Cablegate: Chad/Sudan: Jem Perspective

DE RUEHNJ #0517/01 1721857
R 211857Z JUN 07




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Taljadine Niam, JEM representative in
Chad, met the Ambassador June 20 at his request, seeking to
maintain contact despite sanctions on JEM leader Khalil
Ibrahim. Khalil, he claimed, had departed Chad for Darfur
with "all" the JEM forces. He said JEM (contrary to its
blocking role at Abuja in 2006) was urgent to see an end to
SLM disunity and to move toward political resolution of the
Darfur crisis. JEM did not view Eritrea or SPLM as the right
intermediaries. Rapid demographic changes in Darfur were a
key factor in JEM's sense of urgency. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Taljadine Niam, representative of the Justice and
Equality Movement (JEM) in Chad, accompanied by Issa Hassan,
called on the Ambassador, with poloff, June 20. He said that
the JEM sought to continue contact despite the sanctions
imposed on JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim. Taljadine regretted
that Khalil had been penalized for his role in opposing the
agreement signed in Abuja in May 2006, since, he claimed,
"even your government now does not see the agreement as being
a good agreement." The Ambassador disputed this assertion,
noting that the United States accepted that the agreement
could be modified but believed that further negotiations
should be based on it. Taljadine said that the JEM did not
want to start the negotiations from zero again. In fact,
"there were many good elements in the Abuja agreement -- the
ceasefire, human rights, many things."

"Easy" to negotiate modified accord

3. (SBU) Taljadine said that the American negotiators had
been too impatient in Abuja. If only they had accepted a
higher compensation component and agreed to reconstituting
Darfur as a unitary region, the JEM would have signed the
agreement, even without obtaining a vice-presidential
position. The Americans had thought that SLM leader Minni
Minawi was the "big boss," and subsequent events, with Minni
isolated in Khartoum, had proved that he had not been and
that JEM's position had been correct. If only the parties
could now get back to the table, the negotiating process
would be "quick and easy." For its part, all the JEM would
ask for was a unitary Darfur region and "proper
compensation," as had been its legitimate objectives in Abuja.

If only the SLA could get its act together

4. (SBU) Taljadine regretted that the National Redemption
Front (NRF) announced June 30, 2006, had never gotten off the
ground. The NRF had pulled together JEM and SLM's Khamis
Abdallah Abakar, along with Ahmad Ibrahim Diraij and Sharif
Harir, but without SLM's Abd al-Wahid Nur. JEM had wanted to
give life to the NRF and rope in the bulk of Darfur rebels.
JEM had been willing to disband itself as an organization and
had proposed the respected and noncontroversial Diraij (a
Fur) as first rotating president. But even the rump SLM with
whom JEM attempted to negotiate had feared that JEM, being
united and having the single strongest force on the ground,
would dominate the organization, so they sought instead to
unify SLM ranks first. However, the SLM had been too
disunified to find a way to unify itself. JEM was more
urgent than ever, Taljadine said, to get on with political
negotiations. Therefore, SLM unification was also in JEM's
urgent interest, because it was SLM disunity that blocked any
progress. (Note: See reftel for the Ambassador's May 31
conversation with SLM's Adam Shogar, who presented a
diametrically opposed view: Shogar claimed that it was the
SLM that had proposed disbanding the SLM and JEM in favor of
a single organization and that Khalil had insisted on being
president. End Note.)

Sense of urgency

5. (SBU) To the question why JEM was now so urgent to get on
with political negotiations to resolve the Darfur crisis,
Taljadine said that there were several reasons. The people
of Darfur were stewing in their IDP and refugee camps,
leading unnatural lives and suffering. Sudan was
establishing facts on the ground, giving land to the
janjaweed. Arabization was proceeding at an increasing pace,
with the consequent withering of local languages and culture.
The longer the people stayed in camps, the less they would
want or be able to go back to their homes. Refugees in Chad
were intermarrying and putting down roots in Chad.
Post-crisis leaders in Darfur (read: JEM) would need as much
time as possible before national elections in two years to
organize themselves so that Darfur would have its optimal
role in the unfolding national political process.
Improvement in Chadian-Sudanese relations was having a

NDJAMENA 00000517 002 OF 002

negative effect on the rebel groups and, although it was more
likely that that relationship would turn sour again, if those
relations continued to stay on an even keel there would be
long-term effects adverse to the rebels. Finally, JEM had to
take international views into consideration, as the
international pressures to find a political solution were
immense, Taljadine admitted.

Not happy with Eritreans, SPLM, Qafhafi

6. (SBU) Taljadine reviewed with dissatisfaction recent
regional efforts to unify the Darfur rebels. Eritrea was not
the right facilitator, in JEM's view. It had brought an
airplane to Ndjamena to collect rebels, and Khamis Abakar,
Sharif Harir, and Khalil Abdallah had ridden to Asmara, with
delegations, and were apparently still there. The JEM did
not go, although it had not refused absolutely, merely asked
for more clarification on what Eritrea had in mind (not yet
received). According to Taljadine, Eritrea had placed its
bet on Sharif Harir as the leader of a new SLM, but Sharif
was a university professor not capable of uniting forces on
the ground.

7. (SBU) Meanwhile, Taljadine noted, the SPLM had sought to
host a set of reconciliation conferences in Juba, but this
effort had failed ("postponed" meant "failed," Taljadine
insisted). The SPLM had asked JEM to participate in Juba.
JEM, which viewed the SPLM as having played a negative role
in Abuja, had not refused, but as with Eritrea, JEM had asked
for clarification on the SPLM's objectives (not received).
Meanwhile, Qadhafi had summoned Chadian and Darfurian rebels
to Tripoli. JEM's Bahar Idriss Abu Garda and Adam Lisan
Tugoud were now there. There was no way of knowing what
Qadhafi had in mind, though the one sure thing was that
Qadhafi was allergic to the presence of international forces
in his back yard.

8. (SBU) The Ambassador asked the JEM's view of the effort
of the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) to bring SLM
factions together in Nairobi. Taljadine said that CHD had
called him. JEM viewed CHD's efforts positively and would be
willing to be present in Nairobi. He advised working through
the AU to get Chad to agree to CHD's flying SLM leaders
through Chad to Nairobi.

The Chad angle

9. (SBU) Taljadine said that Khalil Ibrahim, following the
Riyadh accord between Chad and Sudan, had removed himself
with "all" the JEM forces to Darfur. Only Taljadine and Issa
Hassan remained in Chad, he claimed with a straight face.
JEM's relations with Chad remained good, and JEM preferred
Chad to all other regional intermediaries. Chadian rebels
were still present in Sudan and carrying out attacks
("committing crimes") around Abeche and al-Geneina.
Taljadine said he could not understand why the Chadian
government was serious about its Riyadh obligations when the
Sudanese government was not. Meanwhile, he said, after the
defection of Mahamat Nour, Chadian rebels were a weak and
ineffective lot. Their problem was not lack equipment or
assistance from Khartoum, but lack of fighting spirit and,
especially, lack of good intelligence from within Chad.
Mahamat Nour had been extremely well informed by spies inside
the Chadian military and intelligence.

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