville Group , which called for a degree of unity between Francophone African states and the maintenance of ties with France.

After negotiations with Britain repeatedly broke down, Southern Rhodesia's predominantly white government declared independence unilaterally in The Katangese secession would prove to be politically influential in Africa.

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The secessions of Biafra and Katanga have frequently been compared in academic writing. Biafra was defeated in and re-integrated into Nigeria. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Republic of the Congo now Democratic Republic of the Congo. Pierre Mulele Christophe Gbenye. Congo Crisis. Miscellaneous and cultural. Conflicts in DR Congo. Shaba Invasions.

First Congo War. Rwandan genocide Thunderbolt. Second Congo War. Ituri conflict. Kivu conflict. Main article: Belgian Congo. But for you, nothing will be changed The politicians have lied to you.

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