Search

 

Cablegate: Darfur Security Update, October 2008

VZCZCXRO2626
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1614/01 3091315
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041315Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2230
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001614

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, AF/C, DRL
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: DARFUR SECURITY UPDATE, OCTOBER 2008

Ref: A) Khartoum 1588

1. (SBU) Summary: With Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) making
significant advances in North Darfur, UN security officers based in
El Fasher report that humanitarian security has increased slightly
in the last month despite last week's killing of a South African
UNAMID soldier. There is currently no indication that Arab militias
intend to overrun Kassab (an IDP camp 2 km from Kutum,) though UN
and rebel contacts have reported significant movements of Arab
militia throughout Darfur. End Summary.

SAF HOLDS ITS GAINS. . .
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. (SBU) Security officers from the El Fasher office of the UN
Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) met with poloff on October
30 to discuss recent changes in the security situation in North
Darfur (names of UNDSS officers available via SIPRNET
communications.) Successful SAF engagements with rebel forces in
the last two months have solidified Sudanese control over a
crescent-shaped swath of land stretching from Malha (170 km
northeast of El Fasher) through El Fasher, and on to as far west as
Kebkabiya (200 kilometers west of El Fasher.) UNDSS described the
SAF as "determined to hold onto its gains." The SAF is currently
rotating and refreshing their troops in place, in contrast to their
2007 strategy, which relied on Arab militias holding the ground.
This resulted in the territory being later recaptured by rebels.
These recent advances have pushed rebel movements further northwest,
into more sparsely settled land closer to the border with Chad.
UNDSS predicts that GoS forces will move Arab families into the
areas in greater numbers to further consolidate their control.
(Note: In telephone conversations with polasst, Suleiman Marajan of
the Sudanese Liberation Army/Abdulwahid faction confirmed continuous
SAF build-up and logistical support in these areas, particularly
near Millet, 60 km northeast of El Fasher, and Malha. Abu Bakr Kadu
of SLA/Unity also confirmed continuous SAF advances towards Dar
Zaghawa, northwest of Kutum. End note)

. . . AND ACTUALLY IMPROVES HUMANITARIAN ACCESS
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Ironically, UNDSS notes that during October recent SAF
advances in North Darfur contributed to increased humanitarian
security there. As the criminal elements within rebel movements
have moved further northwest into Dar Zaghawa, UNDSS has begun an
outreach program to communicate better with local sheikhs and umdas,
and to begin regular meetings within communities to further explain
the role of UNDSS and humanitarian security workers. One UNDSS
officer was skeptical of the "top-down" approach for creating
humanitarian security through workshops with high-level rebels and
government officials, as proposed by the Geneva-based Centre for
Humanitarian Development (reftel.) He noted that Darfur's rebel
movements are too fractured and lack a central chain of command to
offer any assistance. Instead, the officer added that sundry UN
agencies in North Darfur have begun to communicate with each other
better in the last month regarding security issues, and this advance
has also made a significant contribution to increased humanitarian
security there.

OCTOBER 29 AMBUSH ON UNAMID
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) UNDSS confirmed that a patrol of South African UNAMID
peacekeepers was ambushed by unknown assailants on October 29 near
Kassab (near Kutum, North Darfur,) killing one soldier and injuring
two others. Three weeks ago, Kutum was the site of fighting
between Arab militias over land surrounding the town. UNDSS
believes this to be a localized, intentional act and part of a
consistent pattern of low-level attacks to send the message that
UNAMID's presence is not welcome. UNDSS officials were less
concerned that Kassab IDP camp, 2 km outside of Kutum, was in
danger.

REBEL AND SPLM COORDINATION
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. (SBU) UNDSS related that Suleiman Jamous, leader of SLA/Unity
recently approached Khalil Ibrahim of the Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM) to join another advance on Khartoum, but Ibrahim
would only agree to the move if SLA/Unity fought under the banner of
JEM. After an unsuccessful attempt at convincing his followers in
SLA/Unity to accept JEM's offer, Jamous' movement effectively
sidelined him, leaving him with no troops and no control over the
movement he once headed. SLM/MM contacts earlier told poloffs of the
ongoing power struggle between Unity leaders Suliman Jamous and
Abdallah Yehia. These contacts stated that Jamous previously had
more military influence on the ground than Yehia. (Comment: If
UNDSS's account of Jamous's loss of power is accurate, this
represents a major change within SLA/Unity. End comment). Due to

KHARTOUM 00001614 002 OF 002


this division and other problems within SLA/Unity, some Unity
commanders have told Minnawi that they are ready to join his
movement, according to SLM/MM sources. Minnawi has been hinting as
much in his frequent phone calls with CDA Fernandez, mentioning
Bahar Abu Garda and others.

6. (SBU) Despite its division , there has been significant
coordination between SLM/Unity and other movements.
JEM/Collective Leadership Commander Abdallah Banda (and former
commander for Khalil Ibrahim) has been coordinating with SLM/Unity,
according to SLM/MM sources. Abdulwahid's forces are also
coordinating with Unity. SLA/AW contacts separately reported in
October that there is a movement toward unification, and "we have
strategic relations with many different movements." These SLA/AW
contacts also reported that they are expanding their coordination
with the SPLM, and have recently organized meetings in South Sudan,
including two meetings in Wau and Juba during September. NCP
officials have noticed such contacts and raised this issue with us
in the past.

SIGNIFICANT MOVEMENTS OF ARAB MILITIA
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) UNDSS sources, including senior military leadership,
separately expressed concern about the massive buildup of Arab
militia east of Muhajariyya throughout September and early October.
One official speculated that this buildup may be directed against
Minnawi's forces "in an attempt to build up their positions before
things get worse." This individual said that some of the limited
violence in October has been attributed to Arab militia attacking
former SLM/MM commanders now unaligned with any movement.
Separately, SLM/MM contacts acknowledged Arab militia activity,
reporting that Arab militia (from the Ma'aliya tribe) ambushed
SLA/Unity on October 8 killing an important commander. Although the
fighting near Muhajariyya has been close to SLM/MM areas "formally,
there has been no engagement between SLM/MM and the Arab Militia,"
said this contact. UNDSS sources also stated that they are
concerned about the buildup of forces along the Chad-Sudan border,
specifically noting the movement of GoS helicopters to the western
border.

COMMENT
- - - -
8. (SBU) The GoS's temporary provision of improved humanitarian
access and security is positive. However, the concentration of
rebel movements along the northwest border could also be a recipe
for disaster, encouraging rebel military coordination, easing supply
lines to Chad, and forcing the rebel movements to take drastic
measures to regain lost territory. UNDSS predictions of Arab
relocation to these newly acquired areas are also deeply troubling.
This and significant GoS troop and Arab militia deployment
throughout Darfur signals that the government is not putting all of
its faith in the peace process and upcoming negotiations. Although
October was largely a quiet month by Darfur standards, the military
option is still alive and well and, unfortunately, we expect
increased military activity at the end of 2008 and start of 2009.

FERNANDEZ

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC