The war in South Sudan is a proxy war between countries That is an oversimplification to say, because there are so many complicating factors involved as well. Yet the competition between the ethiopia and eritrea either.
Some complications that obfuscate the proxy war are the power struggle between corrupt elites in South Sudan and who gets to raid the treasury of billions of dollars. Another important factor that cannot be overlooked is the ethnic, religious and tribal rivalries. Then there are other foreign actors involved too. There are also many armed groups operating in South Sudan.
The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea,that can be traced back at least as far as their unresolved border war of May 1998 to June 2000, has taken many forms. In the past Somalia was the battleground in which this was played out. Is the civil war now underway between the forces of President Salva Kiir and Riek Machar the latest site of this deadly contest? There is no definitive answer to this question, but here is the evidence.
Last week The Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman has lashed out at longstanding rival Eritrea, accusing the latter of destabilizing the East Africa region, Eritrea’s involvement in regional conflicts has been the case for long now,” Ambassador Dina Mufti told foreign journalists at a weekly press briefing on Thursday. According to Mufti, Eritrea has played a role in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.“We have circumstantial evidence of Eritrea’s involvement [in the South Sudan crisis],” the spokesman said.
South Sudan: Allegations of Eritrean involvement
Is the conflict between Kiir and Machar that erupted on the evening of 15 December 2013 the latest stage for Eritrea – Ethiopian rivalry? John Prendergast of the US lobby group Enough clearly thinks this is possible. On the 26th of February he gave evidence before the US Congress’s Subcommittee on Africa. This is what he said:
“South Sudan’s eruption has threatened to regionalize the war in ways not seen since the 1990s. On the one hand, Uganda has overtly intervened militarily in support of Juba’s government. On the other hand, allegations are increasing that both Eritrea and Sudan are covertly providing support to the South Sudanese opposition forces, though firm evidence has yet to emerge. Sudan’s history of supporting some of the ringleaders of South Sudan’s armed opposition is deep, and South Sudan supported Sudanese rebels are alleged to be siding militarily with Juba’s forces in areas near the border of the two countries. Both countries still remain deeply interconnected and in many ways interdependent, and neither can be at peace if its neighbor is at war. Ethiopia has strongly warned Uganda to pull out its forces, with an unknown “or else” attached.”
Prendergast went on to describe the possibility of a regional conflict as a “nightmare scenario.” He concluded: “Currently, Eritrea is covered by sanctions for its support for armed elements inside Somalia. A credible investigation should be initiated to determine whether Eritrea is providing resupply support to South Sudanese rebels as has been alleged. If evidence corroborates these reports, those sanctions should be expanded from Somalia to South Sudan. Such an investigation should also attempt to determine if Sudan is providing similar support as has been alleged.”