Cablegate: More Officials Withdraw From Darfur State Positions

DE RUEHKH #1331/01 2460454
O 020454Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY: On August 31, 18 SPLM officials formally withdrew
from their posts in the state governments of North, South, and West
Darfur in protest over the August 25 Kalma attack. Other opposition
groups including SLM/MM may also withdraw, as Minni Minnawi vowed on
August 30 that he will authorize the suspension of SLM/MM members
following SPLM's decision. These moves follow the resignation of six
NCP Fur leaders on August 27. They later told poloff that the Kalma
camp attack may unite Darfur's many tribes and political parties
against the NCP. END SUMMARY

2. (U) On August 30, the Minister of Agriculture for South Darfur,
Omar Adam, contacted poloff stating that three ministers and 15
members of parliament had formally frozen their participation in the
North, South, and West Darfur state governments. Adam announced
that after days of speaking with SPLM General Secretary Pagan Amum
and Foreign Minister Deng Alor, First Vice President Salva Kiir had
finally approved the SPLM suspension from state government in
Darfur. (Note: Adam previously told the press on August 27 that he
would soon be resigning, an announcement that was misrepresented in
press reports as his actual resignation. End Note.) Adam later
sent poloff a press release of this announcement: "After
consultation with the SPLM leadership in Sudan, the members of the
SPLM participating in the Government of National Unity in the three
Darfurian states have decided to freeze their participation and
activity in the GNU. This is a result of the developments in Darfur
that are becoming more and more complicated every day. [This
decision has been made] after the latest events that occurred in the
Kalma IDP camp [resulting in a large number of innocent victims
killed and others wounded. [This attack was carried out] without
our knowledge or consultation as members of the state government.
We have decided not to be a part of these criminal acts committed by
the Government of National Unity." (Note: The full text of this
document will be translated and sent to AF/SPG and the office of the
SE. End Note.)

- - -
3. (SBU) On August 28 and 29, Adam previously told poloff about
his decision to push his SPLM leaders on this. Adam emphasized that
the NCP continues to act without consulting their partners in the
GNU. Adam commented, "Anything related to security or money, they
do in a dark secret place. When it comes to things like arming the
janjaweed, paying for their mercenary work, or arming other militias
or tribes - we never know what they are doing." Adam stated that as
a member of the South Darfur cabinet, he previously confronted the
Governor of South Darfur about the movement of military convoys, to
which the Wali dismissively responded "these security issues should
be left to NISS and the military."

4. (SBU) Adam labeled the South Darfur Governor's response to Kalma
as "entirely unacceptable." Only hours after the attack, Adam went
to the Wali's house and asked, "Why didn't you visit the hospital?"
After the Wali jokingly responded "I'm not a doctor," Adam reported
that he grew very angry saying, "That is right, but you are
responsible for the doctors and the whole hospital, and you should
be there." The next day, Adam again confronted the Wali,
facetiously encouraging GoS forces to search for weapons at areas
held by Government militias and paramilitary forces. "If you are
going to search for weapons, you better go to Falluja (the area in
Nyala occupied by the Border Intelligence Forces.) You'll find big
weapons there," stated Adam.

5. (SBU) Adam reiterated that the SPLM has not been treated as an
equal partner in the GNU in South Darfur, something "I know better
than anyone else, as I am the highest ranking SPLM official in this
state." Adam stated that although they are partners, the SPLM could
take a more critical position of the NCP. Adam applauded the SPLM's
decision not to sign a statement of condemnation against the ICC.
Adam also boasted that he refused to meet President Bashir during
his recent visit to Nyala as "my mother still resides in an IDP
camp, and Bashir talks about peace, stability, and development?"
Adam remarked that he is not concerned about losing his government
position, as "I am more than a government minister. I am graduate
of Al-Ahzar University, a leader of the SPLA, a Muslim, a soldier,
and a commander."

6. (SBU) Adam stated that he has been in constant communication
with SPLM leadership, along with the small Umma faction of Masar
Abdallah Masar and the Democratic Unionist Party. According to
Adam, coordination between the opposition movements is required, as
"isolated personal resignations will do nothing at this point."
Although he respects the NCP ministers' decision to resign, he
believes that they should have coordinated better as "it just looks
like an ethnic thing when six members of the same party and tribe

KHARTOUM 00001331 002 OF 003

resign." Adam ended the August 30 conversation saying, "My people
are suffering. I fought 21 years in the South and for what? The
situation is worse here than it was there."

- - - - - - -
7. (SBU) On August 30, SLM/MM chairman and Senior Assistant to the
President, Minni Minnawi, called Adam via satellite phone to discuss
the SPLM's withdrawal. Poloff overheard the conversation, where
Adam made his pitch for a united opposition party suspension from
the Darfur state governments. Adam told Minnawi, "If people from
the NCP are resigning over this, what are we waiting for?" Later,
Minnawi told poloff that he will encourage his representatives to
resign, as long as the SPLM has a clear position on the issue.
Minnawi reiterated that there must be one position for all
opposition movements and emphasized that "this could change things
in Darfur." Minnawi reiterated that things are "only secure and
stable because the rains are limiting movement right now." (Note:
Minnawi later told poloff that he had just received a UN delegation
mandated by UNSC 1779 to monitor the weapons ban in Darfur. End

8. (SBU) Minnawi called poloff again on August 31 and stated that
he had heard the news regarding the SPLM suspension in the Darfurian
state governments, but that he was not yet able to announce a
corresponding withdrawal of SLM/MM. Minnawi stated that internal
division and NCP meddling in his movement could greatly complicate
this potential move, specifically mentioning two prominent
dissenters Mustafa Tirab and Rayah Mahmoud. "The SPLM is much
better organized than we are, and I do not know if our movement can
take this right now," stated Minnawi. Minnawi promised to contact
Post on September 1 with an update.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
9. (SBU) On August 30, an NCP Fur leader who recently resigned from
the NCP, Salah Fadul, explained to poloff why he resigned from the
government. (Note: Fadul was appointed to his position as a tribal
leader of the Fur by the NCP in order to weaken the Fur traditional
leadership led by his relative Ahmed Adam Rajal, the Maqdoum of the
Fur in Nyala) .) Fadul stated that he withdrew from the government
along with the six others "to stand with the innocent in the face of
this revolting incident." He claimed that his resignation has the
support of all the people of Darfur, and that it is "a very rare
thing for anyone in the government to resign." Fadul remarked that
he expects other NCP leaders to follow his move, naming Jaafar Abd
Al Halim, an NCP representative in the Transitional Darfur Regional
Authority (TDRA) as one likely official who may resign. Fadul first
told poloff that his resignation was final, but later retreated from
this position stating, "I could return to my post if the people of
Kalma insist that I return."

10. (SBU) Fadul showed a statement to poloff with signatures of
resignation of the six NCP Fur officials. The statement calls for
dialogue with the people of Kalma camp and Darfur as a whole,
demands medical treatment for the victims, calls for an
investigation into the incident, and declares that Darfur's tribal
leaders will work with whatever parties seek stability, peace, and
development in Darfur. (Note: A translation of this document will
be sent to AF/SPG and the office of the Special Envoy. End Note.)
Fadul separately stated that the wounded should also be compensated
for their injuries, and blood money should be paid to families of
the deceased.

11. (SBU) Like many other contacts, Fadul stated that the Kalma
camp attack, should result in uniting Darfur's many tribes and
opposition parties against the NCP. According to Fadul, although
the Fur suffered the most casualties, the Dajo and Bergo were also
killed and this common loss will help unite a diversity of ethnic

- - - - -
12. (SBU) Although the state governments carry little real weight
compared to Khartoum, this is a strong symbolic move on the part of
the SPLM and any other opposition party that may follow. The fact
that even some NCP collaborators resigned underscored the anger felt
in Darfur. Whether Minnawi and his mostly Zaghawa movement will live
up to his word and now withdraw remains to be seen but it would be
an important step of solidarity with the victims. Most importantly,
time will tell whether this incident will turn into the formative
event that could unite the diverse people of Darfur. The GNU
recognizes that it made a mistake in Kalma but is unlikely to take
any substantive actions to publicly address the incident (it will

KHARTOUM 00001331 003 OF 003

probably punish someone quietly at some point - too little, too
late). This in turn, further estranges the regime from the West and
from an already alienated population in Darfur at a time when it
seeks support for an Article 16 resolution in the UNSC to postpone
ICC action against Bashir. Unfortunately, as we have previously
observed, the regime becomes paralyzed with indecision when it comes
to redressing the wrongs of its security apparatus, even when it
would be in its interest to do so.


© Scoop Media

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