DE RUEHNJ #0877/01 3170822
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 130822Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5878
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 000877
PARIS AND LONDON FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/07/2015 TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PTER CD SUBJECT: PRESIDENT DEBY SIGNS "THE LAST PEACE AGREEMENT"
REF: A. NDJAMENA 792
B. TRIPOLI 918
C. NDJAMENA 870
Classified By: CHARGE D'AFFAIRES LUCY TAMLYN FOR REASONS 1.4(B) AND (D)
1. (C) Summary. President Deby signed what he called "the last peace agreement" with the remaining Chadian rebel groups at large in Libya on October 25. The formation of a new Government is still expected but other events (in particular, the Zoe's Ark Affair) have taken up government attention. This last agreement, however imperfect, may mark the end of the cycle of rebellion that started in 2004/5. End summary.
2. (U) On October 25, President Deby traveled to Libya to sign what he called "the last peace agreement" with the four rebel groups comprising Timan Erdimi's Rassemblement de Forces Pour le Changement (RFC), Mahamat Nouri's Union des Forces pour la Democraties et le Developpment (UFFD), Abdelwahid About's UFFD-Fondamental and Hassan Saleh al-Djinedi's Concorde National Tchadienne (CNT). Libyan President Quaddafi and Sudanese President el Bechir witnessed the signing. Similar to other agreements signed in recent months (reftel A), the agreement offers the rebels amnesty and integration into the armed and civil services. For their part, the rebels agree to a cease-fire and to respect the constitution, and remain in specified cantonment areas until disarmed.
3. (U) In the one area that the accord differs significantly from those signed with other groups, Libya and Sudan are the guarantors of the cantonment and disarmament. Article 7 states that rebel forces will remain in their current positions while awaiting integration in the Chadian national army (French acronym ANT). Sudan, Libya and Chad undertake to cover the expenses of the rebel troops until they are either demobilized or integrated into the ANT. The actual rebel locations have not been made known.
4. (U) Rebel leaders reportedly assumed that the agreement signed was the same as that signed in early October (reftel A). They claimed that they discovered, after signing, that certain elements were surpressed, namely the creation of a military commission and an annex which was supposed to provide detail on government posts and security. Speaking on Radio France International (RFI) the rebel leaders groused about the changes, but claimed that they didn't want to create a scandal and upset the signing ceremony. The President's own comments to RFI were unequivocal: this was the last peace agreement that he would sign. Henceforth, any country that sought to destabilize Chad by providing support to rebel movements would find itself at war with Chad.
5. (U) Close to three weeks after the signing, there has been no word on any demobilization or integration. Observers who have witnessed the difficulties of the FUC reintegration are pessimistic that the ANT can manage a new wave of rebel integration. UN security services reported that there continued to be rumors of rebel troop movements as recently as November 5 in the Adre and Birak area. The new government, widely anticipated since August, has yet to be named, although in a meeting with the Director of the President's Civil Cabinet on October 26, the latter informed the Charge that the announcement would come soon. Other events, such as the Zoe's Ark Affair (reftel C) have monopolized the President's attention. Most Chadians are waiting to see what actually transpires in terms of troop reintegration or political participation before conceding that the agreement was more than an "empty show."
COMMENT: ENDING WITH A WHIMPER?
6. (C) With the latest peace agreement, President Deby has concluded a grand sweep of agreements with rebel groups large and small, obscure and well known. That money played some part in reaching these agreements is generally believed to be the case. Principles (if any) were harder to find. If Deby himself made any concessions, they are not evident. At the end of the day, the rebels found themselves with little choice but to sue for peace. The imminent arrival of the UN and European forces (MINURCAT) limited their ability to move in the arena; their foreign patrons Libya and Sudan exerted strong pressure on them to come to the table. And President Deby outspent them on arms and material.
7. (C) The roots of the current cycle of rebellion can be found in the years 2004 and 2005, when President Deby made clear that he would renege on his promise of presidential term limits, and the prospect of new oil wealth dizzied the imagination of ambitious relatives and senior GOC officials.
NDJAMENA 00000877 002 OF 002
Some of these disgruntled former colleagues may return to Chad. But it is widely believed that former Defense Minister Mahamat Nouri and former Cabinet Director Erdimi cannot return and save face right now. President Deby has outfoxed his opponents once again: although the lingering presence of disgruntled and undemobilized soldiers will continue to bedevil and destabilize the border area, this cycle of rebellion may in fact have run out of gas. But despite Deby's pronouncements, we doubt it is the last one.