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Cablegate: Darfur a Victim of Poor Governance, the Business of War

VZCZCXRO3242
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0987/01 1731323
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221323Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7688
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000987

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, AND S/CRS
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO AU UN US SU

SUBJECT: DARFUR A VICTIM OF POOR GOVERNANCE, THE BUSINESS OF WAR


1. SUMMARY: In a wide-ranging meeting with CDA Fernandez, two
prominent Darfur civil society activists described war in Darfur as
a business with many partners. Traditional leadership and
negotiating mechanisms had been lost, they said, replaced by rebels
with no real connection to Darfurians themselves. They cited the
need for development, reconciliation and good governance efforts in
Darfur, as well as political support for AMIS and a strong mandate
for the hybrid force. End summary.

-------------------
WAR IS A "BUSINESS"
-------------------

2. In a June 20 meeting with CDA, Dr. Abdul Jabbar Fadul, activist
and professor at El Fasher University, and Mr. Khalil Tukras,
director of the North Darfur Sudan Social Development Office (SUDO),
said that peace and security were the two biggest concerns for
Darfurians. While the Sudanese government and its armed militias had
originally been the greatest cause of insecurity in Darfur, they
said, now every faction with a gun was to blame. Sudanese government
forces were unable to control the situation in Darfur, they said,
because they were ill-trained and poorly-equipped. They also said
that most members of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) who were
deployed in Darfur were poor foot soldiers who had no real stake in
the conflict.

3. (SBU) War in Darfur was "business," according to Tukras, and the
Sudanese government relied both on armed militias and SLA factions
to exercise its tenuous control in the area. For the rebels, it was
also a money-making enterprise. He portrayed the Sudanese government
as giving support to some of the SLA factions, as well as playing
certain janjaweed groups against each other. Tukras said that one of
the Sudanese government's greatest fears was that if there were
peace, the International Criminal Court (ICC) would physically come
to Darfur so it was in their interest to continue fomenting
violence. There was a "mafia of war," that transcended politics,
working with the government, he said, comprised of Chad, Libya and
Eritrea.

--------------------------
TRIBAL ALLIANCES AND POWER
--------------------------

4. (SBU) On land and water issues, Fadul thought they could be
resolved through traditional mediation techniques. These traditional
mechanisms were being lost, he said, and he urged the international
community to work to restore power to civil society and IDP
residents of Darfur. Traditional tribal leaders had been "castrated"
by successive Sudanese governments going back decades, they said.
The rebels spoke for no one but themselves, he said, and so the vast
majority of Darfurians were left without any real representation.
Fadul stressed the need for IDPs to organize themselves within the
camps, and to establish representative committees. But because the
Sudanese government opposed this type of organization, he continued,
there needed to be a neutral third party or group who could
intervene. When CDA asked how the Sudanese government could be
convinced that this was in their interest, Fadul said that they were
more likely to respond positively if presented with a clear,
articulate proposal rather than a loose plan.

5. (SBU) Speaking to the complicated alliances between tribal groups
in Darfur, both Fadul and Tukras named the Nazir of the Bani Hussein
as one of the remaining strong figures who had kept his tribe out of
the fighting and still maintained credibility. He still maintained
good relations with the Zaghawa and Fur tribes, they said, as well
as pro-government Arab tribes. The "King" of the Meidoub tribe of
Northern Darfur was another traditional leader who had survived and
was worthy of attention. He had been successful in mediating tribal
conflicts without bloodshed and yet his region lacked development
opportunities. They noted increased tension among Arab groups while
Tukras also linked janjaweed leader Musa Hilal to JEM commander
Khalil Ibrahim, describing both of them as ostracized and outside of
real power in Darfur and therefore looking for ways to cooperate.
The biggest obstacle, however, was Abdul Wahid. Fadul and Tukras
described his support as mostly lip service, and while his influence
on the ground was minimal, he was still regarded by many people in
the camps as a symbolic leader. Within the IDP camps, they said,
people placed their trust in a trinity of sorts: Allah, the
Foreigner, and Abdul Wahid, in declining order.

--------------------------
GOOD GOVERNANCE IS THE KEY
--------------------------

6. (SBU) What Darfur needed most, Fadul and Tukras said, was good
governance. The problems in Darfur weren't tribal, but a result of

KHARTOUM 00000987 002 OF 002


continued poor governance since independence. Darfurians had seen
multiple armed tribal conflicts in recent history, Tukras noted, but
had always managed to resolve such conflicts themselves. Both Fadul
and Tukras said that the concept of power sharing was of little
importance to rural Darfurians; resource sharing was much more
crucial. Those who make power sharing a priority in negotiations,
they said, were putting their own interests before those of the
people of Darfur and hoping that foreigners would tip the balance in
their favor.

7. (SBU) On the hybrid force, Tukras said that there had to be a
very strong mandate to protect civilians, and to forcefully
intervene when necessary. Fadul agreed, adding that civil society
development needed to take place alongside the deployment of the
hybrid force. He also urged the development of the AU's advisory
capacity on the ground, saying that the mission desperately needed
political advisors who came from Sudan itself. Current advisors knew
nothing of Darfur, didn't speak Arabic, and never left their
air-conditioned offices. Both cited the need to work to rebuild the
strength of traditional tribal leadership as part of development
efforts.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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