Cablegate: Unamid Deployment Update

DE RUEHKH #1524/01 2891357
O 151357Z OCT 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In meetings from October 11-15, UNAMID officials
expressed concern over slow progress on airport upgrades, UNAMID's
lack of air assets, and the weak security posture of many of
UNAMID's bases. Chief of Staff Almstrom and J5 Colonel Stafford
both stated that their focus of late has been UNAMID's internal
security, emergency planning, and the need for better protection of
IDPs. Construction on UNAMID's supercamps is proceeding well, and
UNOPS will likely take over management for many projects managed by
PAE as well as others (such as community policing centers). All
UNAMID contacts cited improved cooperation with the GoS on a number
of issues, including self-deployment, extended airport hours, and
standardized customs clearance procedure. Most UNAMID contacts
appeared confident that deployment will reach at least 60% by the
end of 2008. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) The following UNAMID officials provided information for
this report during meetings with poloff October 11-15:

- Deputy Force Commander General Karenzi

- JSR Chief of Staff Almstrom

- Chief of Plans Colonel Stafford

- Deputy Director of Mission Support Wolfgang Weiszegger

- - - - - - - - - - -
3. (SBU) All UNAMID contacts stated that the goal of reaching 60%
deployment for UNAMID by the end of December is an attainable goal.
According to J5 Planning Chief Stafford, 60-63% deployment is
"almost a certainty." Stafford said that current deployment is at
44%, but that by simply rotating the battalions to full strength,
UNAMID will gain another 1300 troops. Weiszegger was more confident
than Stafford saying that UNAMID would reach 65% deployment by the
end of 2008 "for sure," and will most likely reach 85% deployment by
the end of March 2009. Weiszegger stated that UNAMID will receive
its 10,000th troop by the end of October, after receiving 1,275 this
month in October. Chief of Staff Almstrom said that UNAMID has a
"reasonable chance" of reaching sixty percent deployment by the end
of 2008. [Note: Less than two months ago, Almstrom used the same
phrase to describe UNAMID's chances of reaching 80% deployment.
Reftel C.)

4. (SBU) DFC Karenzi noted that the current deployment plan (with
the goal of reaching 65% deployment by the end of the year) relies
on concentrating more troops in fewer bases. UNAMID's current 31
bases will gradually be reduced to 18 bases with at least a half of
a battalion at each location. This will provide better protection
for UNAMID's troops and reduce logistical challenges. Karenzi was
hopeful that this reduction in bases will not lead to less
patrolling and coverage of Darfur, as UNAMID will compensate by
conducting more long-range and overnight patrols. Karenzi also
noted that UNAMID's deployment estimates for December 2008 and March
2009 depend on the fulfillment of pledges by TCCs.

5. (SBU) Weiszegger provided the latest schedule for arriving
troops, differing very little from previous schedules provided to
poloffs (as in reftel.) The latest estimates for enabling units
scheduled to deploy include a 348 person Bangladeshi multi-role
logistics unit to Nyala on October 20-21, and an Egyptian unit that
could "hopefully" be as large as 590 arriving on October 27-30.
(Weiszegger noted, however, that the number could be significantly
lower.) A Nepali FPU of over 100 police is scheduled to arrive from
October 15-18. Stafford noted that a 330-person Pakistani Level III
hospital unit to Nyala and a 150-person Pakistani engineering
company to Geneina are scheduled to deploy in late October or early
November. Weiszegger said that UNAMID will relocate 336 Rwandans to
the Supercamp in Nyala in order for the Um Kadada camp to
accommodate the full Egyptian battalion. Weiszegger stated that the
Egyptians "have been a bit difficult" by insisting on deploying to
areas that have been completely prepared. Weiszegger said that he
expects three FPUs to arrive in October. An Indonesian FPU arrived
this week and will be staying in the El-Fasher supercamp on a
transitional basis.

- - - - - - - - -
6. (SBU) UNAMID sources uniformly acknowledged the value of the
concept of self-deployment, specifically noting Egyptian
transportation of their own vehicles from El Obeid. Almstrom was not
sure if r UN headquarters in New York had agreed to allow

KHARTOUM 00001524 002 OF 004

self-deployment for all units, as DPKO had granted a special
exception for this Egyptian deployment. Weiszegger said that
self-deployment has been very successful and "we will pursue this
concept with other TCCs." On October 7, the UN-AU-and GOS agreed to
explore further self deployment for the second battalions of both
the Egyptians and Ethiopians, not only within Sudan, but all the way
from Egypt and Ethiopia, stated Weiszegger. DFC Karenzi stated that
self-deployment has succeeded, but was not optimistic that it would
be a panacea: "how many other TCC's can actually deploy?" he

- - - - - - - - -
7. (SBU) UNAMID contacts differed as to whether light deployment is
a viable option. Almstrom noted that UNAMID military leadership has
an ambivalent position on this, while DJSR Medili has been pushing
the concept. Stafford stated that the light deployment plan will not
happen as he had formulated the concept based on the goal of
reaching 80% deployment by the end of the year. Now that the goal
has been deemed unrealistic, there is no longer the need to endanger
troops by bringing them in without necessary equipment, noted
Stafford. DFC Karenzi, however, said the concept of light
deployment is still being employed, as "all battalions are rotating
in at full strength, and they are not bringing more equipment in
with them, so they are essentially light deploying."

- - - - - - - - -
8. (SBU) Although the GoS gave UNAMID permission to upgrade
Darfur's three major airports at UNAMID's expense, little progress
has been made on necessary upgrades. Almstrom said that the airport
runway in Geneina will require two layers, one of which will be
crushed gravel. If UNAMID only uses equipment available on the local
market in El Geneina for crushing gravel, it would take more than
two years to make enough gravel for the runway. Almstrom punned
that he was "crushed" by this revelation, and that UNAMID now needs
to bring in a big Middle Eastern construction company with this
capacity. The runway in Geneina is 1890 meters and according to
Stafford, the biggest aircraft it should be able to handle is a
C130, but it might also be able to handle a C17. Weiszegger
downplayed the significance of these runway problems saying, "this
will not have a major impact on deployment until the end of next
year." Significant upgrades to Darfur's other airports have not
begun, noted other contacts.

- - -
9. (SBU) Stafford said that the transportation of contingent-owned
equipment (COE) will increase now that the rainy season has ended.
According to Weiszegger, transportation of COE is happening, "but
not as fast as we would like." UNAMID has had to look at creative
ways to deliver critical items such as communications equipment,
stated Weiszegger, by breaking into some containers in El-Obeid,
removing the necessary equipment, and delivering it by helicopter.
Weiszegger noted that contracts with local companies were slightly
delayed when "we had a small budget realignment." DFC Karenzi
labeled the transportation of COE as "a nightmare," but emphasized
that any support for an air bridge would be greatly appreciated.
"Moving the COE by land is very difficult - we plan for three days
and with bad weather it ends up taking a week," noted the Deputy
Force Commander.

- - - - - - - - - - -
10. (SBU) All UNAMID leaders noted their appreciation for
potential U.S. assistance with air transportation. Transportation
has been hampered by a serious lack of air assets. Weiszegger
emphasized that the IL-76 shared with UNMIS has been out-of-service
for the last three weeks, and no containers have been moving to
Geneina during that time. Weiszegger also stated that UNAMID would
like to secure a C130, but "there is not even one C130 on the market
at this point." Weiszegger stated that UNAMID has explored the
possibility of borrowing one or more of MONUCS air assets, and he is
hopeful that a deal can be worked out. According to Stafford,
UNAMID especially needs Illyushin-76s and C17s to help with the
crucial transportation of COE. Almstrom stated that U.S. support for
securing helicopters is very important as well, especially for the
purpose of medevacs. UNAMID senior staff discussed the potential
Ukrainian helicopter contribution to UNAMID on October 14, noted DFC
Karenzi, and some staff members expressed the concern that Darfur
rebels may target the helicopters, as the GoS also uses Ukrainian
pilots for some of their aircrafts. Poloff replied that some rebels
will use any opportunity to criticize UNAMID, and that these
concerns are likely overblown.

KHARTOUM 00001524 003 OF 004

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
11. (SBU) Last week the UN's Department of Field Support and the
Department of Safety and Security made a joint visit to UNAMID in
Darfur. Almstrom concluded that "we are in a bad shape" in terms of
security. The Chief of Staff noted that some elements of his work,
such as strategic planning, have had to take a lesser priority to
important contingency and emergency action planning. According to
Stafford, UN Agencies (UNICEF, UNAMID, etc.) are in a better
situation than UNAMID's civilian employees. Almstrom stated that he
is concerned about "free lancing" rebel movements and elements
within the GoS that will use an ICC indictment against President
Bashir to stage attacks against UNAMID. To date, attacks on UNAMID
have all been committed by bandits, splinter groups of rebel
factions, or rogue elements of the GoS according to Almstrom.
UNAMID security planning and preparation will be complete by the end
of December, "just in time for a possible ICC indictment," said
Almstrom. Almstrom has completely mapped the location of "every
single person in UNAMID," and has designated threat levels for
geographic areas (the highest threat of which is on the western
border and the area surrounding Shangil Tobaya.)

12. (SBU) Stafford emphasized that the perimeter security of many
of UNAMID's bases is in dire condition. In some of the camps, hesco
barriers have been put in place, but not filled with any dirt or
sand, leaving an empty shell that could easily be bypassed.
Stafford displayed one photograph of a UNAMID camp where the
external barrier had intermittent hesco barriers connected by a thin
line of barbwire (roughly equivalent to pasture fence.) Stafford
noted that many troops have a different work ethic "than what we are
used to in the west, as some of the troops just wait for the heavy
equipment needed to haul dirt and sand, when they could do it
themselves and get some exercise while they are at it." Stafford
noted that he may encourage employing local labor for reinforcing
camp perimeters.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
13. (SBU) Almstrom stated that he was "shocked" by the state of
some of the units that he visited, in particular one in Murnei where
sixteen of the unit's twenty vehicles were inoperable. (Likewise,
Stafford showed a photo of a line of trucks with all of their wheels
up on blocks from the Mornei camp.) Colonel Stafford repeated
Almstrom's concern, stating that only 25% of all of UNAMID's
vehicles were operable in the area surveyed. Most of the vehicles'
radios were likewise inoperable. This dire lack of vehicles and
communications equipment has led to smaller and shorter patrols and
UNAMID has not been able to deploy quick reaction forces to needed
areas. UNAMID just purchased 200 tires and 100 batteries from the
local market in El-Fasher to address this need for spare parts.
Stafford stated that UNAMID is also attempting to identify the
containers with these necessary spare parts sitting in El-Obeid and
make this shipment a higher priority.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
14. (SBU) According to Almstrom, construction on UNAMID's
supercamps is proceeding well. Some areas of the supercamp in
El-Fasher are almost useable. In particular, UNAMID's three
supercamps have progressed well since customs clearance procedures
have improved and material finally reached Nyala, Geneina, and
El-Fasher. UNAMID may set up temporary offices within the supercamp
space. The supercamps will also serve as a transition area for
approximately 1200 troops. The supercamps in Nyala and Geneina are
also making significant progress. Following PAE's departure, UNAMID
will seek additional contracts relying on local and regional
contractors led by UNOPS to expand and upgrade UNAMID camps. UNOPS
has also agreed to take over project management and implementation
for the construction of 83 community policing centers.

- - - - - - - -
15. (SBU) Weiszegger stated that the October 7 tripartite meeting
with the AU, UN, and GoS was productive. It concluded with the GoS
pledging to permit regular flights from 7 am to 7 pm (as opposed to
the previous 8 am to 6 pm schedule with exceptions made only for
emergencies.) The GoS has also improved flight clearance procedures
(i.e. clearance for particular flights is granted for one week,)
allowed gradual 24/7 airport access ("which is largely irrelevant
until we can upgrade the airports,") and pledged additional convoy
protection (although the GoS will need 48-hour advance notification,
a minimum of 30 vehicles, and UNAMID support for the convoy's fuel,
food, and water.) UNAMID also agreed in the tripartite meeting,
said Weiszegger, to explore rehabilitating railroads to Darfur. The
GOS will establish a liaison office in El-Fasher headed by a major

KHARTOUM 00001524 004 OF 004


16. (SBU) Almstrom stated that obtaining visas for Canadian,
American, Danish, Australian, and British citizens remains one major
area in which the GoS has not been cooperative. UNAMID does,
however, continue to learn new techniques for securing visas. One
visa for an American Chief of Communications ("-a critical
position-") was secured through applying in Uganda ("where the
Sudanese Ambassador was exceptionally helpful.") Weiszegger noted
that although agreement to many outstanding issues has been reached,
"there is always the problem of making sure that these high-level
decisions filter down to the lower levels in the government."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17. (SBU) DFC Karenzi ended the October 15 meeting stating that he
appreciates pressure from UN member states on UNAMID and the UN.
"We need people pushing us and the GoS in El-Fasher, New York, and
Khartoum - without this we would not be close to reaching our
deployment goals for the end of the year and March 2009," stated
Karenzi. Karenzi ended the meeting by emphasizing that he
appreciates all of the U.S.'s support for UNAMID.

- - - - -
18. (SBU) Visits of senior UN officials, leaders of the Qatari
Peace Initiative, and UN security teams have kept UNAMID's
headquarters in El-Fasher very busy during October. Despite this
added work and the challenges posed by a potential ICC indictment,
UNAMID officials appeared optimistic about progress in deployment.
News about the El-Geneina airport is perhaps the most disheartening
development to come out of this visit, as UNAMID's previous
deployment plans (such as the one presented to SE Williamson in
El-Fasher in August) relied heavily on the capacity of this
facility. Nonetheless, UNAMID appears to be poised for much forward
progress on deployment in the last quarter of 2008 and into 2009.


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