tv Discussion Focuses on Crisis in South Sudan CSPAN July 1, 2017 6:58am-8:03am EDT
>> as we watch the strong, the last, the few, the brave come in, i see lots of familiar faces in the audience. come on in, don't be shy. there's seats up here. i was fine. i have to convince my colleagues to sit in the front seats. except where it says reserved. but you can sate there. you can sit there. all right. we're going to get started here today. first of all, i want to note a couple of things. this event and future ones we're going to be doing are under a new initiative here at csis on diversity and national security. to bring different perspectives, new voices and representation that reflects all of the united states in discussions of foreign affairs. today we have with us four
fellows -- one, two, three -- three fellows. one couldn't make it today.. three fellows of the program which kickstarted this series here at csis of the international career advancement program, an absolutely marvelous, unique program out ins aspen which has -- in aspen which has formed the careers of many a foreign affairs expert, including several at the table.x and thanks to the coterie of 470 fellows we have, we have begun this program, but it is not limited to the fellows. it includes others, and you will see in a series of sometimes different events new discussions in foreign affairs. we have a new hashtag, diversity knapsack, and we also have the icap alumni association twitter feed which we are using as well as, obviously, csis. so travis is going to moderate
for us today. he is an awesome moderator. and without further ado, i'll turn it over to him. thank you.you. [applause] >> good morning. thank you, ambassador mccarthy, for the fantasticni introduction. a huge thanks to csis as a whole for gathering us this morning, and a specific thank you to victoria of csis for helping to orchestrate our gathering this morning as well. one administrative note for all of you, we will be taking questions from you guys on notecards, and so if you would like to have one of those cards, you can raise your hand now, an you will have another opportunity before the q and a tarts to get those -- starts to get those cards to ask your questions. and so without further ado, we'll get straight to the heart of the matter. though we've entitled today'se
discussion south sudan, when war and famine collide, we're clearly aware that these are only two strands of a much more complicated situation in south sudan, a much longer and convoluted history of conflict, oppression and attempts to resolve those issues. one of the things that i wanted to kind of start by pointing out is that even though in the west we have a tendency to mark the struggle in south sudan based on when we began to engage -- so you hear about july 9, 2011, july 9, 2005, you hear about interventions such as operation lifeline sudan in the late '80s and early '90s. but if you were to sit down with then-southerners, now south sudanese, you would here a different take on the arc of the struggle in south sudan, and
that arc is about a 20046 year struggle -- 200-year struggle for them to get to the place where they are.ab and it essentially starts with rule in that region by thehe ottoman empire, by the egyptians, rule in that region by the british colonial powers and then rule in that region by northerners situated in the post-independence government at khartoum. but the reason why i wanted to bring that together is that all of those powers who rule that region had one central principl in mind, and that central principle was that the region of the south -- which is now south sudan -- was to be only a region for the extraction of natural resources, was to be only a region for the extraction or human resources, was not to be cultivated, was not to be integrated, was to be isolated and was not to be developed.
and that is, essentially, the beginning of the struggle that they had which, essentially, made it a place designated forpe plunder. and successive governments in post-independence khartoum made that very clear. one of the things that happened in that history specifically around the second civil war in sudan versus the south, obviously, was they designated it something that they termed in arabic -- [speaking in native tongue] which means the bolt of war. which was to say they were giving themselves a religious justification to freely plunder and decimate that area for themselves. and one of the things that we hear all the time in the west about sudan is, and south sudan now, religious justifications, regional justifications, ethnic
and racial justifications. but all of these are veneers for, essentially, greed and the lust for power and resources by specific ruling entities in that, in that country, in that region. the sad irony essentially op of the contemporary moment is that though many southerners have sacrificed their lives to resist these forms of government and founded the sudanese people's liberation and army, south sudan has become once again the abode of war. this time without the thin religious veil in, essentially, a conflict that is a naked contest for wealth and for power. and, again, not for the development and the cultivation of the people of that nation. this all reminded me of the african proverb which states that when the elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.
and i thought that it would be good for us to take that symbolic metaphor to look at who the symbolic elephants are, what their actions mean for the suffering of the people who are at the bottom of that conflict and who have long been ignored in this process. and i know that many of you are experts and have given greatf service to try to ameliorate the suffering of those people.e. and so to get us right into our panel, i wanted to go over to ashley quarcoo who's going to t give us a readout from the u.s. aid perspective about the human toll of the conflict and where we are right now. thank you. >> thank you, travis, and thanks to csis for organizing this.an i just want to pick up on how travis framed this and emphasize, yes, we are in a humanitarian catastrophe, but it is root inside a political
problem -- rooted in a political problem, a political crisis. and normally in a system of governance we have rules for governing how political competition is going to take place. it takes place within a framework where people agree on the rules around that framework. and we don't have this kind of consensus in south sudan. instead, we have leaders who have decided to go outside of the peaceful rules of the game and to pursue their political objectives through violence. that is destroying their country. so this is a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions, but it is rooted in this political crisis. so just to frame the humanitarian piece of this, we're talking about two million people who have fled the country around the neighboring regions. we have two more million people displaced inside of south sudan and 2800 people are continuing the flee the country every day. so that's about one in three
people who are displaced from their homes right now. by july, and that's really just around the corner, we estimate about six million people are going to be in need of life-saving or will face life-threatening hunger. and about 7.5 million people are going to need humanitarian assistance writ large. just to put this in context, that's about 60% of south sudan's pre-conflict population. so this is a massive impact on the overall population, displacement as well as humanitarian and food needs. though we were pleased as i'm sure many of you or were to to see last week that parts of south sudan have now been declared famine-free, you know, we need to remember that the food security situation really remains dire, continues to deteriorate across the country.
just to say a word, usaid is helping to lead the u.s. i government response to this humanitarian catastrophe. we've been work aggressively to help save as many lives aswe possible with our partners long before the famine declaration in february of this year, and we will continue to do so. we're reaching about 1.3 millios people each month with life-saving assistance. but this is a really difficult and dangerous undertaking and not just because we're in a conflict zone and there's lots of insecurity. there have been numerous deliberate and brazen attacks on humanitarian aid workers in south sudan, attacks which are violations of international humanitarian law. 84 aid workers have been killed in south sudan since the conflict began in december of 2013, and 84 -- sorry. 17 of those have been since, this year alone, since january of this year. and that makes south sudan the
most deadly place in the world for humanitarian workers to operate. and that's really shocking if you think about conflicts thatpl are going on all over this, the globe -- yemen, iraq, syria. so aside from insecurity, aside from, again, these willful attacks on humanitarian workers, we're also facing the direct, willful obstruction and intervention of the government of south sudan in imposing bureaucratic impediments that inhibit our humanitarian actors from being able to access those people who need their assistance. we, it's a range of things from imposing worker, worker permits, fees and ngo registration fees that really dramatically increase the cost of delivering humanitarian assistance, and then we see direct detention and extortion, harassment, really
egregious acts to deter the delivery of the assistance that is going to save the live obviously the people of this country. and the fact that the government is taking these actions to prevent kind of life-saving assistance is really unconscionable. and the u.s. government expects that our assistance is going to reach the people that knead it the most -- that need it the most, and we are doing all we can to press all parties to allow humanitarian actors to function without restriction. finally just to say a note about kind of the human cost that travis referred to. i mean, you know, there was a u.n. survey done in 2015 looking at four protection of civilian sites. these are is the sites where about 230,000 people internally displaced across the country are
sheltering. this survey conducted reported over 70% of women have beene raped since the conflict began. 75% have witnessed someone else being raped. this is a weapon, a strategy of thisat this point. it's a mass atrocity crime andnd largely perpetrated by soldiers and police. there has been complete impunity for these, for these actions, and, you know, we can anticipate as long as that impunity reigns, we'll see those kinds of strategies being utilized. so i feel like i'm often the doom and gloom voice in some of these discussions, but, youan know, we as the united states, we are will continue to provide assistance. i think the humanitarian assistance and other assistance
that we're providing is critical. it is saving lives.st but it's really a drop in the bucket when we look at the scope and scale of the humanitarian needs, the civilian protection needs. and, ultimatelien again, going back to -- ultimately again, going back to the remarks at the top, this is a political crisis and needs a political solution. and until the parties are are willing to decide that this strategy of war is either too high a cost for their brothers and sisters or it's ineffective for them if their goal ultimately is to gain power, until they decide, we're going to continue to have these kinds of humanitarian needs. thanks. >> thank you, ashley.ni having started with the current usg official, i thought it would make sense to follow that up by getting an honest perspective from a former senior usg official who's worked extensively on africa and on the
you can to talk about essentially where we are with u.s. engagement on south sudan, whether we have policies in place that make sense for where we are in that country at this time. and then also to speak a little bit about regional actors, united nations, egad, african union and others. so with that, i'll turn it over to linda etim. >> great. as travis was saying, i spent a long time in the be u.s. government working on sudan and then south sudan and a lot of the neighboring countries. and so in some ways i have a lot of think and appreciation -- of sympathy and appreciation for the work that a lot of really hard working people in government are doing right now to insure that despite what we've seen as a pretty depressing lack of attention on this very important crisis, aid continues to flow, people
continue to make sure that they're advocating for continued assistance and support to the people of south sudan even into the face of what's going on with their government. that said, south sudan is not just a political crisis, a crisis of political leaders in the country not owning up to their responsibilities and notcr taking care of their people. what we are also seeing is a crisis of international leadership. and that's pretty dramatic. the united states knows that we gave ourselves a lot of credit for different important milestones in south sudan's recent history from the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement in 2005 to the declaration of independence for the new country that was finally born. we know that over decades we've seen church leaders in the
united states, and we've seenur people from the right and leftan come together to actually support the people of south sudan and make it a cause that has been a very american cause. what we're seeing now with the lack of attention, i think is, frankly, depressing. and the idea of abdicating the role of u.s. historic leadership to basically saying it's only the responsibility of the parties on the ground is something that we should challenge, i think, actively. especially folks that are in this room working on these issues. next, you know, travis mentioned the fact that it's not just the united states. we've got the united nations. again, biggest peacekeeping force on the planet. and we've also got the african union. again, most dangerous place in the world for humanitarian assistants. famine, a civil war. and yet these bodies and these institutions whose main job it is to actually make sure that they're intervening
appropriately actually culling countries and leaders and individuals on the wrongs that they're committing -- calling -- have basically also stepped back and said we will provide assistance or protection within our role. but because of issues of sovereignty or complexities, we're stepping back. and i think what we see across the board is a lot of people sort of waiting for the other, for somebody else to ten up and -- to step up and actually take action on the crisis. when we look at humanitarian workers and deliveries being detained and actually obstructed, that's actually considered a human rights violation. and yet it's not the language that we use to speak about it. we haven't seen the african union do more than condemn, we haven't seen the u.n. stand up and say, actually, these are
crimes against humanity. there have been many investigations, but i think i that these are sort of the language and the things that people need to start talking about. there was one report where we talked about the potential of ethnic cleansing i. sort of reached past the point where we need to go a little bit further. one of the things that we've seen with the neighboring countries as well is this idea that they're accepting refugees. i think, you know, uganda has been an amazing recipient ofce south sudanese refugees. but i uganda has been a major problem when you talk about actually coming to a resolution of the political crisis. so on the one hand, again, you see this willingness to engage on how do we accept people and deal with the outflow of the problem, but nobody tail stepping up in a leadership -- nobody actually stepping up in a leadership role and really willing to take on the root cause of why the crisis is continuing. until that happens, we know that the suffering in these communities is only going to get
worse x. so i think one of the challenges for all of us is to actually figure out at what point are we willing to actually push forward aggressively and say, okay, we've let this go on for over four years now, this war. the last war was over 20 years. maybe this is the time to actually say enough is enough. and actually take some more concerted actions to making sure that the people who are responsible for these atrocities are actually brought to more justice. >> thank you, linda. with linda giving us pretty much an overview of the bilateral u.s. engagement in the region and on south sudan specifically, i wanted to turn to steve vigil who essentially is joining us via satellite. it may not technically be a satellite, but i will refer to it in that way. steve, given your background in u.n. peacekeeping in south
sudan, could you talk to us a little bit about some of the challenges you've seen there, some of the issues, some of the challenges in terms of the protection of civilians which ashley and linda have talked about? and then also, perhaps, a little bit from your perspective on the nexus between what the u.n. mission in south sudan is trying to do related the conflict and how that might be hindered or helped by issues of governance in south sudan. >> a hot to -- [laughter] that's a lot to ununpack. be -- i actually prepared some notes i was going to go off, and then i think i could address some of that, much of that. forgive me, i'm actually going to be reading off of it just in the interest of time, because i feel like if not, i could kind
of stray, and i understand we're limited time here, so i wanted to keep on that. first off, travis, thank you, and i'd like to thank the center for strategic and international studies for hosting this panel and specifically ambassador mccarthy and the diversity and national security project. i guess the name just changed in the last couple days, so -- [laughter] it sounds good, i like it.t. and another thing just in terms of what i'm going to say, i really want to preface these are really my views and not the views of the u.n. or any of my other previous employers in south sudan, elsewhere with. i'm going to share my thoughts on my experience many sudan and south sudan during the periods of the 2010 national election and 2011 referendum and immediately post-independence. i coordinated a security working group in the u.n. mission focused on electoral and referendum-related security incidents. i think it's important to look at this particular period in relation to where south sudan is today and, hopefully, this will contribute to some sort of
understanding of steps that can be taken towards ending the civil war and moving towards peace. i think a lot of the roots of what's already been discussed on the panel were already visible during this period.ed and for me coming to south sudan during that time having not had any experience in sudan before, there was a lot. and my understanding of what i'd heard before becoming, the situation on the groundfo challenged a lot of what i understood before i got there. some of the roots of the current conflict can be seen when looking at the 2011 sudanese national elections. the key element i observed was that the leadership in south sudan was very willing to use violence to achieve its goals even while participating in a democratic process. additionally, it was immediately clear that there was a deep division within the fplm/a that presided the period that contributed to the violence.
during the 2010 elections, leadership used the fpla to interfere to insure that their preferred candidates won. we had many incidents of candidates being e towned and -- detained and beaten, armed soldiers entering polling stations. we even had a case of soldiers burning ballots from the gubernatorial race after it had become clear that the candidate backed by the leadership had lost.. at this period the fpla was moving, the military was moving soldiers from one region to another that they considered there was a chance that the non-backed candidate would lose are. and, you know, many people were observed that they were attempting to secure the election, and i think it wasas actually more a move to secure the position that they wanted for the future. during the cpa period, south sudan was a violent place.
crashes between local -- clashes between local civilian villages and patrols. a rite of passage in some cultures in the region, but in the period i was there, that aspect had been lost as rival military commanders, politicians and other actors exerted increased control. raids were being coordinated with mobile technology and done using automatic weapons. cattle, women and children were taken -- [inaudible] caused death toll on average of 10-20 people a week and often times more than that. patrols in the field were not well supported and were, in many cases, living off the land. this put them in direct conflict with villages in areas they were patrolling. the activities i observed more closely resembled cattle raiding or moves to secure territory.
and they were moving as if they were still in -- [inaudible] what i observed was that theth violence in south sudan did not happen in isolation. violence seemed coordinated, intentional and used as a means to an end. it was used to insure a favorable outcome in an election, to increase territorial control, to insure grazing land for cattle for one group at the expense of another, it was used to intimidatee journalist, aid workers and even u.n. staff. at one point i was there, the police had detained the head of human rights for the united nations and arrested, jailed and beaten him and charged him with false charges for counterfeiting. i think that's important to notn in the discussion. the head of the human rights for the u.n. was being intimidated. i mean, that says a lot about what was going on. much of the violence that was
pick taking place seemed to be motivating by establishing political anderer the to have until control.ch friends and colleagues from smaller or or less powerful tribes were concerned at the expansion of -- [inaudible] in other areas. seemingly with the support of the spla or large militia groups such as the white army. some shared concerns that post-independence the violence s would increase and lead to war. these were concerns that south sudanese colleagues were sharing with me as we were running into the referendum period. and even post-independence several colleagues said now the real conflict begins. who's going to run the country x. that was particularly acute when i was hearing that from colleagues from the equatorial -- [inaudible] the large number of soldiers that were in juba. during the referendum period, the -- [inaudible] invested heavily in reaching out to citizens to support independence.
the people of south sudan were enthusiastic and hopeful that an independent south sudan would reconcile its differences, develop infrastructure, support and work together to build a nation n. the runup to the referendum, the government strongly supported media and civil society groups that were educating south sudanese about the democratic process in governance. following independence, those hopes were never realized. what did happen was the continue nation of what was happening before. -- continuation. khartoum was once again to blame for any ills and the lack of infrastructure. and the leadership in south sudan continued to use violence to achieve its goals, indifferent to the suffer of course the citizens they were meant to serve. and incidental hi, the median civil society groups that were previously supported became enemies of the state as they t began to report on corruption and advocated for more inclusive and transparent government.vocaf recently in speaking to a former
colleague, one of the things that she commented on was that she felt that during the referendum period that the the leadership really intentionally pulled the wool over the eyes of the south sudan citizens, that it wasn't ever -- she thought that they were given him ared options in terms of the -- limited options in terms of the choices, and it was really all ant the leadership, you know, kind of maintaining control. when looking back at the 2010t elections and 2011 referendum, i feel that in a rush to a politically expedient solution before deadlines laid out in the cpa, important steps involving peace, reconciliation, social cohesion and promoting a unifying identity of south sudanese on a national scale div not happen despite the presence of multiple actors from the international community and the will and desire of the people od south sudan. although there was a great deal of investment to insure that the elections and referendum took place, not enough was done on the front end to insure that they would yield a viable
solution to the violence that has been plaguing the people of south sudan for generations. the creation of a new, independent state was not enough to insure an end to violence and the first is steps towards peace. the process that led to the independence of south sudan had limited -- and i think this is a comment in speaking with many of my colleagues, former colleagues, that definitely was the process that led to the independence of south sudan had limited engagement from the wider sudanese society. it was primarily made up of those who had a role politically, militarily or both during the sudanese civil war. many of the conflicts that occurred in the sudanese civil war carried over into the birth of south sudan as an independent nation was resolution. the same actors are charged with bringing an end to the the war. it would seem that without greater political engagement from all, south sudanese society insuring that there are many people at the table and rellal pretty -- real political will from the international community --
>> steve, may i, may i chime in here just quickly? >> yeah. >> in the interest of time -- >> sure. >> -- if you might give us one final comment, and then i'm going to move to mario. >> yeah. well, my final comment was thank you. [laughter] that was it. but i just, incidentally, i'd really like to just, you know, speaking to the u.n. and particularly to the time i was there, i think even now we're seeing it's the largest u.n. mission on the ground. but i also think we need to look at, you know, during period the mission was never adequately supported. and i don't want to get into -- i definitely have a lot of issues of how things were done. and i think in a certain context that there was a bit of enabling. well, not a bit. the u.n. mission at some point enabled some of the leadership in south sudan without really having the will to step up and push back against it. but i also think that has a lot to do with just the general
political will of the international community in general. you know, the u.n. is an easy punching bag when things go wrong. but at the end of the day, the u.n. responds to the will of the member states and marley the permanent members -- and particularly the permanent members of the security council. if you look at other cases around the world when the members of the permanent, you know, p5 come together and make a decision that we're going to move on something and when other countries step in and step up as well, follow their lead, you see outcomes that are much more, i mean, you see actual processes moving. i think right now we're in ath situation where things are just stuck. even's stepping back and waiting -- everyone's stepping back and waiting for someone else to take the lead. unfortunately, if we keep waiting, all we're going to see is the continuing deterioration in south sudan. in particular, and i guess my
last point would be, a lot of violence that was happening when i was there was definitely targeted. i felt like a lot of it was based on moving different groups that were not be as powerful off their land. it was about maintaining control, and now i think you're seeing a much more accelerated version of that.t. and what's happening, areas of south sudan that did not have, that were not experiencing great amounts of violence when i was there are now the epicenters for violence. and, you know, so -- >> thank you -- >> that was my final point. >> thank you for the insight, steve.e. i just want to make one administrative point again, that if you guys have questionsad developing in your head or that you've scratched on notes that you already have, this would be the time to call for -- or to raise your hands to receive the notecards for our q&a which will ensue right after mario gives his remarks. just really quickly, after having that rundown from steve,e i wanted to turn to mario bol who is a former lecturer at the
memorial university in south sudan to give us his insights not only as a south sudanese, but also as one who's focused on politics and governance in the region as well as refugee issues. we'll turn it over to you, mario. >> thank you very much. thank you, csis and ambassador mccarthy, for inviting me. i came from south sudan, i was there for three years. from there, i was born there, but i'm also american. so i -- [inaudible] also i'm not going to sit for the government or for the -- or from from anybody that is fighting, including my own community. i would love to be independent. once you live outside like me, i grew up with it -- [inaudible] i was raised by the u.n., united nations.
i was in northern kenya before i came here. i came here as one of the lost boys from sudan, now south sudan with the issue of south sudan as mentioned on the introduction, south sudan is very complicate 3. it's a very complicated country like another country in the world, say the u.s. but sometimes one doesn't know until one -- [inaudible] i did not even know that south sudan was such a complicated country when i was here until i went there and spent three years. i would take on two things. the country -- [inaudible] and the ngo role as mentioned. south sudan like other african
countries not get independent from your mean colony -- european colonies. it got its independence from a neighboring country x that is the sudan. that neighboring country, sudan, has a deep-seated interest that could go -- [inaudible] the interest of sudan that south sudan left is to make sure that south sudan become a failed state. is actually one of the reasons why -- become an issue in south sudan. finish. [inaudible] each of these tribes has its own interest in how the country should be. it is something that i didn't
know, but is one of the reasons why the country is the way it is today. i'm not going to dwell on that very much. could go on and on and on and on. i was a lecturer -- [inaudible] is my hometown. that's the town of my tribe. and in south sudan, it's not like here. you spend your time talking to people, that's how you get public opinion. south sudanese are very different. the way -- [inaudible] refugees in northern you taliban
da, northern -- you ghana, northern kenya -- [inaudible] i was raised by ngo, i was educated by the u.n. welcome to me personally, i appreciate that. but two, there are things that need -- [inaudible] i thank my colleague for, you know, bringing up all the things.in when the conflict broke out, my -- [inaudible] people ran to northern uganda, ran to kenya, and some crossed the nile. there's a place called juarez where my friend benjamin come from. these people -- i used to live in the village. they don't want to come back
simply because the ngo, the u.n -- [inaudible] is telling them not to go back. one, to do so they were never qualified for the benefits. the food items and -- [inaudible] and seeing that the government of sudan is impossible for people to grow up with abilities. it's what i have seen. part of my family members -- [inaudible] well, it happened. what can i do? i asked them to come back, but they know that because the role of u.n. says you cannot be an idp in your own district. in my own town more than 7,000 --
[inaudible] so this is -- i'm not trying to blame the ngos because i was a part of an ngo, but this is the card that has been played now. with the government, as mentioned, -- [inaudible] the thing that everybody in the country disagree, and you can talk of president. when they unite, they believe that all the tribes are united. now they're fighting each other. they don't like each other now. but once they come together later on, they will assume that
jesus come because they are now together. this is one of the reasons why i say south sudan is more complicated than -- [inaudible] so thank you. you know, i'm being -- [inaudible] which is very good. i lived there for three years, by the way. and i'm not -- [inaudible] i talk around and i've seen this with my own eyes. i've been part of the issue. so thank you very much. >> thank you, mario. our first question i think we i can pose to the entire panel who would like to speak to it, but it is specifically reference today a point that linda was making earlier x that is the role that the u.s. government played in the birthing of the independence of south sudan and
what specifically the u.s. should do to help bring about a political resolution in the aboa conflict. >> so and that was, you know, i'd like to say that i've been working on south sudan since 2002, and so i saw the cpa period and also, which are the bush years, and then i also was up close and personal because i started the national security council under obama during theam referendum period when we were actually talking about how we would bring independence about. and so i will say that, you know, during this time period there was a very strong realization that the terms of the comprehensive peace agreement had not been met fully. i think there was a strong recognition that the 2010 elections were not where they needed to be. i think that we knew that there
were a lot of unresolved issues and, you know, that we didn't yet have a government that felt hike they could stand up -- like they could stand up on their own and that was largely dependent on international assistance even as at that point in time oil revenues were high. at the same time, when we went around and did surveys and checks with the people around the country and in neighboring countries, you have to remember the referendum vote happened not just within south sudan, but with the diaspora committee that had been displaced for many, many years and that were excited and optimistic about their future. and we heard very clearly from people that they didn't want western countries taking over their nation. they wanted separation. they wanted the vote on time. and they thought they could sort through these other things by themselves. so what happens is as the u.s. government, we went through this
wrestling internal match about is it paternalistic to tell people that, no, you are not ready for that yet. actually, you could be a protectorate, you need to rate, or do we say, no, this is your right as was negotiated under a peace agreement but that we will be there as the united states to continue to support you going forward. hindsight is always 20/20. there was a lot of concern that if the referendum did not happen on time, that there would have been a civil war that started right then. and so this was a, there was a call that was made to move forward with the referendum but to make, to have dedicated budgets for south sudan both at the state department and at usaid. and even for defense to make sure that this was something that the united states would remain focused on. there was also a decision that
even after separation the roleai of the u.s. special envoy wouldt don't to move forward -- would continue to move forward. there had been a thought before the role of the ensoy was only to negotiate the comprehensive peace agreement and to help with the troika and then move out from there. but at that point in time, we said there's going to be a lot of other things to resolve. and so the united states needed to remain involved. so that was sort of the special relationship that continued with the united states with south sudan before and after the referendum took place. and in understanding that a lot of the terms of the cpa and a lot of the challenges would continue even after. and that's sort of with that understanding moving forward,r that's the period of time that we're many now. the question is what are the choices and the decision making that happens now that we're many this period where you actually have to deal with a new country, but you know that they're not actually protecting their civilian rights, the citizens' rights.
>> thank you. the next question touches on, i think, mostly ashley's presentation. and this questioner is curious about the impact on u.s. foreign aid in south sudan since the departure and reengagement byy usaid, the departure of some of the implementing partners who were there right up in the lead areup to the conflict -- leadup to the conflict and how that may have impacted our overall mission, objectives and achievement of our goals in south sudan can.udan >> sure. so, i mean, usaid continues to be in force in south sudan, to be actively implementing programs, to respond to the crisis. we did kind of a revamp of what we were doing there after the 2013 violence broke out.in we had primarily a, in line with
what linda was articulating, we had a mission to support the development of the south sudanese as a state, the country. and a lot of programs geared in that way. and there was, obviously, a fundamental shift when the context changed and we, you know, merged into a humanitarian crisis begin anything 2013, and our programs -- begin anything 2013, and our programs adjusted accordingly. certainly after last year's violence, there was an impact on primarily international personnel that needed to leave the country. but we, you know, we have returned. usaid personnel back into our mission, our partners are back. we are implementing programs actively. and is so i think -- and i think the messages that we're going to continue to do that, we're going to continue to be there to mitigate, again, to mitt gate
the impacts of this conflict to the extent that we can. b >> thank you. mario, there's a question that i think maybe you might be best placed to answer since we talked about this before we came up onto the stage. and that is what has been the role of the oil industry ine of particular are, especially in relation to foreign investment in oil in south sudan and the ways in which those competing factors have contributed to the conflict? >> yeah. well, oil is the major income for the country today. 90 something percent of the government revenue come from the oil. it's one of the reasons why the economy of south sudan said to have collapsed, because the oil prices is down. so south sudan even though it holds oil is not playing a major role in that oil industry.
it's being represented as a junior partner. the oil companies that are there, you know, bp is there, chinese companies are there. it makes things more complicated. the oil companies are displacing people from villages. you don't see this, you know, on the media unless you go there. you just have to see that. so oil is a good thing because it's a source of income. but at the same time, it's one of the reasons that is responsible for most of the problem today. i don't know whether i have answered you correctly. >> thank you. another question relates to, essentially, vestiges of the british colonial legacy in south sudan, and since i spoken about that a little bit -- i spoke about that a little bit in my opening remarks, i will try and answer to that.
i think clearly the answer is, yes. when you look at the fact that sudan and south sudan were essentially administered as two different countries under thedi british cloal y'all add -- colonial, they had in the 1920s what they called the closed door ordinances. and the closed door ordinances essentially stated that people from southern sudan would not be allowed to enter northern sudan, and that people from northern sudan would not be allowed to enter southern sudan. no exchange many business, noant exchange culturally, no exchange at all. and then they decided that the north was more advanced, more prepared to be integrated into the modern world. they allowed islam to continue to flourish there. i they allowed the arabic language to be the predominant language
in terms of education and l commerce. and in the south, they decided that they would bring in missionaries from the u.k., educate them primarily in english, and then their plan all along was to integrate the south into what they called british east africa which would have essentially been a combining oft that territory with kenya and uganda. and so they never intended for the nation actually to be unified. mission to that -- in addition to that, they made a decision that the south was backwards, and it wasn't ready to join the modern world which, as i stated earlier, was essentially the same position that every entity that had governed south sudan had. and then you follow that up, january 1, 1956, independence comes.
and then the british just disappear, essentially jamming together two nations that for over 50 years they never administered as one nation. and then no one could figure out why they couldn't get along. so, clearly, that legacy iset problematic for what we see happening in south sudan now. another question i had for you guys as we prepare to close is a pretty broad question. and some of the answers that we've given already may coffer some of this -- cover some of this, but i try it anyway. and that is given all that all of you have shared, how would you assess the capacity and the political will that the u.s. and regional and international actors in this moment to meet the crises in south sudan? you know, the u.s. is known for its can-do attitude, but in this moment of political crisis at home and abroad, do you think
that the international order is prepared to resource and properly coordinate an effort where we can't seem to find the leverage points to to bring the warring parties to the table? and perhaps we can close on that question. and each of you who chooses to chime in can do so. >> i'll start. so i actually, i tend to be an optimist, and, you know, maybe part of that is some of you know that u2's been going around the country on their tour. they performed in washington, d.c. on world refugee day particularly to raise awareness and attention, i think, to issues like south sudan where people from left and from the right can actually agree that we don't like human suffering as americans. that we actually care about it a
lot and that even with political jockeying and attempts to cut foreign assistance bills, the one thing that you do see pretty consistently is the hill coming forward and saying, no, we don't like famine, we don't want people to starve, we do want a solution to this cry is sis. i think what we're seeing -- crisis. i think what we're seeing with the bear national community right now -- international community right now is that nobody wants to step up and take the lead. that doesn't mean we're not pouring billions of dollars of resources boo south sudan, and that doesn't mean that people don't care that other people are suffering. and so in that sense, the fact that we're still willing to spend the money, the fact that we're still willing to bet engaged is absolutely encouraging to me. because what you often end up seeing is people saying we don't really care what's going on in that faraway place. so we've got an essential first step for the world community right now in that people are willing to actually resource this. what they are lacking right now is how do we stop it, how do we
end this fighting, what's theis real solution, what are our options? have we exhausted all of them in and that's a failure of create it. it's really about the region, the african union, neighboring countries standing up and saying, you know what? we have an illegitimate government right now that has violated all sorts of international norms. we're not just going to stand by and let them continue to do so. and, you know, it's the p5, chinese oil workers have been kill inside this crisis. they've had to shut down production multiple times. they're losing money right now. they should have an interest in this. russia, we'd seen sort of terrible stories about russia funneling arms and equipment into south sudan that were aiding and abetting in this war. well, i i think the international community's been very clear to russia that right now we don't really like what you're doing. there's a lot of movement and momentum and work that can happen in the u.n. security council. there's a lot of work that the african union now that it's got
its leadership together -- that was not the case several months ago where they were still struggling with a hot of leadership issues -- the african union should now be able to step forward. they've got a negotiating team and the u.s. government itself is putting billions and has invested billions of dollars into this as has the u.k. and norway. this is something that given the money and given the fact that everybody agrees that this is not right, what's happening, it's not as hard as it needs to be. we need to actually just put pressure on all of these institutions to say stand up for what you actually believe in, stop making this more difficult than it has to be and start putting pressure on these leaders to do the right thick. the right thing. >> thank you, linda. do you want to go ahead, ashley? >> no.o. i just want to emphasize that the u.s. government continues to care and invest deeply in what is happening in south sudan. it's always been an issue that
has garnered, you know, bipartisan support. and i think we can anticipate that same level of commitment going forward. >> excellent. steve, did you want to provide some final comments on where we go from here? >> yeah. i mean, just following up on linda and ashley's statement, you know, i don't see that thisd is, you know, i think that all the elements are there. and we've seen before when the international community comes together with regional actors, we've seen that we can come together and bring about a solution to what seems to be an -- [inaudible] i was in sierra leone and liberia in the early 2000s and, you know, people thought that was hell on earth. and it was. and it was. but two years after the end of war in sierra leone, i was standing in freetown talking with colleagues from different, local colleagues from different areas, and you didn't feel like you were in a place of war.
they went, people stepped in. there was actual reconciliation process.pe there was accountability. there was leadership. and i think on that note, i think one of the things, the thing that's lacking the most right now for me is just the political will to step up and take a leadership position. because all the elements are there. and this is something that we can do. it is an incredibly complicated situation, it is a very sad and tragic situation that's getting worse by the day. but this isn't the first time that this has happened, and we've seen when we can get together and take action and unify that we can bring about resolution to these types of programs. >> excellent. thank you for that, steve. only fitting that we close with our south sudanese panelist, mario. closing thoughts. >> yeah. actually, i would love to see the u.s. continue to support for south sudan. one of the -- [inaudible]
i mean, on south sudan -- [inaudible] by the united states. so i would love to to see united states -- but with the international community as a whole, i would also love to see the community support the peace and the -- but what i don't want the international community to do is to take over the country. we have seen this in congo. u.n. has been in congo for 60 years. congo is seen as a mess. if we invite these foreign nationals to come and take over south sudan, south sudan will also continue to be a mess. so we want good intentions and also prayers from the international community. but also -- but not to send in troops. one would say it would be a clear, i mean, a violation of
sovereignty. so they need to be advised, they need to be told. but you don't need an army, because the u.n. doesn't speak with one voice. is not very democratic on its own, so you cannot invite the, you know -- [inaudible] to come and tell you what to do. that would be very difficult. >> thank you for that, mario. that allows us to close almost at 10:30 on the dot. thanks to our panelists. please give them a round of applause. [applause] thank you for joining us. thank you to csis for hosting us this morning. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
you can send your questions to you or you add, treat us booktv, post a message to our facebook wall.com, facebook be.com/tv or call us during the program. temple university professor examines gender identity in his book, does gender matter. he is interviewed by sarah ellis ceo of clad. our holiday schedule features secretary of state condoleezza right, author of democracy. author and historian david mccullough on the american spirit, senator mike lee with his book, the forgotten sounding fathers. also author of talking back,
talking black and authors of sisters first to discuss their lives in forthcoming book. also, with the help of our comcast cable partner, book tv visits portland oregon to explore the city's history and literary culture. that is just a few of the programs and authors you will see on this four-day weekend of book tv on c-span2. television for serious readers. first up, here is leland melvin. >> all right. good evening everybody.