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Cablegate: Chad and Jem Pose "No Imminent Threat" to Sudan

VZCZCXRO5531
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1136/01 2811440
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081440Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4537
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001136

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM KDEM KPKO SU
SUBJECT: CHAD AND JEM POSE "NO IMMINENT THREAT" TO SUDAN

REF: A) NDJAMENA 429 B) KHARTOUM 1108 C) KHARTOUM 1095

1. (SBU) Summary: The Justice Equality Movement (JEM) and Chadian
military pose "no imminent threat" to Sudan, according to
preliminary deuerminations by$U^ ofgicials. E, Fa{ur iuth/ziTmecQMQhnoeaedQscuriwI$``2ioj|iU$$^emQ "f!Qgwh~"Q"`rwuaQ&QhjQQKQc/zhIp&qA#gQEgTcQ&i |$Dyn%Q&#=aEo-&#^zeQnQK
c^k9x%u`~QcGcjl- villages north
of El Fasher. UN officials have confirmed three cases of rape
following clashes between Sudanese forces and rebels in Korma on
September 17-18. End summary.

2. (SBU) El Fasher, North Darfur was quiet for most of Wednesday,
October 7, but Sudanese authorities mobilized military and security
assets at 6:00 p.m. to major intersections and the downtown market
area. Officials from the UN-African Union Mission to Darfur
(UNAMID) confirmed that by sunset on Wednesday, military tanks had
been positioned at the El Fasher airport and entrances to the city.
By morning on Thursday, October 8, however, the massive display of
power and security had been withdrawn, and no tanks were visible on
the city streets. According to UNAMID and local El Fasher
residents, the situation had returned to normal as of the afternoon
of October 8, and El Fasher airport was operating as normally
scheduled.

-----------------------------------------
JEM, CHADIAN MILITARY "NO IMMINENT THREAT"
------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) UNAMID and MINURCAT officials reached out to JEM commanders
and Chadian National Army (ANT) officers to assess the plausibility
of a rumored JEM/ANT attack on Sudan, as reported by the Government
of Sudan (GOS) to U.S. officials on October 7. UNAMID has
preliminarily concluded that JEM and ANT pose "no imminent threat;"
that the town of Karnoi had not been evacuated; and that all ANT
positions within Chad were defensive in nature. JEM informed UNAMID
political affairs that they do not intend to attack, and have not
prepared any plans for striking Sudan in conjunction with ANT
forces based in Adre, Chad. According to Kemal Saiki, acting Deputy
Chief of Staff, UNAMID intends to send a joint assessment patrol
soon to Karnoi to assess the town and the potential for conflict on
the border.

4. (SBU) Sources within Sudanese Liberation Army/Minni Minnawi
(SLA/MM)were not aware of rumors that vehicles linked to their
movement had massed on the border with Chad near the town of Tina
(ref a). A UNAMID expert on rebel movements in Darfur indicated
that it was highly unlikely that SLA/MM possessed 250 vehicles in
the western reaches of North Darfur, having abandoned control of the
territory to the GOS in May of this year. Minnawi's power base has
shrunk considerably over the last year, and SLA/MM insiders have
acknowledged that the movement is deeply divided and has little
capacity in the Dar Zaghawa territory they once occupied.
Additionally, according to UNAMID, it was similarly improbable that
Chadian Armed Opposition Groups (COAGs) had aligned behind any
Darfuri rebel leader.

-----------------------------------
SCATTERED CLASHES ON DARFUR MARGINS
-----------------------------------
5. (SBU) Elsewhere on the margins of Darfur, scattered clashes were
reported in the last week. According to the UN Department of Safety
and Security (UNDSS) in Nyala, heavy fighting was reported October 2
in the far southern reaches of South Darfur, 310 km south of Nyala.
In a news release on October 7, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)
announced they had defeated an advance by unnamed "rebels" in the
"Dufek" area of Darfur (Note: Most likely the Umm Dafog area, in
West Darfur on the border with the Central African Republic. The
area south of Darfur is an ungoverned, depopulated region through
which rebel columns could easily pass from CAR or Southern Sudan.
End note.) UNDSS believed that this rebel column belonged to the
SLA faction of Abdulshafie, a Darfuri Fur rebel leader who has spent
the last two years alternating residency in Juba and Kampala.

6. (SBU) Following the September 17-18 fighting that established a
strong SAF presence in Korma, SLA/AW rebel commanders in far north
North Darfur reported additional attacks by GOS forces and Arab
militia. According to SLA/AW commander Suleiman Marjan, on
September 29, SAF aircraft supported an Arab militia-led ground
attack against the rebel-held village of Mau, 100 km north of El
Fasher. Prior to retreating, the militia reportedly burned ten
houses, looted the small village's market and destroyed a Sudanese
Ministry of Health facility. On October 5, Arab militia attacked

KHARTOUM 00001136 002 OF 002


the SLA/AW-held villages of Abu Jirra, Goz Jibil and Minama,
approximately 80 km northeast of El Fasher, and looted the village.
UNAMID and Marjan could not immediately confirm the number of
civilian casualties.

---------------------------------------
UN VERIFIES THREE RAPES IN KORMA ATTACK
---------------------------------------

7. (SBU) Following clashes in Korma between SLA/AW and SAF in late
September (ref B), a UNAMID joint assessment team visited the North
Darfur town on September 29. UN investigators were informed by
residents of the town of five cases of rape, and the team managed to
confirm three cases. One of the latter victims was transported to
El Fasher Saudi Hospital for treatment. The UN confirmed that the
assaults were connected with the military activity in the area, but
could not immediately confirm if the rapes were committed by
uniformed GOS forces or aligned Arab militia. UN representatives in
El Fasher visited the two main hospitals to follow up on rumors that
up to 30 victims of rape had been brought to El Fasher for
treatment, but hospital authorities and a search of the facilities
could not substantiate such allegations.

8. (SBU) Comment: With Chadian authorities downplaying Sudanese
accusations of an impending attack, and UNAMID confirming no JEM
crossings into Sudan, it appears that the GOS over-reacted on
October 7. The diplomatic arrangements that succeeded over the
summer in pulling Sudan and Chad back from the brink appear to be
holding, and Chadian rebels and JEM remain far from the border.
However, the GOS offensive against SLA/AW positions may not be over,
now that the SAF has been successful in driving a wedge in the
movement's territory. SLA/AW commanders in the Jebel Marra
mountains are cut off from their compatriots in the deserts of North
Darfur. In light of the proposed SLA conference in Jebel Marra
later this month, these actions seem aimed at preventing many rebels
from attending. Although SLA/AW is reportedly building up troop
strength in strategic locations, they remain fundamentally weak and
vulnerable either to outright attack or further displacement.
Given that the government conducts intensive military operations
against Darfuri insurgents before any peace talks, it is likely that
Darfur will see further GOS/SLA conflict in preparation for the next
round in Doha. End comment.

ASQUINO

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