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2005-04-05 10:33:00
Embassy Ndjamena
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051033Z Apr 05

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						C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000543 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/2015





Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso
ns 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) Summary. Over the past month, several important
developments that could affect cohesion and direction of the
Darfur rebel movements have played out in Chad. As
previously reported, Chadian officials invited members of the
Sudan Liberation Movement SLM to N'Djamena to hold
organizational meetings. The Chadians provided guesthouses
and President Deby's half-brother Daoussa managed the
consultations among various SLM factions and with the Chadian
Government. SLM is still planning a leadership meeting in
Darfur in May to settle its structural problems, and if
Chadian meddling succeeded, Abdelwahid Nour would be ousted
as SLM's Chairman. The Justice and Equality Movement's (JEM)
expulsion of field commander Mohammed Saleh has galvanized
his determination to remove Dr. Khalil Ibrahim or to split
off secular commanders disgruntled with the movement's ties
to former Sudanese Minister Turabi from the group. Finally,
rifts within the NMRD over GOC and GOS control and payments
to its leadership and a GOS attack on the group have split
the group wide open. Some of these developments could have a
positive impact on the movements' ability to negotiate, if a
consolidated leadership structures can emerge and the process
is properly managed. In the short term, however, the GOS is
gaining valuable ground while the movements' internal wars
rage. End Summary.

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2. (C) The SLM consultations in N'Djamena wrapped up on
March 25 and appear to have achieved a consensus that Dr.
Sharif Harir and Bahar Arabi would join Mini Minawi in the
leadership of SLM. (Refs A and B discuss Chadian
motivations.) Abeldwahid will likely be "voted" out in the
SLM's meeting in Darfur in May. The Chadians, according to
some SLM members, would also prefer Mini to be removed, but
in the end may have reached a deal that consolidates Zaghawa
control over the movement. Daoussa Deby, the President's
half-brother, coordinated the consultations. Chad allegedly
is interested in bolstering the SLM organizationally as a
counterweight to the GOS's support for Chadian rebels based
in Sudan. Prior to his departure for France for medical care
on March 22, President Idriss Deby held several meetings with
various SLM military and political groups, including at least
one meeting with field commanders and others with Adam
Shogar, Sharif Harir, and Bahar Arabi. According to Adam
Shogar, Deby told SLM that the Chadian Government shares many
of SLM's interests, particularly bringing the crisis to an
end. Shogar also said the President also told SLM that the
GOS is manipulating negotiations to buy itself time and that

it does not intend to respect the ceasefire. P/E officer was
taken to greet SLM commanders Juma Haggar, Djidu, and
long-time contact Ramadan as well as several other field
commanders in Sharif's room on March 21. P/E officer later
learned that they were allegedly there to receive money in
exchange for supporting Sharif.

3. (C) The fate of several SLM members in Chad is
indicative of the internal haggling going on within the
movement and Chadian complicity in the attempt to oust
Abdelwahid. Reftels A and B report post's attempts to locate
members of the SLM who were allegedly beaten and detained by
their own members. On March 23 after two weeks of changed
meetings, P/E officer was taken to see them. Sulieman
Marajan, Dr. Saleh, and Mohammed Harin had finally been
allowed to visit their colleagues at one rebel safehouse, but
hinted they were about to be moved back to Sudan and killed.
P/E officer used one minute alone with Marajan and Saleh to
hear that they were being mistreated and feared for their
lives. At a second, heavily guarded safehouse, P/E officer
met Ahmed Kubur. He did not say anything but looked
exhausted. P/E officer requested a meeting with Bahar Arabi,
who was in N'Djamena to represent SLM's General Secretary
Mini Minawi, for later that night to get assurances for their
safety. Bahar said that Abdelwahid's removal from the head
of SLM is imminent and there is no need to coerce anyone to
do it. Bahar said that the meeting in Darfur is still being
planned for May, but that he and Mini would like to travel to
the United States before then. He requested assistance with

a U.S. visa to travel with Mini Minawi in the near future.
(Note: Bahar is a Chadian passport holder. End Note.)

4. (C) Mini told P/E officer on March 29 that Abdelwahid is
a "pathological liar" and had created the entire sequence as
a hoax to make it look like his supporters were coerced into
betraying him. However, Mini ordered Juma Haggar not to kill
anybody after hearing about our concerns for their safety.
According to Mini, the members joined SLM of their own free
will and could leave freely. (Comment: Mini may or may not
know what it happening to the commanders. End Comment.)
Nonetheless, Marajan and Saleh told intermediaries that they
"escaped" from the other SLM members before they crossed the
border into Tine, Sudan and have called from hiding in Tine,
Chad to find a way back to their colleagues in N'Djamena.
Two outside sources have indicated to P/E officer that Ahmed
Kubur is still being detained in N'Djamena by Chadian
authorities. General Mahamat Ali told P/E officer on March
31 that "those SLM being detained committed crimes in Chad",
an indication that Chadian authorities are likely involved in
the situation.

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5. (C) The "firing" of field commander Mohammed Saleh could
prove to be a big mistake for JEM's leadership. Saleh
disregarded Dr. Khalil Ibrahim's boycott of the February
16-17 meeting of the Joint Commission in N'Djamena. He was
"ousted" a few days later, but was confident that he has
enough backing within the rank-and-file of JEM to be
unconcerned about any of Khalil's pronouncements. P/E
officer was surprised to meet up with Saleh in Abeche on
March 24. He had left N'Djamena earlier in the month and had
been in Abeche re-supplying for his return to Darfur to
mobilize other JEM commanders with secular leanings to remove
Khalil and the Islamists from JEM's leadership.

6. (C) Saleh is realistic about the problems with funding
that would then ensue, but feels very strongly that the
majority of JEM needs to be liberated from Turabi's agenda.
According to Saleh, JEM's current agenda remains the
acquiring seats in the Islamic Government of Khartoum for
Khalil's people through the Darfur peace process. Saleh
claims that he and other commanders are tired of the
leadership of JEM denying its links with Turabi. Saleh said
that many JEM commanders are still upset that Khalil ordered
them to assist with Turabi's coup attempt and that Turabi and
those Darfurians who did participate were put in JEM's list
of persons detained by the GOS for the prisoner exchange.
This move, according to Saleh, means that it will be more
difficult to obtain the release of JEM members captured who
were fighting for Darfur, not Turabi.

7. (C) Saleh says he is "flexible" on the potential outcomes
of his actions. He prefers removing Khalil outright.
However, if this is not possible, he will look for ways to
take the remaining JEM forces away from Khalil and join with
other Darfurian rebels, preferably SLM and the disaffected
NMRD members, who used to be part of JEM. Saleh has already
begun laying the groundwork for his plan. While he was in
N'Djamena in February and March, Saleh met with many NMRD
members who had split from JEM. They told Saleh that they
were fooled by promises of money and equipment and quickly
realized the movement was a creature of the Sudanese
Government. Saleh agreed to take back into his fold any of
the NMRD members that want to leave.

8. (C) Interestingly, Chadian officials have told us that
they believe Ahmed Lissan Tugod, JEM's General Coordinator,
is ready to join Saleh if he is successful. Talgedin Niam,
JEM's other Joint Commission representative in N'Djamena, is
firmly ensconced in the Khalil camp and was put on the JC to
keep an eye on Lissan. As previously reported, Lissan has
tried to temper JEM's position on boycotting the Abuja talks
until proceedings are underway against war criminals. (Ref B)

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9. (C) The NMRD leadership's ties to the GOS and GOC have
long undermined its credibility with the international
community and now are causing severe internal divisions.
Norain reportedly has been replaced as NMRD's General
Secretary by Osman Ali Chaibo, brother of Chad's National


Security Agency Director. (Note: In ref B, information we
received that Baradine Chaibo is NMRD's new leader is
incorrect. End Note.) Norain is allegedly considered too
weak to keep the movement together and to put down internal
dissent. P/E officer met with Hasan Khamis, a former JEM
commander and current member of NMRD, in Abeche on March 25.
According to Khamis, the rank-and-file NMRD are upset over
what they perceive to be Norain's and Djibrine's subservience
to the GOS and GOC. Khamis claimed that Norain was not only
in Abeche to visit the injured Djibrine, who was shot in the
leg during the attack at Jebel Moon. Khamis explained that
Norain was there to receive money and instructions from the
Sudanese consulate in Abeche. (Comment: Djibrine was moved
to Abeche for treatment and now is reportedly traveling to a
third country for additional care. End Comment.)

10. (C) Khamis is in hot water with NMRD's leadership (i.e.
with the Chadian and Sudanese security services) because he
has vocalized the complaints of other former JEM members of
NMRD that the movement's leadership does the bidding of the
GOS. Khamis told P/E officer that he was placed under the
watchful eye of another NMRD member and the Chadian and
Sudanese security services in Abeche. He is not free to
leave Abeche but is allowed to move around the town. He is
looking for a way out of Abeche to rejoin JEM's Mohammed
Saleh in the field and believes that other disaffected NMRD
and JEM can reconstitute another group that may either take
over JEM or join with SLM.

11. (C) During a meeting with P/E officer in Abeche on March
24, Norain described the GOS attack on NMRD's base at Jebel
Moon. Approximately 600 GOS soldiers and jandjaweed
surrounded and attacked the NMRD at Jebel Moon on March 16,
according to NMRD's Norain Minawi. The GOS reportedly had
intelligence that NMRD's chief of staff Djibrine Abdelkerim
Bary was in Tine with 200 other NMRD followers, leaving Jebel
Moon virtually undefended. GOS troops and jandjaweed staged
for the attack approximately 25 kilometers from Jebel Moon
and launched the assault at 5:00 a.m. The NMRD reports that
the GOS used an Antonov during the attack, although it did
not bomb the area.

12. (C) Djibrine was alerted in Tine and rushed back to
Jebel Moon within a few hours. According to Norain, Jebel
Moon's natural defenses helped NMRD repel the attack.
Djibrine and his troops were able to push the GOS and
jandjaweed some 50 kilometers out of the area. NMRD claims
that 100 jandjaweed were killed and only four NMRD died. The
GOS and jandjaweed burned all of the fields and huts in the
area and destroyed all of NMRD's spare parts for their
vehicles. Norain described other movements of men in
Sudanese government uniforms on horseback and camels near
Masteri and Kabkabir. He also reported that 30 villages
located 60 kilometers south of El Geneina in a
jandjaweed-controlled area were recently destroyed.

13. (C) Norain described his meeting with Chadian President
Idriss Deby on March 22. According to Norain, Deby told him
that the GOS is not respecting the ceasefire agreement it
signed with NMRD in December 2004. Deby reportedly told
Norain that as far as Chad is concerned, the NMRD is free
from any obligation to honor the agreement. Deby told Norain
that it is clear from Deby's meeting with Vice President Taha
the previous week, that the GOS wants to control key areas in
Darfur, such as Jebel Moon and Jebel Marra, prior to the next
Abuja session.

- - - -
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14. (C) Leadership changes in the rebel movements could
result in a clearer focus and development of a cohesive
political agenda if properly managed. In the case of JEM, an
outcome which strengthens the secular elements against the
pro-Turabi, Islamic elements could help diminish Khalil's
disruptive influence and make JEM a more effective negotiator
at the table. It could also diffuse some of the GOC's
dislike for JEM should the movement be able to de-link itself
from the GOS's most powerful rival. The defection of JEM's
remaining field commanders would clearly undercut Khalil's
credibility. However, a new JEM would lack Khalil's powerful
financial base. Settling SLM's leadership issues, however,
is more difficult and has the potential for a dangerous rift
within the group with the largest presence on the ground. If
Abdelwahid is removed, he still has commanders who could
cause serious problems on the ground for SLM. Moreover, a

resolution that overwhelmingly favors the Zaghawa members of
the movement will inevitably alienate members of Fur, Dadjo,
Masselit and other ethnic groups. The emergence of another
SLM splinter group among the movements would also hamper
attempts at negotiations. Finally, the NMRD's demise would
have little or no impact on the situation unless its members
join forces with another movement. We are still pursuing the
issue of the detained SLM commanders with Chadian authorities
and SLM officials in N'Djamena.

15. (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered.