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Cablegate: Jem-Chad Update From Darfur

VZCZCXRO0477
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #0924/01 1741357
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221357Z JUN 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1116
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0243
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000924

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, AF/SPG, AF/C, S/CRS, SE WILLIAMSON, NSC FOR
BPITTMAN AND CHUDSON
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU CD
SUBJECT: JEM-CHAD UPDATE FROM DARFUR

REF: KHARTOUM 908

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel
group has been active over the past week in Darfur, as well as in
eastern Chad supporting the GOC. The United Nations-African Union
Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has attempted to confirm reports of
cross-border military movements between Sudan and Chad but has not
been proactive enough in fulfilling its mandate under UNSCR 1769 to
monitor these movements. More initiative on the part of UNAMID
commanders and additional dialogue with the rebel groups in the
region could go a long way toward breaking the current cycle of
Chad-Sudan violence and improve the credibility of both UNAMID and
the international community. END SUMMARY.

JEM SAYS JULY WILL SEE NEW RUN ON KHARTOUM
------------------------------------------
2. (SBU) Over the course of the week of June 15, JEM rebel military
commanders were on the move across North Darfur to re-supply before
returning to the western border with Chad. One commander told
FieldOff via satellite phone that the reason Government of Sudan
(GoS) helicopter gunships were circling El Fasher at this time was
due to their intelligence that JEM was in Kutum and Tawilla, both
within relatively close proximity to the North Darfur capital (the
JEM member was in fact calling from Kutum at the time). The
commander said he was getting new vehicles to move back to Tine, on
the northern part of West Darfur's border with Chad and a JEM
stronghold (where JEM political leadership were rumored to be holed
up).

3. (SBU) The JEM commander claimed to FieldOff on June 19 that JEM
had been actively involved in routing Chadian rebels in Am Zouer,
north of Guereda in eastern Chad, o/a June 17. He boasted that JEM
was now in possession of "many" new vehicles and weapons as a result
of this fighting, and that the Chadian rebels had been forced to
retreat across the Sudanese border into El Geneina and a location in
Darfur 40km north of El Geneina, where the wounded were reportedly
being treated. According to JEM intelligence on the border, he
continued, the Chadian rebels had originally crossed the border to
Goz Beida earlier in the week with 300 vehicles only to return back
to Darfur at the end of the week with 71. "This is very good news
for us," the JEM commander declared. "Now the Chadian rebels no
longer pose any threat in Chad." (Note: This information
contradicts what the Chadian rebels had earlier told us, that the
Chadian rebels had routed JEM in Am Zouer, only to later be defeated
by the Chadian army later the same day. End note.)

4. (SBU) According to information from the JEM commander, JEM now
intends to refocus its energies deep within Sudan. He told FieldOff
June 19 that JEM intends to make another run on Khartoum/Omdurman in
July but suggested that no such attack would occur in Darfur. "It
is much easier to take Khartoum [a city] than locations in Darfur,
which is too decentralized," he explained. (Comment: This could be
true or could be JEM disinformation. End comment.)

UNAMID HAS LITTLE VISIBILITY ON CHADIAN REBELS
--------------------------------------------- -
5. (SBU) UNAMID reporting from Sector West on the happenings in
western Darfur/eastern Chad during the week of June 15 was patchy
and lacked specificity, and was based on information from other
sources. UNAMID provided unconfirmed reports of a movement of 300
armed men, suspected to be Chadian rebels, through El Geneina toward
Chad on June 15 and of a build-up of JEM forces in Abeche on the
same day (rumors which JEM later confirmed). It provided
unconfirmed reports on June 16 of a Chadian rebel advance on Am Dam
(120 km northwest of Goz Beida, Eastern Chad), as well as of an
alliance between the Chadian Armed Opposition Groups and the UFDD
rebels of Mahamat Nouri on June 16. UNAMID reported that on June 17
Chadian rebels captured Biltine (90 km north of Abeche), claiming
the support of 500-600 vehicles and 700-800 troops. Finally on June
19 UNAMID gave unconfirmed reports that Chadian rebels supported by
GoS helicopter gunships succeeded in capturing the strategic border
stronghold of Adre on June 18.

6. (SBU) UNAMID J3 admitted to FieldOff that Sector West had limited
visibility on issues related to movement of Chadian rebels across
the Chad-Sudan border or to GoS military movements in the same
region, claiming that the Mission was prevented from doing so by
UNSCR 1769. In response to a question about how much monitoring
UNAMID itself was conducting in Sector West, given the spike in
activity there over the past week, the J3 officer replied that
UNAMID relied on its own credible sources on the border to provide
it with this type of information.

COMMENT
-------
7. (SBU) The persistent misunderstanding by UNAMID of its own
mandate with regard to use of force and ability to intervene in
conflicts and monitor events on the ground in Darfur must be
addressed by DPKO and member states. It should be pushed to more
effectively undertake its responsibilities per OP15(a)(ii) of 1769,
which, under Chapter VII, authorizes the Mission to "take the
necessary action, in the areas of deployment of its forces . . . in
order to . . . prevent . . . armed attacks . . . and protect
civilians." Moreover, UNAMID needs to be more pro-active in
monitoring troop movements in areas where it is deployed including
Sector West, where Chadian Armed Opposition Groups around El Geneina
are active. When UNAMID's mandate comes up for renewal in July, the
Council should focus on getting UNAMID to do what it was already
empowered to do under 1769. The objective should be to push UNAMID
military leadership and the Sector West commander to be more
proactive in monitoring, verifying and intervening in incidents and
cross-border troop movements. Getting UNAMID to be more pro-active
throughout Darfur, while addressing their very real needs and
deficiencies, remains a constant need.

8. (SBU) JEM also needs to be called on for its own hypocrisy --
castigating the GoS for ceasefire violations while JEM itself is
crossing the border and engaging the Chadian opposition with
impunity while preparing for additional military action inside
Sudan.

FERNANDEZ

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