South Sudan: Conflict Now Between Uganda's War-monger Museveni Versus Machar

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It was Museveni, left, not Kiir, who told Machar he would be militarily defeated. AFP/Getty

The South Sudan conflict has now been hijacked by Uganda's general Yoweri Museveni, Africa's number one mischief maker.

President Salva kiir has been reduced to a footnote.

Why is general Museveni who is supposedly one of the "mediators" eager to be at the center of the South Sudan conflict?

Only in November, a terroristic army called M23 that general Museveni had co-created and co-financed and co-trained and co-armed, together with Rwanda's general Paul Kagame, was dealt a deathblow by troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi serving on a newly-created UN Intervention brigade.

After the rout of M23, which had committed massacres in Rwanda, mass rapes and plunder of resources for years, as Human Rights Watch documented, the fighters fled to Uganda and Rwanda.General Museveni has refused to surrender the commander of M23, Sultan Makenga, who is now harbored by Uganda even though he's on a U.S. sanctions list and responsible for war crimes in Congo.

M23's previous commander, Bosco Ntaganda, who killed so many Congolese he was known as the "terminator" had earlier fled to Rwanda and straight to the U.S. embassy. He realized he knew too much and would not be safe in Rwanda; he was transferred to the ICC.

The United Nations had found that M23's chain of command led to Rwanda's defense minister general James Kabarebe and that M23 also maintained two homes in Kampala, Uganda, and Ntaganda and Makenga regularly had strategy meetings with two of Uganda's most important security officials: these are general Salim Saleh, brother of general Museveni, and the country's police chief general Kale Kayehura.

Why is general Museveni now allowed to deploy to South Sudan in a domestic conflict between President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar, just weeks after his terror-army which committed war crimes was defeated in Congo? Who is to tell that some of the deployed men are not elements of the defeated M23?

Gen. Museveni became involved in the South Sudan conflict formally because Uganda is a member of a regional trade and development block called IGAD, which was called in to mediate the conflict that began as a power struggle.

Kiir accused Machar and his supporters of an attempted coup, a charge even his important supporter, the United States, disputes. Machar on the other hand accuses Kiir of a power grab; Rebecca Nyandeng Garang, the widow of South Sudan founding father John Garang and her son Mabior, back Machar's contention.Immediately after the IGAD meeting in Kenya to discuss South Sudan, war-monger Museveni issued a direct threat to Machar, giving him four days to surrender otherwise "we shall have to go for him, all of us" even though he was speaking for himself and the Ugandan military, which is effectively his private army -- he deploys at will without consulting Parliament.

Of course general Museveni is eager to deploy in Sudan. In addition to pushing M23 and his harboring of Makenga out of the news, a permanent state of war helps him maintain his dictatorship over Uganda.By constantly deploying, he keeps troops that could cause him trouble at home busy abroad. Beginning in 1990, there has literally not been a year that his army was not deployed outside Uganda even though Uganda has never officially been at war since he seized power in 1986.

[] In 1990 he deployed when he invaded Rwanda (renaming the brigades he sent the RPF, commanded by Kagame, who had been chief if military intelligence in Uganda's national army). This war lasted until 1994 with the defeat of the Juvenal Habyarimana government by Kagame, who four years earlier was a senior Ugandan military officer.

[] In 1996 he deployed when he invaded what was then Zaire, later the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda then occupied large parts of Congo and the International Court of Justice found it liable for what amounted to war crimes in Congo. General Museveni later urged the U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to block a separate ICC investigation of the alleged crimes. That deployment has not yet ended. Even with the defeat of M23 there are still Ugandan troops in parts of the DR Congo.

[] In 2008 general Museveni deployed in the Central African Republic, under the guise of pursuing Joseph Kony. Instead The Washington Post found the general's army committing in the Central African Republic the kind of abuses it had been identified with in Congo and in Uganda while also plundering resources. As The Washington Post's Sudarsan Raghavan reported on April 16, 2012: "According to Human Rights Watch, Uganda’s military has committed numerous abuses in its quest for Kony in the north of the country, including killings, routine beatings, rapes, and prolonged and arbitrary detention of civilians."

So when it seemed Kiir' was losing grip on power general Museveni saw a good opportunity for another one of his famous deployments.

Even though the U.S., a big supporter of South Sudan knows general Museveni has the blood of Congo on his hands Washington realized that an outright defeat of Kiir by Machar would be disastrous. Better to have the architect of many war crimes, beginning with the 1990 invasion of Rwanda, deploy his private army rather than face the calamity of a Kiir collapse.

So, Washington has turned a blind eye to general Museveni's meddling just as it did when he invaded Rwanda in 1990 and in recent years supported marauding armies such as M23 in Congo.

Ugandan troops have been fighting alongside Kiir's soldiers. Machar has claimed that Ugandan fighter jets have also bombed positions of troops who defected from South Sudan's army and are now backing him.

So in essence the mediation in South Sudan should be between Machar the former South Sudan Vice President and Uganda's general Museveni.

This means that any ceasefire and solution that comes from the Peace Talks in Addis Ababa may not address the legitimate grievances that may exist between Kiir and Machar and other officials within the ruling Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM).

Many South Sudanese have legitimate reasons to be concerned.

Ultimately South Sudan needs a government of national unity until such a time when the next elections in 2016 approaches and not a general from a neighboring country already implicated in regional bloodshed, spearheading the conflict.

 

 

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