A leading expert in South Sudan says that the results of the US Presidential elections may be one contributing factor that could lead to the outbreak in genocide in South Sudan. Cameron Hudson, a former CIA officer, is the director of the Simon-Skjodt center for the Prevention of Genocide at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and in remarks to the Global Dispatches podcast he says that the “wholesale reshuffling”of the US government along with transitions to new leadership at the United Nations may give the government of South Sudan the space it needs to carryout mass atrocities, which could include genocide.
“I do fear that a diplomatic vacuum, a leadership vacuum, a policy vacuum could emerge. And the South Sudanese are very keen observers of our politics,” he said. “If they want to take a message that America is not paying attention or the international community is at best ambivalent towards the violence that is going on, then that is a dangerous message we would be inadvertently sending them.”
Hudson suggests that the government may already be making preparations for genocide in the coming weeks. He cites a rise in hate speech, a stockpiling of arms, and the deliberate harassment of foreigners–particularly NGOs workers and journalists — as setting a stage for the outbreak of mass violence. And given the ethnic dimensions of the conflict in South Sudan, that could lead to genocide. (Just this week the government booted the last remaining foreign journalist from the country, Justin Lynch of the Associated Press. That move comes weeks after Lynch broke a story about ethnic cleansing underway in one region of the country.)
This is, indeed, a scary time for South Sudan. If you have 20 minutes and you want to learn more about the conflict in South Sudan and how it may lead to genocide, have a listen.