News / Africa

South Sudan Oil Dispute Raises Specter of War

Gabe Joselow


South Sudan and Sudan have been engaged in a war of words since the south stopped pumping oil to the north in a dispute about pricing. Both sides have warned that a return to violence is a possibility.

South Sudan is retooling its armed forces - working to strengthen the former rebel Southern People's Liberation Army into a more formal military.

Soldiers here at the Bilpam military base in Juba could be called into battle sooner than expected, if a bitter oil dispute with Sudan turns from a war of words into action.

The south shut off oil flows to the north, claiming Sudan has stolen millions of dollars worth of crude. Khartoum says it confiscated the oil to compensate for unpaid transit fees.

South Sudanese Deputy Defense Minister Major Majak D'Agoot said such actions represent a serious threat to the new nation.

“I don't want to pinpoint it to any particular source, but anything that tends to threaten our core interests as a nation of course will have to be responded to,” said D'Agoot.

Although Major D'Agoot did not specifically say Sudan was the primary threat to South Sudan, outside his office a statue of former SPLA General John Garang points firmly toward the north.

Amanda Hsiao of the Enough Project says the oil shutdown also could provoke Sudan to take action.

“With the South saying that, one: they're willing to break of relations completely with the North; two: that they will seek alternative pipelines so that their oil doesn't have to flow to the north, Khartoum is left with very little options in terms of dealing with its economic situation. Remember it's a regime that has few friends in the international community,” said Hsiao.

South Sudan declared independence from the North last July, following decades of civil war that killed more than one million people.

Sporadic fighting has continued. In the past year, Sudan has bombed areas near the border where it suspects Southern-backed militias to be active, including an attack on Abyei in May of last year that displaced up to 100,000 people.

The leaders of both nations have said a return to war is a possibility.

On the streets of Juba, a rapidly developing capital, businessmen are nervous about the prospect of violence.

Michael Toma sells automotive supplies at the Jebel market.

“In my own opinion, I for one think war - I don't want to rule out war because war is inevitable. However, I'd like to ask the two authorities to work together and come into dialogue so we can reach a harmonious conclusion that's going to benefit either country,” said Toma.

Others, like Simon Gatdier Yieh, say if Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir wants war, he will get it.

“If the Bashir came with the peace then our president will talk to the Bashir in a peaceful manner. If the Bashir wants to fight with the people of South Sudan we are ready, even now we are ready,” said Yieh.

Both countries are dependent on South Sudanese oil and, as a prolonged shutdown continues to drain their two economies, tensions are bound to increase.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid