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Cablegate: Orphans of the Cpa - Sudan's Nuba Mountains

VZCZCXRO1524
PP RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0720/01 1330848
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 120848Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0786
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000720

FOR SE WILLIAMSON AND AF/SPG
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR EAID SOCI KPKO SU
SUBJECT: ORPHANS OF THE CPA - SUDAN'S NUBA MOUNTAINS

REF: KHARTOUM 630

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: One of Sudan's "Three Areas," the Nuba Mountains
region of South Kordofan state hosts SPLA enclaves north of the 1956
dividing line between north and south Sudan. According to a
high-ranking SPLM and GNU official who hails from the area, the
region continues to host 16,000-17,000 SPLA troops and the SPLM acts
as the de facto government, in the absence of any support from South
Kordofan state, the GNU in Khartoum, or even the GoSS in Juba.
Without the option of voting in the 2011 referendum, the local
population prefers a unified Sudan, but it remains an open and
troubling question how they will respond if, as expected, the South
votes for independence and they find themselves stranded north of
the border. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) On May 7, Emboffs met with Ismail Khamis Jallab, an SPLM
member of the Government of National Unity (as State Minister of
nimal Resources) and former Brigadier General in the Sudan Peoples
Liberation Army (SPLA). A native of the Nuba Mountains region of
South Kordofan, Jallab served there during the civil war and was
later the SPLM-appointed governor of South Kordofan state. (Note.
Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), the South Kordofan
state government rotates between the SPLM and the NCP. Currently,
the NCP controls the South Kordofan government. End note.) Jallab
provided several useful insights into the situation in his native
region.

SPLM Enclave in the North
-------------------------
3. (SBU) Jallab noted that during the civil war, Nuba Mountains was
one of three SPLA strongholds (along with Abyei and southern Blue
Nile state) north of the 1956 border, collectively referred to as
the "Three Areas." The 2005 CPA specified actions to be taken to
resolve the conflicts in these regions. While the CPA provides that
Abyei will participate in the 2011 referendum on Southern
independence, neither the Nuba Mountains nor Blue Nile state have
that option, and are to remain part of Sudan whatever the
referendum's outcome.

4. (SBU) Although technically situated in South Kordofan, Jallab
said that residents of the Nuba Mountains do not receive government
services from the NCP-controlled state government. Neither are they
supported by the Government of South Sudan in Juba, leaving the
local SPLM/SPLA as the de facto local administration. Jallab
confirmed that these areas are essentially administered by the SPLM,
secured by the SPLA, and that services are provided primarily by
INGOs. (Note: This corresponds with the observations that a USAID
officer made during a recent visit to the region (reftel). End
note.)

Significant SPLA Presence North of the Border
---------------------------------------------
5. (SBU) According to the CPA, SAF forces are to withdraw to the
north and SPLA forces to south of the 1956 border. However, Jallab
estimated that 16,000 - 17,000 SPLA troops remain in the Nuba
Mountains region. (Note: This number is close to the estimated
total number of Darfur rebels. End note.) Of these, 13,000 -
14,000 are regular SPLA, while an additional 3,000 SPLA are enrolled
in the Joint Integrated Units (JIUs) established under the CPA.
These soldiers are natives of the area, according to Jallab, and
thus unwilling to leave their homes and withdraw south if the South
voted for secession in 2011. According to Jallab, a complicating
factor is the failure so far to implement DDR, which has made it
difficult for many long-time SPLA soldiers to transition back to
civilian life. Jallab confirmed that there also are SPLA units
north of the Nuba Mountains that he said will withdraw to the south
once the border is officially demarcated.

Support for a Unified Sudan
---------------------------
6. (SBU) Jallab confirmed that the population of the Nuba Mountains
strongly supports keeping Sudan united. Given that South Kordofan
does not have option to vote to join the South should it vote for
independence in 2011, the alternative is to find itself cutoff in
the North. The Nuba people are a natural constituency for the SPLM,
inspired by John Garang's vision of a united "New Sudan" and the
region will vote in support of the SPLM in the 2009 elections with
that in mind. According to Jallab, support for unity is very strong
among the SPLM north of the 1956 border, but less so in the South,
where many instead look forward to the 2011 referendum as the
opportunity to attain southern independence. What will be the
response among the SPLM in the Nuba Mountains should Southerners
vote for independence in 2011 is open to speculation. Jallab
demurred when asked to predict what the Nuba would do if the South
secedes. Instead, Jallab focused on the fact that many in the SPLM
(including President Salva Kiir, he claimed) is still for the unity

KHARTOUM 00000720 002 OF 002


if Sudan. Jallab said that he and all other northern members
(including powerful members such as Deputy SG for the Northern
Sector Yasir Arman, GNU Presidential Advisor Mansour Khalid, and
Blue Nile Governor Malik Agar) of the SPLM would strongly support
Kiir at the SPLM convention this week since he is for unity.
Optimistically, Jallab predicted that one of the outcomes of the
SPLM convention would be a confirmation that the SPLM party as a
whole is for the unity of Sudan.

Comment
-------
7. (SBU) The Nuba Mountains draws far less public attention than
does nearby Abyei, and lacks a dynamic leader like Blue Nile's Malik
Agar, but it clearly has the potential to become a major flashpoint
sometime in the future given the uncertain status of its
inhabitants. The lingering presence of many SPLA soldiers and the
lack of an established government that can provide public services
are ingredients for conflict. Likewise, that the region may be left
unwillingly in the North if the South decides to secede in 2011
provides a dangerous potential source of renewed conflict.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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