Articles & Analyses

​Left behind by Obama, South Sudan has another hope: the Trump Administration

By Tor Madira Machier,  

Opinion  – There is little known about how US President, Donald J. Trump, will work to achieve peace and security in the young African country, South Sudan. But should his administration lives up to promises he made during his almost two year old campaign on how to maintain world peace and security,  there is, however,  a very big hope that “things will get done”.

The former US Obama Administration turned blind eye to the people of South Sudan during the last days of its tenure, although it pressured the warring parties prior to the August 15 peace deal signed in Addis Ababa.

While the Obama Administration, which chairs the Troika, compelled the warring parties to sign the peace road map (ARCISS), it failed to compel them lives up to the agreement especially the South Sudan’s government.

Before Machar left for Juba on April 26 2016, it is known to the Troika, and the United States in particular, that peace is going to falters. Evidences of an evitable mistake was on the watchful of the international community, just to mention few, the government, and Salva Kiir himself and some of his senior officials, expressed reservations and less than two months from the signing of the peace agreement, Salva Kiir issued an executive order referred as “Establishment Order” which surprised the world and the peace guarantors in particular by creating ethnic enclaves called 28 states.

Although few nations among the International community, including the peace guarantors called for the abolition of Kiir’s “Establishment Order”, President Kiir, having developed a sense of international hesitance, went on to appoint states government which he created months ago while Machar was under The White House pressure to return to Juba despite the repeated violation on the peace deal which Salva Kiir said was under duress to sign. 

While under US pressure, and having hope that peace could be achieved, Machar eventually went to Juba although Salva Kiir hindered the arrival of all his forces provided for in the agreement.

Less than three months later, fighting flares up in Juba. Prior to July’s clashes which signified the collapse of the Transitional Government of National Unity, the TGoNU.

To the knowledge of the International community, and in citation of the outcome of the United Nations investigation into the cause of the fighting in July 2015,(please go to: the conclusion was that the fighting was orchestrated at the “highest level” of the South Sudanese leadership notably by Salva Kiir and his SPLA Chief of General Staff Paul Malong Awan. Kiir subsequently replaced Machar with General Taban Deng Gai, a move not in consistent with provisions of the peace deal.

Citing the fact that the Obama Administration seems to be frustrated with the continuation of the war, his Secretary of State John Kerry expressed acceptance of Taban’s appointment though he knew that Machar still enjoys support of the vast majority of the SPLM/A-In-Opposition and could still wage war that the government would not win.
Kiir and Taban alike, and to the best of their knowledge,  knows how long could it take to achieve peace as long as a peace partner, the SPLM-In-Opposition is not a part of what they calls a Transitional Government of National Unity and called by Machar as a “New regime but not implementing the agreement”.

On Friday, Obama left behind one of remarkable failure of his foreign policy towards the world’s newest nation: a regime ushered in through the violation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCISS) co-sponsored by his Administration, Norway, UK and the regional body the IGAD.

Now, a new dawn, the Trump Administration is in place. His Friday takeover of the White House was greeted with hope by the South Sudanese people and those who have sustained the pain of the nation’s three year-old civil war which has been going on in the watchful eye of Barack and Michelle Obama. 

Trump Administration is the last hope the South Sudanese people, especially those who are paying the price of the brutal civil war, believe could pressure and force the warring parties and specially the government to resuscitated the “dead peace deal”.

President Trump, to my understanding, the way forward is: put pressure on the government so it live up to the agreement! And please do not take the honor shown to you by the displaced people for granted!
Tor Madira Machier is a South Sudanese columnist living in Egypt and can be reached at: or

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