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Cablegate: Fear of Loss of International Credibility May Keep Jem On

VZCZCXRO8646
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1871/01 3330949
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 290949Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9344
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001871

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE, SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, S/CRS
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: FEAR OF LOSS OF INTERNATIONAL CREDIBILITY MAY KEEP JEM ON
COURSE

REF: KHARTOUM 1859

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In a November 27 meeting with FieldOff, the
Justice and Equality Movement's (JEM) representative in El Fasher
admitted that despite the movement's unhappiness with the United
Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), JEM would not
carry out the threats its leadership has been lately publicizing
against the force, in particular staging attacks against
newly-arrived Chinese engineers. The El Fasher JEM representative
enumerated conditions necessary to guarantee the movement's
participation in eventual peace negotiations and appealed for an
audience for JEM leadership with the UN Security Council to
compensate for what it considers neglect by the UN/AU Joint
Mediation Support Team. The El Fasher rep demurred on questions
about the movement's strategy for negotiations in response to rebel
coalitions currently under construction in Juba, while another JEM
rep in Nyala mentioned the possibility of an alliance in the works
between JEM/Khalil Ibrahim and Sudan Liberation Army
(SLA)/Abdelwahid. Nevertheless, the El Fasher JEM rep took note of
arguments that the international community's patience was not
limitless toward those who remained outside the peace process and
that it would accordingly be in the movement's best interest to take
advantage of this current window of opportunity to come under the
UN-AU umbrella. END SUMMARY.

EMPTY THREATS ON CHINESE ENGINEERS
----------------------------------
2. (SBU) The JEM representative to the non-signatory chamber of the
Ceasefire Commission in El Fasher opened a November 27 meeting with
FieldOff by declaring JEM's displeasure with the current UNAMID
deployment and by reiterating comments made to the Sudan Tribune on
November 24 by JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim, in which Khalil voiced his
opposition to the arrival of a Chinese engineering unit as part of
the Heavy Support Package (HSP) of assistance to the AU Mission in
the Sudan (AMIS). The JEM rep, having made these points to FieldOff
on several previous occasions, accused China of perpetuating the
Darfur crisis by providing weapons to both Chad and Sudan,
supporting the Government of Sudan (GoS) and "stealing" Sudan's oil.
He warned that JEM would not facilitate movement of the Chinese
engineers in JEM-controlled Darfur territory and suggested that the
international community intervene to prevent the full deployment of
these units.

3. (SBU) The JEM rep however, was receptive to arguments that UNAMID
peacekeepers, regardless of nationality, were mandated by the
international community to come to Darfur. He acknowledged that JEM
ultimately considered UNAMID forces to be a stabilizing force both
for Darfur peace and for the success of eventual peace negotiations.
He characterized Khalil's statements to the press as nothing more
than JEM's way of sending a message to the Chinese, but warned that
the international community should remain vigilant about the Chinese
influence in both Sudan and Chad.

JEM WORRIED ABOUT PEACE PROCESS
-------------------------------
4. (SBU) Both the JEM reps in El Fasher and Nyala aver that JEM is
the rebel movement most prepared for and committed to pursuing peace
for Darfur; however, both also attach conditions to the movement's
participation. The El Fasher rep stressed the need to establish
early on the participants in the negotiations, explaining that if
there are too many factions present, particularly those without
credible forces on the ground to back them up, then JEM would not
attend. The El Fasher rep also expressed concern that certain
groups who planned to sit at the negotiating table with the GoS were
in fact complicit with the GoS, calling them National Intelligence
and Security Service spies.

5. (SBU) Despite this tough talk, JEM is acutely aware of and
sensitive to the importance attached by the international community
to the talks and, by extension, the alienation it will face from the
same international community if it opts against active participation
in the negotiations. The El Fasher rep reiterated a request for an
audience with the UN Security Council to express its views. He
further recommended that the AU/UN mediation team take more time
coordinating with the movements on the ground in their respective
areas of control to avoid "friction" with the groups and to better
facilitate consolidation of rebel positions. Regarding rebel
alliances, the JEM rep in El Fasher would not comment on the
possible emergence of an alliance between JEM and SLA/Abdelwahid
ahead of negotiations, but the Nyala rep said such a bond was in the
process of forming, facilitated by the creation of a coordination
body comprised of both JEM and SLA reps to concentrate on bridging
differences between the sides and to work toward a united front.
The Nyala rep also disputed the claim that Abdelwahid was losing
popular support on the ground to Abdullah Abdelshafie (reftel).

6. (SBU) Both reps discussed the November 28 incident in Jebel Marra
of the GoS bombing by Antonov aircraft and helicopter gunship of JEM

KHARTOUM 00001871 002 OF 002


locations. Both said the incident was isolated and did not result
in injury to Khalil, as initially reported. When asked about
possible JEM reprisals, neither rep was committal, stressing that
the attack had been arbitrary.

7. (SBU) COMMENT. While the El Fasher rep enjoys close ties with
Khalil Ibrahim (he received a phone call from Khalil directly during
the meeting to update him on the situation in Jebel Marra), the
Nyala rep, imprisoned by the GoS for the better part of the past
year, may be more disconnected from the realities on the ground.
This disconnect could call into question the validity of the theory
that JEM and SLA/Abdelwahid are uniting to the extent described in
Nyala and the assertion that Abdelwahid still enjoys overwhelming
IDP support in the camps. In any event, it is clear from these
discussions that despite JEM's stated intention to participate in
the peace process and to respect UNAMID, the movement still needs
some pushing. For the time being, the realization that the
international community's patience is short with regard to those who
stay outside the peace process -- and the fear of the possible
resultant loss of international credibility for failing to comply --
seem to resonate as incentives. END COMMENT.

7. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

FERNANDEZ

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