World View: Uganda, China Intervene in South Sudan Conflict

This morning's key headlines from

  • Uganda and China intervene in South Sudan conflict
  • China violates its lofty 'non-interference' policy in South Sudan
  • China demands approval of fishing in South China Sea

Uganda and China intervene in South Sudan conflict

Ugandan tanks (UGO)
Ugandan tanks (UGO)

As the ethnic Dinka vs Nuer conflict continues in South Sudan, Uganda has provoked controversy by send an unspecified number of troops into South Sudan to support the Dinka side. Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni says that the troops are purely defensive, guarding the airport and government buildings. The political opposition in Uganda is criticizing the president for abandoning neutrality. According to Wilfred Niwagaba, a Ugandan MP:

“The rhetoric itself denies Uganda the chance of playing a neutral role," said Wilfred Niwagaba, one of eight Ugandan MPs who held a news conference in late December rebuking the president for taking sides in the conflict and for plunging the country into war without the approval of parliament.

"We lose what we would have otherwise gained as a neutral arbiter, so we cannot participate as an arbiter in the Sudan. And regardless of how finally the war ends, our leadership will still be viewed as a partisan and biased partner. So the benefits of us remaining neutral would have definitely outweighed the advantages, if any, that are being obtained now. ...

We do not know the cost of that war, both materially on the taxpayer of Uganda, and two, the human cost. Our country now seems to be involved in so many wars. We are in Somalia, now the Sudan, the Central African Republic, but government has never come up to give us accountability. Who spends on these troops? And is it worth the cost?"

His words are interesting, as they might have come from an American politician talking about American troops somewhere in the Mideast.

There are several conflicts currently going on in Africa. In the east, there's Somalia, which is jihadist. Moving west, there's South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which are local ethnic rivalries, and Central African Republic, which is jihadist. According to Niwagaba, Uganda is involved in all but the one in Congo, though we know from other reporting that the Congo war has spilled over into Uganda. The other two wars right now are both jihadist, in Nigeria and Mali. Of the six, the Central African Republic war is deepest into a generational Crisis era, as we've been reporting in recent days, so is most likely to explode into mass carnage.

Uganda's prime minister Amama Mbabazi defended the military action:

"What happens in the region affects all of us and so we must ensure there is peace in the region. We are fighting a war.

‘I don’t want you to think that the UPDF [Uganda People’s Defense Forces] are just war mongers, Ugandans need to understand that this conflict is for Uganda too."

VOA and UGO News (Uganda)

China violates its lofty 'non-interference' policy in South Sudan

Getting back to South Sudan, China's involvement is very interesting. China's politicians, as we know, become apoplectic and vitriolic when anyone in the West criticizes the brutal treatment of Tibetans or Uighurs, and they always insist that these are "internal" problems that are no one else's business. And China has no problem endorsing the atrocities and slaughter conducted by Syria's psychopathic president Bashar al-Assad.

But South Sudan is different, and the Chinese seem quite willing to "interfere." China is in talks with neighboring Sudan to deploy a military force to protect South Sudan's oil fields. This could potentially risk a proxy war in South Sudan, since Uganda and Sudan support opposite sides of the conflict in South Sudan.

However, China has now abandoned all its lofty, highly moralistic "non intervention" principles anyway. Why? Because China is desperate for oil. China has invested some $30 billion in Sudan / South Sudan oil. Oil production has already dropped by 20% since the onset of the conflict three weeks ago, and more than 300 Chinese workers have been eliminated. So the People's Republic of China is just as immoral as anyone else, but we already knew that, didn't we? BBC and Guardian (London)

China demands approval of fishing in South China Sea

China has further escalated the international dispute in the South China Sea by demanding that all foreign fishing vessels ask permission before entering much of the South China Sea. China has adopted a kind of "Lebensraum policy," by claiming territory in the South China Sea that has historically belonged to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, and using its vast military power to threaten and subdue any neighboring nation that disobeys its orders. China has already forced the Philippines to cede the Scarborough Shoal to China, under threat of military force. The new escalation risks a confrontation that could spiral out of control. Vietnam has already stated that it will ignore the new demands. VOA

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