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Cablegate: Fur Traditional Leader Incensed by Kalma Violence

VZCZCXRO2820
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1334 2460513
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 020513Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1791
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001334

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: FUR TRADITIONAL LEADER INCENSED BY KALMA VIOLENCE

REF: A) KHARTOUM 1315
B) KHARTOUM 1201

1. (SBU) On September 1, Charge d'Affaires Fernandez met with the
Fur "Maqdoom" of South Darfur Ahmed Adam Rijal, to convey his
private condolences to the Fur leader following the killings of at
least 33 IDPs at Kalma camp on August 24. Visibly upset, the
Maqdoom recounted that this tragedy is part of a long history of
violence originating in Khartoum and perpetrated against Darfuris, a
history that predates the National Congress Party (NCP) to the time
of the Mahdi more than a century ago. The elderly but feisty Rijal
criticized the regime's attempts at distancing themselves from the
violence at Kalma camp, saying, "They were intending to do that.
Their intention is to exterminate the Fur tribe."

2. (SBU) Rijal agreed with CDA's assertion that the situation in
Nyala is exacerbated by the divisive and weak Wali of South Darfur,
Ali Mahmoud, a member of one of Darfur's Arab tribes, the Taisha.
Rijal believes the violence at Kalma to be part of a larger plan
aimed at displacing IDPs from camps across Darfur, but only the Wali
of South Darfur complied with the plan.. "The North Darfur and West
Darfur governors did not consent to orders to hit IDP camps in
Geneina and El Fasher," Rijal said, and regarding Mahmoud, he added,
"He has lost his senses." The other two Darfur Governors are from
Darfur's African tribes. Commenting on Mahmoud's failed tenure in
Nyala, Rijal connected it with the Government of Sudan's
catastrophic inability to pacify and govern the impoverished region:
"The government has to acknowledge that Darfuris are the only
Sudanese entitled to rule Darfur."

3. (SBU) "The government of Sudan is in total collapse," Rijal said.
"It is obvious. But who is calling the shots?" Rijal sees the Shagia
tribal faction of Vice President Taha, Finance Minister Al Jaz, and
Security Minister Salah Gosh as ascendant in Sudanese politics,
eclipsing the powerful Ja'alin tribal faction of President al-Bashir
and Presidential Assistant Nafie. A university classmate of Hassan
al-Turabi, Rijal views the former prime minister and reformed
Islamist as vindictive and willing to do anything he can to push out
the ruling regime. He sarcastically noted that, despite Turabi's
ostracism, the NCP inner elite is still deferential to him. "Taha,
who was his student once, still kisses his hand when he sees him at
weddings or funerals." In contrast to his harsh words for the NCP,
Rijal closed the meeting by thanking the CDA for his August meeting
with Presidential Special Envoy Richard Williamson, and calling for
continued bipartisan USG attention to the crisis in Darfur. He
added that as the US progresses through the 2008 election cycle, "We
are happy the two parties have taken an interest in Darfur."

4, (SBU) Comment: Rijal's declining health has had little effect in
diminishing his high-level of credibility among Darfuris, and it is
telling that he supports two widely circulated theories on the
recent events in Darfur: first, that Khartoum ordered the Kalma
violence; and second, that the hijacking of the Sun Air flight
several days later was orchestrated to distract international
attention from the killings. While the first theory is certainly
possible, the second seems a little far-fetched, though nothing
would surprise us in Sudan. Partly as a consequence of the GOS's
reckless behavior in Nyala last week, Rijal will likely play an
increasingly prominent role in determining how the Fur of South
Darfur engage the ruling regime. And he is an angry old man who
believes that the only way to improve things in Darfur is to hasten
the end of NCP rule. End comment.

FERNANDEZ

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