Cablegate: Darfur: Increased Dangers, Reduced Humanitarian Access,

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E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Darfur: Increased Dangers, Reduced Humanitarian Access,
Suggested Steps

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1. USAID/DCHA Khartoum recently produced a report on the changing
security environment in Darfur and its impact on the delivery of
humanitarian goods and services, particularly in the event of
increased displacements. Post hereby offers the report below, which
it believes will be of interest to a broad audience.

2. The text of the document is as follows:

(Begin text)

Risk Assessment and Planning in Response to Wider Conflict and
Increased Tensions in Darfur


In all three states of Darfur, humanitarian agencies have
experienced decreased access, increased insecurity and an influx of
new IDPs since the signing of the DPA. According to the Khartoum
Monitor, on August 8, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Manuel da
Silva stated that escalating violence in Darfur had killed more aid
workers in the previous two weeks than in the last two years.
According to da Silva, humanitarian access is at its lowest level
since the Darfur operation began, and operational risks for aid
workers are increasing daily. In addition to deaths, there has been
an increase in hijacking of NGO vehicles, attacks on cars, looting,
and attempted ambushes. These attacks include vehicles stolen
during food distributions, and theft from NGO compounds.

If this situation continues to worsen, international humanitarian
organizations may be forced to further diminish their presence. In
order to prevent this from happening, there are a number of steps
that can be taken immediately. If the scenario of a worsening
situation does unfold, there are steps that can be taken to minimize
the humanitarian crisis.

Current Situation

Currently levels of violence are increasing in rural areas outside
of the state capitals, which remain (relatively) safe. DCHA can
still work with our local partners based in state capitals and they
in general still have reasonable access to areas outside of the
capitals. There are windows of opportunities to explore areas
(accessible by helicopter) outside of state capitals based on
improvements in security. These windows provide us the chance to
develop relationships with more community based organizations
outside of the capitals, but remain problematic because of the
difficulty for regular/consistent implementation.

Even with the opportunities to explore outlying areas, programming
will still be significantly circumscribed by overall levels of
violence. This situation is unlikely to change in the near future.

In West Darfur, there has been only a limited presence of
international organizations, due to increased insecurity which
resulted in December 2005 in a significant draw down of
international staff in the state. Since this time, NGOs are able to
travel by helicopter to some locations, but are not able to
regularly access rural areas.

In South Darfur, although the security situation remains delicate,
there has been greater access to vulnerable populations than in the
other two states. However, shifting allegiances between the Arab
and non-Arabs may increase violence in the near-term, as parties try
to obtain more land. This could significantly decrease access to
South Darfur. As well, increased violence against groups so far not
affected in the crisis may increase the needs and number of
internally displaced.

In North Darfur, insecurity has increased, and with it access has
been restricted. The U.N. has determined that the
Melit-Kulkul-Tawila triangle is off limits for humanitarian
activities. USAID staff has observed SLA/MM fighters entering camps
in North Darfur recently. Many INGOs have recently reported the
presence of guns in camps at the household level. This situation is
creating a new dynamic in camps where humanitarians and IDPs are
harassed and occasionally targeted for violence.

Risks of Further Deterioration and Responses

Greater displacement

There are currently between 20,000 and 25,000 new IDPs in North
Darfur. If fighting continues, humanitarian workers in North Darfur
may have to support between 40,000 and 50,000 IDPs. Much of the
area is insecure due to tribal tensions and fighting between SLA-MM,
Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), SLA-Abdel Wahid, National Resistance
Front (NRF), and Chadian forces. Continued fighting between DPA
signatories and non-signatory groups is anticipated to increase
displacements in and around North Darfur.

KHARTOUM 00001941 002.2 OF 003

Should additional displacements occur in North Darfur, newly
displaced would likely go to either El Fasher or an existing camp
housing extended family members or people of the same ethnic/tribal
group. Al Salaam and Zam Zam camps are currently open and would be
able to register more IDPs. The new fighting may result in the
second, third, or fourth displacement of some IDPs, who may decide
to go to the main town and settle there. Other secure areas for
IDPs may include Kutum town, Kassab, and Fata Borno camps. USAID
humanitarian programming would respond with the provision of
essential life-saving sevices to displaced populations in camps or
host communities.

GOS Harassment of Local Populations

Since the DPA was signed, there has been increased harassment of
USAID local grantees, such as Bakhita Charitable Organization, Amel
Center, SUDO, and SIHA. This is often done under the guise of
implementing the peace agreement. This harassment includes arrest
and detention of those who voice disagreement of the DPA or who
provide legal defense for individuals who have been arrested for
voicing their disagreement. USAID/DCHA will develop better methods
of communication with the Political Office about individual
instances, so that if the Embassy chooses to intervene, it will do
so with field knowledge.

Decreased Safety of International Organizations

Tension in camps is high, especially those camps where the Fur
comprise a significant portion of the population. In the August 8
press release, Da Silva stated that many NGO and U.N. staff now fear
for their safety if they enter camps and are often reluctant to do
so. USAID and its partners are engaged in building the capacity of
Sudanese staff and local organizations. Should the security
situation deteriorate to a point where expatriate staff is either
evacuated or unable to travel to the field, some ongoing work could
continue. There may be a limited number of cases where OTI would be
able to use its small grants mechanism to fill some programmatic
gaps left behind in IDP camps.

DPA Implementation in a Deteriorating Scenario

Some Darfurian leaders still believe the Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and
Consultation (DDDC) is the best way to encourage Darfurian
populations to lay down their weapons. While it is not possible to
reopen discussion of the contents of the DPA, as a framework
document the Darfur Peace Agreement could allow civil society to
express its concerns through the DDDC. In principle, the DDDC would
ease tensions and channel activity away from violence. USAID is
prepared to support the African Union to start the process by
seconding at least one staff person, who had similar experience with
the Loya Jirga process in Afghanistan.

Role of Land in Further Conflict

Increasing tension and conflicting interests between Fur and Zaghawa
could certainly lead to open conflict between the groups, with
outside influence and support. Zaghawa would likely continue their
alliance with the Sudanese government (and possibly with the
northern Abbala Arab groups), and the Fur have reason to align with
the Massalit and have shown a budding alliance with the southern
Baggara Arab groups. Abbala Arabs are commonly without their own
land and migrate through areas with the consent of others while
Baggara Arabs have their own Dars (homelands). In Jebel Marra,
Abdel Wahid al Nur is believed to have signed an agreement with
local Arab militia commanders to cooperate against outsiders who may
attack the region. The possibility of this cooperation is further
supported by the fact that they are the traditional landholders and
want to defend the dar/hakura system.

While the campaign against the non-Arab landholders (primarily Fur,
but also others) has been successful in many areas and people are
displaced into camps, Jebel Marra remains the biggest prize and is
still in the hands of the Fur and allied with the former SLA-Abdel
Wahid. It is possible to speculate that the heavily armed and
powerful (yet poor in terms of land ownership) alliance of Zaghawa
and Abbala Arabs would align themselves for a large land grab. The
Sudanese government, now including SL/M-Minni Minawai, could
actively support this campaign using the DPA as cover --i.e.,
treating non-signatories as "terrorists." UN agencies and NGOs are
reporting such attacks. Experience shows that the Chadian
government may very well arm or otherwise support the Fur in a
campaign to keep the Sudanese government busy fighting on their own
soil in an effort to prevent further Sudanese military engagement
against Chad.

Possible suggested ideas for immediate action to support:

Sensitization programs in the camps regarding the consequences of
the existence and storage of weapons at the household level.

Internally displaced persons (IDP) service provider capacity by

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international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) established and
developed in the rural areas (perhaps in coordination in key village
locations, eg. (Wada'a, Dar Salaam, Muzbat, Tawillah, Mellit).

Provision of essential services to existing and newly displaced
populations. Such services would include shelter provision, food
assistance, water and sanitation interventions, and health service

Establishment of funding for Quick Impact Projects that would allow
for supporting innovative ideas like those above and others
developed by DFO partners.

Should violence come to state capitals and force international NGOs
to retreat, DCHA's work would be dramatically curtailed. In all
likelihood, protection activities in places like IDP camps will be
dramatically reduced due to access problems. If just DCHA is forced
to withdraw to Khartoum, programming will probably continue, albeit
in a more difficult operating environment.

If violence increases to the point where even local organizations
have difficulty accessing areas outside of state capitals or even in
state capitals, then we will have to rethink our strategies

DCHA Response:

In Darfur, humanitarian assistance was initially focused on
displacement camps located near urban areas, sometimes to the
detriment of vulnerable communities and IDPs in more remote
locations. DCHA will continue to provide shelter, food, water and
sanitation, health, and other essential life saving services in
areas of displacement. Efforts will be made to provide more
assistance to conflict-affected rural areas to stabilize communities
and to lay the foundation for large-scale IDP returns.

Humanitarian agencies are doing what they can, where they are
located. Health and water are the most needed services, but IDPs
add that food assistance is needed. Partners have sufficient
flexibility within existing programs to extend a response both
within a sector and within a state if the implementing agency has
the capacity to meet the additional need/caseload.

Protection issues loom large, with both IDPs and host populations
suffering violations at the hands of militias, formal armed groups
(SLA/M), and the SAF. DCHA programming will continue to attempt to
address protection issues through coordinated activities and
mainstreamed NGO interventions.

Protection and VAW programming will likely remain focused on large
camps where DCHA can leverage its assistance for greatest possible
impact and where there is more consistent over-land access.

More "political" work such as supporting nascent peace processes is
limited primarily to regional capitals, but may be expanded if local
partners have good networks in areas outside of the capitals. More
experimental programming in more rural population centers will be
difficult, particularly as our understanding of the actors in the
region remains limited and access to rural areas unreliable.


The Darfur security situation may deteriorate until opposition
forces complete their realignment (three SLAs, NRF, G19, and JEM).
Chadian government and Sudanese government support to individual
groups in each country may determine whether violence increases or
decreases. A vital and credible force is needed to secure Darfur.
The Government of National Unity (GNU) must seriously start
supporting humanitarian operations. Fighters must be kept outside
IDP camps.

(End text)


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