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Cablegate: Just Another Day for Jem in Jebel Moun

VZCZCXRO9112
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0469/01 0911422
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311422Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0342
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0126
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000469

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO AU UNSC SU CD
SUBJECT: JUST ANOTHER DAY FOR JEM IN JEBEL MOUN

REF: NDJAMENA 123

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In two separate conversations on March 28 and 29,
representatives of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) claimed
it was business as usual for them in their struggle against the
Government of Sudan (GoS) and in their "dedicated quest" toward
negotiations. Political leadership and field commanders alike have
been giving no indication of tensions between the JEM and other
Darfur rebel movements or with the government of Chad. JEM
continues to insist that it is serious about negotiations with the
GoS, despite its belief that such negotiations need not be
predicated on a ceasefire, to which JEM still refuses to adhere.
JEM continues to be wary of the United Nations/African Union
mediation for such negotiations and to berate the international
community for not doing more to pressure the GoS to come in good
faith to the negotiating table. JEM remains skeptical of UNAMID's
intentions but insists it is willing to work with the peacekeeping
operation, as long as it is on JEM's own terms. In short, it
remains business as usual for JEM, and we should work to bring JEM
in line with our push to deploy UNAMID as rapidly as possible. END
SUMMARY.

JEM POL/MIL LEADERSHIP CLAIMS PRIMACY ON THE GROUND
--------------------------------------------- ------
2. (SBU) In two separate conversations with FieldOff on March 28 and
29, representatives of the political and military leadership of the
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) assured poloff that despite
rumors of tensions between JEM and other Darfur rebel movements, JEM
still reigned supreme on the ground. "People are sending messages
to discredit us in the eyes of the international community," said
JEM Political Chief Abdulaziz, speaking from Chad. "There is no real
movement on the ground except for JEM. Other movements exist only
on the Internet." [NOTE: This last bit was especially ironic coming
from the movement which relies the most on a website to disseminate
information about its activities. END NOTE]. JEM Field Commander
and former rep to the Second Chamber of the Ceasefire Commission GEN
Beshier, speaking from Jebel Moun, (where both he and Abdulaziz said
the vast majority of JEM members are at the moment) described the
area as calm and confirmed that there was no fighting between JEM
and any other rebel movement.

3. (SBU) Insisting that JEM's political and military capacities are
sound, Abdulaziz brushed aside questions about JEM's present
relationship with the Government of Chad (GoC). He claimed that
JEM's popular support was so substantial at the moment that it
rendered unnecessary any assistance from the GoC or from any other
outside source [NOTE: Abdulaziz could give no real explanation as to
why, if his claims of JEM's self-sustainability were true, he was
calling from N'djamena, saying only that he was "on mission." END
NOTE]. Neither Abdulaziz nor GEN Beshier spoke much about the
situation in Chad, other than to call on the international community
to involve itself more intimately in resolving the situation.
Abdulaziz reported that Chadian rebel groups were presently in Libya
for talks with COL Qadhafi ahead of likely discussions with the
GoC.

4. (SBU) Given JEM's apparently precarious situation on the
political and military fronts, it stood to reason that it would be
ready to move on to talks with the GoS, Abdulaziz explained. He
dismissed rumors that JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim had decided to
negotiate with the GoS at the urging of Sudanese Islamist leader
Hassan al-Turabi. Abdulaziz insisted that JEM was serious about
entering into negotiations with the GoS and that the only viable
mediator from JEM's perspective was former SYG Kofi Annan. "The UN
and AU mediators have no vision or knowledge of the parties to the
Darfur conflict," Abdulaziz explained, adding that since Annan got
involved in mediation in Kenya, he should have no excuse not to dKQ9*QQ#1Q Deby, of forthcoming elections and of
problems in the South.

NO NEED TO PREDICATE PEACE TALKS ON CEASEFIRE
---------------------------------------------
5. (SBU) Despite the lull in fighting between the GoS and JEM,
Abdulaziz assessed that the GoS was not serious about Darfur peace
and would seek a military solution to the Darfur crisis. He claimed
the Sudanese Armed Forces continued to increase their presence
throughout West Darfur [NOTE: UNAMID Chief of Staff has acknowledged
that based on GoS troop movements in West Darfur, "it looks like
they are preparing to wipe out JEM once and for all." END NOTE].
JEM would accordingly be forced to defend itself, but Abdulaziz did
not consider this "reality" to be at odds with JEM's stated quest
for good faith negotiations. "Why does the international community
assume that peace talks can't take place while fightiQQj$

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