On March 6th 2017 , SPLA General Thomas Cirillo who had disappeared a few days before , issued a proclamation concerning the creation of a new rebel movement , the National Salvation Front which he strangely enough named NAS and not NSF . This secretarial confusion will probably be straightened in a few days . General Cirillo is a Bari who never showed political ambition and even now he is mostly talking of removing the present regime in order to hold elections (when he goes back to the events of December 2013 , he is perfectly transparent about how the regime itself engineered an internal coup to avoid holding the coming elections) . But what is new is the fact that he is an Equatorian and not a Nuer . The international community never understood what had happened in South Sudan . The war was reduced to the clash of two personal ambitions representing two tribes . But half of the South Sudanese are neither Dink nor Nuer and the primitive “peace negotiations” were reduced to a Nuer/Dinka dichotomy . In many ways , this was a replay of the Nairobi CPA which ended the war through a narrowly Arab (NCP) / Dinka (SPLA) Agreement . The result created the war in the North with SPLM/N challenging Khartoum and another war in the South , where sidelined groups defied the Juba Dinka . And the words should be “groups” , in the plural but the rebels were seen as Nuer – the majority of the rebel soldiers were – and the other tribes were simply pushed on the sidelines . Cirillo’s rebellion is their stepping up to centre plate and refusing to be represented by the Nuer when they are Belanda or Fertit (in Bahr-el-Ghazal) , Bari , Madi , Azande or Kakwa in Equatoria or Murle in Jongleï Province . War is the only perspective as the only Peace Agreement ended up in shooting in Juba on July 8th last year , with the attempted murder of the Chief Opposition signatory , Riak Machar . But over the last eight months , Machar has been in US-engineered house arrest in South Africa and the Juba government , far from trying to mend the rips in the sky , has just unleashed his troops on the SPLM/IO opposition . But an opposition which is mono-ethnic and which the government does not want to talk to (on March 9th Information Minister Michael Makuei Leth said that the regime did want to hold new “peace negotiations” , but not with the armed rebels) . After refusing to talk with the rebellion the regime asked the international community to label the marginalized rebels as “negative forces” (March 12th) , trying to do by semantics what it could not achieve by force . Meanwhile fighting spread in Tuoch County , in Yuai (both in Upper Nile) on the 13th and that fighting was not even government versus rebellion , it was among the Nuer of SPLM/IO , between those who supported the rallied groups loyal to Taban Deng Gaï and those who still rooted for Riak Machar (the dividing line was sub-ethnic , between Nuer sub-groups) . Meanwhile the humanitarian situation got worse and worse . In Ayod , one to the few places where records were kept , 415 dead bodies were counted on the 14th , dead of starvation . 70,000 refugees have fled to Sudan since February and another 40,000 staggered awayto Uganda since early this month . There is now an estimated 1,401,000 registered refugees in adjoining countries and probably another 20-30% unregistered ones . The social ethnic tissue is cracking at the seams , largely because non-Nuer have now a slot for fighting the “Dinkacracy” , which was not the case before . But the explosion is multi-lateral and Bor Dinka (who are not pro-government) fight the Murle , the Didinga and the Toposa fight each other in Eastern Equatoria , some unidentified groups fight the Dinka militia in Raja in Bahr-el-Ghazal , and so forth and so on . Trying to contain /channel/line up a multiethnic failed state situation by tailoring it down to “The President hates the Vice-President” (or the opposite) is simply not operating . Now the question is : what will the Ethiopians and the Northern Sudanese do .They bent down to the US pressure as applied by John Kerry . But Kerry is gone and there is no more US government trying to deal with Africa . With the planned State Department budget cuts what the Africa Bureau is just an answering machine . Linda Thomas-Greenfield retired and has not been replaced . After Donald Booth’s resignation , there is no more Special Envoy for the Sudans . In the present international diplomatic emptiness (the Europeans have a (weak) voice but no money , no hands and no guns) , Khartoum and Addis Ababa will discreetly fill the void . And this void is unlikely to be pro-Juba . Juba is now seen as a distant proxy of Cairo against the Ethiopians (see my posting on the attack on the Great Dam from the Sudanese side) and it is doubtful Addis Ababa , weak as it can be at present , will tolerate another “Arab” slot positioned against Ethiopia . Thomas Cirillo is in Addis Ababa and keeps a low profile . But he has travelled from there several times to Khartoum and even once to Kigali . “Peace” will happen ….after the war !March 19th 2017

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