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Cablegate: United Nations Africa Mission in Darfur (Unamid) Deployment

DE RUEHKH #1386/01 2551414
O 111414Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: United Nations Africa Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Deployment


1. (SBU) Summary: Self-sufficiency is a key component for
Troop-Contributing Country (TCC) deployment success as 3,900
UNAMID-shepherded containers continue to be held up in Port Sudan
and El Obeid by both internal factors and by the regime. An
emphasis on local procurement could decrease expenses and increase
UNAMID progress. The possibility of International Criminal Court
(ICC) indictments continues to weigh heavily as the possibility of
reprisals against UNAMID could render an already difficult job
impossible. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On September 9, Poloff met with Abdul Aziz "Peter"
Iskander, Deputy Director UNAMID Liaison Office to discuss ongoing
UNAMID deployment challenges and compare the Khartoum perspective to
those of field officers on these issues.

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Missing Deployment Goals
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) Iskander agreed with reports from the field (reftel) that
UNAMID will be unable to reach its end-of-2008 80 percent deployment
goal, but declined to speculate when that goal would be reached.
Iskander remarked TCCs lack the capacity or will to put forth more
troops which will push back deployment goals further. On a positive
note, some police forces are deploying with much less difficulty.
The lack of firearms deems them more acceptable to the GOS and they
have less equipment to move.

Material and Personnel Movement Problems
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. (SBU) Experience now demonstrates that countries that provide
their own equipment and manage movement into Sudan are the most
successful, according to Iskander, "UNAMID has no capacity to bring
in equipment." His suggested deployment method is that each TCC fly
all equipment via IL76 to the airfield nearest to the deployment
site and conduct in-processing and Component Owned Equipment count
at that location. Iskander posits that the more the U.N. tries to
implement a standardized process the more the GOS impedes
processing. Standardizing the system has worked for the U.N. in
countries with welcoming and permissive environments, but this is
not the case in Sudan and the U.N. does not appear to be able to

5. (SBU) The container back-log continues. Iskander reported that
there are 3,900 20-foot ISO shipping containers divided between Port
Sudan and El Obeid. At El Obeid, officials arbitrarily request
cleared shipments to undergo a second clearance process and local
governors use the process to demonstrate their power at the expense
of the shipments (Note: This is a common Sudanese bureaucratic
procedure - diplomats need special permission to travel to Darfur
and even with a permit can be denied. Material or commercial goods
which have already cleared customs can be made "to clear customs
again," NGOs can be and are made to pay special taxes for goods
intended for IDPs in South Darfur but not in other states. This
behavior, which extends far beyond UNAMID, is equal parts
corruption, incompetence and intentional obstructionism. End note).
Personnel in-processing at Port Sudan also continues to provide

6. (SBU) According to Iskander, a third-party contractor, Agility,
is successfully moving TCC equipment via rail all the way to Nyala
in South Darfur, an option UNAMID has not yet considered. These
shipments allegedly avoid the Port Sudan customs process and are
cheaper and faster. (Note: While it is true that Agility ships
overland equipment by rail, it still must be landed at Port Sudan,
so it is unclear how it avoids the customs process there. Agility
could not be reached for confirmation. End note.)

7. (SBU) Iskander said that a bright spot in the UNAMID process is
Major General Saeifeidin Omer Suliman, the new Director of Customs,
who has intervened with rapid clearances when requested by UNAMID.
Three shipments in Port Sudan remain stranded, however. These
consist of PAE heavy equipment including tractors and graders. No
written documentation spells out PAE's formal status since it lost
its official standing July 14, so even Major General Suliman cannot
yet authorize the release (MFA U/S Siddiq, who oversees the UNAMID
deployment file for the GOS, told CDA that even though PAE's formal
status ended on July 14, the GOS would give them additional time -
two months, now ended - to complete their projects. Without the
equipment PAE hass fallen behind on their promise to complete
projects before the 60-day grace period is concluded. Iskander
advises PAE to consign the equipment directly to UNAMID, but PAE
reportedly is reluctant to transfer ownership.

KHARTOUM 00001386 002 OF 002

8. (SBU) Iskander feels of the 18 companies which bid on the PAE's
contract PAE, DynCorp and Agility appear to be the frontrunners,
with PAE the clear favorite as it would not incur start up or
deployment costs.

9. (SBU) Visas continue to remain problematic for U.S., Canadian,
Danish and other Western military petitioners as GOS representatives
provide "sweet talk" but no constructive action.

Procurement: A Better Way
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
10. (SBU) Iskander also recommends UNAMID change its attitude
towards procurement. Tires currently procured from Kuwait at (USD)
$400 each can be acquired locally for half the price without
compromising standards or incurring shipping and customs times. The
financial benefit would make more funding available for other
programs. Eliminating some third party contractors is another
procurement strategy which would provide financial benefits. A well
qualified Quality Assurance team could provide oversight.

Bureaucracy and Morale
- - - - - - - - - - - -
11. (SBU) According to Iskander, internal bureaucratic impediments
also hinder the UNAMID Human Resources and financial processes.
Human Resources actions are slow to process and slow payment for
contacts and hotels in Port Sudan (some dating form 2005-6) have
strained relationships between UNAMID and the resources required for
mission success.

12. (SBU) U.N. bureaucracy has also had a negative impact on
retention and recruitment, as promotions are slow and many
individuals have been in multiple "stretch" positions for years
without the benefit of appropriate pay. Iskander complained that
nepotism and favoritism plague UN recruitment. Both of these
factors have depleted morale and a loss of incentive to remain with
the U.N.

ICC Indictment and Security
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13. (SBU) While UNAMID has no official source, Iskander said that
wishful thinking by some in the UN persists that the ICC will hold
off on indicting President Bashir under U.N. pressure. Others,
however, expect ICC action in October, and anticipate an unspecified
GOS response aimed at UNAMID. In the mean time, U.N. personnel in
Sudan remain at a Phase IV security level and do not expect to
lessen that posture. Iskander also expressed concern that the
security level may continue indefinitely as there is no U.N. policy
on how to scale back to a lower posture.

- - - -
14. (SBU) UNAMID leadership in Khartoum agrees with the opinion of
those in the field that deployment goals will not be met and UNAMID
management of equipment movement continues to be painfully slow and
confused. UNAMID will have to demonstrate previously unseen
flexibility and initiative as it forays into new territories of
material management and procurement. Relaxing its focus on the most
strict reading of regulations and concentrating on practical methods
of mission accomplishment will be crucial for UNAMID success. In
the interim, the U.N. should encourage TCCs to provide their own
material and handle deployment until such time UNAMID is able to
revamp its own procedures.


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