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Cablegate: Fur Leaders Evasive About Janjaweed Ties

VZCZCXRO2785
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1907/01 3380659
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 040659Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9424
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001907

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 CD
SUBJECT: FUR LEADERS EVASIVE ABOUT JANJAWEED TIES


1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Nyala Fur leaders were tight-lipped in a December
2 meeting with FieldOff about rumors of a growing alliance between
the Fur and some janjaweed formerly loyal to the Government of Sudan
(GoS). They spoke instead about growing insecurity throughout
Darfur as a result of heightened janjaweed disenchantment with its
traditional GoS supporter, which was manifesting itself in clashes
between those sides around Nyala. Like other Fur leaders, these
Nyala reps articulated conspiracy theories about GoS intentions in
Darfur; had unreasonably high expectations for the United
Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID); and offered a
strategy for Darfur peace talks. Still, optimism did not prevail,
and the leaders warned that if no relief came to the people on the
ground, then "we don't want to be part of Sudan anymore." END
SUMMARY.

"THE FUR WELCOME EVERYONE"
--------------------------
2. (SBU) In a December 2 meeting with FieldOff, a prominent Nyala
Fur leader and the Nyala Dimlig-General claimed no knowledge about
rumors of a growing alliance between the Fur and janjaweed members
once loyal to the GoS but now disillusioned by the GoS' failure to
make good on its promises of land, money and representation in
exchange for their assistance in helping the GoS "stabilize" Darfur.
However, the Dimlig-General made a point on at least four occasions
during the two-hour conversation to highlight that "the Fur welcome
everyone"; that the Fur have peacefully coexisted, including
intermarriage, with Arab tribes since the 14th century; and that Fur
farmers were forthcoming with their lands when Arab herders needed a
place to graze.

3. (SBU) This hospitality, according to the Dimlig General, lasted
only until the GoS allowed one of these Arab tribes (he mentioned
the Rizeigat, the Habaniya, the Tarjam, the Sa'ada, the Miseriya and
the Beni Halba) to use land that the Fur had not sanctioned, and
problems gradually snowballed from there to the present situation.
"Darfur went from a dispute between two people," the Dimlig
explained, "to what it is now," and he attributed this escalation to
the fact that "all the Government is concerned with is the Arab
tribes."

4. (SBU) The Dimlig alleged that the GoS in the beginning and up to
now supported the influx of Arab tribes from Chad as a way to arm
them in an effort to destabilize the Government of Chad. This
support, however, seems to have run its course, which is stoking
janjaweed discontent and fueling the current fighting between the
GoS and the janjaweed, who feel slighted by the lack of GoS
follow-through. The Dimlig predicted that this fighting would only
increase in the near future, as the janjaweed, like the Fur before
them, pursue what they consider their entitlements from the GoS and
as they struggle to establish some sort of political legitimacy.

5. (SBU) Neither the Dimlig nor the Fur community leader would go so
far as to corroborate rumors of a Fur-janjaweed collaboration in
this common struggle, however, despite rumors of a rapprochement
currently underway between those sides in Kabkabiya. The Dimlig
acknowledged that Arab tribes were splitting against the GoS,
particularly the Southern ("Baggara" or cattle-herding) Rizeigat,
and that others were similarly dividing along geographic lines. He
stressed that these tribes were isolated in their disillusionment
with the GoS, adding that, "African tribes have their own problems
with the GoS to worry about," without having to assume those of
janjaweed deserters as well. The Dimlig said that certain factions
of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation
Army (SLA), however, were incorporating former janjaweed elements
into their ranks. (Note: Credible reports indicate that while some
individual Arab militia leaders have joined JEM and SLA factions,
such shifts are not yet widespread and have rarely included members
of the nomadic Arab tribes responsible for many of the atrocities
since 2004. End note.)

MORE UNREALISTIC UNAMID EXPECTATIONS
------------------------------------
6. (SBU) Like other Fur leaders, the Dimlig General looked to UNAMID
as the panacea for Darfur's problems, including mending the rift
between the Arab and African tribes. To do this, he contended,
UNAMID would first have to disarm all groups throughout Darfur. In
a reference to the situation in Kalma, the Dimlig stressed that the
GoS could never disarm populations independently of the
international community, which would only result in use of force.
He argued that IDPs were not IDPs if they had arms; once the weapons
were removed, proper political space could be created for
negotiations.

7. (SBU) In order for all groups to make the most of this political
space, the Dimlig advised several steps. First, he reiterated that
there should be disarmament of all armed groups in Darfur: African,
Arabs and IDPs alike. Second, traditional tribal mechanisms and
local leaders should be utilized to the furthest extent possible to

KHARTOUM 00001907 002 OF 002


begin the process of conflict resolution between the two original
instigators of the Darfur problem: Arab and African tribes.
Finally, he recommended addressing the issue of compensation as
quickly as possible to free IDPs from their dependence on foreign
assistance and to lay the groundwork for bona fide returns.

8. (SBU) COMMENT. It is clear that Fur leaders are protecting their
credibility and constituencies by refusing to acknowledge complicity
with the very janjaweed elements once responsible for their own
persecution. The message that the Fur "welcome everyone" and are
unwavering in their support of groups searching for "rights without
discrimination," however, speaks for itself. Whether genuine or
not, this attitude attests to the war-savviness that seems to have
developed among Fur communities, motivating their adoption of the
unlikeliest of allies as perhaps their last means of
self-preservation. If this is indeed the case, then we can expect
many more strange bedfellows to emerge in the coming weeks and
months, a trend that will likely not be without consequence or
repercussions on the ground. END COMMENT.

9. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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