Cablegate: Riek Machar Claims Pdf Is Behind Misseriya Attacks

DE RUEHKH #2072/01 3651401
P 311401Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary: Khartoum is trying to destabilize the Abyei region
by organizing the Misseriya Arab Popular Defense Forces (PDF) to
attack SPLA positions, claimed Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS)
Vice President Riek Machar. Machar claimed the Misseriya forces
have been using vehicles with 12.7 mm gun mounts. Regarding the
Darfur talks, Machar reported that the GoSS is pushing all Darfur
rebels who remain in Juba to leave this week. Machar urged the USG
to provide "food for peace" to rebel leader Minawi in order to
motivate other rebels to sign the next agreement, and avoid further
defections from Minawi's ranks. Regarding SPLM politics, Machar
said reports that Abdel-Aziz el Helou could replace Pagan Amum as
Secretary General of the SPLM are just rumors. On LRA negotiations,

Machar said that LRA representatives had confirmed to him that Otti
is dead. End Summary.

PDF-SPLA Clashes

2. (SBU) During a courtesy call December 29, Government of Southern
Sudan Vice President Riek Machar told visiting polchief that
Khartoum is trying to destabilize the Abyei region in order to
further militarize the area and avoid a political settlement
regarding the borders of the oil region. Machar claimed that during
three days of attacks, Misseriya Popular Defense Forces (PDF)
mobilized by Khartoum had used vehicles with 12.7 mm gun mounts to
attack SPLA positions. Due to the absence of GoSS President Salva
Kiir, Machar had just finished chairing a three-hour security
meeting to plan the SPLA response to the attacks. Machar said the
SPLA would not initiate attacks but would certainly defend itself.
He echoed statements made in the press by President Kiir, that the
SPLA would do everything possible to facilitate the movement of
Misseriya herders. "These attacks have nothing to do with the
Misseriya herders," observed Machar. "Herders do not guard their
cattle with vehicles and heavy weapons." Machar said the SPLA had
maintained positions north of the Bahr al Arab but had moved south
of those positions over the last two days.

Darfur Rebel Talks and Arab Unification

3. (SBU) Waiting in the ante-room to see Machar were about a dozen
Darfur rebels. Machar said he was disappointed that the Darfur Task
Force had not achieved greater results. "Our attempts were not
fully successful, they gave us the impression they would unite with
other groups in the field but this did not happen." Machar said the
exercise had cost the SPLM over a million USD and the GoSS would
encourage the seventy rebels who remain in Juba to return to Darfur
by the end of the week. He said the GoSS has no plans at this point
to facilitate further talks amongst the Darfur rebel groups.
Regarding the Darfurian Arabs who claim to have turned against
Khartoum, Machar said he had just heard from his contacts in Darfur
that several Arab rebel groups had united under the leadership of
southern Rizeigat leader Hamati, under the banner of the United
Front for Revolutionary Forces (UFRF). He said Abu Surra is the
Secretary General of this group. Machar said he did not know how

this would affect Hamati's alliance with Fur SLM leader Abdel Wahid
al Nur. Machar observed that JEM and SLA/Unity are the most
powerful forces on the ground right now in Darfur, but said this
could change rapidly if SLA/Unity breaks apart. Machar said he had
heard that Abdallah Yahyia had definitively broken away from the
SLA/Unity leadership. Machar said the SPLM would consider
supporting Darfur rebels militarily if they were united, "but they
are not."

Do Something for Minawi

4. (SBU) Machar urged the U.S. to "do something" for the rebels who
have signed the Darfur Peace Agreement. "You are not assisting the
groups you pushed to sign an agreement in Abuja - you have abandoned
them," Machar observed. Machar predicted that there will be a
chaotic situation in Darfur if all of Minawi's fighters abandon him,
or if Minawi himself decides to abandon the DPA based on lack of
implementation by the GNU and lack of support from the U.S. Machar
urged the U.S. to again provide "food for peace" to Darfur
signatories as it did last year, via the SPLM/GoSS. Machar said
this would help stabilize Darfur in the year leading to elections,
and would be a motivating sign to non-signatories that the
international community will not abandon them if they sign an
agreement with the GNU at the next round of talks. Machar predicted
that there will be no peace in Darfur for another year if Minawi "
goes back to Darfur." He said lack of progress in the Darfur peace
process leading to the 2009 election would undermine the democratic
transformation of Sudan and could contribute to the South seceding
in 2011.

KHARTOUM 00002072 002 OF 002

SPLM Leadership

5. (SBU) The SPLM will have a greater impact in Khartoum with the
Ministers who have just been sworn in, said Machar. The focus of
the SPLM over the next year will be unity and democratic
transformation in Sudan, but the SPLM is not yet ready to commit to
a partnership with the National Congress Party (NCP) in the 2009
elections. He predicted that the two parties would run on separate
tickets in the elections but with an agreement to continue their
partnership. Although Pagan Amum's presence in the GNU as Minister
of Cabinet will increase the chances of unity, Machar observed that
there are many members of the SPLM who are pro-unity, but said this
could change if the SPLM does not increase its seats in parliament
beyond 28% following the elections. Machar said the plan discussed
in the SPLM politburo is that Pagan Amum will continue as Secretary
General of the SPLM even while serving as GNU Minister of Cabinet,
and denied reports that Abdel-Aziz al Helou would take over as
Secretary General of the party. "These are rumors that are being

spread by Khartoum," claimed Machar.

LRA Issues

6. (SBU) Machar said he had recently met with LRA representatives on
December 20 and again on Christmas eve but that he had not met with
Kony. He said the representatives confirmed that Otti is dead.
Machar said what is needed now is for Kony to confirm to the world
that he is still for the peace process, and to return to
negotiations so they may be concluded by February.


7. (SBU) Machar was more focused on security issues than SPLM party
politics, but did not seem overly concerned about the Misseriya-SPLA
clashes along the border. He was clearly disappointed that his own
efforts to unite Darfur groups did not achieve a greater result, and
seemed tired of dealing with the portfolio and eager to delay his
meeting with the remaining rebel representatives waiting outside his
door. Machar was most animated when urging additional "food for
peace" for DPA signatories, delivered via the south, as he clearly
hopes to play a personal role in such a delivery if it occurs.


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