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Cablegate: May 14 Update On Situation in Khartoum and Darfur And

VZCZCXRO4061
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0732/01 1351228
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 141228Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0812
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000732

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/EX MEG KEETON AND
STEVE TOY
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO AU UNSC SU CD AMGT ASEC CASC
SUBJECT: MAY 14 UPDATE ON SITUATION IN KHARTOUM AND DARFUR AND
EMBASSY SECURITY POSTURE


A) KHARTOUM 722
B) KHARTOUM 725

KHARTOUM REMAINS CALM
- - - - - - - - - - -
1. (SBU) There are reports of continued, sporadic firing in
Omdurman during the night of May 13-14 and the Nile bridge
connecting Omdurman with Khartoum-proper was closed briefly, but
Khartoum remains generally calm four days after the May 10 JEM raid.
Armed police and SAF continue to patrol the streets, but
checkpoints have been withdrawn. The immediate vicinity of the
Presidential Palace downtown remains blocked off.

GOS RESTRICTS UNAMID FLIGHTS IN DARFUR
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) The situation in Darfur is quiet, but uncertain. Although
the El Fasher airport has reopened for commercial flights, as of May
14 the GoS is refusing to allow UNAMID flights to operate between El
Fasher and Khartoum. This, as well as its refusal to allow any
flights at all for the past two days, has severely hampered UNAMID
operations, particularly its ability to provide rations and to
transport troops and equipment. As a result, deployment schedules
are falling behind. Several among UNAMID's leaders consider this
GoS action as a not-so-subtle way to use the May 10 events to
restrict UNAMID's freedom of movement. Such a restriction
constitutes a violation of the February Status of Forces Agreement
(SOFA) signed between UNAMID and the GoS, not the only such
violation that the GoS has committed in the past ten days (ref A).
JSR Adada, in Khartoum for meetings with GoS officials, reportedly
is planning to raise the SOFA violations issue, but there is no
assurance he actually will, as he has been loathe to do so in the
past for fear of GoS reaction. CDA Fernandez will raise the issue
in his May 14 meeting with Presidential Advisor Mustafa Ismail Osman
(septel).

GOS CHARGES FOREIGN COMPLICITY
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Presidential advisor Nafi ali Nafi and National Congress
Party (NCP) Political Secretary Mandour al-Mahdi both announced that
Sudan is halting negotiations with the JEM and with Abdul Wahid's
SLM faction in response to the attack. Al-Mahdi said that talks
would not be resumed with either "until the government has
eliminated the rebellion in Darfur." Al-Mahdi claimed that Chadian
military personnel had participated in the raid. He also charged
that the rebels received intelligence support from unnamed Western
(but understood to mean French) sources. The staff of the Chadian
embassy has been given until May 20 to depart Khartoum. Sudan
Airways also was ordered to suspend flights to N'jdamena and the
branch of the Sudanese Agricultural Bank there was ordered closed.

MINISTERS BRIEF PARLIAMENT
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) On May 13, Minister of Defense Abdul Rahmin Mohammed
Hussein and Interior Minister Ibrahim Mohammed Hamid briefed the
National Legislature on the May 10 JEM raid. Defense Minister
Hussein stated that the JEM force consisted of 170-180 vehicles, of
which, he said, 68 were destroyed and 75 captured. According to
Hussein, the SAF lost 91 soldiers and 17 police killed and two
missing, along with one Land Cruiser. He reported that 30 civilians
(including four foreign nationals - two Egyptians and two
Senegalese) also died. Hussein charged that a JEM "fifth column"
inside Omdurman had assisted the attackers in avoiding SAF defenses
outside and entering the city. Local press reports that SAF
performance was sharply criticized by parliamentarians and one MP
called on Hussein to resign. Hussein offered to do so, should "the
people" agree unanimously.

DEATH OF BLACK BOOK AUTHOR AND IBRAHIM'S CLOSE ADVISOR
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (U) On May 14, local press highlighted the death in the May 10
attack of Jamali Hassan Jelaladin, "the Godfather of the Black Book"
and a close advisor to JEM Chairman Khalil Ibrahim. An advisor for
JEM's presidency, (often described as Khalil Ibrahim's "right hand
man,") it is also widely believed that Jamali contributed to the
anonymous "Black Book" secretly distributed in Khartoum in 2000
which strongly criticizes the regime, and details the imbalance of
wealth and power concentrated in the North. One article, in the
usually pro-government "Al-Rai Al-Aam," resembled an obituary,
relaying Jamali's education, positions within JEM, and role in
compiling the Black Book. The article states that Jamali's death
constitutes the "biggest loss for Khalil," given his long history
with Ibrahim, shared Islamic ideology, and position as one of the
few non-Zaghawa leaders in JEM.


KHARTOUM 00000732 002 OF 002


JEM PUBLISHES NEW STATEMENT AND VIDEO ON ITS WEBSITE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (U) On May 14, JEM updated its website with both a video of
Khalil Ibrahim reportedly recorded before the Omdurman attack and a
written statement on the attack labeled by JEM as "Operation Long
Arm." (Note: Both the statement and video are available from
sudanjem.com and a full translation of this statement and a
transcription of the video have been sent to AF/SPG and the office
of the Special Envoy. End Note.) In the 9 minute video posted on
youtube.com, Khalil Ibrahim delivers a speech to approximately 100
JEM fighters at an unnamed location. In the video, Ibrahim states
that "this government will fall in Khartoum on itself," while his
supporters respond, "We will use all our force inside Khartoum!"
Ibrahim claims at the conclusion of the video that JEM has support
from Libya and Egypt all the way to El-Geneina, naming individual
Darfuri leaders who have pledged their support to JEM.

7. (U) Also on May 14, an "important statement on 'Operation Long
Arm' to the Sudanese Capital" appeared on JEM's website, signed by
JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam. Dated May 12, the statement says
that JEM attempted to achieve a "qualitative leap" in the armed
struggle against the government which will send a strong signal to
the regime "that has relished burning the marginalized without
feeling the impact of this fire." According to the statement, JEM
is "extremely satisfied at the outcome of the operation," especially
as the government announced that the JEM attack was forthcoming and
was unable to stop it. The statement also reports that Khalil
Ibrahim is in good health, that the Chadian government is not behind
JEM's operations, and that the GoS fabricated reports on the number
of killed and captured JEM fighters.

PRESIDENT BASHIR ADDRESSES PRO-GOVERNMENT RALLY
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8. (U) On the morning of May 14, President al Bashir addressed a
peaceful rally organized by the National Congress Party in support
of the government in front of the Presidential Palace. Bashir
charged that JEM leader Khahlil Ibrahim is implementing a foreign
agenda and asked rhetorically who provided JEM with the weapons and
vehicles it used to attack Omdurman. He repeated that the GoS will
not engage JEM as a negotiating partner. Bashir thanked countries
that stood with the GoS during the raid and especially thanked the
SPLA for its assistance during the attack.

EMBASSY RETURNS TO FULL OPERTATION
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9. (SBU) Embassy Khartoum returned to full staffing on May 14.
Chaired by CDA Fernandez, the Emergency Action Committee met the
same morning. (EAC readout is being sent septel.) International
and domestic flights are operating normally. The American School,
which was closed on May 13, has returned to normal operations with
the cancellation of afternoon extra-curricular activities only.
Stores and shops in Khartoum are back to normal operations. Post's
fuel and gas supplies have been topped off.

FERNANDEZ

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