A U.N. refugee camp in Juba, South Sudan, in February 2014. More than two million people have been internally displaced by the conflict there. (Photo by Petterik Wiggers/Hollandse Hoogte, courtesy Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0)
South Sudan stands on the brink of collapse. The economy is in shambles, with an inflation rate of over 600 percent. Parts of the country are already facing famine conditions, and more than 40 percent of the population needs emergency food aid. More than one million people have fled as refugees, and almost two million are displaced internally. And the credibility of South Sudan’s leaders has been severely compromised by failure to implement the peace accord signed last August, continued abuse of their own civilians, and well-documented allegations of corruption.
The peace agreement, if not dead, is certainly on life support, which the outbreak of violence in July and the flaring up of violence across the country affirm. Neither President Salva Kiir nor former Vice President Riek Machar were enthusiastic about it to begin with, and leaders felt no real consequence for walking away.