US embassy cable - 96DAKAR2654

CONTINUING DISQUIET IN THE TIDIANE ISLAMIC BROTHERHOOD

Identifier: 96DAKAR2654
Wikileaks: View 96DAKAR2654 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Dakar
Created: 1996-04-08 07:47:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: KISL PGOV PINS SG
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 080747Z APR 96
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9922
INFO AMEMBASSY BISSAU 
AMEMBASSY BAMAKO 
AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT 
AMEMBASSY BANJUL 
AMEMBASSY CONAKRY 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 002654 
 
 
PARIS FOR MORAN 
REYKJAVIK FOR WAGNER 
 
E.O. 12958:  DECL:  4/15/06 
TAGS:  KISL, PGOV, PINS, SG 
SUBJECT: CONTINUING DISQUIET IN THE TIDIANE ISLAMIC 
BROTHERHOOD 
 
REF:  REFS:  A) 95 DAKAR 10469 
             B) DAKAR 194 
 
1.  CLASSIFIED CONFIDENTIAL ENTIRE TEXT BY: 
AMBASSADOR, AMEMBASSY DAKAR.  REASON:  1.5 (B) 
 
2.  BEGIN SUMMARY:  A PROMINENT LAWYER FAMILIAR WITH 
THE INNER WORKINGS OF THE TIDIANE ISLAMIC 
BROTHERHOOD SAYS THAT IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE 
JANUARY ATTEMPT ON THE LIFE OF ABDUL AZIZ SY, JR., 
THE RIVALRY TO SUCCEED THE AGING KHALIFE GENERAL HAS 
BECOME MORE PRECARIOUS.  THE POLICE INVESTIGATION 
INTO THE AFFAIR WILL PRODUCE NOTHING LINKING HIS 
CLIENT, CHEIKH TIDIANE SY, TO THE ASSASSINATION 
ATTEMPT, OUR CONTACT PREDICTS.  THE OPEN RIVALRY 
BETWEEN CHEIKH TIDIANE SY AND THE OTHER MAIN 
CONTENDER, ABDUL AZIZ SY, JR., WILL REMAIN A SERIOUS 
THREAT TO PEACE WITHIN THIS INFLUENTIAL RELIGIOUS 
GROUP.  PRESIDENT DIOUF IS CONCERNED ABOUT THE 
POTENTIAL FOR VIOLENT CONFRONTATION.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  DURING AN APRIL 3 LUNCHEON MEETING WITH DCM, 
MADICKE NIANG, A PROMINENT SENEGALESE LAWYER AND A 
PERSON FAMILIAR WITH THE INNER WORKINGS OF SENEGAL'S 
RELIGIOUS BROTHERHOODS, SAID THE STRUGGLE FOR 
SUCCESSION TO HEAD THE POWERFUL TIDIANE RELIGIOUS 
BROTHERHOOD (REF A) REMAINED TENSE AND THAT THE 
JANUARY ATTEMPT IN THE LIFE OF ABDUL AZIZ SY, JR. 
(REF. B) HAD ONLY EXACERBATED THE SITUATION.  NIANG 
DISMISSED ANOTHER OF THE KHALIFE GENERAL'S NEPHEWS, 
MANSOUR SY, AS A SERIOUS CONTENDER, SAYING THE 
PRINCIPAL RIVALS TO HEAD THE TIDIANE BROTHERHOOD 
AFTER THE DEATH OF THE AGING AND FRAIL KHALIFE 
GENERAL WERE ABDUL AZIZ SY, JR., THE KHALIFE 
GENERAL'S SPOKESMAN, AND HIS BROTHER CHEIKH TIDIANE 
SY, THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE OF THE BREAKAWAY 
MOUSTARCHIDINE FACTION.  NIANG SAID HE PROVIDED THE 
LATTER WITH LEGAL COUNSEL.  (NOTE:  MINISTER OF 
STATE ABDULAYE WADE AND THE KHALIFE GENERAL OF THE 
MOURIDE BROTHERHOOD ARE ALSO NIANG'S CLIENTS.) 
 
4.  THE RIVALRY REPRESENTED A SERIOUS THREAT TO THE 
STABILITY OF THE COUNTRY, NIANG SAID, IN THAT THE 
CONTENDERS FOR POWER COULD EASILY LOOSE CONTROL OF 
THEIR MANY DEVOTED AND SOMETIMES OVERLY ZEALOUS 
FOLLOWERS.  INDEED, THE PERPETRATOR OF THE BOMBING 
ATTEMPT ON THE LIFE OF ABDUL AZIZ, JR. WAS A 
FANATICAL FOLLOWER OF CHEIKH TIDIANE SY AND WAS 
SOLELY RRESPONSIBLE FOR THE INCIDENT, NIANG 
ASSERTED.  WHILE THE POLICE CONTINUED THEIR 
INVESTIGATION INTO THE AFFAIR, THE INTENDED VICTIM'S 
ACCUSATION NOT WITHSTANDING, HE PREDICTED THAT THE 
POLICE WOULD TURN UP NO EVIDENCE OF A PLOT LINKING 
CHEIKH TIDIANE SY, OR ANYONE CLOSE TO HIM, TO THE 
ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.  HIS CLIENT WOULD NEVER 
ATTEMPT SO FOOLHARDY AN ADVENTURE SIMPLY BECAUSE HE 
WOULD BE THE MOST OBVIOUS SUSPECT.  FURTHER, CHEIKH 
TIDIANE SY FULLY REALIZED THE POTENTIAL FOR BLOODY 
CONFRONTATION WITHIN THE TIDIANE BROTHERHOOD WERE 
ONE OF ITS LEADERS TO BE KILLED.  NIANG ALSO POINTED 
TO CHEIKH TIDIANE SY'S RESTRAINT IN NOT CALLING ON 
HIS FOLLOWERS FOR SUPPORT DURING THE RECENT MOVE TO 
EVICT HIM FROM A HOME HE HAD INHABITED (SEE DAKAR 
2017). 
 
5.  AT THE SAME TIME, NIANG WAS NOT OPTIMISTIC THAT 
IN THE LONG TERM THE RIVALS TO BE THE NEXT TIDIANE 
KHALIFE GENERAL WOULD BE ABLE TO SETTLE THEIR 
DIFFERENCES PEACEFULLY.  BEFORE THE ASSASSINATION 
ATTEMPT THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A CHANCE FOR THE 
BROTHERS TO SIT DOWN AND TALK.  NIANG SAID THAT 
BEFORE JANUARY HE HAD BEEN ACTIVE IN TRYING TO BRING 
THIS ABOUT.  NOW, HOWEVER, EMOTIONS WERE TOO 
UNSETTLED.  NIANG PROFFERED THAT THE KHALIFE GENERAL 
HAD ALSO UNDERCUT HIS OWN AUTHORITY BY FAVORING IN 
TOO PUBLIC A WAY ABDUL AZIZ, JR. AS HIS LIKELY 
SUCCESSOR.  THE KHALIFE GENERAL'S ABILITY TO STEP IN 
AND SETTLE DIFFERENCES WAS NOW MUCH DIMINISHED AS A 
RESULT.  PRESUMABLY HIS MUCH WEAKENED PHYSICAL STATE 
ALSO SERVED TO LESSEN HIS AUTHORITY. 
 
6.  COMMENT:  THERE IS SPECULATION THAT THE 
INVESTIGATION INTO THE JANUARY ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT 
WILL QUIETLY BE PUT AWAY AND THAT THE CASE WILL 
NEVER COME BEFORE THE COURTS OUT OF CONCERN THAT A 
TRIAL AND THE ACCUSATIONS THAT WOULD BE AIRED WOULD 
BE TOO SERIOUS A THREAT TO THE PEACE.  PRESIDENT 
DIOUF, A MEMBER OF THE TIDIANE BROTHERHOOD, IS ALSO 
CONCERNED ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR THE SUCCESSION 
STRUGGLE TO GET OUT OF HAND.  HE CAN BE EXPECTED TO 
DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO MAINTAIN THE PEACE. 
 
 
JOHNSON 

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