US embassy cable - 90KHARTOUM3292

LIBYAN PRESENCE IN SUDAN

Identifier: 90KHARTOUM3292
Wikileaks: View 90KHARTOUM3292 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Khartoum
Created: 1990-03-26 13:47:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PINR OFDP PREL LY SU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 261347Z MAR 90
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2938
INFO AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY PARIS
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 03292 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/B AND DS/TAD 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS:  PINR, OFDP, PREL, LY, SU 
SUBJECT:  LIBYAN PRESENCE IN SUDAN 
 
REF:  A) STATE 62856, B) KHARTOUM 2849, C) KHARTOUM 2428, 
D) KHARTOUM 1749, E) KHARTOUM 2825, F) 89 KHARTOUM 10663 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  AT THIS TIME, LIBYAN PRESENCE IN SUDAN IS DIFFICULT 
TO ESTIMATE PRECISELY, BUT OVERT LIBYAN OPERATIONS APPEAR 
LIMITED.  LIBYAN ARAB AIRLINES (LAA) FLIES TO KHARTOUM 
FROM TRIPOLI ONCE A WEEK AND MAINTAINS A SMALL KHARTOUM 
STAFF.  THE LIBYAN ARAB FOREIGN INVESTMENT CO. (LAFICO) 
AND THE LIBYAN SUDANESE CO. (LASCO), BOTH HOLDING 
COMPANIES, ALSO MAINTAIN OFFICES IN KHARTOUM.  LAFICO 
BEGAN OPERATIONS ABOUT 1981 AND LASCO ABOUT 1985; BOTH 
HAVE LITTLE OVERT ACTIVITY.  IN ADDITION, THE LIBYAN-ARAB 
HOLDING CO., A FRONT ORGANIZATION WHOSE OVERT ACTIVITIES 
INVOLVE AGRICULTURAL INVESTMENTS, HAS A KHARTOUM BRANCH. 
LIBYAN-SUDANESE ECONOMIC AND TRADE RELATIONS ARE DETAILED 
IN REF B.  AS STATED IN REF D, LIBYA IS NOW SUDAN'S ONLY 
RELIABLE SOURCE OF PETROLEUM AND THE ONLY COUNTRY WILLING 
TO SELL TO THE GOS ON CREDIT, FOR WHICH LIBYA WILL 
INCREASINGLY DEMAND PAYMENT IN POLITICAL CURRENCY. 
 
3.  THE FRONT GROUP "ISLAMIC CALL" IS CONSIDERABLY MORE 
ACTIVE THAN THE LIBYAN BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS, WITH 
OFFICES IN THE KHARTOUM DISTRICTS OF NEW EXTENSION AND 
RIYADH.  ALTHOUGH NO DETAILS ON STAFF ARE AVAILABLE, BOTH 
OFFICES ENGAGE IN PROPAGANDA ACTIVITIES AND RECEIVE 
NUMEROUS SUDANESE VISITORS. 
 
4.  THE LIBYAN EMBASSY (CALLED THE "LIBYAN ARAB 
BROTHERHOOD BUREAU") IN KHARTOUM HAS AN OFFICIAL STAFF OF 
20 DIPLOMATS, MANY OF WHOM HAVE VERY UNSPECIFIC TITLES. 
THE AMBASSADOR (CALLED THE "SECRETARY GENERAL"), RAMADHAN 
ALI BASHIR, A DEAD RINGER FOR QADHAFI, ARRIVED JANUARY 
29.  NO BIOGRAPHIC DETAILS ON BROTHERHOOD BUREAU STAFF 
ARE AVAILABLE. 
 
5.  AMONG THE BROTHERHOOD BUREAU'S ACTIVITIES REPORTEDLY 
IS SUPERVISION OF LIBYAN INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVES IN SUDAN 
(REF E).  ALTHOUGH FEW DETAILS ABOUT THE OPERATIVES ARE 
AVAILABLE, THEY REPORTEDLY ARE NOT HIGHLY EFFECTIVE 
BECAUSE THEY RELY TOO HEAVILY ON MONEY AS AN INDUCEMENT. 
 
6.  FOR SOME YEARS LIBYA HAS MAINTAINED AN AGRICULTURAL 
PROJECT AT SAQ AL NA'AM NEAR EL FASHER IN DARFUR WITH 10 
TO 15 LIBYAN STAFF.  THE PROJECT IS OVERTLY ENGAGED IN 
AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING SEED TESTING, BUT IT 
IS REPORTEDLY STAFFED BY LIBYAN INTELLIGENCE OPERATIVES 
COMMANDED BY A COLONEL WITH A DIRECT COMMUNICATIONS LINK 
TO TRIPOLI.  THE PROJECT REPORTEDLY HAS BEEN USED TO 
FUNNEL AID TO CHADIAN REBELS IN DARFUR, ALTHOUGH NO 
LIBYAN REGULAR ARMED FORCES HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN DARFUR 
SINCE 1986.  PROVISIONS FOR INCREASED AGRICULTURAL TRADE 
BETWEEN SUDAN AND LIBYA IN RECENT AGREEMENTS SUGGEST THAT 
SUCH PROJECTS MAY BECOME MORE COMMON. 
 
7.  FEW LIBYAN MILITARY PERSONNEL ARE EVIDENT IN THE 
KHARTOUM AREA.  REPORTS SUGGEST SOME LIBYAN MILITARY 
PRESENCE IN THE WESTERN PROVINCE OF DARFUR, WHERE LIBYA 
REPORTEDLY SUPPORTS CHADIAN REBELS UNDER IDRISS DEBY. 
LIBYA ALSO MAINTAINS OFFICIAL CONTACT WITH THE SUDANESE 
MINISTRY OF DEFENSE.  IN ADDITION TO ITS ROLE AS SUDAN'S 
PRINCIPAL SUPPLIER OF OIL (AN INCREASING PROPORTION OF 
WHICH GOES TO THE SUDANESE MILITARY), LIBYA HAS FOR SOME 
YEARS BEEN ONE OF SUDAN'S MOST IMPORTANT ARMS SUPPLIERS. 
UNDER THE PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT OF SADIQ AL MAHDI, THE TWO 
COUNTRIES ESTABLISHED A MILITARY PROTOCOL UNDER WHICH 
LIBYA PROVIDED SUDAN WITH MIG-23 AIRCRAFT, BOMBS, 
AMMUNITION, OTHER EQUIPMENT, AND TRAINING.  LIBYAN PILOTS 
ALSO FLEW AIRSTRIKES AGAINST THE SUDAN PEOPLE'S 
LIBERATION ARMY (SPLA), A PRACTICE NOW REPORTEDLY 
DISCONTINUED. 
 
8.  IN EARLY 1989, SOME 20 IL-76 TRANSPORT FLIGHTS 
BROUGHT MILITARY EQUIPMENT FROM LIBYA TO SUDAN.  TEN SUCH 
FLIGHTS (CARRYING AMMUNITION, ROCKETS FOR USE ON 
JEEP-TYPE VEHICLES, AND BOMBS) REPORTEDLY ARRIVED IN 
KHARTOUM BETWEEN NOVEMBER 28 AND DECEMBER 5, 1989.  THESE 
FLIGHTS CONTINUE AT THE RATE OF TWO A WEEK.  SIX LIBYAN 
TECHNICIANS REPORTEDLY ARE STATIONED AT THE WADI SIEDNA 
AIRBASE TO MAINTAIN THE MIG-23'S, AND LIBYA REPORT (#) 
A FOUR-YEAR PROGRAM OF UNITY WITH LIBYA.  THE AGREEMENT 
CALLS FOR UNIFICATION IN THE POLITICAL, ECONOMIC, CULTURAL, 
AND SECURITY SPHERES.  IT ALSO ALLOWS SUDANESE AND LIBYAN 
NATIONALS TO TRAVEL WITHOUT VISAS BETWEN SUDAN AND LIBYA, 
WHICH HAS PRODUCED AN UNDETERMINABLE INCREASE IN THE 
NUMBER OF LIBYANS IN SUDAN.  THE SUDAN SECURITY SERVICE 
HAS ALSO VOICED COMPLAINTS AND CONCERNS OVER 
"UNDOCUMENTED LIBYANS" IN THE KHARTOUM AREA. 
 
10.  AS A RESULT OF THE AGREEMENT, THE GOS HELD A 
CONVENTION MARCH 24-26 OF SOME 1,600 PEOPLE, MOSTLY 
SUDANESE INVOLVED IN PREVIOUS GOS CONFERENCES, TO PROVIDE 
A SHOW OF POPULAR SUPPORT FOR THE INTEGRATION PROJECT. 
QADHAFI WAS SCHEDULED TO ADDRESS THE CLOSING RALLY OF THE 
CONFERENCE, BUT, DESPITE SEVERAL PRESS REPORTS TO 
CONTRARY, DID NOT ARRIVE IN KHARTOUM.  LIBYAN DEFENCE 
MINISTER ABU BAKR YUNIS ADDRESSED THE RALLY ALONG WITH 
SUDAN'S HEAD OF STATE, GENERAL OMAR AL-BASHIR.  ACCORDING 
TO MISSION FSN WHO ATTENDED, 50,000 TO 70,000 SUDANESE 
PARTICPATED IN THE HOUR-LONG RALLY WHICH REPEATED WELL 
WORN EXHORTATIONS TO AND PRAISE FOR ARAB UNITY, THE 
CORNERSTONE OF WHICH IS NOW THE INTEGRATION OF SUDAN AND 
LIBYA.  (SEPTEL ON THE RALLY FOLLOWS). 
 
11.  AS A RESULT OF THE INTEGRATION AGREEMENT AND THE 
CONFERENCE THERE IS A MUCH GREATER AND MORE OBVIOUS 
LIBYAN PRESENCE IN KHARTOUM.  THE SITUATION, HOWEVER, IS 
TOO MUCH IN FLUX AT THE MOMENT TO PERMIT A CLEAR 
ASSESSMENT OF THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF THE UNITY 
AGREEMENT.  MOST OBSERVERS, INCLUDING SEVERAL ARAB 
AMBASSADORS AND THE CHADIAN AMBASSADOR, DO NOT EXPECT 
MUCH MORE THAN RHETORIC.  IN THE SHORT TERM, HOWEVER, THE 
LIBYANS ARE HERE IN STRENGTH, MUCH TO THE CHAGRIN OF THE 
MILITARY AND OTHER MORE MODERATE SECTORS OF SOCIETY. 
 
12.  REPORTS OF SUDANESE MILITARY DISENCHANTMENT WITH THE 
LIBYAN UNION HAVE CIRCULATED FROM THE BEGINNING OF THIS 
RELATIONSHIP.  THE ARREST OF SOME TWENTY RETIRED AND 
ACTIVE DUTY OFFICERS MARCH 25 (SEPTEL) FOR COUP PLOTTING 
REPORTEDLY FOLLOWED THEIR AGREEMENT TO MOVE ON A SPECIFIC 
DATE, LARGELY AS A RESULT OF OPPOSITION TO LIBYAN 
INTEGRATION.  HOW EFFECTIVE THE ARRESTS ULTIMATELY PROVE 
TO BE IN KEEPING THE SOLDIERS IN BARRACKS IS STILL NOT 
CLEAR.  WHAT IS CLEAR IS THAT SUDAN'S ARMED FORCES ARE 
UNHAPPY WITH THIS RELATIONSHIP.  GENERAL OMAR, WITH A WAR 
IN THE SOUTH AND A DISENCHANTED MILITARY WILL BE AN 
INCREASINGLY WARY AND NERVOUS CHIEF OF STATE.  HIS 
DEPENDENCE ON LIBYA WILL PROVIDE SMALL CONSOLATION. 
 
 
 
CHEEK 
 
NOTE: (#) OMISSION. CORRECTION TO FOLLOW. 

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