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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KHARTOUM2731
2006-11-22 16:57:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Khartoum
Cable title:  

DARFUR DRY SEASON OFFENSIVE GAINS MOMENTUM

Tags:   PGOV  MOPS  SU  CD 
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VZCZCXRO6838
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2731/01 3261657
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221657Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5341
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002731 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/SPG AND AF/SE
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND SHORTLEY

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/21/2016
TAGS: PGOV MOPS SU CD
SUBJECT: DARFUR DRY SEASON OFFENSIVE GAINS MOMENTUM


Classified By: P/E Chief E. Whitaker, Reason: Sections 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C) Summary: The Government has mobilized thousands of
tribal and factional militia and authorized tactics that
bring the scope of fighting almost full circle to that of
late-2003 and early 2004. Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) are
functioning in a supporting role, providing mobile infantry,
Antonov bombers, and attack helicopter support as needed.
Militia are attacking the civilian bases of support for both
signatory and non-signatory rebel forces to weaken their
capacity to sustain operations and stop both non-signatory
and signatory movements from regaining strength. The
government is also relying on mobile militia to interdict
supply lines from Chad. End summary.



2. (C) Fighting will most likely increase over the next
several weeks with four objectives: 1) prevent the
non-signatory commanders from unifying, 2) prevent Minni
Minawi from strengthening his position, 3) significantly
weaken National Redemption Front (NRF) forces both
logistically and operationally, and 4) set the conditions
that will support negotiations favorably to the government
with non-signatories in the near future. End Summary.



--------------------------


Militia Forces Destroying Bases of Operation


--------------------------





3. (C) Over the last six weeks, militia attacks have been
widespread and building frequency. Attacks along the border
with Chad have occurred in the vicinity of Jebel Moon,
Kulbus, and Tine, which are likely designed to destroy
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)/NRF safe havens for
supplies moved across the Chadian border. Significant
additional militia have been reported moving further north
from Tine, with the mission of disrupting NRF supplies moving
from Chad to northern Darfur along the Wadi Hawa corridor.
The government would need more SAF forces to block the
northern logistic routes, but mobile militia will effectively
interdict and disrupt NRF resupply efforts.



4. (C) From November 14-18, various militia attacked villages
in central North Darfur that are used as bases of operation
and support for NRF elements. Fighting ranged from Mellit to
Kutum to Birmaza, the heart of G-19 and SLM-Unity civilian
support. The timing of these attacks correlates with efforts
to organize a non-signatory commanders, conference. The
attacks also commenced within 48 hours of the conclusion of
successful negotiations between SLM-Minawi commanders and
SLM-G19/Unity factions (reported septel).



5. (C) In South and West Darfur, government-aligned militia
from the SLM-Free Will continued attacks against SLM-Minawi
forces in Muhajiriya until fighting broke out within the Free

Will forces. Reports indicate that these Free Will forces
are supported by the Wali of South Darfur, Al Haj Attal
Manany, who has provided extensive amounts of ammunition and
new assault rifles to the Free Will. In Jebal Marra, militia
associated with SLM-AK (Abu Kharim) attacked fellow Fur
tribesmen in five villages in the vicinity of Rokoko on
November 17 and 18. Abu Gassim Imam, Abu Basset, and Dr.
Osmosis agreed to join the government two months ago and
recently signed an agreement in Libya with Free Will leader
Abdurrahman Muse and Maghzoub al-Khalifa.



6. (C) Reports indicate that the government is attempting to
control the level of destruction and killing by these
militias with varying success. Looting of World Food Program
trucks northeast of Kutum was stopped by SAF personnel.
However, militias appear to have free rein to harass, steal,
and plunder villages, livestock, and individual provisions
and food stocks and have even resorted to dismantling or
destroying water points.



--------------------------


Reduced Reliance on Suspect SAF Elements


--------------------------





7. (C) SAF forces accompany militia raids, but are mainly
used to counter rebel resistance and react to rebel
responses. Antonovs are used to provide intelligence and to
bomb rebel bases situated in local villages. Attack
helicopters are mainly used to react to rebel counterattacks
and ambushes. These tactics save SAF forces from heavy
fighting and keep suspect units with morale problems from
engaging in attacks that produce the most casualties.



8. (C) The heavy use of militia also reduces the logistics
burden on the SAF since the militias are more self

KHARTOUM 00002731 002 OF 002


sufficient. Reduced SAF numbers also lighten the requirement
for extensive logistic support and frequent returns to
garrisons to resupply, refit, and repair equipment. Reliance
on militias will most likely allow the SAF to sustain
operations past the typical 3-7 day forays against rebels
seen from late July through early October. Significant SAF
and militia operations could last for several more weeks.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





9. (C) The government offensive has most likely postponed the
non-signatory commanders, conference for the short to
mid-term. It has impacted on progress Minawi has made to
unite disparate elements of the old SLM and temporarily
delayed his efforts to strengthen his position vis-a-vis the
government. However, attempting to control Darfur through
conflict and confusion may backfire on the government.
Unleashing the Janjaweed and other aligned militias against a
wide segment of the population has the potential to drive
rebel forces back together, particularly if rebel forces
obtained renewed external support. Failure to position the
government for successful negotiations with a weakened and
splintered rebel force would be a setback for the hardline
approach taken by President Bashir and his inner circle. End
comment.
HUME