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Cablegate: Usau: Amisom Experts Meet Following Auc Ministerial

VZCZCXRO9939
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDS #2959/01 3520816
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180816Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7202
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 8007
RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEPADJ/CJTF HOA
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 002959

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/FO, AF/RSA, AF/E, AND IO/UNP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AU MASS PREL SO
SUBJECT: USAU: AMISOM EXPERTS MEET FOLLOWING AUC MINISTERIAL

REF: ADDIS ABABA 002946

THIS MESSAGE IS FROM USAU AMBASSADOR MICHAEL A. BATTLE.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: At a December 15 meeting of experts
focusing on Somalia, the Force Commander advocated for an
increase in AMISOM's troop strength in order to help the
Transitional Federal Government (TFG) stabilize Mogadishu, as
well as an internatQally supported program to encourage
defection from insurgent groups. Experts called on the TFG
President to formally approve a three-phase training plan for
Somali forces, and to provide strategic vision to guide
partner assistance. The TFG was also encouraged to step up
information operations with its newly installed radio
transmitter. END SUMMARY.

General Situation
-----------------

2. (SBU) AMISOM Force Commander Major General Nathan Mugisha
characterized the security situation as volatile, with
al-Shabaab having reinforced Mogadishu and engaged in a new
offensive on AMISOM. He said the TFG is endeavoring to
reorganize and bring cohesion to its coalition. He clarified
that President Sheikh Sharif and his cabinet are putting
priority on the security sector, as evidenced by new
high-level appointments in the Somali Police and the Somali
National Armed Forces (SNAF).

Operational Realities
---------------------

3. (SBU) Mugisha stated that the TFG must secure Mogadishu.
Without Mogadishu, the TFG is negotiating from a position of
weakness, and until Mogadishu is taken all of the other
things the TFG is trying to achieve are of marginal utility.
Mugisha insisted that his primary role as Force Commander was
to enable the TFG to stabilize Mogadishu. He suggested for
the first time that AMISOM's originally planned end strength
of 8,000 troops is insufficient for today's realities, and
called for an increase to 12,000 peace-keepers. With 12,000
AMISOM troops and 20,000 Somali Security Forces, Mugisha
claimed he could pacify Mogadishu and possibly seize Kismayo.
(NOTE: UNSOA's 2010-2011 budget assumes an 8,000-man force.)

4. (SBU) On support to TFG forces, Mugisha reported that
AMISOM is working with ex-Somali servicemen from the Siad
Barre era and new troops recently trained in Djibouti to
transform them into three "fighting units." Once formed, the
units would undergo one month of refresher training from
AMISOM before being deployed. Mugisha stated that he is
preparing Somali troops for platoon-level combat, and that
his biggest challenge is developing capable and loyal small
unit leaders (NCOs, lieutenants, and captains).

5. (SBU) Regarding new training initiatives to build the
SNAF, Head of the Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD)
Sivuyile Bam confirmed that Peace and Security Commissioner
Ramtane Lamamra has approved a three-phased process
consisting of induction in Mogadishu, training abroad, and
reintegration in Mogadishu. Per Lamamra's instruction, PSOD
is now clarifying roles and modalities, as well as standing
up an AMISOM training cell to assist in this training
initiative. The SRCC's office insisted that partners' offers
of future training support would be accepted only on the
condition that 12-18 months of stipends are included in the
package.

6. (SBU) Mugisha identified another challenge in that there
is reportedly no program that caters to defectors from the
various insurgent groups. He suggested that more would join
ranks with TFG if there were an organized and attractive
program that was properly publicized. Why defect to the TFG
if it cannot feed its own troops, Mugisha asked rhetorically.


The Information War
-------------------

7. (SBU) Mugisha noted that al-Shabaab is seen by Somalis as
the most unpopular force on the ground, yet the TFG does not
seem to be exploiting this weakness. Several experts

ADDIS ABAB 00002959 002 OF 002


reinforced Mugisha's statement with calls for the TFG to use
the recent suicide bombing at a graduation of medical
students which killed four Somali ministers and at least 18
others to drive a wedge between Shabaab and the Somali
populace, as well as exploit Somali xenophobia with constant
reminders of Shabaab's foreign elements and ideology. The
TFG's Radio Mogadishu is being used to inform the public, but
is not yet being used offensively against Shabaab. The TFG's
lack of information operations sophistication was evident in
the immediate aftermath of the December 3 suicide attack on
the medical graduation ceremony when Radio Mogadishu staff
contemplated going off the air for three days of mourning.
The SRCC's office reportedly convinced them that this was
precisely the time to remain on the air, but conceded that
more should be done to take the initiative away from the
extremists who dominate the media.

Strategic Imperatives
---------------------

8. (SBU) Several interlocutors implored the TFG to provide
more strategic vision to guide partner assistance. Mr. Bam
called on President Sharif to address the AU's Peace and
Security Council in January, and maybe even the UNSC, to
provide clarity for international partners. He noted, for
example, that the TFG has yet to formally approve the
aforementioned three-phased training initiative. The Military
Advisor to the SRCC stated that the UN Political Office for
Somalia (UNPOS) and the Force Commander would press the TFG
at the meeting of the International Contact Group in Jeddah
on December 16-17 to approve the concept. He also announced
that following the meeting in Jeddah, the Joint Security
Committee would produce a short paper outlining priorities
and required resources for prospective donors. The UNPOS
representative expounded, saying that in Jeddah the TFG will
present four papers and lead discussions on coordination
mechanisms, security, reconciliation, and recovery. The
UNPOS representative also anticipated a surprise announcement
in Jeddah, with TFG bringing Al Sunnah wa Al Jammah (ASWJ)
into the political process.

9. (SBU) Mr. Bam reported that he anticipates no fundamental
change in AMISOM's mandate, which is set to expire in
mid-January. Bam predicted that the mandate would be
extended for at least six months, if not through the end of
the mandated life of the TFG (i.e. August 2011). Bam
cautioned the experts group against a "Christmas tree
mandate" like MONUC, advocating instead that AMISOM be
limited to a few, achievable tasks.

10. (SBU) COMMENT: One important sentiment throughout the
meeting was that time is not working in AMISOM's favor.
Given that AMISOM's mandate is to support the TFG, and that
the transitional period expires in August 2011, the AU views
the next 18 months as critical. While the AU welcomes
newfound offers of support from the international community,
it questions whether the United Nations and other partners
can react quickly enough to make a difference in the life of
the TFG. The EU's training of Somali forces, for example,
will only begin in May 2010 and will last 9-12 months,
producing a maximum of 2,000 troops. END COMMENT.
MUSHINGI

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