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Providing air defense for South Sudan not ideal, but best available option

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(Read caption) A huge explosion near a United Nations compound in South Kordofan state, along the border between northern and South Sudan on June 14

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In a recent post for Think Progress, guest blogger Lauren Jenkins raises some salient concerns about the provision of air defense capabilities to the Government of South Sudan, an idea that Rep. Don Payne, Democrat of New Jersey), proposed during last week’s hearing on Sudan. Given that Enough endorsed this approach in a press release that same day, it’s worth taking a moment to address some of these concerns.

Providing air defense capabilities to the South Sudan government is neither an ideal response to the rising violence in Sudan, nor a step that should be undertaken rashly. But the chilling reports coming out of the Nuba Mountains suggest the wider potential for mass violence in the region and demand a consideration of all the options available to protect civilians from further harm, consistent with the international Responsibility to Protect doctrine, which is premised on the idea that the international community must act when a government abdicates its own responsibility to protect its citizens and commits atrocities.

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