Cablegate: Darfurians Worry About and Welcome the Hybrid

DE RUEHKH #0986/01 1731038
P 221038Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

SUBJECT: Darfurians Worry About and Welcome the Hybrid

1. (SBU) Summary: In his inaugural trip to Nyala and El Fasher June
18-20, CDA Fernandez met with a wide range of Darfurian actors,
including IDPs, tribal elders, INGOs and UN agencies and Sudanese
government officials. While all welcomed the recent announcement
that the Sudanese government would accept the AU/UN hybrid force,
expectations of the hybrid's mandate were varied. IDP
representatives voiced high expectations for the hybrid force,
equating their presence with stronger social services as well as
security. The NGO and donor community, cognizant that expectations
were running too high, urged for serious development planning to
occur in tandem with hybrid deployment. End summary.


2. (SBU) In a June 18 meeting with CDA, youth representatives from
the Kalma and Otash IDP camps in South Darfur described a grim
social reality within the camps, with extremely limited access to
basic education and a very volatile security environment. They also
confessed to an almost total reliance on the international community
for basic services such as food and healthcare. Though
understandably unfamiliar with the details of the Addis tripartite
agreement on the hybrid force, the youth were very clear as to what
they expected from the presence of any UN force on the ground in
Darfur. They first cited improved security, with an increased chance
of some IDPs returning to their native homes. More telling, however,
was the youths' expectation that UN forces would also provide
greater access to education, employment opportunities and other
social services. Though CDA cautioned them that the hybrid force's
mandate was restricted to protection activities, this advice did not
seem to alter their inflated expectations.


3. (SBU) In a July 19 meeting with Magdoum Ahmad Rijal, a leading
traditional Fur tribal chief in South Darfur, and a small group of
his advisors, a more tempered view of the role of the hybrid force
was expressed. While welcoming the tripartite agreement, one of the
Magdoum's advisors said that the hybrid force, even if it were on
the ground in three to six months, would be "too late." The hybrid
could help advance peace, he said, but the Sudanese government had
already forced many people, especially African tribes, from their
lands and begun repopulating them with Arab tribes (many of them
expelled from Chad and Niger) who he said supported the government.
The Magdoum and his advisors stressed that development planning for
Darfur should occur in tandem with continued humanitarian assistance
and political negotiations, and should not be left until after the
resolution of the political process.

4. (SBU) The Sudanese government itself also viewed the hybrid force
as a means to greater development within Darfur. The wali of South
Darfur, Al-Hajii Aba El-Manna Idriss, reliably voiced the government
party line and depicted the overall security situation as stable. He
blamed small groups of "bandits" for security violations. The wali
said that "spontaneous returns" of IDPs were already occurring in
South Darfur, and he expected to see more as security continued to
improve. He invited CDA to visit these returnees in their villages.
(Note: The wali was also of the opinion that INGOs didn't want to
see IDPs returning to their villages, fearing the loss of donor
money for their organizations. Strangely enough, some IDPs seem to
feel the same way. End note.) However, he said, IDPs in the camps
had better access to water, healthcare, food and education than
residents in the villages. Without real reconstruction and
development efforts, most IDPs would be reluctant to return.

5. (SBU) Subsequent meetings with the donor community and UN country
teams in Nyala and El Fasher revealed that they too were concerned
with the unrealistic expectations facing the hybrid force. The head
of OCHA in Nyala pointed out that while IDPs currently viewed the
international community as an "honest broker," that could change
when UN forces arrived. A better security situation could encourage
IDPs to return to their homes, he said, but they would expect to see
the same provision of basic services in their villages of origin as
they had in the camps. A representative from IRC described IDPs as
very worried that UN forces would consume all available water, an
assumption that unless corrected could also undermine IDPs' trust in
the hybrid force. He noted that 20,000 peacekeepers would consume as
much water as 800,000 IDPs.

6. (SBU) The NGOs and UN country teams also emphasized that military
operations must not sideline international humanitarian efforts.
They described fears of "donor fatigue," and urged the US and the
international community to continue funding humanitarian work. The

KHARTOUM 00000986 002 OF 002

NGOS pushed for more focus on development -- and reconciliation --
strategies, which would support and augment both the political
process and the peacekeeping operations. They asked for greater
effort to pressure various rebel groups (both signatories and
non-signatories) who were currently the greatest source of violence
in Darfur.

7. (SBU) They added that the security situation was "relatively calm
but unpredictable." The greatest element of instability was the
explosion of carjacking. UN Security noted that organized crime
rings were stealing cars in Darfur and trafficking them as far away
as Cameroon. International aid workers, GoS officials and other
Darfur residents all noted the increase in violence within
communities: inside and among IDP populations, clashes between Arab
tribes allied to the GoS, and rebel groups preying on their own
ethnic groups.

8. (SBU) Comment: The IDP community in Darfur, and in some cases
rural Darfurians who have remained in their villages, is almost
wholly dependent on the donor community for basic services. IDPs
feel better protected by INGOs than by any other actor in Darfur,
including rebel movements and the Sudanese government. While the
hybrid force will provide protection, and ostensibly lead to an
improved security situation, it will not fulfill Darfurians'
expectations of greater social services. To enhance the success of
the hybrid mission and secure the trust of those it is meant to
protect, there should be also be a coordinated element of
development and a focus on reconciliation and strengthening civil
society within Darfur. End comment.


© Scoop Media

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