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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs