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Cablegate: Slm/Abdul Wahid to Launch Office in Israel

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #0340 0691240
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091240Z MAR 08 ZDK PER UR REQUEST
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0141
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000340

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PREF SU
SUBJECT: SLM/ABDUL WAHID TO LAUNCH OFFICE IN ISRAEL


1. (U) Summary: Abdul Wahid Al Nur has announced that the SLM will
open an office in Tel Aviv and praised the Israeli government for
giving refuge to Darfur to protect them from genocide. While NCP
officials and much of the Sudanese media condemned Al Nur's
statements, reaction in Darfur is largely positive given wide-spread
resentment against both the regime in Khartoum and Arabs in general.
End summary.

2. (U) In a February 26 announcement, Sudan Liberation Movement
(SLM) leader Abdulwahid Al Nur confirmed earlier press reports that
the SLM had opened an office in Israel. "The office was created by
some SLM members who sought refuge in Israel from the killings by
the Sudanese Government." He further praised Israel for "protecting
Darfur's youth from genocide." Al-Nur maintains that the new office
is consistent with the SLM's attempts to remain active outside
Sudan.

3. (U) "Now we have an office in Israel like we do in Egypt, Libya,
Kenya, USA, Britain and other countries," said Nur. Regarding the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al-Nur stated that "according to the
precepts of the SLM, the two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians,
should recognize each other and peacefully co-exist as neighbors."
Al-Nur emphasized that he is not afraid of repercussions among Arab
or Islamist constituencies, affirming that he is a Muslim who knows
the Quran. The "revolution" in Darfur will change Sudan's internal
and external policies, said Al Nur, including the prohibition on
relations with Israel.

4. (U) In response to the announcement of the SLM office in Israel,
the National Congress Party (NCP) launched an aggressive,
large-scale media campaign to discredit Al Nur, asserting that his
relationship with Tel Aviv will lead to the rejection of his
leadership and his "political death." One NCP official stated that
the SLM's ties with Israel conflicted with Darfur's Islamic values.
Senior Presidential Advisor Nafie Ali Nafie, the hardline NCP
Sec retary for Political Affairs who holds the Darfur portfolio
within the Sudanese Government, accused Al Nur of planting Sudanese
in Israel to convert them to Judaism and to effect a normalization
of relations between Khartoum and Jerusalem. "Opening an office in
Israel is material proof that the Darfur crisis is manipulated by
foreign hands and the Jewish lobby," said Nafie. State Minister of
Information and NCP Secretary of Information Kamal Obeid said that
Al Nur's move targets Sudan's "unity and faith." Pro-NCP
journalists and columnists wrote articles describing Al Nur's step
as the beginning of his political end. Sudanese television featured
Al-Nur's image backed by the Israeli flag and pictures of the
Palestinian suffering in Gaza in some reports. Some reports claimed
that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have captured arms and
ammunition from rebel-controlled areas that is manufactured in
Israel.

5. (U) Osman Muhammad Yousif Kibir, the Wali of North Darfur State,
condemned Al Nur's announcement during a February 3 protest in El
Fasher against Danish cartoons criticizing Islam. Kibir called on
the international community and the Sudanese Government to bypass Al
Nur in future peace negotiations. He described Al Nur as a
communist and a secularist who "would gain nothing from Israel
except a few cents and then will be thrown away." The pro-government
Fur Shura (Consultative) Council also said in a press release that
Abdul Wahid does not represent them and that this move was not
endorsed by them.

6. (U) Hussein Abu-Sharati, a prominent IDP leader and head of the
indigenous Fur native administration that is opposed to Khartoum,
said in a public statement that Darfur IDPs support the inauguration
of an SLM office in Tel Aviv and are happy to see a country like
Israel opening its doors to ease the suffering of the people of
Darfur. Abu-Sharati told Sudan Tribune that after five years of
atrocities and suffering caused by "the so-called brothers in Islam,
we understood where that hatred can lead. Why did these people not
demonstrate against the killings and rape of Darfur's people? What
is more important, these atrocities or the opening of an office in
Israel?"

7. (SBU) Comment: Al Nur's popularity in Darfur, particularly among
the Fur, and the vehement resentment of Darfur's African tribes
against perceived exploitation by Arab groups provides some
political cover for Al Nur to open an office in Israel. While the
utility of the SLM office in Israel is minimal, Al Nur's
announcement is yet another example of his deft manipulation of the
Darfurian body politic and ability to antagonize the regime. The
move also feeds into the ruling NCP's well-developed paranoia that
events in Darfur are the work of well-organized foreign players, the
"Zionist Lobby" being one of the most prominent of these alleged
entities.

FERNANDEZ

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