South Sudan

Why Obama Dispatched U.S. Troops to Juba

President Obama has directed the deployment of 47 United States soldiers to reinforce security at the embassy in Juba, information pills South Sudan amid fears of a possible full-scale war in the troubled nation.

“In response to the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan, I have ordered the deployment of additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel to South Sudan to support the security of U.S. personnel, and our Embassy in Juba,” said Obama in a letter to Congress released late Wednesday by the White House.

Almost 300 people have perished in the latest skirmishes between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Dr Riek Machar.

Hundreds have been displaced from their homes while foreign nationals have been evacuated from South Sudan.

Obama said his action was “consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”

Despite a ceasefire announced by both warring parties, there is little faith in the country’s stability – at least in the short run.

Uganda revealed Thursday morning that its troops had crossed into South Sudan to evacuate its nationals trapped in the fighting.

Despite SPLA/M-In Government and the SPLA/M-In Opposition declaring a ceasefire on July 11, the situation remained tense, according to the U.S. Embassy’s recent statement.


“The U.S. government brought assets in to Juba on July 12 to implement the decision for a reduction in embassy staff (known as an “ordered departure”) and to provide support to conduct a safe and orderly departure of private American citizens and Third Country Nationals as needed over the coming days,” the Juba mission said in a brief statement.

“The Embassy is not evacuating.”

Obama said the U.S. troops would not participate in the fighting.

Why now?

However, Obama seems to have learnt from Libya where a top U.S. Diplomat was killed in an armed attack.

Militants exploited the fragile situation in Benghazi to storm the U.S. Embassy where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.

Most importantly, an unknown heavily-armed force stormed the residence of President Salva Kiir’s residence last week before attempting to enter his compound.

A heavy exchange of gunfire left scores dead. It is such incidents that have raised fears that an invisible third force could be covertly operating from South Sudan.

Sources in the army said Obama could as well be trying to strengthen the Embassy’s intelligence gathering operations as the country appears vulnerable to infiltration by terrorist groups.

“These deployed personnel will remain in South Sudan until the security situation becomes such that their presence is no longer needed,” Obama assured.

The U.S. troops in South Sudan will be assisted by another 130 U.S. soldiers stationed in Djibouti if required.

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