World View: U.S. and Britain Evacuate Citizens from South Sudan as Unrest Spreads

This morning's key headlines from

  • Corruption probe throws Turkey's government into crisis
  • U.S. and Britain evacuate citizens from South Sudan as unrest spreads
  • Sectarian atrocities escalate in Central African Republic

Corruption probe throws Turkey's government into crisis

Police found a banknote counter in the home of the Interior Minister's son (Zaman)
Police found a banknote counter in the home of the Interior Minister's son (Zaman)

In Turkey, 52 people, including bureaucrats, well-known businessmen, and the sons of three ministers, were arrested on Tuesday in a massive corruption investigation that threatens the government of prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The corruption investigation extends deep into the police department, as 29 senior police officials in the Istanbul and Ankara police departments were forced to step down from their posts for "abuse of office" related to the investigations. 

The corruption charges are broad. Azeri businessman Reza Zarrab is accused of paying bribes to Cabinet members to protect his alleged crime gang, and to coverup a range of illegal transactions, including smuggling $150 million in cases from Turkey to Russia. Meanwhile, police searching the home of detained Halkbank general manager Suleyman Aslan have found $4.5 million in cash hidden in shoe boxes in his library. 

The corruption charges are thought to have come about because of a split within Erdogan's AK political party, pitting himself against a former ally, Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric, currently living in the United States. Erdogan himself has denounced the corruption investigation as a "dirty operation" by political enemies of his government. Hurriyet (Istanbul) and Zaman (Ankara) and BBC

U.S. and Britain evacuate citizens from South Sudan as unrest spreads

The United States and Britain on Wednesday began evacuating their personnel from their embassies in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. The evacuations come three days after gun battles broke out in Juba. Some reports indicate that the gunbattles are between members of warring Dinka and Nuer tribes. 

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is really a remarkable story. What's really panicking people is not the gun battles in Juba, but other battles in the nearby provincial capital Bor. Those fights triggered a mass exodus of citizens, and more than 20,000 civilians are now sheltering at two U.N. compounds in Juba. 

Now, there's nothing pleasant about nearby gun fights, but why would those cause 20,000 people to flee their homes and take a dangerous trip to Juba, where they risk not even being welcome? 

To answer that question, we have to look back to November 15, 1991, when the "Bor Massacre" began. Over the next three months, 2,000 civilians were killed, thousands more wounded, and at least 100,000 people fled the area. Famine followed the massacre, as looters burnt villages and raided cattle, resulting in the deaths of 25,000 more from starvation. 

Nothing like that could possibly happen today, because the surviving generations won't permit it. But people in the same surviving generations are afraid that it WILL happen again, and so they're fleeing their homes and running to the U.N. in anticipation of another massacre, which likely won't occur. VOA and London Post (2011)

Sectarian atrocities escalate in Central African Republic

The Central African Republic (CAR) is quite a different story. As each day goes by, it becomes clear that the violence between Muslims and Christians is spiraling out of control, despite the attempt by French forces to disarm both. Most of the victims so far have been Christians, but the massacres and atrocities are escalating on both sides. 

Last week I asked readers to help me out with the history of CAR, and several people wrote to me to point out that the last generational Crisis war was the 1928-31 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), targeting the French colonialists. I thank the people who wrote to me with that information. 

The general rule in generational theory is that a new generational crisis war can only occur when the survivors of the previous crisis war have disappeared (died or retired), all at once. This generational change happens about 58 years after the climax of the previous crisis war. It's almost impossible for a new crisis war to begin less that 50 years after the previous climax, but the probability goes up each year, reaching a peak at the 58 year mark (the statistical "mode"). However, there are many examples where the new crisis war begins 60 or 70 or more years after the previous crisis. 

So going back to the southern part of South Sudan, the previous crisis war climaxed with the Bor Massacre in 1991. So now, 22 years later, a new crisis war is impossible, despite the fact that almost every news report says that it might happen at any time. (As an aside, the northern part of South Sudan had a more recent crisis war that climaxed in 2009 with the secession of South Sudan from Sudan.) 

The reason that a new crisis war in the South Sudan is impossible isn't rocket science. When any population goes through the horrors of a generational crisis war, which is the worst kind of war known to man, then the survivors vow that they will devote their lives to making sure that nothing like that ever happens to their children or grandchildren. And their efforts are successful, until they pass away, and then a new crisis war can begin. 

So in the case of C.A.R., it's now 82 years after the end of the preceding crisis war, so the mood is very, very ripe for a new crisis war, and it's extremely likely that the current conflict between Muslims and Christians will spiral into full-scale war and that France's army will be overwhelmed. 

While I'm on this subject, the last crisis war for Mali was the Tuareg rebellion that climaxed in 1963. So now, 50 years later, a new crisis war is almost impossible, and in fact the fighting in Mali appears to have simmered down, except for invading al-Qaeda linked militias in the north. Human Rights Watch

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Fethullah Gulen, South Sudan, Juba, Dinka, Nuer, Bor, Bor Massacre of 1991, Central African Republic, Kongo-Wara Rebellion, Mali, Tuareg Rebellion 

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