"In 2012, when Kiir promised to 'name and shame' corrupt army commanders, those commanders forced him to retract. Unlike many other nations, South Sudan's army is not an institution that builds a national ethos and common identity but is instead a civil war in waiting. ... The government and rebels must cease hostilities, stop ethnic-military mobilization, and start talking—as African mediators demand. Then, the South Sudanese leadership and people, and their foreign friends, must begin the slow and delicate work of dismantling the warlordism that thrives under the flag of the SPLA," write Alex de Waal and Abdul Mohammed in Foreign Affairs.
"The White Army has stuck around, in part because some Nuer fear they will not be treated fairly by the Dinka, who are more numerous and who hold the country's presidency. Today, rebels took up arms in the apparent belief that Kiir's government was turning against the Nuer, and perhaps also because they saw Kiir going after Machar, who does not lead the White Army but has long been associated with it," writes Max Fisher writes for the Washington Post.
"In the public space, ethnic categories are not used to differentiate friends and enemies. Rather, by accusing the respective antagonists of inciting or committing ethnic violence, ethnicity informs current strategies of violence in a much more subtle manner. Through the construction of an existential threat identified in the antagonists malevolent 'tribalism', both factions aim not only to mobilize for conflict within their own constituencies, but to legitimize the use of force vis-a-vis an international audience, increasingly worried about the possible consequences of ethnic conflict in South Sudan," write Andreas Hirblinger and Sara de Simone in African Arguments.
PAKISTAN: Former president Pervez Musharraf, while en route to a court where he was set to appear on treason charges, was redirected to a hospital after complaining of heart trouble. The trial, the first of a former army chief, resumed in his absence, and he was ordered to appear before the tribunal Thursday (Dawn).
As Kerry Arrives in Israel, Settlement Announcement Delayed
Militant group al-Shabab claimed credit on Thursday for the triple car bombing in Somalia's capital of Mogadishu that killed at least eleven people on Wednesday (Reuters). The group said it was targeting intelligence officials meeting at the upmarket Jazeera hotel.
President Vladimir Putin visited survivors of the Volgograd bombings on Wednesday and broke his two days of silence on the incident, condemning the acts and vowing terrorists' "complete destruction" (NYT). Five thousand interior troops surged into the city on Tuesday.
Carnegie Moscow Center director Dmitri Trenin explains the root causes of the North Caucasus insurgency.
Stadium Deaths Bring Scrutiny to Brazil's World Cup Preparations
The deaths of two Brazilian stadium construction workers in late November and two more in mid-December has prompted investigations of the construction industry ahead of the 2014 games, including corruption allegations and health and safety labor code violations (LAT). Public frustration over what many see as misguided government priorities had already been strong.