US embassy cable - 90KHARTOUM10657 (original version)

GOS COUNCIL REPUTEDLY SUPPORTS DISMANTLING RELIEF, USE OF MUSTARD GAS IN CIVIL WAR, STRENGTHENED NIF ROLE IN SECURITY (original version)

Identifier: 90KHARTOUM10657
Wikileaks: View 90KHARTOUM10657 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Khartoum
Created: 1990-10-11 10:46:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PGOV PINR PINS MARR EAID PHUM PREL EG IZ SU
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
P 111046Z OCT 90
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6949
INFO AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB
DIA WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 10657 
 
LONDON ALSO FOR AMBASSADOR CHEEK 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:OADR 
TAGS:  PGOV, PINR, PINS, MARR, EAID, PHUM, PREL, EG, IZ, SU 
SUBJECT:  GOS COUNCIL REPUTEDLY SUPPORTS DISMANTLING 
RELIEF, USE OF MUSTARD GAS IN CIVIL WAR, STRENGTHENED NIF 
ROLE IN SECURITY 
 
REF:  A) KHARTOUM 10523, B) KHARTOUM 6823 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL--ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  DR. MAHGOUB EL TIJANI MAHMOUD (STRICTLY 
PROTECT; BIO DISCUSSED REF A) TOLD POLOFF OCT. 6 THAT IN 
SEPTEMBER THE GOS "NATIONAL DEFENSE COUNCIL" SUPPORTED 
DISMANTLING OF RELIEF OPERATIONS, USE OF MUSTARD GAS 
AGAINST THE SUDAN PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY (SPLA), AND A 
STRONGER ROLE FOR THE FUNDAMENTALIST NATIONAL ISLAMIC 
FRONT (NIF) IN SECURITY OPERATIONS.  MAHGOUB ALSO 
CONFIRMED THAT NIF LEADERS ARE MEETING OFTEN WITH 
SUDANESE CHIEF OF STATE GEN. OMAR HASSAN AL-BASHIR.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
3.  DR. MAHGOUB, WHO CLAIMS HE RECEIVED HIS INFORMATION 
FROM SOURCES SYMPATHETIC TO THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FORUM 
(NDF), AN UMBRELLA GROUP FOR OPPONENTS OF THE BASHIR 
GOVERNMENT, TOLD POLOFF THAT A GOS COMMITTEE CALLED THE 
"NATIONAL DEFENSE COUNCIL" MET SHORTLY BEFORE GEN. OMAR'S 
RECENT VISIT TO THE U.S.  ACCORDING TO MAHGOUB, THIS 
GROUP DATES FROM BEFORE THE JUNE 30, 1989, COUP AND IS 
INTENDED TO EXERCISE A GENERAL INFLUENCE OVER NATIONAL 
SECURITY CONCERNS.  ITS MEMBERS ARE:  THE MINISTERS OF 
FOREIGN AFFAIRS, FINANCE, AND INTERIOR; THE ATTORNEY 
GENERAL; THE STATE MINISTER OF DEFENSE; THE SUDANESE 
PEOPLE'S ARMED FORCES (SPAF) COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF AND THREE 
OF HIS PRINCIPAL COLLEAGUES (INCLUDING THE DEPUTY CHIEFS 
OF STAFF FOR OPERATIONS AND ADMINISTRATION); AND GEN. 
OMAR, WHO PRESIDED AT THIS MEETING.  HASSAN AL TURABI, 
LEADER OF THE NATIONAL ISLAMIC FRONT, WAS PRESENT AT 
OMAR'S INVITATION.  BECAUSE TURABI IS NOT A MEMBER AND 
THIS GROUP'S DISCUSSIONS ARE CLOSELY HELD, HIS PRESENCE 
PRODUCED SOME CONCERN AMONG THE REGULAR MEMBERS. 
 
4.  ACCORDING TO MAHGOUB, TURABI WAS INVITED BECAUSE OF 
THE GROWING ROLE OF THE NIF IN SUDANESE SECURITY 
OPERATIONS.  MAHGOUB TOLD POLOFF THAT THE NIF HAS ITS OWN 
SECURITY ARM (THE "'AMN AL-THAWRA," OR "SECURITY OF THE 
REVOLUTION"), SEPARATE FROM THE SUDAN SECURITY BUREAU OF 
THE GOS.  ITS OPERATIVES, WHO CARRY SPECIAL IDENTITY 
CARDS, ARE USUALLY YOUNG AND DRESS IN WESTERN-STYLE 
CLOTHES TO AVOID BEING IDENTIFIED AS NIF CADRE.  MAHGOUB 
SAID THEY ARE ESPECIALLY ACTIVE AT NIGHT, PATROLLING THE 
STREETS IN GROUPS ON FOOT OR IN SMALL CARS TO APPREHEND 
CURFEW VIOLATORS OR PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN DRINKING. 
(MAHGOUB DESCRIBED A RUN-IN HE HAD HAD WITH THEM AFTER HE 
HAD HIMSELF BEEN DRINKING.)  ACCORDING TO MAHGOUB, THE 
"SHABAAT AL BINA" (YOUTH FOR RECONSTRUCTION), A RECENTLY 
REPORTED INFORMAL SECURITY GROUP, IS AN NIF AUXILIARY 
COMPOSED OF HIGH SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY STUDENTS. 
 
5.  MAHGOUB SAID TURABI REPROACHED THE COUNCIL FOR 
REFUSING TO STRENGTHEN NIF SECURITY ORGANS AND FOR 
ACCORDING GREATER SUPPORT INSTEAD TO THE SUDAN SECURITY 
BUREAU.  HE ARGUED THAT IT WAS TIME TO GIVE GREATER SCOPE 
TO NIF SECURITY OPERATIONS AND ARGUED FOR A RENEWED DRIVE 
AGAINST DISSIDENTS IN SUDAN--IN PART OUT OF A BELIEF THAT 
WESTERN NATIONS WOULD NOT ALLOW THE BASHIR REGIME TO 
REMAIN IN POWER LONG.  TURABI ALSO SUPPORTED RENEWED 
ACTIVITIES TO DESTABILIZE EGYPT BY SENDING AGITATORS, 
ESPECIALLY STUDENTS, TRAINED IN SUDAN INTO EGYPT TO 
FOMENT UNREST BY CAUSING DISCORD BETWEEN EGYPTIAN MUSLIMS 
AND COPTS. 
 
6.  ACCORDING TO MAHGOUB, OMAR AGREED WITH TURABI'S PLEA 
ABOUT NIF SECURITY FORCES BUT SAID THAT THE MONEY TO 
REINFORCE NIF SECURITY WAS NOT AVAILABLE.  OMAR POINTED 
OUT THAT THE GOS HAD AGREED TO FUND IMAMS AND MUEZZINS AT 
CONSIDERABLE COST.  (NOTE:  ON SEPT. 19 THE GOS ANNOUNCED 
THAT IMAMS WOULD BE PAID 400 SUDANESE POUNDS PER MONTH 
AND MUEZZINS 350 POUNDS--USDOLS 90 AND 78 RESPECTIVELY AT 
THE OFFICIAL EXCHANGE RATE OF 4.45 POUNDS TO THE DOLLAR. 
END NOTE.)  OMAR ADDED THAT THE INVASION OF KUWAIT BY 
IRAQ HAD RESULTED IN THE LOSS OF USDOLS 140 MILLION OF 
EXPECTED KUWAITI CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE ISLAMIC DAW'A IN 
SUDAN, FROM WHICH MONEY FOR NIF SECURITY FORCES WAS TO 
HAVE BEEN DRAWN.  ALTHOUGH UNABLE TO PROVIDE GREATER 
FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO THE "SECURITY OF THE REVOLUTION," 
THE COUNCIL ACCORDED TURABI SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASED 
INFLUENCE OVER SECURITY ACTIVITIES IN SUDAN.  NO CHANGE, 
HOWEVER, WAS MADE IN THE FORMAL SECURITY STRUCTURE; 
TURABI'S ROLE IS TO BE LARGELY INFORMAL THOUGH NOT 
WITHOUT INFLUENCE. 
 
7.  MAHGOUB SAID THE COUNCIL ALSO DISCUSSED THE PROBLEM 
OF THE SOUTH.  THE MEMBERS AGREED THAT WESTERN RELIEF 
AGENCIES POSE A BARRIER TO VIGOROUS PROSECUTION OF THE 
CIVIL WAR.  THEY AGREED ON A PROGRAM OF HARASSMENT AND 
OBSTRUCTIONISM OF RELIEF EFFORTS INTENDED TO FORCE RELIEF 
AGENCIES TO WITHDRAW FROM THE SOUTH, PREFERABLY BY THE 
END OF DECEMBER 1990.  THIS PROGRAM COULD ESCALATE TO 
AMBUSHES OF RELIEF WORKERS OR DESTRUCTION OF RELIEF 
AIRPLANES, ESPECIALLY IF THESE ACTIONS COULD BE BLAMED ON 
THE SUDAN PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY (SPLA).  WITH THE 
RELIEF AGENCIES GONE, THE SUDANESE MILITARY COULD EMPLOY 
IN THE CIVIL WAR ZONE SOME FIVE TONS OF "KHARDALAH" 
(MUSTARD) GAS GIVEN TO SUDAN BY IRAQ.  (SEE COMMENT) 
 
8.  MAHGOUB CONFIRMED THAT NIF LEADERS OFTEN MEET WITH 
GEN. OMAR TO DISCUSS GOS POLICY.  MAHGOUB SAID THEY ALSO 
MEET AS A GROUP TO COORDINATE THEIR VIEWS--OFTEN DURING 
THE CURFEW PERIOD AT NIGHT TO AVOID OBSERVATION.  APART 
FROM TURABI, THEY INCLUDE: 
 
-     MOHAMMED YOUSIF MOHAMMED, AN ATTORNEY AND FORMER 
SPEAKER OF THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY (CA) NOW ACTIVE IN 
THE ISLAMIC-AFRICAN RELIEF ORGANIZATION; 
 
-     ALI OSMAN MOHAMMED TAHA, NIF DEPUTY GENERAL 
SECRETARY; 
 
-     DR. IBRAHIM AHMED OMER, FORMER NIF DEPUTY IN THE CA 
AND NOW HEAD OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION; 
 
-     DR. NAFI ALI NAFI, FORMER AGRICULTURE PROFESSOR AND 
CURRENTLY A MAJOR FIGURE IN SUDANESE SECURITY; 
 
-     IBRAHIM SENUSSI, A MAJOR FIGURE IN THE NIF'S MOTHER 
ORGANIZATION, THE MOSLEM BROTHERS; 
 
-     AHMED SULEIMAN, FORMER COLUMNIST FOR THE NIF PARTY 
PAPER "AL RAYA" ("THE PILLAR") AND NOW COLUMNIST IN TWO 
GOS-CONTROLLED DAILIES; 
 
-     MOHAMMED MOHAMMED SADIQ AL KARORI, PRESIDENT OF THE 
HIGHER ADVISORY COUNCIL OF THE NIF; 
 
-     HAFIZ AS-SHEIKH ZAKI, CURRENTLY DEAN OF THE 
UNIVERSITY OF KHARTOUM SCHOOL OF LAW; 
 
-     AHMAD MAHJOUB HAG NUR, AN INFLUENTIAL LEADER OF THE 
NIF'S RADICAL WING. 
 
9.  COMMENT:  ALTHOUGH NEVER CONFIRMED, ACCOUNTS OF 
POSSESSION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS BY THE GOS HAVE BEEN RIFE 
FOR YEARS.  INTELLIGENCE SOURCES DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE 
SAF, IF THEY HAVE CHEMICAL WEAPONS, I.E. MUSTARD GAS, 
NAPALM, ARE CAPABLE OF MIXING THE CHEMICALS, STORING THEM 
WITHOUT HARM TO THEMSELVES OR DELIVERING THEM TO AN 
ENEMY.  GOS OBSTRUCTIONISM ON RELIEF, RECENTLY 
ESCALATING, IS A MATTER OF RECORD.  MAHGOUB'S COMMENTS 
CONFIRM MANY PREVIOUS REPORTS (MOST NOTABLY IN REF B) 
ABOUT THE DOMINANT ROLE OF THE NIF WITHIN THE GOS, 
INCLUDING THE EXISTENCE OF NIF SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS AND 
GEN. OMAR'S CLOSE CONNECTIONS WITH THE NIF.  NIF LEADERS, 
INCLUDING TURABI, NOW OPENLY AVOW THE IDENTITY BETWEEN 
THEIR VIEWS AND THOSE OF THE GOS.  MANY OF THE NAMES ON 
MAHGOUB'S LIST HAVE BEEN MENTIONED IN THE PAST AS MEMBERS 
OF THE "COUNCIL OF FORTY," A SHADOWY GROUP WHICH 
ALLEGEDLY HAS DIRECTED THE GOS SINCE THE JUNE 30, 1989 
COUP.  DETAILS ABOUT THE GROUP REMAIN ELUSIVE, BUT MOST 
SUDANESE (INCLUDING OFFICIALS) ACKNOWLEDGE THAT 
UNOFFICIAL SOURCES WIELD CONSIDERABLE INFLUENCE. 
TURABI'S ALLEGED SECURITY ROLE INDICATES THAT THE 
"REORGANIZATION" OF GOS SECURITY ORGANS SEVERAL MONTHS 
AGO, WHICH STRIPPED THE RELATIVELY MODERATE BRIG. IBRAHIM 
NAIL EIDAM OF HIS SECURITY RESPONSIBILITIES, WAS INTENDED 
TO BRING THAT SECTOR AS WELL UNDER GREATER NIF INFLUENCE. 
 
 
O'NEILL 

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