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Cablegate: Sudan 2009 Country Report On Terrorism

VZCZCXYZ0003
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1421/01 3510640
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170640Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4903
INFO RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001421

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT FOR S/CT - RSHORE, NCTC
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EFIN KCRM KPAO PTER KHLS AEMR SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN 2009 Country Report on Terrorism

REF: STATE 109980

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General Assessment
------------------

1. (SBU) Sudan remains a cooperative partner in the Global War on
Terror (GWOT), and the outlook for continued cooperation is
positive. During the past year, the Sudanese government continued
to pursue terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S.
interests and personnel in Sudan. Sudanese officials have indicated
that they view their continued cooperation with the USG as important
and recognize the potential benefits of U.S. training and
information-sharing. While the CT relationship remains solid,
hard-line Sudanese officials continue to express resentment and
distrust over actions by the USG and question the benefits of
continued cooperation. Their assessment reflects disappointment
that Sudan's cooperation on CT has not resulted in its removal from
the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Despite this, there is no
indication at this time that the Sudanese government will curtail
its current level of CT cooperation despite bumps in the overall
bilateral relationship.

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---------------------
Safe Haven Assessment
---------------------

2. (SBU) Al-Qaida-inspired terrorist elements, elements of the
Palestinian Islamic Jihad, HAMAS, and the Lord's Resistance Army
remain in Sudan. In light of the continuing hybrid UN-AU deployment
to Darfur, various terrorist threats against this mission have
emerged, and the Al-Qaida leadership has called for jihad against UN
forces in Darfur. In the early hours of January 1, 2008, attackers
in Khartoum sympathetic to Al-Qaida, calling themselves Al-Qaida in
the Land Between the Two Niles, shot and fatally wounded two U.S.
Embassy staff members: an American and a Sudanese employee, both of
whom worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Sudanese authorities cooperated closely with agencies of the U.S.
government in investigating this terrorist crime. Five alleged
conspirators were arrested in February 2008 and put on trial for
murder on August 31, 2008. On June 24, 2009 four men were sentenced
to death by hanging for the killings. A fifth man received a two
year prison term for providing the weapons used in the attack. At
least three other men allegedly involved in planning the attack were
detained but have not been charged.

3. (SBU) Other extremist groups also have threatened attacks against
Western interests in Sudan. The July 14, 2008 request by
International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo for an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar
al-Bashir on charges related to atrocities committed in Darfur has
further inflamed tensions and remains outstanding. The ICC's
issuance of an arrest warrant for al-Bashir on war crimes and crimes
against humanity on March 4, 2009 further inflamed tensions.
Therefore, the terrorist threat level remains critical in Khartoum
and Darfur, and potentially other parts of Sudan.

------------------------------
Terrorist Groups/Organizations
------------------------------

4. (SBU) Elements of designated terrorist groups remain in Sudan.
With the exception of HAMAS, whose members the Sudanese government
considers to be "freedom fighters" rather than terrorists, the
government here does not openly support the presence of extremist
elements in this country. The Sudanese government has taken steps
to limit the activities of these organizations. For example,
Sudanese officials have welcomed HAMAS members as representatives of
the Palestinian Authority, but have limited their activities to
fundraising. The Sudanese government has also worked hard to
disrupt foreign fighters from using Sudan as a logistics base and
transit point for Jihadists going to Iraq. However, gaps remain in
the Sudanese government's knowledge of and ability to identify and
capture these individuals. There is some evidence to suggest that
individuals who were active participants in the Iraqi insurgency
have returned to Sudan and are in a position to use their expertise
to conduct attacks within Sudan or to pass on their knowledge.
There is also evidence that Sudanese extremists participate in
terrorist activities in Somalia, which the Sudanese government has
also attempted to disrupt.

5. (SBU) The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) led by Joseph Kony
continued to operate in the region. Following Kony's repeated
failure to sign a draft of the Final Peace Agreement, on December 14
the Ugandan People's Defense Force (UPDF), with cooperation from the
Government of Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC), launched Operation Lighting Thunder, attacking LRA bases
along the border of Southern Sudan and the DRC. This operation
destroyed the LRA base camp and scattered the LRA over the DRC,
Southern Sudan, and the Central African Republic (CAR). The UPDF
started withdrawing from the operation in mid-March, handing control
over to the Armed Forces of the DRC. The operation was declared a
success that had significantly weakened the LRA's command structure.
However, the official objectives, to make Kony sign the Final Peace
Agreement, or to destroy the LRA, were only partially achieved, and
it is unclear how much the LRA's central command has been hurt. Few
senior LRA figures were captured and Kony's whereabouts are unknown.
The UN estimates that over 1,000 people have been killed, 1,500
abducted, and over 250,000 displaced in an area spanning the DRC,
Sudan, and CAR since September 2008. There is no reliable
information that corroborates long-standing allegations that the
Government of Sudan is supporting the LRA.

------------------------------
Foreign Government Cooperation
------------------------------

6. (SBU) Sudanese officials regularly discuss counterterrorism
issues with U.S. counterparts. Sudan is generally responsive to
international community concerns about counterterrorism efforts when
it is in the best interest of the regime.

7. (SBU) Embassy Khartoum Point of Contact is Political Officer
Preston Savarese. His e-mail address is savaresepr@state.gov and
his telephone numbers are 249-183-774-700 (Embassy) and
249-912-178-697 (cellular phone).

ASQUINO

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