Cablegate: Darfur Task Force Member On Juba Talks and the Future Of

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1. (SBU) Summary: On December 6, SPLM Darfur Task Force member
Edward Lino asserted that the National Congress Party (NCP) is
alarmed by the success of the Juba Darfur initiative and is seeking
to thwart its success. He said that the Darfur rebel groups have
continued to talk in Juba and make progress toward unity. Now
Darfurian Arab groups are exploring joining the process as well. He
predicted that a coalition of marginalized peoples could sweep the
2009 national elections and the resulting national government would
hold Sudan together beyond the 2011 referendum. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On December 6 in Juba, a confident and expansive Edward
Lino discussed with Acting C/G and Norwegian Consular Officer the
status of the SPLM's Juba initiative to unite Darfur rebel groups
and his take on Sudan's future.

NCP Discomfort at SPLM Success

3. (SBU) Lino began by complaining that the NCP is delaying the
AU/UN sponsored travel of the United Resistance Front (URF) to
consult with their field commanders by denying approval of their
flight from Juba to Darfur. The URF delegation had planned to fly
that same day, December 6. Lino appealed for the U.S. to intercede
with the GNU to grant permission. (Note: Acting C/G was later told
by the UN/AU point-man on the SPLM Darfur initiative, based in Juba,
that the flight was being delayed by logistical, not political,
problems and that Khartoum is working with the UN to allow the
flight to Darfur. He indicated that the URF delegation was expected
to depart on Saturday, December 8. End note.)

4. (SBU) According to Lino, the NCP are angered by the SPLM's
success in bringing the Darfur rebel factions together into a
cohesive negotiating front. He asserted that the NCP also are
annoyed because the SPLM had apprehended and ejected a National
Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agent who attempted to
penetrate the talks to gather information.

5. (SBU) Lino was aware of harsh criticism of him in the Arabic
press by GNU Presidential advisor Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismail, but did
not appear to have seen the stories themselves or to know precisely
what Ismail said. He said that any criticism coming from someone
like Ismail is "good." He dismissed NCP "name calling" and said it
is a sign of how insecure and threatened the NCP now feels.

Juba Darfur Talks Continue

6. (SBU) Lino said that talks between the Darfur rebel factions
have continued in Juba after the formal "closing ceremony" on
November 29. He said that on Sunday, December 9, SLM/Unity will
formally announce its newly chosen leader, its structure, and
present its manifesto. A total of l2 factions now have joined
SLM/Unity, he said. (Note: In a conversations with Poloff on
December 7, SLM/Unity leaders Suleiman Jamous and Abdullah Yehia
denied that any announcement on leadership will be made December 9.
According to Jamous and Yehia, SLM/Unity is awaiting the arrival of
URF representatives from Juba and SLM/Unity representatives from
Libya to conduct consultations on leadership and a future structure
of the movements. End note.)

7. (SBU) The URF delegation was to have flown from Juba to Darfur
December 6 to consult with field commanders and secure their
concurrence to agreements made in Juba. They planned to return on
Sunday, December 9, to pursue merger with SLM/UNITY into a single
front. The SPLM wants to ensure there is no rift between
negotiators and the field -- of the kind that has previously led to
the proliferation of rebel groups. (Note: At the November 29
ceremony, Lino had said that the only difference separating the
SLM/UNITY and the URF was whether they needed to consult with the
field before formally uniting. In several recent conversations with
Poloff, however, URF and SLM/Unity representatives were equally
emphatic that field consultations are essential before making any
decisions on leadership or an alliance between two the two groups.
The political commissar of the Justice and Equality
Movement/Collective Leadership (JEM/CL)--the main faction within the
URF--told Poloff on December 7 that even the selection of the URF
leadership is dependent on the consultations in Darfur, as JEM/CL
leader Bahar Idriss Abu Gharda will not arrive from Ndjamena to
Darfur until December 10. End note.)

Arab Militias Enter the Juba Process

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8. (SBU) Asked about the Darfur Arab groups that are reported to
have come to Juba for talks, Lino said they have been meeting with
GoSS VP Riek Machar, who is seeking to persuade them to come into
the peace process as part of the rebel front. "Peace in Darfur will
be incomplete without the Arabs," and they must be brought into the
process, he said. He added Janjaweed leader Musa Hillal has not
come to Juba, but the SPLM are trying to persuade him to do so.

9. (SBU) Asked why the Arab groups are deserting Khartoum and may
want to join with the rebels, Lino said that the NCP incited the
Arabs to fight its war in Darfur, but never had any plans to reward
them for their sacrifice. The Arab militias realize that they were
used by Khartoum for its own interests and are bitter. In addition,
he said there is a generational split within the Arab tribes, with
younger people having a different perspective than their parents.
He claimed the NCP is very worried about a possible Arab "intifada"
in South Darfur (possibly led by the heretofore quiescent Baggara

10. (SBU) Lino continued that SLM/UNITY and the URF already include
Arab factions and that both want to talk with the Arab groups that
now have come to Juba. He predicted that the bulk of the Arab
factions are likely to join the SLM as the process continues.

--------------------------------------------- ------
A Government of the Marginalized and a United Sudan
--------------------------------------------- ------

11. (SBU) Lino predicted that the political situation in Sudan will
change radically the next few years. Khartoum now realizes that its
old strategy for staying in power no longer works. The marginalized
people of Sudan are starting to come together and the NCP fears it
is being surrounded. Lino expressed confidence that these groups
will vote together in the 2009 elections and elect a "government of
the marginalized." He also expressed confidence that these groups
would have more than enough qualified people to be able to govern
Sudan successfully once in power. The NCP is seeking to thwart this
through a strategy intended to delay the elections indefinitely.

12. (SBU) Lino said he had no doubt that the people of the South
will support such a national government and a united Sudan. He
contended that today's separatists, in the South and elsewhere,
really are disappointed Sudanese patriots. They are reacting to
decades of being kept from participating in the life of the nation.
The Arab tribes of the Nile valley have controlled Sudan's
government for their own benefit since independence in 1956. Once
their power is broken and the marginalized groups see that they can
participate fully, the pressure for separation will fade away.

13. (SBU) Comment: The SPLM is feeling its oats with the success
of the Darfur mediation, and views itself as the leader of a
coalition of the marginalized periphery. (Note: We have heard
similar comments from SPLM officials in Khartoum, who now see the
SLPM playing a mediation role even outside Sudan, and have offered
their assistance negotiating with Ethiopia and Eritrea.) The NCP is
certainly concerned by this, and would rather strike a deal with the
SPLM for unity after the elections. Knowing this, the SPLM is using
the Darfur mediation to put maximum pressure on Khartoum to get what
it wants on Abyei and CPA implementation. Darfur Arab unification
with the Fur/Zaghawa insurgency is what the NCP fears most,
especially if combined with SPLM leadership. However at this point
the Arab tribes may be simply "exploring options" to apply their own
pressure to Khartoum, to ensure they are taken care of in advance of
the next round of peace talks. The SPLM's dream of a grand coalition
of the marginalized is still an attractive dream but far from


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