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Cablegate: Darfur: Cairo-Based Slm/a-Union Front Splinters

VZCZCXRO5289
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHEG #3419 3401308
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061308Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7655
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS CAIRO 003419

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO UNSC MASS PINR EG SU
SUBJECT: DARFUR: CAIRO-BASED SLM/A-UNION FRONT SPLINTERS
AFTER SIRTE

REF: CAIRO 2093

1. (SBU) In a December 4 meeting at his request, Youssef
Hassan Youssef Abdallah of the Sudan Liberation
Movement/Army-Union Front (SLM/A-UF) told us that the
leadership of the SLM/A-UF had divided due to the conference
of Darfur rebels in Sirte, Libya, which began in late
October. Mohamed Abdullah Abdul Khaleq, Coordinator of the
SLM/A-UF High Command Council, and Zobeir Abdul Haqq Mohamed,
SLM/A-UF Political Affairs Officer - who joined Youssef in a
meeting with us in July - had decided to align with Abdullah
Yehia's SLM/Unity group, said Youssef, and thus has been
"expelled" from the SLM/A-UF. Ahmed Hassan Mohamed (nickname
"Digdol") joined Youssef at this meeting in their place.

2. (SBU) According to Youssef, the Libyans "held" him in
Sirte for six weeks to "encourage" him to join his former
colleagues and ally with SLM/Unity. Youssef did not do so, he
said, because his Fur constituency does not trust the Zaghawa
who make up the base of SLM/Unity's support. He added that
Yehia and SLM/Unity had previously proven untrustworthy by
breaking away from Minni Minawi's SLM and adherence to the
Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA). Youssef charged that Yehia is
merely a figurehead on top of Osman Al Bushra, the "real
power" of SLM/Unity and a "Libyan stooge." Youssef claimed
that the SLM/A-UF supports rebel unity in general but wants
to ensure that the Fur are represented in proportion to their
percentage of the population in Darfur, charging that the
Zaghawa is over-represented by rebel commanders.

3. (SBU) Youssef was planning to travel to the U.S. at the
invitation of the SLM/A-UF Denver, Colorado office - headed
by Faisal Adam Daoud, possibly an American citizen - and
potentially in coordination with Save Darfur, and also
planned to travel to Asmara. He was also expecting an
invitation from the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM)
to a potential second round of the ongoing rebel unification
talks in Juba, though such an invitation had not yet come.

4. (SBU) Comment: Although Youssef presents his group as an
important faction in Darfur, this split seems to have further
marginalized a group that was already of secondary
importance. We can only assume that Youssef no longer
commands the loyalty of all of the 1500 to 2000 "fighters"
that he previously claimed (reftel). End comment.

5. (SBU) Bio note: Youssef was noticeably twitching during
the meeting while listening to our comments and questions,
behavior that he did not exhibit during the July meeting.
End bio note.
RICCIARDONE

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