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Cablegate: Rdff Accuses Gse of Collaborating with Jem

VZCZCXRO9391
RR RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHAE #0433 3511450
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171450Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0643
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ
RHRMDAB/COMUSNAVCENT
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS ASMARA 000433

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E AND S/USSE
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV MOPS SU ER
SUBJECT: RDFF ACCUSES GSE OF COLLABORATING WITH JEM

1. (SBU) The leader of a small Darfuri rebel group is
suspicious of Eritrea's interest in Darfur. Salah
Abdurrahman Abualsurra, president of the Revolutionary
Democratic Forces Front (RDFF), an Arab-aligned Darfur
movement, told poloff the group is skeptical of Eritrea's
interest in Darfur. "Every government in the region simply
wants to maintain power" he stated, "including the Eritrean."
He told poloff the Eritrean government (GSE) is not
interested in seeking peaceful solutions to Darfur, and only
wants to protect its interests. "JEM is Eritrea's first line
of defense" he claimed. Regarding other larger Darfuri
groups, such as the Sudan Liberation Army, he speculated the
GSE wishes to incorporate them under the JEM banner. He also
claimed the GSE maintains close ties with Chad in order to
support JEM and safeguard itself against Sudan.

2. (SBU) Mr. Abualsurra also outlined RDFF's three-tiered
strategy for international engagement in Darfur. In an ideal
scenario, the African Union would take the lead on organizing
grassroots dialogue among community members within Darfur.
The European Union (EU) would handle bilateral engagement
with neighboring countries based on colonial ties (i.e.,
France would pressure Chad to cease support for rebel
groups). The United States would oversee the entire
operation, providing logistical and financial support where
needed.

3. (SBU) As for RDFF's own power base, Mr. Abualsurra claimed
the RDFF had recently aligned four other Arab groups under
its lead in Juba. He also accused JEM of "not even being
representative of the Zagawan ethnic group." JEM mostly
consists of Chadian Zagawans, he elaborated.

4. (SBU) Finally, Abualsurra told poloff about a recent RDFF
meeting with Abdella Jabir, the Eritrean political party's
Sudan specialist. According to Jabir, "Scott Gration is
welcome at any time in Eritrea, but the United States
constantly seeks to sideline us from the discussions."
Abualsurra remained skeptical of Jabir's sincerity, but
passed the information along as a courtesy.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: In recent months, the GSE has shifted
support from small Darfuri groups such as RDFF to larger
entities like JEM. Abualsurra's bitterness towards the GSE
mirrors the sentiments of other resident Darfuris who feel
the GSE has abandoned them. The GSE's increase in support
for JEM likely stems from Sudan voting with the AU to
sanction Eritrea. The support for JEM may also reflect the
GSE's concern about renewed violence in the east following
the 2010 elections and another north-south conflict after the
2011 referendum.
McMullen

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