US embassy cable - 94KHARTOUM6366 (original version)

SUDANESE MISCHIEF-MAKING: DOES IT MATTER? (original version)

Identifier: 94KHARTOUM6366
Wikileaks: View 94KHARTOUM6366 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Khartoum
Created: 1994-12-14 13:49:00
Classification: SECRET
Tags: PREL KISL PTER SU
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
R 141349Z DEC 94
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9832
AMEMBASSY CAIRO 
AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 
AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 
AMEMBASSY ASMARA 
AMEMBASSY RIYADH 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
DIA WASHDC
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 KHARTOUM 06366 
 
LONDON FOR YOUNG; PARIS FOR MORAN 
E.O. 12356; DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, KISL, PTER, SU 
SUBJECT: SUDANESE MISCHIEF-MAKING: DOES IT MATTER? 
 
REF: A) DUSHANBE 2573 (NOTAL); B) NOUAKCHOTT 3541 
 
 
1. SECRET/NOFORN ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2. SUMMARY. THE GOS/NIF IS INDOCTRINATING ITS PEOPLE 
IN ITS RADICAL, ANTI-WESTERN VERSION OF ISLAM.  IT 
PROMOTES ITS IDEOLOGY ABROAD BY TRAINING AND HELPING 
FOREIGN ISLAMISTS AND BY PROSELYTIZING THROUGH 
ISLAMIST NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS.  THE GOS/NIP 
ALSO SEEKS TO EXPORT POLITICAL CHANGE BY FORCE, AS 
EVIDENCED BY ITS EFFORTS TO DESTABILIZE ERITREA AND 
UGANDA.  MOREOVER, THE GOS/NIF SUPPORTS MOST MAJOR 
MIDDLE EASTERN TERRORIST GROUPS. 
 
3. THE IMPORT OF THESE ACTIVITIES SHOULD NOT BE 
OVERSTATED: TERRORISTS WILL CONTINUE TO OPERATE, 
STABILITY IN THE HORN OF AFRICA WILL REMAIN 
PRECARIOUS, AND RADICAL ISLAMISTS WORLDWIDE WILL 
CONTINUE TO OPPOSE THE U.S. WITH OR WITHOUT SUDAN'S 
HELP.  GOS/NIF BEHAVIOR, HOWEVER, MAKES THINGS WORSE 
ON ALL THREE SCORES.  ONE OF THE POOREST COUNTRIES IN 
THE WORLD, SUDAN NONETHELESS SUCCEEDS IN PROJECTING 
INFLUENCE ABROAD; UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS UNIFORMLY 
NEGATIVE IN TERMS OF U.S. VALUES AND INTERESTS.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
4. SINCE THE GOS/NIF SEIZED POWER IN 1989 IT HAS 
BECOME INCREASINGLY CLEAR THAT THIS OSTENSIBLY 
MILITARY GOVERNMENT IS A TOOL OF SUDAN'S NATIONAL 
ISLAMIC FRONT (NIF).  SPEAKING TO U.S. OFFICIALS, 
SENIOR OFFICIALS OF THE GOS AND THE NIF THAT CONTROLS 
IT OFTEN PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS "MODERATE" ISLAMISTS. 
THEY SAY THEY BEAR NO FUNDAMENTAL HOSTILITY TO THE 
WEST OR TO THE U.S., AND BLAME STRAINED U.S- SUDANESE 
RELATIONS ON AN ALLEGED U.S. BIAS AGAINST ISLAM. 
 
----------------------------------- 
GOS/NIF SEEKS TO INDOCTRINATE SUDAN 
----------------------------------- 
 
5. THEIR PROTESTATIONS, HOWEVER, ARE BELIED BY THE 
EXTREMIST MESSAGE THE REGIME PROPOUNDS TO THE 
SUDANESE.  THE UBIQUITOUS GOS/NIF PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN 
PROMOTES A MILITANT AND INTOLERANT VERSION OF ISLAM. 
ALTHOUGH SUDANESE BELONG TO A VARIETY OF CREEDS, 
OFFICIAL RHETORIC TREATS ISLAM AS THE DE FACTO STATE 
RELIGION AND ADVOCATES INFUSING ALL OF SOCIETY WITH 
ITS VALUES.  OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA EXTOLS THE WAR IN 
THE SOUTH AS A "JIHAD" (HOLY WAR) AGAINST UNBELIEVERS. 
 
6. NOWHERE, PERHAPS, IS THE EXTREMISM OF GOS/NIF 
ISLAMIST PROPAGANDA MORE APPARENT THAN IN ITS 
TREATMENT OF THE WEST.  GOS/NIP OFFICIALS ROUTINELY 
DEPICT THE WEST AS UNGODLY, DECADENT, AND HOSTILE. 
THEY SINGLE OUT THE U.S. FOR SPECIAL ATTACK, 
PORTRAYING IT AS A MALEVOLENT POWER BENT ON COMBATING 
ISLAM.  THIS DRUMBEAT IS RELENTLESS AND PERVASIVE. 
 
7. IT IS A STAPLE OF THE GOS-CONTROLLED MEDIA, WHICH 
ARE FULL OF COMMENTARIES, ARTICLES, EDITORIALS, AND 
SONGS LAMBASTING THE U.S.  A POPULAR VIDEO THE T.V. 
IS RUNNING SUMS UP THE MESSAGE, PORTRAYING THE U.S. 
AS THE FOE.  IMAGES OF U.S. FORCES ARE CONTRASTED 
WITH SHOTS OF THE GOS'S ISLAMIC POPULAR DEFENCE 
FORCES (PDF) MARCHING PROUDLY BY.  OTHER IMAGES SHOW 
LIGHTNING SYMBOLICALLY STRIKING THE U.S. STATUE OF 
LIBERTY.  THE LYRICS AMPLIFY THE THEME OF THE U.S. AS 
THE ENEMY.  SUCH PROPAGANDA IS DAILY MEDIA FARE. 
 
8. THE GOS/NIP'S RADICAL ISLAMIST MESSAGE, WITH ITS 
STRONG ANTI-U.S. COMPONENT, IS CONVEYED IN OTHER WAYS 
AS WELL.  TENS OF THOUSANDS OF SUDANESE A YEAR ABSORB 
HEAVY DOSES OF IT IN POPULAR DEFENSE FORCES' 
TRAINING.  (PDF SONGS OFTEN DESCRIBE HOW THE PDF WILL 
DEFEAT THE AMERICANS.)  PRO-NIP TEACHERS RELAY THE 
MESSAGE IN SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES, AND 
GOS-APPOINTED PREACHERS ECHO THE THEMES IN SERMONS AT 
MOSQUES. 
 
9. JUST HOW MUCH IMPACT THIS PROPAGANDA HAS IS HARD 
TO TELL.  MANY SUDANESE DISMISS IT OUT OF HAND. 
OTHERS, HOWEVER, ESPECIALLY AMONG THE YOUNG AND LESS 
EDUCATED, HEED IT MORE.  MANY HAVE NO OTHER SOURCE OF 
INFORMATION ON THE OUTSIDE WORLD.  MOROEVER, SUDANESE 
MUSLIMS ARE OFTEN DEEPLY RELIGIOUS.  BY PORTRAYING 
ISLAM AS UNDER U.S. ASSAULT, GOS/NIP PROPAGANDA 
ELICITS AMONG SOME AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE.  WE THINK 
THIS PROPAGANDA IS CONVINCING A SEGMENT OF OPINION 
THAT ISLAM IS THREATENED AND THAT THE US. IS THE FOE. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
AND TRIES TO PROMOTE RADICALISM WORLDWIDE 
----------------------------------------- 
 
10. THE GOS/NIP IS NOT CONTENT, HOWEVER, WITH PUSHING 
RADICAL ISLAM AT HOME.  IT PROMOTES ITS WORLDVIEW 
ABROAD AS WELL.  A SPECIAL UNIVERSITY IN KHARTOUM, 
AFRICA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY (AIU), SCHOOLS 
THOUSANDS OF FOREIGNERS, MOSTLY AFRICANS, IN THE NIP 
VERSION OF ISLAM.  ALMOST ALL ARE ON SCHOLARSHIPS. 
FOREIGNERS ALSO HAVE SCHOLARSHIPS TO OTHER SUDANESE 
UNIVERSITIES WHERE THE TEACHING LIKEWISE LEANS 
HEAVILY TOWARD RADICAL ISLAM, WITH A STRONG 
ANTI-WESTERN COMPONENT. 
 
11. UPON GRADUATING, THESE STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO 
GO HOME TO IMPART WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED. 
ADMITTEDLY, JUST AS MOSCOW'S PATRICE LUMUMBA 
UNIVERSITY PRODUCED ITS SHARE OF ANTI-COMMUNISTS, NOT 
ALL FOREIGN STUDENTS ARE IMPRESSED WITH WHAT THEY SEE 
AND HEAR IN SUDAN.  STILL, A NUMBER LEAVE CONVINCED. 
 
12. THE GOS/NIF FURTHER PROMOTES RADICAL ISLAM 
THROUGH EXTENSIVE TIES TO LIKE-MINDED ISLAMISTS 
WORLDWIDE.  TWO INSTRUMENTS TO THIS END ARE THE 
POPULAR ARAB ISLAMIC CONFERENCE (PAIC), HEADED BY NIF 
SECRETARY GENERAL HASSAN TURABI, AND THE COUNCIL FOR 
INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES' FRIENDSHIP (CIPF), HEADED BY A 
TURABI PROTEGE. 
 
13. THE PAIC AND THE CIPF MAINTAIN LINKS WITH GROUPS 
AS DISPARATE AS LOUIS FARRAKHAN'S NATION OF ISLAM AND 
ISLAMIST GROUPS IN TAJIKSTAN AND KASHMIR.  ALTHOUGH 
THE NATURE OF THESE CONTACTS IS SHADOWY, THE PAIC AND 
CIPF CLEARLY OFFER OTHER ISLAMIST GROUPS 
ENCOURAGEMENT AND MORAL SUPPORT.  WE KNOW THE PAIC 
AND CIPF HAVE ALSO, ON OCCASION, FUNDED FOREIGN 
ISLAMISTS. 
 
14. OTHER TOOLS FOR SPREADING THE ISLAMIST AGENDA ARE 
SUDANESE ISLAMIC NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, 
AMONG WHICH DAWA ISLAMIIYA, MUWAFAQ, AND THE ISLAMIC 
AFRICAN RELIEF ASSOCIATION (IARA) ARE THE BEST 
KNOWN.  THEY OPERATE IN SEVERAL FOREIGN COUNTRIES, 
NOTABLY IN AFRICA.  OSTENSIBLY ENGAGED IN BENEVOLENT 
WORK, THESE NIF INSTRUMENTS ALSO SPREAD NIF VIEWS. 
THE FACT THAT THE CASH-STRAPPED GOS/NIF SPENDS 
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR ON AIU, THE PAIC AND CIPF, 
AND ISLAMIC NGOS SPEAKS OF ITS COMMITMENT TO 
SPREADING ITS VERSION OF ISLAM AMONG MUSLIMS AND 
NON-MUSLIMS ALIKE.  THE MESSAGE BEING SPREAD 
INCLUDES, OF COURSE, HOSTILITY TO THE WEST AND THE 
U.S. 
 
------------------------------- 
GOS/NIF DESTABILIZING NEIGHBORS 
------------------------------- 
 
15. NOR DOES THE GOS/NIF MERELY PEACEFULLY PEDDLE ITS 
VIEWS ABROAD.  IT IS NOT LOATHE TO EXPORTING 
POLITICAL CHANGE BY FORCE.  GOS/NIF SUPPORT FOR THE 
ERITREAN ISLAMIC JIHAD, AN ISLAMIST MOVEMENT THAT 
SEEKS THE VIOLENT OVERTHROW OF THE ERITREAN 
GOVERNMENT, LED ASMARA TO BREAK DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS 
WITH KHARTOUM RECENTLY.  THERE IS ALSO CONVINCING 
EVIDENCE THE GOS/NIF IS MATERIALLY ASSISTING THE 
INSURGENT LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA) IN NORTHERN 
UGANDA. 
 
16. GIVEN THE SECRETIVE NATURE OF GOS/NIF LINKS TO 
MANY ISLAMIST GROUPS, IT PROBABLE BUT NOT PROVEN THAT 
IT IS SUPPORTING DESTABILIZATION EFFORTS ELSEWHERE AS 
WELL.  IN THE PAST SIX MONTHS, HOWEVER, SUDANESE 
ISLAMISTS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED FOR SUBVERSION AS FAR 
AFIELD AS MAURITANIA AND TAJIKSTAN (REFS A AND B). 
THIS RAISES THE POSSIBILITY THAT SUDANESE ISLAMISTS 
MAY HAVE AN AGENDA FOR DESTABILIZATION THAT GOES 
BEYOND SUDAN'S IMMEDIATE NEIGHBORS. 
 
------------------------ 
AND SUPPORTING TERRORISM 
------------------------ 
 
17. BESIDES BEFRIENDING RADICAL ISLAMISTS WORLDWIDE, 
THE GOS/NIF IS SPECIFICALLY SOLLICITOUS OF 
TERRORISTS.  IT HAS AN OPEN DOOR POLICY FOR EVERY 
MIDDLE EASTERN TERRORIST GROUP.  HAMAS, THE VARIOUS 
FACTIONS OF THE PALESTINIAN ISLAMIC JIHAD, THE ABU 
NIDAL ORGANIZATION, HIZBALLAH, THE POPULAR FRONT FOR 
THE LIBERATION OF PALESTINE-GENERAL COMMAND, AND THE 
FRONT ISLAMIQUE DU SALUT (FIS) ALL ARE PRESENT HERE, 
OFTEN IN A SIGNIFICANT FASHION, WITH THE BLESSING OF 
THE GOS. 
 
18. THE INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST CARLOS LIVED HERE FOR 
MORE THAN A YEAR WITH THE PROTECTION OF SENIOR GOS 
OFFICIALS BEFORE KHARTOUM, UNDER PRESSURE FROM 
FRANCE, RELUCTANTLY TURNED HIM OVER.  RENEGADE SAUDI 
BUSINESSMAN OSAMA BIN LADEN, A PATRON OF 
INTERNATIONAL ISLAMIST EXTREMISTS, HAS MOVED HIS HOME 
AND HEADQUARTERS TO SUDAN. 
 
19. THANKS TO GOS/NIF HOSPITALITY, TERRORISTS OF 
EVERY DESCRIPTION CAN GATHER QUIETLY IN SUDANESE 
SAFE-HOUSES, FAR FROM THE UNWANTED ATTENTION OF THEIR 
HOME-COUNTRY SECURITY SERVICES.  SUDAN HAS ALSO 
PROVIDED DIFFERENT GROUPS MATERIAL ASSISTANCE AT 
VARIOUS TIMES.  ONLY A FEW WEEKS AGO ISRAEL PUBLICLY 
PRODUCED A HAMAS MEMBER CAPTURED IN THE OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES, WHO CONFESSED HE HAD RECEIVED MILITARY 
TRAINING IN SUDAN.  ALSO A FEW WEEKS AGO, TUNISIA 
DISCLOSED IT HAD ARRESTED TEN TUNISIAN TERRORISTS WHO 
HAD TRAINED IN SUDAN (REF C).  REPORTING IN OTHER 
CHANNELS SHOWS THAT THE GOS/NIF HAS HELPED FUNNEL 
WEAPONS TO THE FIS AND GIVEN ARMS, TRAINING, FUNDS 
AND TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TO OTHER TERRORIST GROUPS. 
 
--------------- 
DOES IT MATTER? 
--------------- 
 
20. IN FAIRNESS TO THE GOS/NIF, IT IS NOT THE FIRST 
GOVERNMENT IN THE REGION TO SUPPORT ITS NEIGHBORS' 
INSURGENTS.  ARGUABLY, UGANDA BEGAN SUPPORTING THE 
SUDAN PEOPLE'S LIBERATION ARMY BEFORE SUDAN RESPONDED 
BY HELPING THE LRA.  GOS/NIF EFFORTS TO UNDERMINE 
ERITREA, ON THE OTHER HAND, ARE UNPROVOKED. 
 
21. WE DEFER TO KAMPALA AND ASMARA FOR A DEFINITIVE 
ANALYSIS OF THE DANGER GOS/NIF BEHAVIOR POSES TO 
UGANDA AND ERITREA.  OUR SENSE IS THAT IN BOTH CASES 
IT IS TROUBLESOME BUT NOT REGIME-THREATENING. 
HOWEVER, THIS REFLECTS MORE, IN OUR VIEW, THE 
STRENGTHS OF BOTH REGIMES THAN A LACK OF A SERIOUS 
EFFORT ON THE GOS/NIF'S PART TO CAUSE TROUBLE.  AND 
IT REMAINS THAT KHARTOUM IS FLOUTING INTERNATIONAL 
STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR AND EARNESTLY FOMENTING 
REBELLION IN COUNTRIES WHERE STABILITY IS A RECENT 
AND HARD-WON GAIN.  AT SOME POINT, IF THE GOS/NIF 
KEEPS TRYING HARD ENOUGH, ITS EFFORTS MIGHT BE MORE 
SUCCESSFUL, EITHER IN THESE TWO COUNTRIES OR 
ELSEWHERE. 
 
22. REGARDING TERRORISM, SUDAN, TO THE BEST OF OUR 
KNOWLEDGE, HAS STOPPED SHORT OF DIRECTLY SPONSORING 
AN ACT OF INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM.  MOREOVER, THE 
GROUPS SUDAN ABETS ARE, FIRST AND FOREMOST, A PRODUCT 
OF THE INTERNAL TENSIONS IN THE COUNTRIES WHERE THEY 
WERE BORN.  HAMAS, THE PIJ, OR THE FIS WILL EXIST 
WITH OR WITHOUT GOS/NIF HELP.  FURTHERMORE, THE 
NATURE OF THIS AID IS LIMITED.  SUDAN IS TOO POOR AND 
TOO WEAK A STATE TO GIVE THEM MORE THAN LIMITED HELP. 
 
23. THIS IS NOT, HOWEVER, THE SAME AS SAYING THAT 
GOS/NIF SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM DOES NOT MATTER.  THE 
LOW OR NO-COST ASSISTANCE SUDAN CAN READILY PROVIDE 
-- SAFE PLACES WHERE TERRORISTS CAN MEET, TRAIN, OR 
SIMPLY REST AND RECUPERATE DISCREETLY -- IS OF NO 
SMALL VALUE TO CLANDESTINE TERRORIST GROUPS. 
 
24. TERRORISM, MOREOVER, REMAINS A RELATIVELY 
LOW-COST UNDERTAKING.  IT DOES NOT TAKE MASSIVE 
INFUSIONS OF WEAPONS OR CASH TO INCREASE A TERRORIST 
GROUP'S ABILITY TO DO HARM.  EVEN DIRT-POOR SUDAN CAN 
GIVE ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THIS REGARD. 
AGAIN, THE GROUPS SUDAN HELPS DO NOT NEED THE GOS/NIF 
TO THRIVE; THE HELP DOES ENHANCE, HOWEVER, THEIR 
ABILITY TO CAUSE TROUBLE.  THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT 
ANY HELP TERRORISTS RECEIVE IS TOO MUCH HELP. 
 
25. LASTLY, DOES IT MATTER THAT SUDAN INDOCTRINATES 
ITS OWN PEOPLE AND OTHERS IN RADICAL ISLAM?  IT 
PROBABLY DOES.  PRECISELY WHAT IMPACT 
SUDANESE-TRAINED ISLAMISTS HAVE WHEN THEY RETURN TO 
THEIR HOME COUNTRIES IS IMPOSSIBLE TO TELL.  AT A 
MINIMUM, HOWEVER, SUDAN'S EFFORTS ARE INCREASING THE 
NUMBERS OF THOSE, IN AND OUT OF SUDAN, COMMITTED TO 
MILITANT ISLAM AND CONVINCED THE U.S. IS ITS FOE. 
THIS CAN DO NO GOOD AND CAN CAUSE SOME HARM. 
 
26. IT IS PROBABLY NO ACCIDENT THAT MOST OF THE 
DEFENDENTS IN THE CURRENT NEW YORK CITY BOMBINGS 
TRIAL ARE SUDANESE.  THIS IS NOT TO SAY THAT THE 
GOS/NIF DIRECTED THEM TO COMMIT TERRORISM IN THE 
U.S.  WE DO THINK, HOWEVER, THAT GOS/NIF RADICAL 
PROPAGANDA MAY HAVE HELPED THEM CONVINCE THEMSELVES 
THE U.S. HAS A MAJOR ENEMY OF ISLAM.  FROM THERE ON 
IT BECAME EASIER FOR THEM TO CONCLUDE THAT 
ANTI-AMERICAN TERRORISM WAS JUSTIFIED IN THE NAME OF 
JIHAD. 
 
27. IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, THE GOS/NIF'S ABILITY TO 
DO HARM MUST NOT BE OVERSTATED.  MIDDLE EASTERN 
TERRORISTS WILL STILL OPERATE, REGIONAL STABILITY IN 
THE HORN AND ELSEWHERE IN AFRICA WILL REMAIN FRAGILE, 
AND RADICAL ISLAMISTS WORLDWIDE WILL CONTINUE TO 
REVILE AND OPPOSE THE U.S. REGARDLESS OF WHAT SUDAN 
DOES OR DOES NOT DO.  GOS/NIF BEHAVIOR, HOWEVER, 
MAKES THINGS WORSE ON ALL THREE SCORES. 
28. IRONICALLY, THIS FOURTH-WORLD COUNTRY THAT RANKS 
ON THE BOTTOM RUNG OF ALMOST EVERY INDICE OF 
DEVELOPMENT -- PER CAPITA GDP, LEVELS OF LITERACY AND 
INFANT MORTALITY, AND THE LIKE -- MANAGES TO PROJECT 
INFLUENCE ABROAD.  UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS UNIFORMLY 
NEGATIVE IN TERMS OF U.S. INTERESTS AND VALVES. 
GOS/NIP MISCHIEF-MAKING THUS DOES MATTER.  JUST HOW 
MUCH IT MATTERS DEPENDS HOW MUCH ONE VALVES THE 
INTERNATIONAL LEGALITY SUDAN BRAZENLY FLOUTS. 
 
 
BENEDICT 

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