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Cablegate: Minnawi Kicks Out Detractor From Slm/Mm and Justifies His

VZCZCXRO4980
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1580/01 3000746
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 260746Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2169
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001580

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: MINNAWI KICKS OUT DETRACTOR FROM SLM/MM AND JUSTIFIES HIS
RETURN

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On October 24, SLM/MM chairman Minni Minnawi
presided over a party meeting announcing that the membership of its
Secretary General Mustafa Tirab has been suspended. Effective
immediately, Ali Hussein Dausa will replace Tirab, who has long been
accused of working for the NCP. Prior to the announcement, Dausa,
Yassir Arman (the SPLM's Deputy Secretary General for the Northern
Sector,) and Minnawi offered their remarks. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On October 24, SLM/MM held a party meeting at its Omdurman
headquarters. Minnawi's one-dozen bodyguards, approximately 150
party members and dozens of print and television journalists
attended the event. Political officers from the U.K. and U.S. were
the only representatives of the diplomatic community. A trumpeter,
drum player, and a group of ululating women (who promptly stole the
microphone from the master of ceremony and loudly chanted praise for
SLM) ushered Minnawi into the gathering. Minnawi's bodyguards helped
restore order and retrieved the microphone. The first speaker,
SLM/MM South Darfur representative, Muahmmad Hamid, led the
gathering in a moment of silence "to remember the martyrs of the
Sudan Liberation Movement."

REMARKS FROM THE NEW SECRETARY GENERAL
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Ali Hussen Dausa (who was later appointed the new acting
Secretary General of SLM/MM) then gave a review of implementation of
the Darfur Peace Agreement since the September 19 meeting between
Vice President Ali Osman Taha and Minnawi. Dausa said that in
particular SLM/MM and the NCP have made progress on security
arrangements, formalizing the DPA in the interim constitution, and
increasing SLM/MM participation in the civil service. Dausa
noticeably referred to SLM/MM's matrix of 27 items under discussion
with the NCP. (Note: This document was sent to AF/SPG and the
Office of the Special Envoy in early October. End Note.)

DPA IMPLEMENTATION IN THE LAST MONTH
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) Dausa noted two points outside the scope of the matrix.
First, he recounted that a representative from the Ministry of
Education promised SLM representatives that school fees for Darfuri
university students would be waived and that rogue school
administrators still requesting fees would be dealt with harshly.
Second, Dausa specifically noted that Haj Atta Al-Mannan (former
Governor of South Darfur and a leader of the Sudan People's
Initiative) visited SLM/MM wounded war veterans in Khartoum and
promised medical support for those individuals- "a positive symbolic
gesture that demonstrated the goodwill of the NCP."

SUDAN PEOPLE'S INITIATIVE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) Dausa ended his remarks saying that the Sudan People's
Initiative is a positive first step, and that SLM should contribute
to the debate on a number of the still unresolved issues. The Sudan
Liberation Movement has had a clear position on the need for
individual compensation to those affected by the war, claimed Dausa.
(Note: This call for individual compensation conflicts with the
TDRA's Compensation Chairman, Abulgasim, who previously told poloffs
that collective compensation will provide more systematic and
long-term aid to the people of Darfur. End Note.) On the issue of
turning Darfur into one region, SLM/MM has made it clear that "we
are for one region, but the people, not politicians, should be able
to choose in a referendum."

SPLM'S STRATEGIC ALLIANCE WITH SLM/MM
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) SPLM Deputy Secretary General for Northern Sector, Yassir
Arman, gave a very brief presentation welcoming Minnawi's return,
the recent steps toward implementation of the DPA, and a future
"strategic alliance with SLM/MM." Arman noted SPLM's long history
with SLM, and his personal relationship with Minnawi. Arman noted
that the Sudan People's Initiative (SPI) is a positive first step
for the government to listen to the political opposition and the
people of Darfur. The leaders of the SPI should give other
opportunities to meet for those who did not participate in the first
session, said Arman. Arman said that the Qatari initiative should
include a prominent role for neighboring countries, the
international community, and the African Union.

MINNAWI'S REMARKS
- - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) Minnawi opened his lengthy remarks saying that he would
like to "use this opportunity to clarify some developments within
his movement." He then thanked those within SLM who persevered and
remained loyal to the movement, while the "doubters and detractors
exploited my absence from Khartoum." Minnawi then specifically

KHARTOUM 00001580 002 OF 003


acknowledged the contribution of Darfuri students, the SPLA, women,
IDPs and refugees, and "of course the SLA fighters, our heroes."
Minnawi claimed that more than 300 SLA fighters have been killed in
combat since the signing of the DPA in 2006.

"NOT EVERYTHING IS OKAY."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) The NCP and SLM/MM have made progress in DPA
implementation in the last month, stated Minnawi, but he also
cautioned "just because I am talking to you here in Khartoum does
not mean that everything is okay." Minnawi said that funding
remains a major outstanding issue for the Darfur Reconstruction and
Development Fund, and "if this is not implemented, I will go back to
my soldiers." Minnawi noted that security in Darfur has improved
since his meeting with VP Taha in El-Fasher. Minnawi implied that
the GoS was ready to sign an agreement after being thoroughly routed
by SLM/MM fighters near Colgay in early September. "They were going
to test our forces. But we all know what happened in places like
Colgay and they were forced to look at other options," noted
Minnawi. Minnawi stated that although things have been relatively
stable in SLM/MM areas of control, that the overall situation for
Darfur's people is "dangerous." Minnawi emphasized that Darfur
should not be characterized as an ethnic conflict, as "at its heart
it is a political issue."

9. (SBU) Minnawi only indirectly referred to division in SLM/MM.
He said that it was inappropriate for some detractors in his
movement to criticize his leadership while he was in Darfur. He
then emphasized that SLM/MM is ready to build a new movement for the
people of Darfur.

RELATIONSHIP WITH NON-SIGNATORIES
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10. (SBU) Minnawi said that his current relationship with the NCP
is "not bad" and that the DPA must be the basis for any serious
negotiations about Darfur. Indirectly referring to his travel to
Chad, Minnawi stated, "there are not restrictions against a partner
in the government traveling to meet one's neighbors." Minnawi then
said phat he met anec/th~p/QodkmOuocused on Minnawi's comments regarding his relationship
with non-signatories. End Note). Coincidently, CDA Fernandez spoke
several hours earlier with former JEM rebel commander Bahar Abu
Garda, who has forged a relationship with Minnawi.

BYE BYE TIRAB
- - - - - - - -
11. (SBU) SLM/MM's spokesman Sayf Al-Din Haroun ended the meeting
reading SLM Presidential Decree number five in 2008. The decree
cites ongoing violations of the General Secretary dating from August
2007, and declares that Mustafa Tirab's participation in the
movement is immediately "frozen" and that Ali Hussein Dausa will
serve as the acting General Secretary, ending the meeting.

12. (SBU) Following the meeting, Sayf Al-Din Haroun separately
told poloff that Minnawi plans on remaining in Khartoum "at least
for the next week." When asked why the decree did not deal with
other SLM/MM detractors such as Deputy Chairman Dr. Rayyah Mahmud or
Suliman Dayia, Haroun replied, "Minni believes that he will be able
to work with these individuals without kicking them out of the
movement, but Tirab was their leader and we had to deal with him."
SLM/MM Legal Secretary Abd Al-Aziz Sam also later told poloff that
although Tirab's participation in the party has been suspended, it
is not clear whether Tirab will continue to work in his government
position as the State Minister of Federal Rule. Sam said that
SLM/MM is still exploring how to remove from Tirab from this
position.


TIRAB'S PERSPECTIVE
- - - - - - - - - - -
13. (SBU) On October 25, Mustafa Tirab told poloff that he rejects
SLM/MM's decision as the movement did not follow standard party
procedures. Tirab said that this move will lead to "chaos" in the
party and denied allegations that he has ties to the NCP, as "I was
in the movement before Minni and have always been true to it."
Tirab asserted that SLM fighters in the field are loyal to him and
"we have our own men to fight, so why should we care what Minni
does?"

KHARTOUM 00001580 003 OF 003

COMMENT
- - - - -
14. (SBU) Tirab's suspension has been anticipated for some time and
there is nothing altogether surprising from this move. The removal
of only one SLM/MM detractor will likely have little effect on the
movement, and Minnawi will likely have to be even more aggressive in
dealing with other detractors in the coming months. Despite
Minnawi's occasional jab at the NCP, the October 24 meeting appeared
to be more about justifying his return to Khartoum than ejecting
Tirab. Many SLM/MM members believe that the little progress that
has been achieved in DPA implementation (e.g. the formality of
bringing the DPA into the constitution or promising civil service
jobs) does not justify Minnawi's return to Khartoum. The evening was
an awkward mixture of celebration, internal party management, and
political posturing. Above all else, it showed that SLM/MM has much
work to do to transform itself from a raggedy rebel movement into a
legitimate Darfuri political party.

FERNANDEZ

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