Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More



Cablegate: Unamid Deployment Update

DE RUEHKH #1604/01 3070514
O 020514Z NOV 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: UNAMID will reach its target of sixty percent
deployment by the end of the year, but only by temporarily
positioning new troop arrivals in the transit camps within the super
camps, rather than at their intended final destinations. The offer
to provide US airlift for contingent-owned equipment will gain some
time, but UNAMID officials are questioning whether it is worth the
added cost. The UN mission has focused almost exclusively on
deployment at the expense of improving operational readiness and
mapping out strategies to meet core mission objectives. This has
been compounded by the need to simultaneously plan for a full
evacuation, as required under its current Phase IV security posture.
Nonetheless, the arrival of the new Indonesian and Nepalese formed
police units (FPUs) will allow UNAMID to patrol additional IDP
camps, and civilian police have some success stories in helping
mediate tribal disputes. Without military helicopters and with
limited logistical capacity, the mission is not able to patrol over
significant distances nor adequately investigate reports of
fighting. Officials agree with the need to create a new
security/ceasefire monitoring mechanism but have few ideas on how to
go about it. End summary.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

2. (SBU) Polchief and Defense attach traveled to El Fasher from
October 28-29 to meet with the following UNAMID officials: D/JSR
Henry Anyihodo, D/JSR Hosan Medilli, Force Commander Lieutenant
General Martin Luther Agwai, Deputy Force Commander Major General
Karake Karenzi, COS John Allstrom, and J-5 Military Planning Chief
Colonel Noddy Stafford.


3. (SBU) UNAMID is on track to meet its deployment goal of
sixty-percent by the end of year, according to Stafford and Medilli.
However, this will come at a price, and will not necessarily make
UNAMID any more effective in the short- term. Because their
permanent camps are not yet ready, large portions of the new
battalions will be temporarily housed at the transit camps within
the super camps in El Fasher and Geneina, although the Egyptians
will deploy directly to Um Kadada (displacing the Rwandans who will
move into the supercamp). According to Medilli this will create
significant extra work due to the additional logistics required to
move them later to their onward locations. Moreover, they will only
be able to provide limited services while at the transit camps, such
as security at the super camps and some patrols around the camps.
Former AMIS camps still have not been upgraded and are in terrible
condition. Without their COE, the battalions cannot do the
necessary work to expand and improve the camps.

4. (SBU) Medilli said that COE is gradually making its way into
Darfur via road and rail, and that over the next few months much of
the backlog will be eliminated. Medilli said that he and other
senior members of UNAMID's leadership have questioned whether the US
airlift of COE is required, given the estimated $20 million price
tag. Although UNAMID's estimated budget has ballooned from $1.4
billion to $2 billion, according to Medilli, the additional cost of
the airlift may only gain the mission "a few weeks" in deployment
time. Medilli said that DPKO is looking at the issue now, but he
could not predict definitively whether the US offer would be
declined or accepted.

5. (SBU) Medilli and Stafford said that despite the fact that UNAMID
will reach its year-end deployment target of 60% (by temporarily
housing new troops in the supercamps for onward deployment later,)
the mission and DPKO are taking a hard look at whether 80%
deployment by the end of March is achievable or even desirable -
given the risk that the mission will not be able to adequately
support all the troops. DPKO especially is concerned at the lack of
a coherent plan for receiving and accommodating all of the troops.
New or expanded camps will not be ready, not all COE will be in
place, and there is a growing realization both in El Fasher and in
New York that the mission will not be able to support the new
battalions adequately. Stafford complained that DPKO is now
requiring a detailed plan showing how the mission will be able to
deploy and support all new arriving troops. Although he
acknowledged that such a plan is useful, Stafford said he does not
have the manpower to focus on current deployment issues while also
creating detailed plans for all future arrivals. (Comment:
Stafford, a Colonel. from the British army, comes across as highly
capable and is widely respected within the mission. It was clear
during this visit that he is overworked and under severe pressure,
and does not have adequate qualified support staff to handle all of
the demands being placed on him. As in most offices at UNAMID, he

KHARTOUM 00001604 002 OF 003

is almost alone in his ability to write high-quality reports and
analyses required by DPKO. Although he has eight or ten support
staff, their skills appear to be limited. End comment.)

Mission Challenges

6. (SBU) FC Agwai and D/FC Karenzi both noted that the requirement
to deploy while simultaneously preparing evacuation plans (required
under phase IV security) is having a negative effect on morale.
D/JSR Anyidoho said that in effect UNAMID is being forced to "live a
lie" in attempting to follow some requirements for phase IV
(planning for an evacuation and limiting staff) while also deploying
the mission. He noted that UNAMID is being forced to cheat on
civilian staffing while also being forced by DPKO to account for
decisions on staffing. Anyidoho said he expected that phase IV
would remain in place due to the impending ICC process against
President Bashir coupled with continued and increasing insecurity in

7. (SBU) COS Allstrom and J-5 Chief Stafford noted that some units
are responding to the challenges of poor equipment, logistical
support, and morale better than others. They shared photos of camps
in the field, first of a Rwandan camp that had adequate perimeter
security, "hesco barriers" (large vertical fenced sandbags) and
trenches, then of a Nigerian camp with poor fencing and empty hesco
barriers with virtually no trenches. They noted that there is a
reluctance on the part of the Nigerian troops to perform duties such
as filling hesco barrier sand bags and digging trenches. Allstrom
noted that FC Agwai (who is Nigerian) is almost to the point of
ordering the Nigerian battalions to complete this work, which he
said would probably work in this case since the troops are from his
own country.

8. (SBU) FC Agwai noted that the lack of military TCC helicopters
continues to have a negative impact on UNAMID's ability to operate
effectively. He quipped that "very few of the assets in this
mission are actually under my direct control." The current
transport helicopters are contracted and therefore belong to the
administrative side of the mission, according to Agwai. "Thankfully
my colleagues are cooperative, but this is a very bad position to be
in." Allstrom noted that there is a very serious problem with
logistics and operational readiness at most camps. He said there
are not enough serviceable vehicles at camps to be able to perform
patrols safely; for example, at some camps the majority of the
vehicles are out of service due to a lack of tires or batteries.
UNAMID has begun purchasing more items locally, but not everything
is available. Allstrom said that some units are performing patrols
with only the two or three functional vehicles available. This
leaves no back-ups to come get them if they encounter problems or
come under attack. He said some of these same units don't have
effective or functional long-range radios. Regular radios only work
up to 7 kilometers, and many units do not have operable long-range
radios, leaving them only with Thuraya phones in an emergency.
Allstrom wants to put standard operating procedures and requirements
in place that units will be measured against in order to force
commanders to ensure certain requirements on security and
operational preparedness are in place.

FPUs and Civilian Police Making a Difference

9. (SBU) Despite these challenges, Allstrom noted that there has
been recent progress in two areas - the performance of Formed Police
Units (FPUs) and civilian police. With the arrival of the
Indonesian FPU in El Fasher, UNAMID will now be able to provide
security at troubled Zam Zam and Anu Shouk IDP camps, where
residents have long requested such protection due to their distrust
of government forces. The arrival of additional FPUs in the coming
months will allow UNAMID to provide security at additional IDP
camps. Allstrom also noted that civilian police within UNAMID (now
1700 strong) are making a difference on the ground, working
alongside civil affairs officers, in resolving tribal disputes.
Allstrom cited recent examples in October 2008 where civpols and
civil affairs officers mediated between Zaghawa and Maaliya Arab
tribesmen in the Muhajaria area of North Darfur, effectively
preventing an escalation of fighting.

Ceasefire Commission?

10. (SBU) D/JSR Anyihodo and FC Agwai both acknowledged that a new
ceasefire mechanism is required, but they lacked ideas on how to
approach such a process. Anyidoho noted that the GOS had kicked
rebel CFC representatives out of El Fasher in May, but said
hopefully that perhaps now with the much-improved level of

KHARTOUM 00001604 003 OF 003

cooperation from the GOS, some progress in this area would be
possible. Anyidoho agreed that it would be necessary to start small
with a new commission with representatives from key armed groups
that could coordinate on security issues. Anyidoho was highly
critical of JMST Chief Mediator Bassole "who spends almost no time
in El Fasher." Polchief pointed out that Bassole has only just
begun his work, has focused by necessity on the main rebel leaders
(including Khalil Ibrahim, who Bassole recently met in Darfur,) and
now must focus on the Qatar process.


11. (SBU) As UNAMID gets closer to the arrival of significant
numbers of troops, as opposed to merely planning for their arrival,
it was evident during this visit that there is going to be
significant strain on the mission in effectively supporting the new
troops and meeting mission objectives at the same time. Except for
the FPUs, there seems to be little correlation to date between
increased numbers and increased capacity to do the much needed
missions of patrolling, protecting and investigating violence in
Darfur. All of the logistical challenges still exist, and the fact
remains that Darfur is an incredibly difficult place to operate.
DPKO is probably wise to put pressure on UNAMID to show better
planning on troop deployments, but should provide some capable staff
- even if on secondment from headquarters - to make this happen.
Given that the GOS is, for a change, currently cooperating on UNAMID
visas, there is no reason not to be pro-active in providing the
force with some surge administrative capacity. Anyidoho's comments
about Bassole reflect an inherent bias within the mission, which
will require close watching, against the JMST, Based on recent
meetings with him, DDDC Chair and acting UNAMID political chief
Abdul Mohammed appears eager to move beyond discussions and
coordination with just civil society to discussions with rebel
actors (normally a JMST role, though UNAMID also must liaise with
rebels). Abdul Mohammed's dual role creates confusion, and we need
to ensure that Adada and others (including at the UN secretariat)
recognize the need to support Bassole and not undermine him.


© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.