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Cablegate: Rizeigat Arab Concerned About Ethnic Polarization In

VZCZCXRO4714
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1108/01 2051502
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231502Z JUL 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1408
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001108

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAwMi PGOV, PREL, KPKO, SOCI, AU-I, UNSC, SU
SUBJECT: RIZEIGAT ARAB CONCERNED ABOUT ETHNIC POLARIZATION IN
DARFUR

REF: KHARTOUM 992

1. (SBU) Summary: On July 21 poloffs met with Waleed Madibbo Mousa,
a prominent Darfur Rizeigat Arab intellectual and civil society
leader who recently organized the equestrian festival in Ed-Daien,
South Darfur (Reftel). Madibbo expressed grave concern over the
deepening ethnic divide in Darfur, which is now evolving in the
direction of pitting the Zaghawa against all other tribes. He was
also fearful of a rumored impending JEM military offensive (he
passed on familiar rumors of hundreds of JEM vehicles departing
Ndjamena destined for Darfur) and predicted that such an action
would destabilize the weakened NCP regime, create a power vacuum JEM
cannot fill, and plunge Darfur into chaos. Madibbo views existing
"institutional frameworks" and UN attempts at mediation as wholly
inadequate and futile in addressing these challenges. As an
alternative, he proposed convening a forum of "rational, genuine"
tribal leaders from to promote intertribal unity and organic
solutions to the Darfur crisis. End summary.

2. (SBU) Madibbo asserted that the Zaghawa are now allying for
political and military domination of Darfur, and declared that
Darfuri society is increasingly being split between Zaghawa and
non-Zaghawa. "In Darfur we don't have rebel movements, just
Zaghawa," he stated. He asserted that as a result, the Rizeigat
Arabs are now in "full harmony" with the Masalit, the Fur, and other
smaller tribes who feel alienated by the impending threat. Abdul
Wahid, for example, is "now just a politician" and has formed
alliances with the Rizeigat for self-preservation. Furthermore,
Madibbo asserted that the Zaghawa primacy is being exacerbated by
the ethnicized politics of GOS, which is seeking to keep Darfur
divided: he claimed that GOS is now arming Darfuri African tribes
such as the Birgit to fight the Zaghawa (SLA/U), though he admitted
he could provide scant detail on this assertion.

3. (SBU) Citing Arab contacts in Chad, Madibbo claimed that JEM's
military force has quadrupled, and is poised to undertake a major
offensive in Darfur, Iordofan, or Khartoum State. He predicted that
if JEM attacks Khartoum they will not win, but the regime will
crumble nonetheless because is has lost the "moral imperative" to
govern as a result of ICC indictment against President Bashir.
Madibbo was clearly troubled by this prospect, which he predicted
will occur within several months.

4. (SBU) Madibbo expressed frusration with existing attempt to
resolve the arfur criis, decrying the ineffetiveness of signed
agreemets such as the DPA as well a the futilityof effort by the
UN, whic he charaterized as consisting of alof and ineffectual
bureaucrats. "People ae dyng," he said, "and they're worried about
their per diem." He was similarly dismissive of the appointment of
Djibril Bassole as the new U.N. and African Union joint chief
mediator for Darfur. (Note: Due to his own interest in promoting
civil society tracks to resolving the conflict in Darfur, Madibbo
has always been dismissive of peace talks qith the rebels. End
note.)
5. (SBU) Madibbo, himself a civil society leader, argued for the
need to empower and promote genuine civil society leaders over
militarized groups, and proposed convening a forum of Rizeigat, Fur,
Masalit, Zaghawa and other tribal representatives to promote
intertribal unity. He urged that the US sponsor such a conference,
~~yto demonstrate that "America is not against the Arabs in Darfur."
He also viewed the proposed conference a signal of solidarity in
Darfur that would help distance Arab tribes from the NCP. We need to
send a message to the Arabs that "they don't have go down with
Bashir," he said. (Note: Madibbo expressed support for the upcoming
conference on Darfur organized by Abdelbagi Jibril, director of the
Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre. The conference, which will
be attended by intellectuals and civil society leaders in Arusha,
Tanzania, is an independent initiative organized without cooperation
from JMST or UN. End note.)

5. (SBU) Looking beyond the crisis in Darfur, Madibbo stated that
the best hope for peace was a split from the ethnic, religious and
ideological polarization of the past and the fostering of a secular,
liberal democracy. He asserted that "middle of the spectrum"
political views, embodied by traditional political parties such as
Umma and DUP as well as Sufi leaders, are in fact representative of
the majority of the Sudanese citizenry. Yet this moderate voice
remains largely inactive, he said, in contrast with the more robust
activity of more radical groups. To remedy this, Madibbo postulated
the need for "constitutional re-engineering" tha4 would remove
religious figures from the political process. Along these lines,
Madibbo also noted that despite his party base, Sadiq al Mahdi is no
longer an asset to democracy in Sudan, as he maintains illusions of
an Islamic State

6. (SBU) Comment: Madibbo's dire assessment of the threat posed by

KHARTOUM 00001108 002 OF 002


JEM is more alarmist than most, but his report of a military buildup
is consistent with rumors that Post has been hearing from other
sources - rumors that remain unconfirmed. Madibbo has his own
agenda when it comes to organizing civil society conferences, which
is to ensure that he gains in profile as a non-military leader, one
who is capable of bringing together various ethnic factions in
Darfur. In principle the idea is a good one, and post has
encouraged Madibbo to develop a proposal and distribute it to
potential partners. Madibbo's information about the Darfur civil
society meeting in Tanzania is more detailed than previous reports
we have received. The JMST reported to us July 23 that the SPLM has
requested assistance in organizing another round of Darfur rebel
unification talks in Juba. Post will pass on additional details of
these efforts following meetings with SPLM officials in the coming
days.

FERNANDEZ

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