Category Archives: South Sudan

The Farce in Addis

South Sudan’s peace talks in Addis Ababa descended into outright farce yesterday as the rebels disowned an agreement that regional mediators had announced just hours earlier and that Ban Ki Moon had publicly welcomed.

A furious rebel chief negotiator denied ever having signed the agreement while, back home, “rebel” forces – more on those scare-quotes below – registered their views on the deal by shooting down a UN cargo helicopter outside the benighted town of Bentiu, killing three of its four crew members.

It was a day to cement the Addis Ababa Peace Process’s reputation as a bit of a joke. But South Sudan is in no mood for jokes. The country’s facing total state implosion, absolute lawlesness and an unprecedented famine. A country in as much trouble as South Sudan really can’t afford a botched peace process, but that’s what it’s getting.

One problem is that the talks led by regional block IGAD are technically a “mediation” rather than a facilitation. That means IGAD diplomats take an active role in proposing a settlement and pushing the parties to adopt it, rather than merely bringing them together.

That sounds ok until you realize a leading IGAD member, Uganda, has thousands of its soldiers stationed in South Sudan and actively sides with one of the warring parties – the government. Is it any wonder then that the rebel side perceives the mediator as openly aligned with the government side?

But more is wrong with this peace process than IGAD’s lack of credibility as a neutral broker.  

For one thing, IGAD has chosen a broadly inclusive “multi-stakeholder roundtable” approach to the negotiations. That sounds nice. In practice, though, it means that all kinds of groups that don’t actually command any of the men fighting have a seat around the table: women’s groups and church groups and civil society groups and former detainees and any number of other “stakeholders” who don’t have the authority to call off the violence because they’re not really active participants in the war.

The result has been a sprawling, unwieldy, bureaucratized gab fest with lots of grandstanding, lots of formal position papers, lots of pious statements meant for the microphones, and really none of the down-and-dirty bargaining and horse-trading between warring parties that might lead to a real political settlement. It’s no wonder the talks keep spinning their wheels or reaching deals that never have any purchase on the ground.

But it’s not just that some of the people around the table don’t belong there, it’s that some players now actively controlling territory on the ground aren’t properly represented at all.

Remember that UN chopper shot down by “rebel” forces? The reason we needed those scare quotes is that the likely culprit here is Peter Gadet. Gadet is a notorious Nuer warlord with a genuinely ghoulish reputation for vicious, sociopathic violence, but also as an able field commander. He spent most of the 1983-2005 civil war fighting on the side of the arabs, for one thing, and switched sides again and again during that war.

Gadet is undoubtedly fighting against the government in Juba this time around, which is why he’s usually glossed as a “rebel leader” in press accounts. But don’t fall into the trap of interpreting that to mean Gadet is part of a unified rebel chain of command. He’s not.

The guy is basically a free agent, fighting against the government and broadly allied with notional rebel leader Riek Machar, but certainly not answering to him or, banish the thought, taking orders from him.

The rumour I’ve heard is that Gadet hasn’t even met with Machar once since the current war started, even though his forces now control large swathes of territory in the strategically crucial, oil rich Unity State.

Now, the fiction in Addis is that Riek’s negotiators “speak for” Gadet too. But you can’t find anyone in South Sudan who actually believes that, including, incidentally, President Salva Kiir, who has repeatedly criticized the lack of a unified rebel chain of command in public statements recently.

Whether Riek’s negotiators did or did not initially sign the “matrix” agreement in Addis yesterday we may never know. Whether Gadet ordered that UN chopper shot down specifically to scupper the agreement or not is something else we’ll probably never know.

What’s clear is that the thing happening in Addis Ababa that’s generally referred to in the press as “peace talks” is no such thing. It’s a talking shop where people who don’t have the power to call off the fight make pretty speeches while people who do have the power to call off the fight pay no heed. It produces fine words about inclusivity, accountability and justice while the guys with the guns keep shooting at each other and anyone else who gets in the way. It’s a farce.

There’s been some talk in international circles about cutting off budget support to the South Sudanese government if it doesn’t get serious about peace negotiations. Understandable as the urge to be seen to do something is, this is the wrong target.

Western powers could achieve much more by taking concerted action to end to the farce in Addis and to convene a serious peace process, one that puts all the warring parties and only the warring parties around a table, far away from the microphones, under the leadership of a credible, seasoned, neutral facilitator.

Enough is enough. The time has come for serious, sustained, professional diplomacy to help end the South Sudanese conflict.

Bentiu Puts in Its Bid for Worst Place in the World Right Now

The northern four-fifths of South Sudan are taken up by the Nile floodplain: a flat-as-a-pancake seasonal swamp that’s about the size of Spain. For several months each year, after the heavy rains come, virtually all of it is under water. Then, as the water drains first into the Sudd marshlands and eventually into the Nile itself, the land goes bone-dry for the rest of the year.

Traditionally, the people of the flood plain are semi-nomadic: they roam around in search of pasture in the dry months, then gather into temporary villages on the few ridges and (slightly-)higher ground to avoid the waters during the rainy season.

But what happens when war cuts people off from the higher ground during the rainy season?

This happens:

Much of the [United Nations Mission in South Sudan] camp in Bentu was flooded in July with the first heavy downpour of the rainy season. Over one thousand makeshift shelters filled with sewage contaminated floodwater. People used cooking pots to scoop up the water, tried to build mud dams across doorways to prevent water entering, but to no avail.

With few possibilities for drainage, current living conditions in the camp are horrifying and an affront to human dignity. Most of the camp is now knee-deep in sewage, thousands of people cannot lay down and therefore sleep standing up with their infants in their arms.

Let that sink in for a second.

It’s not exactly a surprise that the burden of infectious disease in these conditions is extreme. More so is the UN’s total inability to safeguard people even one meter outside the camp’s perimeter fence.

The MSF press release closes on an especially galling note:

Understandably, camp residents are angry and resentful. While not easy, drainage is possible with a determined effort. Existing resources and UNMISS equipment onsite such as excavators and diggers must be made available as a priority for this purpose. Furthermore, there remains unused land in the zone and the immediate allocation of land that is less susceptible to flooding would alleviate some of the current suffering. What’s clear is that the current situation is untenable without improvements. People should be safe from disease as well as safe from violence.

South Sudan is just going to dominate the Worst Place in the World stakes for the foreseeable future. Because, don’t forget: as all this happens, a major famine is brewing in the wings as well.
 [Hat Tip: JM.]


A violent ecosystem capable of generating endless new things to fight about without ever shedding any of the old ones

The British-Sudanese writer Jamal al-Mahjoub once said that to understand the Sudan you need a layered map like one of those cellophane diagrams of the human body that used to be in encyclopedias. As you peeled away the top piece of cellophane labelled “Sudan”, you would find a succession of maps lying underneath. A map of languages, for example, and under that a map of ethnic groups, and under that a map of ancient kingdoms, until, as Mahjoub wrote, “it becomes clear the country is not really a country at all, but many. A composite of layers, like a genetic fingerprint of memories that were once fluid but have since crystallized out from the crucible of possibility, encouraged by the catalyst of the European colonial adventure.” I have often thought that you need a similar kind of layered map to understand Sudan’s civil war. A surface map of political conflict, for example – the northern government versus the southern rebels; and under that a layer of religious conflict – Muslims versus Christian and pagan; and under that a map of all the sectarian divisions within those categories; and under that a layer of ethnic divisions – Arab and Arabized versus Nilotic and Equatorian – all of them containing a multitude of clan and tribal subdivisions; and under that a layer of linguistic conflicts; and under that a layer of economic divisions; and under that a layer of colonial divisions; and under that a layer of racial divisions related to slavery. And so on and so on until it would become clear that the war, like the country, was not one but many: a violent ecosystem capable of generating endless new things to fight about without ever shedding any of the old ones.’

From Deborah Scroggins’s 2004 book Emma’s War, a biography of Riek Machar’s English wife, Emma McCune, which turns out to be a cracking read. 

The Bitterest Date

Heart-ache is the near permanent fate of the South Sudan watcher, but never is the pain more bitter than on July 9th. On this day three years ago today, South Sudan declared its independence after half a century of war with the North. Things were supposed to get better. Instead, the country has faced catastrophe on a scale that beggars belief.

The International Crisis Group’s latest update is sobering, as is nearly anything you can find these days about the civil war. The country looks to be on the verge of outright state collapse, with the army failing to pay its soldiers even as hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on arms-deals that end up fattening up the off-shore bank accounts of SPLA insiders.

Alongside these major insanities there are the minor ones, like the government announcing shoot-to-kill orders to enforce a curfew in Juba. On the eve of independence day. On the night of a World Cup semi-final. 

Soccer may have been the last thing South Sudanese people had to look forward to. Now even that’s been taken away.

As for the future, well, it does not bear thinking about. Already, the window of opportunity for planting crops in Greater Upper Nile has closed. With so many displaced and so much insecurity, seeds didn’t go into the ground, so there’ll be nothing to harvest. And the humanitarian agencies that represent the last line of defense against famine don’t have the money to respond. 

Now, the “Conflict + Drought = Famine” formula is sadly familiar in Central Africa. But what South Sudan faces in 2015 is something different: a major famine somewhere where the rains didn’t fail. The country is on the verge of an entirely man-made famine.

Some independence day…

South Sudan: An Elite Pact’s Baptism of Blood

If you look past the enormous human tragedy involved – which is by no means easy, nor necessarily ethical – South Sudan is an amazing case study in state formation.

Political theorists normally have to look at fragmentary records from long ago to try to figure out how states were born. Like astronomers looking at flickers of light from unfathomably long ago, they rely on scraps of data to put together a picture of how states form.

It’s the latent threat to return to arms that earns you a place at the top table in the first place.

But in South Sudan that’s all happening right now, in the Twitter age, like a Supernova going off just near by…and nearly as violent.

Guys like Mushtaq Khan and North, Wallis and Weingast have a little model about this that I find pretty persuasive. Their view is that in very poor countries, states usually end up being formed by coalitions of their most dangerous and most violent people. Each player would prefer to take over the whole area for himself – and sometimes that’s possible. But in many cases, it’s not possible, and the “violence specialists” fight one another to exhaustion.

Eventually, though, a moment comes when they’re all fought out and they’ve given up the dream of killing all their most dangerous opponents. Only then can the process of elite-bargaining that gives rise to a political settlement arise.

Even then, the “violence specialists” who end up in coalition will not give up the threat of returning to arms if they feel the settlement they’d bargained for is not being upheld. In fact, it’s the latent threat to return to arms that earns them a place at the top table in the first place. And sometimes settlements do unravel. In fragile states, they can unravel exceptionally fast.

South Sudan follows this pattern to a T. The country has been formally independent from the North only since 2011, but de facto it’s run its own affairs since 2005.

The 1983-2005 war was an unimaginably brutal affair. Usually glossed as a North-South, Arab-vs-Nilotic fight, it was actually a good bit more complex than that: really a series of nested civil wars, with a baffling array of inter-communal conflicts between different tribes and leaders in the South getting sometimes subsumed by, sometimes papered over by the broader North-South conflict.

The scale of kleptocracy that South Sudan fell into even before it was technically an independent country amazed observers.

The 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement worked on two levels: by both getting the North to withdraw its remaining forces from the South and, at the same time, by setting up power-sharing mechanisms that would keep various warlords in the South from turning immediately on one another.

The centerpiece of this powersharing settlement was an agreement to split power between the two biggest tribes in the Nile floodplain: the Dinka and the Nuer, who had a long, troubled history between them.

In effect, the biggest, baddest Dinka warlord, Salva Kiir, was made President while the biggest, baddest Nuer warlord, Riek Machar (pictured above) was made Vice-President. Both would have access to spoils, both would get great big gobs of petromoney to fund their patronage networks, and both would, it was hoped, limit themselves to plunder rather than taking an interest in trying to eliminate the other.

Was the CPA a success? In a way it was. In a place with really no tradition of independent government, the CPA kept the most dangerous people in the country behaving relatively civilly to one another. Instead of fighting, they devoted themselves to the relatively benign pursuit of stealing everything that wasn’t bolted down to the coffers of the state.

The scale of kleptocracy that South Sudan fell into even before it was technically an independent country amazed observers. Outsiders were shocked to realize the plan wasn’t to steal some of the oil money, or even most of the oil money: it was to steal all of the oil money.

Even Kiir seemed taken aback by the scale of it: in 2012, he was reducing to writing an inexpressably sad, badly misjudged letter basically begging his cronies to give back some of the loot.

The Juba this political class “leads” is so screwed up most of the top power players aren’t actually willing to live there: they keep their wives in very nice McMansions in gated complexes in Nairobi and fly in and out of Juba to go to parliament or to their ministry as needed.

That’s not entirely surprising: if you had an 7- or 8-figure dollar bank account worth of loot squirreled away in Dubai or the Cayman Islands, would you want to live in a city with no water mains, no sewers, almost no paved roads, almost no electricity, sporadic gasoline, no proper schools, no proper hospitals and no proper police? Let’s be serious now…

Outside the predatory elite, the country has shockingly little to show for the billions that poured into SPLM since 2005. What very little “governing” – in the sense a first world person would understand it – that gets done gets done by donors, with donor money and donor staff. It’s NGOistan out there. The prevalence of International Cooperation has led to this weird warping of incentives where the local elite doesn’t see “service delivery” as “governing” at all. (And why would they? There are always foreigners around to do that stuff…for free!)

From a state-formation point of view, the wild corruption spree was a feature of the 2005 agreements, not a bug. The political logic at play was clear: it was either that or this. What we’ve had since December. Loot, or carnage. Take your pick.

Some Western observers once speculated that Machar my retaliate by challenging Kiir for SPLM’s presidential nomination. Fat chance.

And, indeed, the political crisis that led up to the current fighting fits the state-formation realists’ mold to a T. Basically, what we have is a fragile Limited Access Order whose political settlement fell apart, and is having to be reached again through a baptism of blood.

Let’s just review how we got here again:

Early last year, the senior member of the ruling coalition thought he could elbow out the junion member. First, President Kiir unilaterally withdrew a long set of powers that he had delegated onto the vice-president. Then he fired him outright, and appointed a loyalist.

Some Western observers once speculated that Machar would retaliate by challenging Kiir for SPLM’s presidential nomination. Fat chance. Machar didn’t make it to #2 for his ability to win votes. His core skill is equipping, organizing and leading armed rebellions. He’s been doing that his entire adult life. He still had the contacts with the mid and low- level military commanders, especially among the Nuer. He knows the operational side of reblling like you know your commute. There are no mysteries about why Machar ended up back in the bush.

What’s sobering about the South Sudanese civil war is the way Kiir and Machar, along with their military commanders, conduct themselves with total – and I mean total – disregard to the opinion climate, both domestic and international.

As best as I can tell, there is exactly no one not under arms who actively favors one side over the other. There’s a sort of powerless unanimity to unarmed opinion: these guys are both toxic, South Sudan doesn’t have any kind of future as long as either of them are in the picture.

But that doesn’t matter to them. Not even a little bit.

The conflict has seen the rudimentary proto-structures of the South Sudanese state wither on the vine. The SPLA, insofar as it was ever anything other than a set of cobbled-together ethnic militias (which isn’t very far) has reverted all the way back to straight-out war-lordism, with command based entirely on the chieftancy of charismatic ethnic militia bosses repurposed as “generals” in battle fatigues.

The sides’ willingness to fight might be undiminished, but their ability to fight is looking threadbare.

In recent weeks, what was left of the SPLA’s administrative infrastructure seemed to collapse, with the army failing to make payroll payments, leading to mass desertions of what remained of its professional soldiery. (So, you know, normal stuff.)

Meanwhile, the shambolic regionally-mediated peace-process in Addis Ababa seems to have fallen apart altogether, as leaders who’ve killed thousands and displaced millions take deep offence at being called “stupid”. Thankfully, this hasn’t led to the resumption of mass violence (yet) mostly because the rebels appear to be out of ammo, and out of re-supply options.

And that, right there, points to the one path out of conflict: both sides’ willingness to fight might be undiminished, but their ability to fight is looking threadbare. Perhaps the only bright spot in this whole desolate scenario is that Machar seems not to have the kind of powerful foreign backers able to supply the kind of materiel that could make his rebellion permanent.

Which is why the noises coming out of the rebel camp in recent weeks have been all about “federalism”. (That whirring buzz you hear is the sound of James Madison turning in his grave at high RPM.)

In this context, a call from Machar for “federalism” means something like “OK, ok, we both know I don’t have the strength to take over the central government, but we both also know you don’t have the strength to flush me out of Jonglei and Upper Nile. So let’s split the difference: you get to keep looting Juba, but only if you give me this bit of turf in the North and East to plunder without interference.”

It’s the David Yau Yau Solution, only on a much bigger scale.

And so we circle back around to North, Wallis and Weingast, to Khan, and the rest of the development realists. The looming settlement-born-of-exhaustion is precisely what theory predicts. At some point, having exhausted any fantasy of annihilating their foes on the field of battle so they can have a free run at the nation’s resources, the most dangerous people in the country have started to inch wearily towards cutting a deal with each another.

It’ll take more time and more heartache, but they’ll circle around eventually. They won’t do it out of public spiritedness or some sort of Rousseauian reverence for the General Will. They’ll do it out of sheer, battle-scarred impotence.

And that’s how states are born.

“Like prison camps where tens of thousands of people live in floods of mud, rainwater and sewage, suffering from measles, malnutrition and diarrhea, at risk of cholera.”

One thing is clear: nobody comes out of South Sudan’s 2013-2014 Civil War looking good. Pitting a viciously sociopathic government against an every-bit-as-bad rebel movement, South Sudan’s civil war is Africa as we’re constantly being told not to imagine it.

Amid the mass-scale bloodletting, there’s the United Nations, which had done most of what little governing had been done in South Sudan since 2005 but still somehow managed to be totally unprepared for what came next.

Bases that the UN had set up as administrative centers or military outposts had to be repurposed, on the fly, into Protection of Civilians sites. These are places that had been designed to house dozens of bureaucrats or hundreds of blue-helmets, not tens of thousands of desperate civilians. Gradually, the UN more or less abandoned any pretense of defending civilians beyond the bases’ perimeters, even those just a few meters outside. The consequences, for civilians both inside and out, are dantesque.

In a rivetting series of investigative reports for the Dutch-funded, Sudanese station Radio Tamasuj, Daniel Van Oudenaren tells the story of how an out-gunned, over-worked, under-staffed United Nations Mission took on an impossible task and all too predictably failed to deliver.

A taste:

Within a week of the start of the crisis in South Sudan on 15 December, the defected SPLA 8th Division had overrun Bor town and sent tens of thousands of people running in fear. Government forces advanced to retake the town from the south while the opposition rallied reinforcements – mainly armed civilians – from the north, including from Akobo itself.

“Current situation at UNMISS Bor: we’ve been fortifying our defenses,” the military officer said in a message on 24 December. “We’re continuously hearing gunfire and mortars outside, but none has harmed the UNMISS camp yet.”

“Our greatest fear is not the rebel SPLA though, as Gadet’s forces have been rational and cooperative with our flights. Our greatest fear is the Nuer Youth, that they might cause another Akobo incident,” he explained.

“We can’t really conduct any patrols at the moment,” said the same source.

Meanwhile, as the UN dug in, civilians in Bor and in surrounding villages came under attack. Numerous human rights violations during this period later would be recorded by the mission’s human rights division.

National government officials would portray the Dinka Bor as the primary or only victims of the December to January violence, but in reality both Nuers and Dinkas were targeted during the back-and-forth fighting in the area.

Just before Christmas, ahead of the government’s recapture of Bor, the same UNMISS source explained, “Apparently remnants of the Dinka-SPLA forces are hiding in the bush during the day and conducting guerrilla offense during the night on Nuer people.”

“All of the gunshot patients treated at UNMISS Bor so far have been Nuer. Of course, with Nuer-SPLA and Nuer-youth dominating Bor area, things are difficult for Dinkas as well.”

UNMISS, he said, would try to defend itself if it came under attack. But beyond the walls of the base, he warned, the people were in danger of ‘ethnic cleansing’.

Worth reading in full. 

Why Warlords Fight: The David Yau Yau Story

Douglass North’s theory of political order based on elite pacts to carve up access to rents can seem like a pretty distant abstraction. Surely the dirty deals that give rise to North’s “Limited Access Orders” are academic speculation rather than anything you’d encounter in the real world today, right?

Well, consider David Yau Yau.

Yau Yau is the South Sudanese Warlord pictured above next to the nervously smiling centrist politician from Norway who runs the U.N. Mission to South Sudan, Hilde Johnson.

On again off again since 2010, he’s led the most vicious, mindlessly murderous little tribal war you’ve never heard of for control of his home region in Jonglei State’s Pibor County, just near Ethiopia.

At the head of a small but dogged group of fighters from his Murle tribe, Yau Yau organized dozens of heavily armed attacks on villages of the neighboring Lou Nuer tribe.

These attacks are somewhat misleadingly referred to as “cattle raids”. Yes, cows are stolen, and in a society where cattle is the main store of wealth and prestige, that’s deeply destabilizing. But the level of armament and violence used was out of all proportion to that goal, and the more salient fact is that these cattle raids often leave dozens of villagers dead.

The crowning achievement of Yau Yau’s little rampage in Pibor came on April 8th last year, when his fighters murdered five UN peacekeepers from India in an ambush, as well as seven civilians. By October, the government in Juba was visibly exasperated: unable to put down the rebellion, it declared him a terrorist and called on the International Criminal Court to prosecute him for war crimes.

To be clear, SPLA’s response to Yau Yau’s rebellion often matched him for brutality, with civilians sometimes singled out for reprisal just because they were Murle. And the abuses on both sides of this little war pale in comparison with the much larger scale carnage the country has witnessed since the start of the broader Civil War in December last year.

What’s sad is how common stories like Yau Yau’s are. If you’ve never heard of him it’s because there isn’t really anything particularly noteworthy about he’s done. There’s nothing to distinguish his rebellion from the dozens of tiny wars taking place in Africa at any given time. The only way these things end up in your morning newspaper is if someone goes to the trouble to attach a hashtag to them.

But why exactly does a guy like Yau Yau start a fight? And what would it take to stop him?

It all goes back to 2010, when he ran for a seat in Jonglei State’s Legislative Assembly. It wasn’t a particularly powerful post. But he lost. And having lost, his best chance for a share of access to local contracts, patronage jobs and other rents was abruptly closed.

At that point, David Yau Yau had a decision to make.

Yau Yau wasn’t even a unifying figure among the Murle. But he was charismatic enough that he could muster a few hundred Murle kids from in and around Pibor with the promise of cattle. Using links with Khartoum, he got them guns and persuaded them to go shoot up some near-by Nuer villages. Certainly, he had no prospect of overthrowing the government in Juba, nor any intention to try.

If SPLA was even minimally competently run, it could’ve disposed of his matchbook rebellion in a weekend.

But the army is a basket case. If your tribal roots are strong enough, and you find a foreign partner willing to supply a stream of ammo, you don’t even need all that many soldiers to sustain a rebellion that maybe can’t win, but can’t be defeated either. In the meantime, it can create plenty of chaos, and chaos is leverage.

So how did that work out for him?

The clue is in that photo. If David Yau Yau is suddenly getting to mug for pictures with Norwegian Christian Democrats it’s because the government threw in the towel. Facing the much bigger challenge from Riek Machar, the government decided to cut a deal with him.

Earlier this month, David Yau Yau was appointed “governor” of the Greater Pibor Administrative Area in return for calling off his rebellion. In effect, the National Government handed him the keys to the area he’s been terrorizing for years.

So Yau Yau drove down to Juba – he reportedly refuses to board a helicopter – to work out the details and get his picture taken with the grandees.

And that’s when Hilde Johnson committed the unforgivable rookie gaffe of smiling through her Warlord photo op – a gesture her murdered peacekeepers’ relatives back in India will doubtlessly have found charming.

Considering the kind of unreconstructed, blood-soaked thug David Yau Yau is, it’s not easy to suppress your gag reflex as you consider his rehabilitation.

But if you look it analytically, you start to see how beautifully it illustrates North’s description of elite settlements and how they work to establish order in societies on the edge of violence.

Because, really, what choice did the South Sudanese government have? The real solution should’ve been to defeat him militarily, but if there’s one thing Yau Yau’s rebellion made clear is that SPLA couldn’t do that. Yau Yau wasn’t just threatening open-ended chaos in Pibor County, he was delivering open-ended chaos in Pibor County.

You don’t reach a political settlement with a guy like David Yau Yau because you want to. You do it because you have to, because the only other alternative is a never-ending cycle of blood. You give him power over Pibor not so he’ll deliver good government, but so he’ll keep himself busy stealing from the public purse rather than torching villages.

It’s in this sense – this simple, primordial sense – that corruption acts a mechanism to limit violence. It sure ain’t pretty. You do it because you have to do it. And so, a Limited Access Order is born.

To be clear, David Yau Yau has certainly never heard of Douglass North. But he knows what it takes to turn the barrel of a gun into a constant stream of rents. And that’s all it takes.