Nightly News   |  December 23, 2013

Marines set to rescue Americans in South Sudan

After a weekend mission to retrieve Americans is thwarted, marines now are scheduled to get dozens of Americans out of a very tense South Sudan. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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>>> overseas tonight, there is a new crisis spot for the world. that means the u.s., as well. southern sudan is right now in the grip of nonstop violence. there's growing fear there of an all-out civil war . over the weekend a u.s. mission to airlift americans out of there had to be aborted when the aircraft came under fire. now, u.s. marines are standing by in case they have to evacuate the embassy. for more on this increasingly dangerous state of affairs, we are joined by our chief foreign affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell , in our d.c. newsroom. andrea, first of all, what's this conflict about? and second, the stakes for americans there.

>> well, let's talk first about the american lives, because senior officials tell me they think they now have evacuated all of the american civilians out of south sudan . but today the pentagon did move 150 troops and ten aircraft to the region from spain, in case they need to evacuate the embassy. why this is precautionary? this is one of the lessons they learned about not having troops close enough during the benghazi disaster. u.s. troops i'm told will not take part in a largely african/u.n. peacekeeping force already on the ground. the security council is meeting right now to expand that. now today, state department envoy did meet with south sudan 's president kiir. who is the man in the black stetson to tell him that he has to talk to his political and ethnic rivals, which could easily turn into civil war along tribal lines. south sudan is the word's newest country, gaining independence only two years ago with help first from president bush and then president obama but now is already becoming a humanitarian crisis , and the challenge now is to stop it from becoming all-out civil war .