US embassy cable - 86KAMPALA2314

MUSEVENI AND THE RADICAL MUSLIMS.

Identifier: 86KAMPALA2314
Wikileaks: View 86KAMPALA2314 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Kampala
Created: 1986-07-16 09:14:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PINS PNAT PTER PGOV EPET PLO UG WI LY IR XA SX
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 160914Z JUL 86
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4726
INFO AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
AMEMBASSY KIGALI
AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
AMEMBASSY RABAT
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
SECDEF WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KAMPALA 02314 
 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OADR 
TAGS: PREL PINS PNAT PTER PGOV EPET PLO UG WI LY IR XA SX 
SUBJECT:  MUSEVENI AND THE RADICAL MUSLIMS. 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL -  ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  UGANDA'S RELATIONS WITH LIBYA CONTINUE TO 
INTENSIFY.  PRESIDENT MUSEVENI HAS MET WITH DELEGATIONS FROM 
THE PLO AND SAHARAN ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (SADR); GOU 
HAS NORMALIZED DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH THE LATTER 
ORGANIZATIONS.  NRM HAS ALSO RESPONDED POSITIVELY TO 
FEELERS FOR IMPROVED RELATIONS WITH IRAN.  THIS RAPPRO- 
CHEMENT WITH RADICAL MUSLIM STATES --AND IT IS A 
RAPPROCHEMENT SINCE MOST ENJOYED GOOD RELATIONS WITH 
THE AMIN GOVERNMENT-- STEMS FROM AN NRM PERCEPTION THAT 
IT WILL ENHANCE ITS ATTRACTIVENESS TO POTENTIAL MUSLIM 
DONORS AND A FUNDAMENTAL IDENTITY OF VIEWS ON SELF- 
DETERMINATION FOR THE PALESTINIANS AND BLACK SOUTH 
AFRICANS.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  THE PACE OF LIBYAN-UGANDAN RELATIONS IS INTENSIFYING. 
IN RECENT MONTHS THE LIBYANS HAVE SENT A TRADE DELEGATION, 
A FINANCIAL TEAM AND MEDICAL TEAM.  GOU HAS ANNOUNCED THAT 
MUSEVENI HAS HELD TALKS WITH A DOCTOR MUKHTAR ALI ON THE 
POSSIBILITY OF SETTING UP A JOINT HOLDING COMPANY TO 
COOPERATE WITH THE UGANDA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION.  THE 
GOU HAS ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT IT IS EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY 
OF CREATING AN OIL COMPANY IN COOPERATION WITH THE GOL. 
ON JULY 4,THE GOU ACKNOWLEDGED IT WAS RECEIVING DONATED 
DRUGS FROM THE GOL. 
 
4. THE LIBYAN PEOPLES BUREAU HAS EXPANDED IN SIZE 
TO SIX , AND THE STAFF HAVE ADOPTED A HIGHER PROFILE ROLE 
IN KAMPALA.  THE LIBYANS ARE LIKELY TO SOON RAISE RELATIONS 
TO THE AMBASSADORIAL LEVEL (SINCE THE 1979 WAR AGAINST AMIN 
THE LIBYAN MISSION HAS BEEN HEADED BY A CHARGE). 
 
5.  COMMENT:  THE HOLDING COMPANY AND OIL COMPANY WILL 
ALLOW THE LIBYANS TO ENLARGE THEIR COMMUNITY, SOMETHING 
THEY WERE UNABLE TO DO DURING THE OBOTE/OKELLO PERIOD. 
THE UGANDANS PROBABLY BELIEVE SINCERELY-- ALBEIT NAIVELY-- 
THAT THEY CAN GENUINELY BENEFIT FROM LIBYAN LARGESSE AND 
STILL RETAIN CONTROL OF THE RELATIONSHIP.  THE OIL COMPANY 
IS PARTICULARLY ATTRACTIVE AND FITS NICELY WITH NRM ECONO- 
MIC PLANNING.  AS A LANDLOCKED COUNTRY, TOTALLY DEPENDENT 
ON IMPORTED POL, UGANDA HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONCERNED ABOUT 
ITS VULNERABILITY TO BEING CUT OFF FROM POL SUPPLIES. 
TRADITIONALLY THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM HAS BEEN TO 
TREAT THE PRIVATE OIL COMPANIES VERY WELL BY THIRD WORLD 
STANDARDS.  THEY WERE ALLOWED TO BE PROFITABLE AND INDEPEN- 
DENT IN RETURN FOR GUARANTEEING UGANDA'S SUPPLY OF POL. 
THE NRM DISTRUSTS THE TRADITIONAL MODUS OPERANDI AND IS 
IDEOLOGICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE WITH WHAT IS PERCEIVED AS 
VULNERABILITY TO MULTINATIONAL CAPITALISM.  THE GOU WOULD 
LIKE LIBYAN ASSISTANCE TO SET UP A GOU CONTROLLED OIL 
COMPANY TO GUARANTEE ITS SECURITY OF SUPPLY, MUCH AS IT 
HAS EXPRESSED INTEREST IN PURCHASING A SHARE OF THE 
MOMBASA REFINERY FROM GOK FOR SIMILAR REASONS.  ACCORDING 
TO AN OIL COMPANY SOURCE IN KAMPALA, THE PROPOSED COMPANY 
IS LIKELY TO BE A PARASTATAL OIL PROCUREMENT COMPANY OF 
THE TYPE COMMON IN AFRICA.  IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR 
SUCH A COMPANY TO BE PROFITABLE, ACCORDING TO SOURCE, UNLESS 
THE LIBYANS PROVIDE A MASSIVE SUBSIDY EITHER IN THE FORM OF 
ESSENTIALLY FREE OIL, OR MONETARY EQUIVALENT.  END COMMENT. 
 
6.  MUSEVENI HAS RECENTLY RECEIVED A PLO DELEGATION.  THIS 
IS PROBABLY A UNILATERAL INITIATIVE ON THE PART OF PLO TO 
REESTABLISH THE FAVORABLE POSITION IT HELD UNDER THE AMIN 
REGIME WHEN THE PLO OPERATED A FARM AND TRAINING CAMPS IN 
UGANDA.  COMMENT:  THIS IS NOT A SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT. 
FROM DAY ONE OF THE MUSEVENI GOVERNMENT THE PRESIDENT HAS 
MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE WILL TREAT WITH NEITHER THE SOUTH 
AFRICAN OR ISRAELI GOVERNMENTS; HIS SYMPATHIES ARE CLEARLY 
WITH THE PALESTINIANS, WHO HE FEELS HAVE BEEN EVICTED FROM 
THEIR HOMELAND BY ISRAELI MILITARY MIGHT.  HE BELIEVES THE 
PLO IS JUSTIFIED IN FIGHTING FOR ITS RIGHTS, BUT FIRMLY 
DRAWS THE LINE AGAINST THE USE OF TERRORIST TACTICS, 
ESPECIALLY ATTACKS AGAINST CIVILIANS WHETHER INSIDE OR OUTSIDE 
OF ISRAEL.  HE POINTS WITH PRIDE TO THE FACT HE NEVER RESORTED 
TO TERRORISM DURING HIS FIVE YEAR STRUGGLE.  BY ALLOWING THE 
PLO TO REESTABLISH ITS PRESENCE IN UGANDA, HE SIMPLY REJOINS 
THE RANKS OF THE VAST MAJORITY OF AFRICAN STATES.  END COMMENT. 
 
7.  MUSEVENI RECENTLY RECEIVED A DELEGATION FROM THE SAHARAN 
ARAB DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC (SADR) AND ISSUED A PUBLIC STATE- 
MENT INDICATING THAT HE WOULD ESTABLISH RELATIONS IN 
-ACCORDANCE WITH UGANDA'S POLICIES OF MAINTAINING GOOD 
RELATIONS WITH ALL FRIENDLY COUNTRIES.  ACCORDING TO AN 
EGYPTIAN SOURCE, THE MEETING RESULTED FROM AN INITIATIVE 
BY THE ALGERIANS.  COMMENT:  THE ACT OF RECOGNIZING 
THE SDAR IS MORE SIGNIFIC?NT THAN EMBRACING THE PLO, AS 
BY SO DOING MUSEVENI HAS TAKEN SIDES ON AN ISSUE WHERE 
THERE I? NO OVERWHELMING CONSENSUS IN AFRICAN AND ARAB 
CIRCLES. END COMMENT 
 
8.  COMMENT AND CONCLUSION: 
 
SEVERAL OBSERVATIONS ABOUT MUSEVENI'S RAPPROCHEMENT WITH 
THE RADICAL ARABS (AND PERHAPS PERSIANS) ARE IN ORDER. 
 
--  FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE ARAB COUNTRIES AND 
LIBERATION ORGANIZATIONS, MUSEVENI'S EMBRACE REPRESENTS 
THE REESTABLISHMENT OF A FORMER POSITION.  THE PLO AND 
LIBYANS WERE REPRESENTED HERE AND WERE QUITE INFLUENTIAL 
DURING THE AMIN YEARS.  INCIDENTALLY, THEY ARE NOT REMEM- 
BERED FONDLY BY THE BULK OF UGANDANS. 
 
--  MUSEVENI IS DISAPPOINTED WITH THE WESTERN DONOR 
RESPONSE TO HIS EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE REQUEST OF DOLS 
160 MILLION; TO DATE, LESS THAN DOLS 40 MILLION HAS BEEN 
PLEDGED.  WHILE WE HAVE NO FIRM FIGURES, IF THE LIBYANS ARE 
PLAYING TRUE TO FORM THEY PROBABLY ARE BRANDISHING ABOUT 
RATHER SUBSTANTIAL NUMBERS THAT, IF DELIVERED, WOULD MAKE 
THEM THE MOST IMPORTANT BILATERAL DONOR ON THE LOCAL SCENE. 
 
--  THERE IS AN IDEOLOGICAL COMPONENT TO MUSEVENI'S FAVORING 
THE RADICAL MIDDLE-EASTERNERS; THEY ARE PERCEIVED AS BEING 
TRULY NON-ALIGNED AND NOT DOMINATED BY EITHER WESTERN OR 
EASTERN BLOCS.  THIS MAY BE NONSENSE, BUT THIRD WORLD 
SOLIDARITY IS CLEARLY EMERGING AS A MAJOR THEME OF MUSEVENI'S 
IDEOLOGY.  MORE IMPORTANTLY THE ARAB'S SHARE MUSEVENI'S 
COMMITMENT TO MAJORITY RULE IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, AND HE 
THEIRS OF SELF-DETERMINATION FOR THE PALESTINIANS. 
 
--  INCIDENTALLY, THE STYLE OF ARAB RELATIONS IS WELL 
SUITED TO THE MUSEVENI REGIME, WHICH IS HIGHLY PERSONAL 
AND CENTERED AROUND THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.  TO ARRANGE 
LIBYAN ASSISTANCE MUSEVENI NEED ONLY TELEPHONE THE COLONEL, 
NOT ENGAGE IN THE SLOW PERSUASION AND BUREAUCRATIC CONCENSUS 
BUILDING NECESSARY FOR WESTERN ASSISTANCE. 
 
--  BY HOSTING AN EXPANDING RADICAL ARAB PRESENCE MUSEVENI 
IS INVITING PROBLEMS WITH A HOST OF COUNTRIES WHO HAVE BEEN 
VICTIMS OF LIBYAN-SUPPORTED SUBVERSION AND TERRORISM, 
NOTABLY EGYPT, ZAIRE, KENYA AND THE WESTERN NATIONS.  WHILE 
MUSEVENI HAS SAID HE HAS TOLD THE LIBYANS HE WOULD NOT 
COUNTENANCE EXTRA-LEGAL ACTIONS ON UGANDAN TERRORITY, THE 
LIBYANS INEVITABLY WILL CHEAT AND WILL CREATE PROBLEMS FOR 
MUSEVENI WITH MOBUTU AND MOI. INTERNALLY, LIBYAN SUPPORT 
FOR LOCAL MUSLIM GROUPS WILL CREATE PROBLEMS AS WELL, AND 
WILL WORK AGAINST MUSEVENI'S EFFORTS TO ELIMINATE SECTARIAN- 
ISM AS A FACTOR IN LOCAL POLITICS. 
 
--  IN SUM, MUSEVENI IS GAMBLING THAT HE CAN STEER AND 
CONTROL THE RELATIONSHIP; THAT HE CAN USE THE RADICALS 
WITHOUT HIMSELF BEING VIOLATED.  THE REAL DANGER TO 
AMERICANS IN UGANDA WILL COME WHEN THE LIKES OF THE LIBYANS 
CONCLUDE THAT THE VALUE OF THE MUSEVENI RELATIONSHIP DOES 
NOT OUTWEIGH THE OPPORTUNITY TO STRIKE LOCALLY AT U.S. 
INTERESTS. 
 
 
HOUDEK 

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