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Cablegate: President Bashir Escalates War of Words with Splm

VZCZCXRO9318
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1796/01 3221703
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181703Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9208
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001796

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KSCA OTRA EAID CDC UN SU
SUBJECT: PRESIDENT BASHIR ESCALATES WAR OF WORDS WITH SPLM

1. (U) President Al Bashir delivered his most bellicose speech in
recent memory yesterday, warning the South that the North is ready
for war, and branding western countries as greedy tyrants. He
insisted the north would not compromise over oil-rich Abyei. The
President was speaking at an annual convention of veterans of the
Popular Defense Forces (PDF), the religious-based irregular forces
that the Government deployed against the South in the country's
civil war.

-------------------------------
Bashir threatens South with war
-------------------------------
2. (U) In his remarks at Wad Madani in Al-Jazeera state to mark the
18th anniversary of the PDF, Bashir said that while he was not
declaring war, he was calling on all "mujahideen" in Sudan to
prepare for war. "This is not for the sake of declaring war, but it
is clear that we must be ready to respond to Allah's calls," he
said. He reaffirmed the readiness of the Sudanese Armed Forces
(SAF) to wage war if it erupts in Northern Sudan (a reference to the
Abyei area). He called for training camps for mujahideen to
reopen.

3. (U) Bashir continued, praising all the forces of the North that,
he said, had achieved victory over the South in the civil war.
"There was the PDF, The Mujahideen, Aldababeen (anti-tank brigades),
and the people's police, all these supported the SAF and we
succeeded in defeating the conspiracies and thwarting the attack
against us which neighboring countries had backed and which reached
the stage of striking us with American rockets, but our response was
stronger than their rockets and their arms. It was our victories in
Nuba Mountains, in the Blue Nile, and our sound victory, which shook
all the tyrants." He added that those who think Sudan has been
weakened by the conflict in Darfur have miscalculated.

4. (U) Pan-Arab "Al-Jazeera" satellite television gave prominent
coverage to the most alarming parts of the speech throughout
November 18. In an interview with a local expert in Khartoum, the
professor told an incredulous Al-Jazeera anchor that Al-Bashir's
rhetoric about holy war was "the greater jihad" (the internal fight
of every Muslim to overcome sin and selfishness in their lives)
rather than "the lesser jihad" (actual holy war) and just part of
the political game and maneuvering between the two partners.

---------------------------------
U.S. included in Bashir's warning
---------------------------------

5. (U) Referring to recent talk among some elements of the SPLM
(including published interviews by firebrand SPLM Secretary General
Pagan Amum) of its own readiness for war the President replied "I
say to those who want to provoke war, we want to see you in the
battlefield, not in the hotels of European capitals, because whoever
ignites war will have to face its consequences." He added: "We are
ready, and we are not afraid of America or any other (power), any
tyrant is underneath my boot." Apparently indicating the U.S., he
gestured towards his shoes and reiterated, "all the tyrants are
here, underneath this very boot of mine."

-------------------
No retreat on Abyei
-------------------

6. (U) Bashir indicated that the NCP was in no mood to compromise
on the issue of the Abyei area. He vowed the Government would not
recognize the Experts' Report on Abyei, and said: "The experts
should soak their report in water and drink it," an Arabic
expression meaning essentially that they can "take their report and
shove it."

--------------------------------------------
Western interest in Sudan motivated by greed
--------------------------------------------

7. (U) Referring to the recent incident of possible trafficking in
children in Chad, Bashir blasted western countries for practicing
modern slavery. He said foreigners meddling in Sudan's affairs,
especially in the South and in Darfur, are doing so for their own
selfish reasons. "They are liars and hypocrites who are motivated
by their greed for our resources," he said, "and that is why they
are stealing our children and youth and selling them in the slave
markets in Europe."

8. (SBU) Comment: Although he stated several times that he wants
peace, Bashir's remarks are a significant escalation in the war of
words between the NCP and the SPLM. His use of religious rhetoric
and calls for mujahadeen and PDF recruitment seem intended to
ratchet up the pressure on the SPLM by showing that he is willing to
tap into the most violent base of fighters during the North-South
war, responsible for numerous atrocities. Humanitarian Affairs
Minister Ahmed Haroun, indicted by the ICC as a war criminal in

KHARTOUM 00001796 002 OF 002


Darfur, gained his nickname "the butcher of the Nuba" for having
mobilized some of these forces in the South. Bashir's rhetoric
against the U.S. appears to be tied to anger and jealousy over GOSS
President and GNU First Vice President Kiir's visit to the U.S. and
his meeting last week with President Bush.

FERNANDEZ

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