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Cablegate: Misseriya Tribal Leader Tells Cda "Don't Ignore Us!"

VZCZCXRO3552
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1031/01 1920850
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 100850Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1290
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001031

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PREF EAID SOCI KPKO SU
SUBJECT: MISSERIYA TRIBAL LEADER TELLS CDA "DON'T IGNORE US!"

REFS: A. KHARTOUM 939
B. KHARTOUM 1012

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: CDA Fernandez warned traditional Misseriya leader
Sidiq Babo Nimer that the Misseriya risk being branded as aggressors
if they resort to violence in Abyei and he urged that they argue
their case carefully and reasonably. Sidiq praised Embassy efforts
to engage the Misseriya, and listed the tribe's assistance needs in
Muglad. A prominent member of the Umma party, he indicated that the
various Umma-party factions are making little progress in reuniting,
while denying that Umma is allowing itself to become a tool of the
NCP. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On July 8, Misseriya-tribal elder and National Umma Party
official Sidiq Babo Nimer called on CDA Fernandez, saying that he is
anxious to continue the Misseriya dialogue with the Embassy that
began with the CDA's meetings with Misseriya leaders on June 23-24
(ref. A). Sidiq said that the best part of that meeting had been
the discussion of U.S.-Sudan bilateral relations. He said that this
discussion had opened the eyes of the Misseriya elders, making them
realize "the Americans are not so bad!" Sidiq is the brother of
Misseriya Awlad Kamel clan chief Mukhtar Babo Nimr. The Charge
agreed that it would be very useful for the dialogue to continue,
commenting, "We need to be creative" to find solutions to the
problems in Abyei.

3. (SBU) The Misseriya elders had complained that the U.S. was
ignoring their needs, while lavishing aid on the south. The CDA
provided Sidiq with a USAID Fact Sheet detailing U.S. assistance to
the Misseriya heartland region around Muglad and a map showing the
location of USAID-constructed water yards and a community
development center. But the Charge agreed that "it is not enough.
We need to do more."

Misseriya Are the Real Victims in Abyei
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) Turning to developments in Abyei and the recent NCP-SPLM
Roadmap agreement, Sidiq said that the Misseriya will never accept
the ABC boundary determination and "will invade" Abyei if the
arbitration panel confirms the ABC line as the correct border. CDA
Fernandez responded that this would be a big mistake. He agreed
that the SPLM was far from perfect in its handling of the Abyei
dispute, but were the Misseriya to resort to force, they would be
blamed as the aggressor. The Misseriya have a case to make, but
they must make it carefully and reasonably if they want it to be
heard.

5. (SBU) Sidiq replied that he does not want war, but he described
the Misseriya as only a "primitive tribe," whose way of life depends
on their access to the Bahr al Ghazal grasslands south of Abyei. "We
are like your red Indians," he noted. There is a real danger that
frustration could reach a point that traditional leaders could lose
control of their people. As have others, he asserted that the
Misseriya have no problem with the Dinka and blamed the SPLA for
provoking the conflict. CDA Fernandez replied that the U.S. will
continue to deliver the message to "rein everyone in." The SPLM
also has its extremists spewing "racist language," he agreed. He
told Sidiq that in their meeting the previous day (ref. B), he had
warned GoSS Presidential Affairs Minister Luka Biong Deng that "we
don't want this from Muglad and we don't want it from Agok either."


6. (SBU) Charge Fernandez continued that the U.S. is justifiably
suspicious of the NCP, and that if the Misseriya allow themselves to
be "politically contaminated" and linked too closely with the party,
Americans will tend to identify them as NCP surrogates. Do not
allow yourselves to be used by the NCP, he warned. Sidiq agreed,
saying that the Misseriya now feel more bitterness toward the NCP
than they do toward the SPLM, believing that the NCP used them, then
let them down. The CDA agreed, saying that "the NCP will use you
until they no longer need you."

Misseriya Assistance Needs
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) Sidiq suggested that a limited amount of assistance to the
Misseriya in Muglad would go a long way toward improving the U.S.'
image. He listed their priorities as first, access to water,
second, medical services, and third repairs and support to Muglad
primary schools. Siddiq said that the school where he studied as a
child currently lacks a roof and school has to be dismissed whenever
it rains. CDA Fernandez noted that the U.S. has encouraged the UN
to open a Muglad office to assist the 5,000 IDPs who fled there from
Abyei.

8. (SBU) The Charge asked whether it would be worthwhile to make a
trip specifically to Muglad and Siddiq agreed it would be a good
idea. CDA Fernandez noted that he had visited Muglad briefly in

KHARTOUM 00001031 002 OF 002


April in conjunction with Abyei. Muglad usually is an add-on to a
trip somewhere else, he commented, but it takes time to see things
and to talk to people.

Umma - NCP - SPLM Dynamics
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9. (SBU) Charge asked Sidiq, a member of the National Umma Party
Political Bureau, about the Party's progress in uniting in the
run-up to the national elections. Sidiq laughed and indicated that
little progress is being made. He noted that Umma-defector Mubarak
al Fadel is charging that there is an Umma-NCP alliance against
Mubarak's Umma (Reform and Renewal) faction, which Sidiq denied. He
ridiculed the chances of Al-Fadel-SPLM alliance against Umma-NCP
(Note: Recently, Mubarak has charged that the recent NCP-Umma
agreement includes a "hidden agenda." End note). Including
Mubarak's group, there are now five Umma factions, he said. The CDA
remarked that Mubarak's having suffered at the hands of the NCP
tends to give his statements credibility in the eyes of Americans.
Sidiq also complained that Northern SPLMers Mansur Khalid and Yasser
Arman are trying to establish a veto over Umma-SPLM relations,
criticizing Umma for dealing with the NCP while the SPLM does the
same. The Charge again warned that given deep U.S. suspicions of
the NCP, Umma risks being seen as the same as the NCP, if the two
become too close.

Comment
- - - -
10. (SBU) Courtly and articulate, Sidiq Babu Nimer portrayed the
Misseriya as poor people who only want to live in peace with their
Dinka neighbors, victimized by both the NCP and the SPLM, more
sinned against than sinning. The truth is more complex. While
Misseriya are hardly without fault in the current conflict (and
prior to the CPA conducted violent raids into the South as part of
the northern PDF forces) they are indeed among Sudan's marginalized
populations, who have been manipulated by others when they were not
simply ignored. Embassy's recent outreach to them has shown how
eager they are to tell their side of the story. Additional
attention and targeted assistance could pay off in helping to calm
the volatile Abyei-Muglad conflict zone.

FERNANDEZ

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