Cablegate: Unamid Deployment Update

DE RUEHKH #1451/01 2701425
O 261425Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A) STATE 100304

1. (SBU) Summary: UNAMID officials still believe that sixty-percent
deployment is possible by the end of 2008, and eighty-percent is
achievable by the end of March 2009. However, for this to happen,
all former AMIS battalions must rotate at full strength and several
new battalions have to be willing to "light deploy" at the super
camps to provide security and then later shift to other locations as
needed. The key obstacle to deployment remains the transportation
of containers with TCC equipment. UNAMID officials are eager to
take advantage of the US offer of airlift for the containers, which
is a higher priority than the transportation of troops. The
challenge with the US offer will be managing new backlogs at the
airports. The Egyptian and Ethiopian battalions are willing to
self-deploy, and UNAMID supports this, but DPKO must be convinced.
Thai and Nepalese troops are expected before the end of the year.
UNAMID universally noted that the GOS has been fully supportive of
deployment efforts by extending airport hours, opening Geneina
airport to UNAMID transport flights, clearing over 600 visas, and
providing security escorts to convoys every 24 hours. TCC
helicopters are desperately needed, especially troop transport
helicopters that can be used to investigate and respond to reports
of fighting. The current contracted helicopters are not viable
given insurance issues follwing the firing on of several UNAMID
aircraft in the last two weeks. UNAMID remains split over which
group attacked and killed 7 UNAMID peacekeepers on July 7 west of
Shangil Tobaya, but the consensus appears to be turning toward
SLA/Unity despite a lack of clear evidence. It appears unlikely
that UNAMID will reach a definitive conclusion and/or announce a
determination of responsibility. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The following UNAMID officials provided information for
this report during meetings with polchief September 23-24 in El

- Force Commander General Agwai

- Deputy Force Commander General Karenzi

- Deputy JSR for Operations Medilli

- JSR Chief of Staff Alstrom

- Chief of Plans Colonel Stafford

- Deputy Director of Mission Support Weiszegger

Deployment Timeline

3. (SBU) Although slightly less optimistic than during meetings in
late August (ref c), UNAMID officials still maintain that
eighty-percent deployment of TCC contingents is possible by the end
of March 2009 (11,000 additional troops). Conservative estimates
for deployment by the end of 2008 remain at roughly sixty-percent
(5000 additional troops). Deployment is dependent on the arrival of
contingent-owned equipment (COE - ie. Containers,) which has finally
begun to move from Obeid to Nyala and from Port Sudan directly into
Darfur thanks to several new shipping contracts. Mission Support
Deputy Director Weiszegger reported that 400 "shipping units"
(containers, vehicles, and other large shipments) had been moved
over the last week alone, by road and by rail. D/JSR Medilli
estimated that between 45 and 60 days would be required to clear the
entire backlog of approximately 4000 units. Medilli said that the
US offer of airlift is "most welcome," but UNAMID planners will
continue with their current projections based on overland transport
with the existing contracts. Medilli said that although contractors
are not performing as well as he would like, there have been
significant improvements in logistics over the last two months
thanks to UNAMID's new shipping contracts. He noted that UNAMID
suffered due to poor planning at the outset of the mission "by
people who had no idea of local conditions and no knowledge of the
local market."

4. (SBU) Military Planning Chief Colonel Stafford said that the
target of almost sixty-percent deployment by the end of 2008 is a
realistic estimate given current constraints. He provided a
detailed planning schedule (which post will scan and forward to
AF/SPG, IO, and USUN) that shows approximately 5000 additional
troops arriving by the end of 2008 (including the plussed-up
rotating former AMIS battalions) and a total of 11,000 additional
troops (including the 5000) arriving before the end of March 2008.
Stafford noted that not only the shipment of COE but also the
adequate preparation of camps is required before new troops arrive,

KHARTOUM 00001451 002.2 OF 004

though he said most troops should be willing to deploy to a "brown
patch" where the ground has been leveled, a security perimeter and
established with fencing, and basic infrastructure such as water
tanks and latrines with septic tanks installed. The TCCs can
install their own tents and other facilities.

5. (SBU) Stafford said that the plussed-up former AMIS battalions
will all deploy to the same locations initially, and that current
camps can accommodate the influx of additional troops without
additional construction.

Self Deployment

6. (SBU) Both Stafford and Weiszegger were aware of the Ethiopian
offer to self-deploy. Stafford pointed out that if the offer is
just to self-deploy troops, it is almost useless as the COE would
still have to be transported before the arrival of the troops - and
it is currently enroute. However both Stafford and Weiszegger
seemed to believe that if the offer included some COE such as
rations, basic equipment and some vehicles, the offer could be quite
valuable and suggested that it should be pushed along with DPKO.
Stafford noted that the Ethiopian offer of self-deployment only gets
them as far as Darfur and they would still need to be deployed by
UNAMID within Darfur, so the offer is not a panacea in the sense of
being able to get troops into the field quickly. Both Stafford and
Weiszegger noted that it is easy for the UN to deploy troops by
plane into Darfur from abroad as well; the difficult part is
transporting their COE. Weiszegger noted that the Egyptians are
already self-deploying, and had driven 72 of their own vehicles from
Obeid to Um Kadada over the weekend.

Light Deployment and Supercamps

7. (SBU) D/JSR Medilli is still pushing hard for the concept of
"light deployment," not just to pump up numbers of boots on the
ground before the end of the year, but also to provide security at
the new supercamps. FC Agwai said that light deployment at
supercamps would be fine if there were adequate conditions to
accommodate them, but Agwai did not support light deployment at
other locations. He cited the UNAMID camp at Kulbus as a good
example of a camp that did not have adequate conditions (soldiers
are too cramped, beds are too close together, and there are not
enough toilets) and pointed to poor morale as a result. DFC Karenzi
was more supportive of the light deployment concept, not only at the
supercamps but also at other locations. Karenzi's view is that all
UNAMID troops should be field-ready and should be able to deploy
with just the basic necessities.

8. (SBU) Medilli and Weiszegger both said that PAE has been making
good progress at all three supercamps (Fasher, Nyala, Geneina) but
will not complete them before departing Sudan for good when their
contract ends in mid-December. However the camps are being
constructed in blocks and parts of all three supercamps will be in
use by the middle to end of October. Nyala is the supercamp with
the most problems, as part of the camp where tents were due to be
placed is flooded, and PAE has had to redesign the project. Medilli
said that UNAMID still does not have a plan for back-filling for PAE
when it leaves. The basic plan is to hire all of PAE's local staff
and even some of the expat staff if possible, while also hiring some
additional local companies and using TCC engineers to oversee some
aspects of the projects. However the issue of overall project
oversight, planning, and management is the biggest challenge, and
UNAMID still does not have a plan in place to address this gap.

US Offer of Airlift

9. (SBU) All UNAMID officials expressed strong support for the US
offer of airlift and hoped that it could be provided as soon as
possible. FC Agwai noted that the offer was "better late than
never" since the extreme challenges of moving COE of six months ago
have begun to be addressed. Medilli said that an offer to help move
COE is more useful than an offer to move troops, as the former is
much more difficult and critical at this stage of deployment than
the latter. Medilli also noted that airlift will create additional
challenges and bottlenecks as the airports and UNAMID can only
accommodate so many flights and so much cargo in a given day. There
is storage at the supercamp, but trucks will need to be arranged, as
well as cargo handling at the airports. (Comment: When the US
begins to discuss specific plans for the airlift operations, in
addition to carefully mapping out which shipments should be given
priority given deployment timelines, an offer to provide forklifts
or other cargo handling equipment even if on a temporary basis to
accompany the flights may be essential. End comment.)

KHARTOUM 00001451 003 OF 004

Support from the GOS

10. (SBU) UNAMID officials universally praised the GOS for recent
cooperation with deployment. Airports are now open from 7 am to 7
pm, the Geneina airport is in use even for large cargo planes, and
while one month ago there was a back-log of 700 visas, now there are
only 75 pending visas, according to Weiszegger. However, visas for
US military officers now require approval from the intelligence
services, according to information that UNAMID has received from the
MFA. UNAMID has observed that staff from four countries - the US,
UK, Canada, and Denmark - routinely experience long delays receiving
visas as part of UNAMID. Australian staff also sometimes experience
long delays.

11. (SBU) Following the Kalma camp massacre, the GOS established a
high-level security committee to coordinate with UNAMID, including
the Ministers of Interior and Defense. COS Alstrom noted that
UNAMID now has a police liaison officer embedded with the Central
Reserve Police (CRP - a NISS police force) in Khartoum to coordinate
on IDP policing and escorts for UNAMID convoys. Alstrom said that
the GOS is now providing CRP escorts every 24 hours without fail and
showed polchief photos of CRP officers helping UNAMID dig convoy
trucks out of the mud enroute from El Obeid to El Fasher. "These
guys aren't just along for the ride, they're helping us get the
equipment into Darfur," Alstrom rejoiced. Alstrom noted as well
that IDPs in Kalma Camp and Zam Zam Camp, previously hesitant to
accept UNAMID police, now are eager to have a 24-hour UNAMID police
presence. UNAMID is now providing 24-hour police presence in Kalma
but not in any other location due to a lack of FPUs (only 1 of 19
FPUs - the Bangladeshi FPU in Nyala - is currently deployed).


12. (SBU) FC Agwai urged that TCC helicopter assets be identified
immediately. He noted that several UNAMID helicopters have been
shot at in the last month, most notably last week when UNAMID
attempted to investigate the fighting between GOS and SLM/Minawi
forces north of El Fasher. Agwai said it is increasingly difficult
for UNAMID to investigate reports of attacks or fighting due to the
lack of TCC helicopters and the increase in the number of incidents
of firings upon UNAMID's current contracted air assets. Agwai said
that it may soon be no longer possible to use the current contracted
helicopters for anything other than transport, as questions have
reportedly been raised by the insurers of the helicopters, given the
shooting incidents. Agwai noted that this would not be a problem
with TCC helicopters. Agwai expressed a strong preference for TCC
troop transport helicopters rather than attack helicopters. He said
attack helicopters would rarely be used, and what UNAMID needs are
basic transport helicopters that can be used to support overland
patrols and investigate incidents. Agwai said night vision
capability is not required since "in the land of the blind, the
one-eyed man is king." COS Alstrom also noted that the JSR
increasingly feels that the lack of TCC helicopters limits the range
of patrols, as UNAMID will likely be reticent to send troops on
patrols over long distances since it is difficult to reach them
without adequate air assets them if they come under attack (as
happened July 7 outside of Shangil Tobay).

July 7 Attack

13. (SBU) While UNAMID has not reached a definitive determination
regarding which armed group perpetrated the heinous attack on UNAMID
forces outside of Shangil Tobay on July 7, the consensus appears to
be leaning toward placing blame on SLA/Unity. FC Agwai told
polchief that he personally believes "based on all the evidence I
have seen" that it was SLA/U. Agwai noted that JSR Adada told him
about CDA Fernandez' suspicion in July that it was SLA/U, but Agwai
said he had seen additional information from various rebel groups
since then pointing the finger at SLA/U. Agwai said that an
investigation had just been concluded, but that the results would
likely not be announced since the conclusions were not definitive.
He noted that DFC Karenzi still believes that it was GOS forces
along with janjaweed, based on the strong belief of his own
(Rwandan) soldiers who came under attack. Agwai said that he is
also convinced that it was SLA/U troops that attacked AMIS at
Haskanita in 2007 "based on the evidence," but also based on his
personal observation of SLA/U soldiers wearing clothing several
months later that could only have come from the Nigerian battalion.

14. (SBU) DFC Karenzi said he is still convinced that it was
government troops, partly because of the information from the

KHARTOUM 00001451 004 OF 004

Rwandan soldiers at the battle site (sustained attack, high caliber
weapons, dark green uniforms) but also because the MFA U/S Mutrif
Siddiq "seemed to know too much" about the attack when he met with
UNAMID and provided the government's information on why it was
likely SLA/U. COS Alstrom said he had never seen morale among
troops so high as it was along the Rwandans after the attack when
they performed a war dance for JSR Adada at a memorial for the death
of their fallen colleagues. He said the Rwandans obviously
acquitted themselves well in battle and had beaten back the
attackers - which is considered by all other UNAMID troops to be a
success story, and has been instrumental in giving the Rwandan
troops in UNAMID increased prestige and respect.


15. (SBU) UNAMID is gradually transforming itself into a capable
logistical machine with a number of key staff (Medilli, Alstrom,
Weiszegger) who are highly qualified, and have put the mission on a
course to achieve some gains in deployment by the end of the year.
The loss of PAE will be significant. UN/DFS needs to provide some
civilian engineering managers to the operation to begin working
alongside PAE on an urgent basis, as there is currently no one in
UNAMID nor on the local economy who is capable of managing such a
large contracting/construction operation. Despite the fact that the
work being performed is fairly basic, there are still key management
and engineering decisions that must be handled correctly, as shown
in PAE's apparent mistake in planning ad designing the lay-out of
the Nyala supercamp. The offer of US airlift has generated
significant excitement, but must be planned carefully as quickly as
possible to maximize its benefit and avoid creating additional

16. (SBU) Polchief also had constructive meetings with Civil
Affairs, JMAC, and UNDSS, which will be reported septel. These
sections appear to have some capable staff and are gradually getting
up to speed. Civil Affairs is planning to bring in experts to
conduct workshops on land rights and compensation, among other
issues. JMAC appeared to have relatively timely and insightful
information about the locations and strengths of rebel movements, as
well as recent alliances (which were mostly known to Embassy
Khartoum and have been reported). Perhaps understandably, the JMST
office remains almost vacant with only a couple of staff who were
ill-informed about the Chief Mediator's plans. Of particular
concern, all contacts cited in this cable noted the severe weakness
of the UNAMID political section in providing adequate support to the
JSR and the mission as a whole. The UNAMID political section is
currently headed by DDDC Chief Abdul Mohammed, who eventually should
return to that role once a permanent UNAMID political chief is
assigned. UN/DPKO should be encouraged to assign a capable
political chief to UNAMID as soon as possible.


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