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Cablegate: Darfur: Amis Force Commander Argues for Up to Nine

VZCZCXRO0664
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #2948/01 3101426
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 061426Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3171
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 ADDIS ABABA 002948

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/SPG, AF/RSA, AND IO/PSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MOPS KPKO SU AU
SUBJECT: DARFUR: AMIS FORCE COMMANDER ARGUES FOR UP TO NINE
ADDITIONAL BATTALIONS

REF: A. ADDIS ABABA 2936
B. ADDIS ABABA 2610
C. ADDIS ABABA 2523

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In a November 2 briefing to major AU
partners, officers from the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS)
highlighted two areas of continued fighting in Darfur: North
Darfur, where GOS aerial reconnaissance and bombardment of
suspected NRF strongholds continues; and the Darfur-Chad
border, where NRF/JEM forces (with Chadian support) seek to
defeat GOS fighters. AMIS fears an attack by rebels on its
Tine and Kulbus Military Group Sites, near the border, one
the few flashpoints in AMIS's area of operations. New AMIS
Force Commander, Major General L.K.F. Aprezi, appealed for up
to 9 additional battalions: one for each of AMIS's current
sectors, and an additional battalion to serve as a rapid
reaction force. Aprezi aims to realign AMIS into three
sectors, and to establish checkpoints and observation posts
throughout them in order to "dominate the ground." AU
officials noted that AMIS's current troop strength of
approximately 5,000 may be adequate for an observer mission,
but is only half that needed for a more robust peace-keeping
operation, and far less that the 20,000 troops sought by the
UN for Darfur. Aprezi rejects calls to establish a Forward
Joint Mission Headquarters under civilian control (ref A),
and asserts that more military officers are needed in the
field, than at any joint headquarters. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On November 2, the African Union Darfur Integrated
Task Force (DITF) briefed selected AU partners (US, UK,
Canada, EC, NATO, and UN) on political, logistical, and
security developments of AMIS. In addition to updates from
DITF military planners (ref A), visiting AMIS Force Commander
Major General L.K.F. Aprezi and SO2 OPS Major Mohammed
Mustapha briefed partners on the current security situation
in Darfur, and on the Force Commander's need for up to 9
additional battalions "to restore a secure environment
throughout Darfur."

------------------------------------
BRIEFING ON STATUS OF AMIS OPERATION
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Mustapha began with a diagram of parties to the
conflict in Darfur, divided into those supporting or opposing
the May 5, 2006 DPA.

Pro-DPA groups included:
-- Signatories: the Government of Sudan (GOS); and the SLM/A
(M) (Sudan Liberation Movement/Army, Minni Minawi faction),
which previously controlled Sector 6 (North Darfur) but had
now lost that area to the NRF.
-- Parties that had signed declarations of commitment to the
DPA: SLM/A (FWM) (Free Will Movement that had split from the
SLM/A (W) ), and JEM.

Anti-DPA groups included:
-- SLM/A (W) (SLM faction led by Abdel Wahid Mohamed el-Nur),
which now controlled Jebel Marra;
-- G-19 (splinter group of SLM/A (W));
-- SLM/A (S) (splinter group of SLM/A (W));
-- SLM/A (AK) (sub-splinter group, of SLM/A (S));
-- SLM/A (U) (splinter group of pro-DPA SLM/A (M))
-- JEM (Justice and Equality Movement, led by Khalil Ibrahim);
-- Arab militias.

Elements comprising the anti-DPA National Redemption Front
(NRF) included: SLM/A (U), G-19, and JEM. JEM forces
controlled the border area with Chad; JEM Abu Resha forces
controlled Sector 2 (South Darfur), he said.

--------------------------------------------- ------
SECURITY TENSE IN NORTH DARFUR AND NEAR CHAD BORDER
--------------------------------------------- ------

4. (SBU) According to Mustapha, AMIS assessed that the
security situation was now tense, but that there was not any
widespread fighting or loss of lives. Most of the region was
free of fighting, except North Darfur, where AMIS faced
restrictions of freedom of movement (5 no-fly zones). NGOs
were also unable to access parts of North Darfur, leading to
decreased humanitarian activities. GOS setbacks in Um Sidir

ADDIS ABAB 00002948 002 OF 004


and Kariari had led to heavy retaliatory attacks on suspected
NRF strongholds. Nearly 10,000 IDPs were moving to the
safety of IDP camps at El Fasher and Tawilla. The security
situation had been generally calm except in North Darfur
(Sectors 5-6), where GOS aerial reconnaissance and
bombardment of suspected NRF strongholds continued.
-- Factional fighting continued in parts of Sectors 1,2,8
(South Darfur) and Sector 7 (West Darfur). For example, from
October 2-23, SLM/A (M) clashed with SLM/A (FWM) forces at
Muhajariyya in Sector 8, although both factions technically
supported the DPA.
-- The Janjaweed were continuing attacks in Sector 1 (e.g.,
Tawilla), Sector 2, and Sector 6.
-- Meanwhile, banditry continued as well, with NGOs losing
vehicles along the Kabkabiya-El Fasher-Nyala road.

5. (SBU) At the Chad-Darfur border, the situation had been
"very tense" since an October 7 JEM/NRF attack on GOS
positions at Kariari, in which 150 GOS soldiers were captured
before GOS forces withdrew to Kornoi. Mustapha reported a
heavy Chadian military presence along the border, along with
NRF reinforcements. On October 21, some 82 vehicles had been
seen moving toward the border from Darfur; on October 22,
Chadian rebels and Janjaweed attacked 3 villages, including
Gos Beina, 40 km within Chad.
-- NRF/JEM were operating with Chadian support, and aimed to
defeat the GOS at Kutum to gain access to El Fasher. The NRF
was reinforcing forces at Kutum; opposing the NRF were GOS,
Arab militia, and Janjaweed reinforcements.
-- Chadian rebels and Janjaweed were supporting the GOS. The
GOS intended to use Chadian rebels to open another front, to
draw Chadian support from the north; the GOS also intended to
use Janjaweed to attack refugee camps loyal to the rebel
movements.
-- The rebel movements, according to AMIS, sought to attack
AMIS Military Group Sites (MGS) at Tine and Kulbus (along the
border with Chad) in order to seize AMIS armored personnel
carriers (APCs).

--------------------------------------------- --------
REVISED CONOPS: UP TO 9 ADDITIONAL BATTALIONS NEEDED
--------------------------------------------- --------

6. (SBU) Force Commander Aprezi said there were few
flashpoints in AMIS's AOR, apart from the Chadian border.
With adequate personnel, AMIS could address these security
challenges, Mustapha said. Current force levels, and long
distances between AMIS sites, made it impossible for AMIS to
be effective. Three hours between consecutive AMIS sites did
not allow for rapid reaction. Significant areas of Sector 6
(North Darfur) were without coverage. AMIS now had a
protection force numbering 5,107 for an area of operations
(AOR) of 503,000 sq kilometers. As that total included
logistics and medical personnel, the actual number of armed
troops was even lower. Mustapha noted that armed only with
AK-47 rifles, AMIS troops could cover a 600 km radius; but
with the small number of troops, each soldier was responsible
for 2,000 sq kilometers.

7. (SBU) As discussed in background documents for the July 18
pledging conference in Brussels (emailed to AF/SPG), AMIS
sought to shift from an observer mission with an authorized
strength of 6,171 (AMIS 2e) to a more robust peacekeeping
operation with an authorized strength of 10,500 (AMIS 3). In
actuality, however, AMIS had a current strength of only
5,454: which was 95 per cent of its authorized strength as an
observer mission, but only half the strength it needed to
serve as a more robust peacekeeping operation. AMIS assessed
its combat efficiency to be 46 per cent under AMIS 2e, but
only 30 per cent under the AMIS 3 concept, Mustapha said.
The AMIS Force Commander therefore needed additional
battalions; if the UN needed 20,000 more troops, AMIS, with
less than 6,000 troops, would need them as well. Additional
troops would significantly increase areas of coverage within
each sector, he added.

8. (SBU) The Force Commander sought 9 additional battalions:
one extra battalion for each of the current 8 sectors, and an
additional battalion to serve as a rapid reaction force.
AMIS envisioned deploying these additional battalions
incrementally, to establish checkpoints and observation posts
in an AOR that would be revised into three sectors: North,

ADDIS ABAB 00002948 003 OF 004


South, and East. As SLM/A (M) was seeking to withdraw from
Graida if AMIS could assure security for IDPs there, the
first battalion would be deployed at Graida. Thereafter,
additional battalions would be deployed in this sequence:
Tawilla, Kutum, Um Barro, Forobaranga, reserve battalion,
Golo, and Kabbkabiya.

--------------------------------------
INITIATIVES BY THE NEW FORCE COMMANDER
--------------------------------------

9. (SBU) Mustapha said initiatives by Force Commander Aprezi
included calling for aggressive patrolling (i.e., each patrol
being escorted by 2 armored personnel carriers, or APCs).
Lack of spare parts and tires rendered many APCs inoperable;
with those remaining, AMIS could conduct a maximum of 30
patrols daily. One APC had been lost in the August 19 ambush
on an AMIS fuel convoy, when the AMIS driver discovered that
the APC's weapons had jammed, and therefore decided to drive
the APC into a rebel vehicle, killing 6 attackers.

10. (SBU) To complement aggressive patrols, the Force
Commander was also calling for quick impact projects "to win
hearts and minds", as well as information operations to
publicize the DPA.

11. (SBU) As Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission (CFC), the
Force Commander sought to strengthen the CFC through
verification of parties' current area of control vs. areas
controlled in May, as well as by "reinvigorating" the GOS
plan for disarmament of the Janjaweed. Attempting to clear
the backlog of 94 ceasefire violations, AMIS had determined
that 48 could not be investigated, due to the changing
identity of parties. Of the remainder, 8 had been
investigated, and 38 had been sent to the CFC. Aprezi
underscored the need for enhancement of AMIS "to dominate the
ground": there was no point in simply verifying ceasefire
violations, he said, if one could not apportion blame.

12. (SBU) Aprezi explained that information on Janjaweed
positions had been distributed upon the signing of the DPA,
and had now been given to all CFC parties. AU DITF POLAD Dr.
Solomon Gomes observed that the AU Peace and Security Council
(PSC) had decided in January 2005 to call for the disarmament
of the Janjaweed, and that parties were to inform AMIS of
their locations. The GOS plan was the first step, Gomes said.

13. (SBU) Asked whether the issue of DPA non-signatories
participating in the CFC had been addressed, Aprezi said,
"for me, I require everyone to be on hand, to be successful."
The issue had not been resolved, however, as the GOS and
SLM/A (M) continued to object to participation by
non-signatories. Dr. Gomes noted that AU Commission
Chairperson Konare had decided to engage non-signatories, but
did not elaborate on how this was being implemented. Gomes
had no information on AU involvement in recently reported
Eritrean attempts to convene non-signatories.

--------------------------------------------- ---------------
FJMHQ: COMPARISON WITH NATO AND UN ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURES
--------------------------------------------- ---------------

14. (SBU) Mustapha noted that under the UN light assistance
package to AMIS, the UN would contribute 105 UN to AMIS: 29
to the AMIS Forward Joint Mission Headquarters (FJMHQ), 16 to
the CFC, and 60 as staff officers. However, as such UN
officers were to be "under the operational control of AMIS,
but administrative control of the UN," the Force Commander
proposed realigning the additional UN officers as follows:
20 to Force Headquarters (FHQ) , 10 to the CFC, 36 staff
officers to FHQ and 38 to the sectors.

15. (SBU) Mustapha's presentation concluded with analyses of
NATO and UNMIS organizational structures, and an explanation
of why the AMIS Force Commander did not see the need for a
FJMHQ under civilian control. In NATO, the JOC was under the
command of CJ-3 (OPS). In UNMIS, the JMOC included CIMIC,
UNMO, G2, LO, LOG, and COMMS, and was under the command of
the COO (J3), who in turn reported to the Force Commander.
As AMIS had a protection force of only 5,107, a force of less
than 6,000 did not require a JOC of over 200 staff. (NOTE:
Force Commander Aprezi's explicit rejection of the FJMHQ

ADDIS ABAB 00002948 004 OF 004


concept, and its implications for strengthening command and
control of AMIS in preparation for UN transition, has been
reported septel. END NOTE.)

16. (SBU) COMMENT: The jury is still out on whether Major
General Aprezi is a more effective Force Commander than his
predecessor, fellow Nigerian general C.R.U. Ihekire. During
his first month on the job, AMIS has been beset by crippling
operational failures, such as having to postpone rotation of
the Senegalese battalion due to lack of aviation fuel, and
failing to introduce new security arrangements that would let
it resume ground convoys suspended since the August 19 ambush
that killed two Rwandan peacekeepers. His decision to reject
the Forward Joint Mission Headquarters also causes concern
among Western donors. However, it also highlights the vacuum
in civilian leadership of AMIS, following the recent
resignation of Baba Gana Kingibe as head of mission. The
AU's presentation clearly outlines the significant security
challenges facing international peacekeepers in Darfur,
whether they hail from the AU or the UN. END COMMENT.
HUDDLESTON

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