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Cablegate: Unamid Planning Chief Pessimistic About Operation's

VZCZCXRO9934
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1738/01 3110724
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070724Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9104
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001738

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID PLANNING CHIEF PESSIMISTIC ABOUT OPERATION'S
CAPACITIES

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a November 3 introductory meeting with recently
arrived Chief of the Planning Unit for the United Nations-African
Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Muldo Urquhart, Urquhart saw a
narrow and potentially diminishing window of opportunity to turn
around the African Union Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) ahead of
December 31 Transfer of Authority (TOA). To accomplish this,
Urquhart recommended finalizing Rules of Engagement (RoE) for
UNAMID, filling in mid-level personnel gaps particularly on the
civilian side of the operation, and above all exercising proactive
leadership to create a trickle-down effect from Force Headquarters
to Sector Headquarters and into the field. Urquhart considered the
recent three-sector restructuring of AMIS area of operations and the
opening of UNAMID El Fasher headquarters to be "superficial gloss"
for fundamental UNAMID shortcomings, a less than promising
assessment of events widely regarded as harbingers of Darfur
stability to come. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On November 4, Poloffs met with COL Murdo Urquhart (UK),
Chief of the Planning Unit for UNAMID (replacing COL Andrew
Johnstone), and Light Support Package planner LTC Geir Hagnes
(Norway).

NEED FOR PROACTIVE LEADERSHIP BY EXAMPLE
----------------------------------------
3. (SBU) Speaking candidly, a recently-arrived COL Urquhart bemoaned
the lack of "spine" and initiative demonstrated by the current AMIS
force, which, in his opinion, would make achieving TOA by December
31 all but impossible. Urquhart expressed faith in the abilities of
UNAMID Force Commander (FC) GEN Agwai and hoped for more of the same
from Deputy FC Karake. Urquhart also looked forward to the arrival
of Brigadier General Davidson-Houston (UK) as another means of
exploiting the narrow window of opportunity he saw currently
available to prepare AMIS for TOA.

4. (SBU) COL Urquhart had no illusions, however, about the
challenges of making "the AMIS leopard change its spots" and
expressed concern in the ability of a handful of proactive UNAMID
leaders to reform a largely reticent AU force, which will constitute
the bulk of UNAMID troops. They would need to be bolstered by
equally competent mid-level chiefs, which, in Urquhart's assessment,
were in short supply. UNAMID was relying on the UN Mission in the
Sudan (UNMIS) for its human resources capacities, something UNMIS
was increasingly reluctant to provide. Urquhart singled out several
staffing gaps as most problematic: UNAMID lacked a Chief of
Operations and a Chief Military Personnel Officer. Hagnes added
that the temporary nature of the three Sector Commanders (SCs) and
their Deputies also worked against UNAMID, since the current SCs
(all colonels) had been drawn from existing (and not especially
energetic) field officers and would be replaced by one-star
brigadier generals, allocated and appointed based on troop
contributor composition without regard for GEN Agwai's planned
robust engagement policy [NOTE: Neither Urquhart nor Hagnes offered
any indication who the incoming SCs would be but intimated that the
UN had already made its selections].

PERSONNEL AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICITS SLOWING DOWN HSP
--------------------------------------------- ---------
5. (SBU) Urquhart was frank that the only element of Darfur
peacekeeping he saw deploying by the end of 2007 was the Chinese
engineering unit of the Heavy Support Package (HSP). He dismissed
the possibility of the Early Effects Package arriving before
December, and he could not speculate on a definitive TOA date in
2008. He blamed the "planning blight" for UNAMID deployment on
Light Support Package (LSP) delays and turnover (saying LSP staff
were "earning money for nothing" during the months they were on hold
in Khartoum); and on poor internal AMIS communication, which in turn
broke down cooperation between the UN and AMIS.

6. (SBU) Both Urquhart and Hagnes agreed that the biggest
showstopper for deployment at the moment was the lack of
infrastructure necessary to acquire Darfur land and drill for water,
among other basic tasks. The lack of mid-level personnel meant that
more senior (and accordingly more competent) officers were forced to
take the lead on these infrastructure issues, which kept them from
their mandated responsibilities. Urquhart again stressed the need
for UN Headquarters in New York to complete UNAMID force generation
to alleviate the strain in the initial phases of UNAMID deployment.

NOT MUCH CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION
------------------------------
7. (SBU) COL Urquhart did not regard either the three-sector
restructuring of the AMIS AOC or the opening of UNAMID El Fasher
Headquarters as particularly noteworthy, calling them "superficial
gloss" and overrated. The real achievement, according to Urquhart,
would come in the co-location in the headquarters of the major
UNAMID players: FC, Deputy FC, Police Commissioner, the Joint
Operations Centre, and the Joint Logistics Operations Centre.
Urquhart regretted, however, that this was not on the horizon until

KHARTOUM 00001738 002 OF 002


substantial progress could be made in personnel generation.


8. (SBU) COMMENT: It seems that the IDPs are not the only ones
poised to have their expectations dashed by UNAMID. The bleak
picture painted by a recent and high-ranking UNAMID arrival (echoed
informally by newly-arrived mid-level UNAMID Civil Affairs Officers)
does not bode well for the impending TOA of AMIS to UNAMID.
Urquhart's sense that AMIS lacked the energy to prepare for the TOA
is part of the problem, as is DPKO's inability to generate the
requisite personnel, as well as UNMIS' reluctance to lend its own
resources to the operation in the increasingly protracted interim.
The UN must be urged to stay the course, and FC Agwai's impending
return to El Fasher after his time at the Sirte Talks could provide
a needed impetus to keep deployment on track. END COMMENT.

9. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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