Wikileaks Exposes Kenyan Jubaland Designs and US Opposition


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aka Wikileaks id #239078

Read the full unedited communiqué

During a December 8 meeting on the margins of the Djibouti IGAD ministerial visiting AF Deputy Assistant Secretary Wycoff and Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Wetangula agreed to continue to work together to promote stability and political reconciliation in Somalia. DAS Wycoff told Wetangula that the USG continued to strongly oppose the Kenyan “Jubaland” initiative as a bad idea that would more likely add to Somalia’s instability than to help stabilize the country.

Reference id

aka Wikileaks id #239078  ?


Origin:Embassy Djibouti (Djibouti)

Cable time:Thu, 10 Dec 2009 13:31 UTC



Referenced by:10NAIROBI147


• Time unknown: Original unredacted version, leaked to Wikileaks

• Thu, 1 Sep 2011 23:24: Original unredacted version published, with HTML goodies


Hide header C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DJIBOUTI 001391 SIPDIS STATE FOR AF/E E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/10 TAGS: PREL [External Political Relations], MARR [Military and Defense Arrangements], PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PTER [Terrorists and Terrorism], KE [Kenya], SO [Somalia], ET [Ethiopia], DJ [Djibouti] SUBJECT: SOMALIA: KENYAN FOREIGN MINISTER PUSHES LOWER JUBA INITIATIVE CLASSIFIED BY: James C. Swan, Ambassador, U.S. Department of State, Executive Office; REASON: 1.4(B), (D) ¶1. (C) Summary: During a December 8 meeting on the margins of the Djibouti IGAD ministerial visiting AF Deputy Assistant Secretary Wycoff and Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Wetangula agreed to continue to work together to promote stability and political reconciliation in Somalia. DAS Wycoff told Wetangula that the USG continued to strongly oppose the Kenyan “Jubaland” initiative as a bad idea that would more likely add to Somalia’s instability than to help stabilize the country. Wetangula defended GOK plans to pursue its Jubaland (southern Somalia) initiative, implied that it was in evolving concept, and offered to facilitate better USG understanding of Kenya’s plans. He also urged, as he had in interventions at the ministerial, international community support for the Somalia Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Wycoff agreed and highlighted the importance of supporting the Djibouti Peace Process (DPP) and efforts to promote political reconciliation. When the subject was raised, Wetangula excluded further expansion of the teeming Dadaab refugee camp in northeastern Kenya, which he said had received 12,000 refugees in November. The Foreign Minister took a hard line on Eritrea. He told DAS Wycoff that he had rebuffed efforts by the visiting Eritrean Foreign Minister to solicit support for a new Somalia reconciliation process. The Kenyan government had expelled Eritrean diplomats that Wetangula thought had played a role in the mid-September suicide bombing attack on AMISOM in Mogadishu. Wycoff reviewed USG efforts to engage, both positively and negatively, with Eritrea, and effect a change in its behavior. End summary. ——————————————— ——————- Jubaland Initiative: FM Urges USG Participation ——————————————— ——————- ¶2. (C) Visiting AF Deputy Assistant Secretary Karl Wycoff opened a December 8 meeting with Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula on the margins of the Djibouti IGAD ministerial by recounting USG support for the DPP and the TFG. He also forcibly underscored USG concerns about reports that the GOK was recruiting and training an ethnic Somali force as part of a “Jubaland” initiative. DAS Wycoff told Wetangula that concerns which Assistant Secretary Carson had expressed to Wetangula and other members of the Kenyan leadership remained, and he urged Wetangula to re-consider the Kenyan initiative. ¶3. (C) Wetangula defended the initiative by noting that it was an evolving concept and that Kenya had carefully coordinated every aspect of it with the TFG. He acknowledged that “some excited Kenyan military officers” had “bungled the earlier phases” of the planned operation, but that planning was back on track. The GOK hoped that the “strong Jubaland,” which would result from a successful, Kenyan-backed effort to defeat al-Shabaab in southern Somalia, would “cage in the Hawiye.” The plan, he said, “seemed feasible to the TFG.” The plan had been difficult to implement, Wetangula said. Prominent, ethnically Somali Kenyan politicians, including Kenya’s Deputy Speaker, were strong al-Shabaab supporters who saw any effort to weaken al-Shabaab as an “Ethiopian plot.” Wetangula alleged that the ethnically-Somali politicians had worked behind the scenes to recruit al-Shabaab sympathizers from the Dadaab refugee camp in order both to spy on and undermine the planned Kenyan initiative. When Wycoff reemphasized USG opposition, Wetangula offered to facilitate contact in Nairobi that would give the USG an understanding of Kenyan planning and that might reassure the U.S. side that the plan made sense. Wycoff accepted the offer of further information but noted that USG concerns remained. ¶4. (C) Wetangula predicted success for the initiative. Al-Shabaab was weak, he insisted, recalling that Ethiopian troops had marched into Mogadishu in December 2006 “like a hot knife through butter.” USG criticism should be accompanied by other ideas, he said, noting that “I sincerely believe that good ideas should give way to better ideas.” In any event, Wetangula thought that the GOK could “no longer afford to sit on the sidelines.” The prospect of a serious terrorist attack in Nairobi was increasing every day. Wycoff noted DJIBOUTI 00001391 002 OF 003 the importance of implementing the DPP and making progress on the political reconciliation front at the same time that we worked to improve the TFG’s security forces. ——————————————— – TFG Needs More External Support ——————————————— ¶5. (C) At various points in the conversation, Wetangula strongly supported the TFG but argued, as he had publicly at the December 7 session of the IGAD ministerial, that it was handicapped by insufficient international community support. He urged that the USG provide the TFG with “two or three armored vehicles” so that its leadership can safely engage with Somalis around Mogadishu. He also thought that helicopters would be useful in intimidating al-Shabaab. Picking up on an assertion which had been frequently made at the IGAD ministerial, Wetangula alleged that only a tiny fraction of the Brussels pledges to the TFG had been realized. The GOK had given the TFG money from time-to-time, but it “was not rich.” Only the West could provide the support needed by the Somali government. He urged that the USG take the lead in galvanizing the international community. Wycoff recounted USG efforts both to provide direct support to the TFG, but also to encourage its friends and allies to provide material and budget support. HE also highlighted USG efforts to promote political reconciliation and negotiations in support of the DPP. Wycoff also pointed out that the U.S. was the primary provider of support to AMISOM. ——————————————— ———————- —————————– Dadaab: No Possibility That Additional Refugee Camp Could be Opened ——————————————— ———————- —————————– ¶6. (C) In response to a question from DAS Wycoff, Wetangula emphatically rejected the possibility of opening a fourth refugee camp at Dadaab, in northeastern Kenya. He asserted that continuing instability in Somalia had further increased refugee flows: Twelve thousand refugees had crossed the border in November alone. He urged that some of the refugees in Dadaab be transferred to the Kakuma refugee camp, farther from the Somali border. About 12,000 refugees had been moved a few months ago, he said, and the Kenyan military could be used to facilitate further such transfers. It would be easier to control and monitor Somali activities at Kakuma, which was further from the border and “away from the action.” Wetangula told DAS Wycoff that he also believed at one time that the Dadaab camp could be expanded, but extended discussions at Kenyan Security Council meetings had since convinced him otherwise. ——————————————— ———————- ————— Wetangula Alleges Continuing Eritrean Involvement in Somalia ——————————————— ———————- ————— ¶7. (C) Wetangula recalled for DAS Wycoff recent Kenyan difficulties with Eritrea. The Eritrean Foreign Minister had just treated him to “the usual assertions” that Eritrea was misunderstood by the international community. On September 17, three Eritrean diplomats had transited Kenya en route to Mogadishu, then back to Kenya. The visits had taken place “with the full complicity and knowledge” of the Eritrean Embassy in Nairobi. The Kenyan authorities had deported two of the three diplomats, Wetangula said. He was DJIBOUTI 00001391 003 OF 003 convinced that their travel was linked to the mid-September suicide bombing attacks on AMISOM in Mogadishu. ¶8. (C) Wetangula sidestepped DAS Wycoff’s suggestion that the Eritrean diplomats’ activities be publicized by the GOK. He would continue to talk with EU countries so that they understood the full, negative role Eritrea plays in the region. ¶9. (C) Wetangula also asserted that Eritrea continued to lobby Tanzania and others for the launch of a reconciliation conference to which Hisbul Islam’s Hassan Dahir Aweys and others would be invited. He planned to pressure his Tanzanian counterpart to reject the idea. DAS Wycoff told Wetangula that the USG had already urged Dar es Salaam to distance itself from the idea and to focus its support on the DPP and the TFG. ——————————————— ———————- ———- Kenya Willing to Expel or Freeze Assets of Somali Spoilers ——————————————— ———————- ———- ¶10. (C) In addition to Eritrea, Nairobi was home to Somalis and others who were backing al-Shabaab. Wetangula repeated GOK willingness to expel “troublemakers” from Kenya and/or to freeze their assets if evidence about their activities were brought to his attention. When pressed on the importance of the TFG operating in a transparent and accountable manner, Wetangula agreed that previous TFGs had been perceived as corrupt and noted that former TFG Prime Minister Gedi had invested much of his ill-gotten gains in Nairobi. ————– Comment ————– ¶11. (C) During the December 7 – 8 IGAD ministerial, Wetangula joined his IGAD counterparts in repeatedly backing the TFG and in alleging that it was lack of international community support, not TFG inertia, which was responsible for the lack of progress to date. Wetangula endorsed the TFG’s 2010 budget, which was presented by TFG Deputy Prime Minister Sharif Hassan during the ministerial. He and the other ministers present termed it a great improvement over the complete lack of financial transparency, or worse, which had been characteristic of the TFGs of Prime Ministers Nur “Adde” and Gedi. The IGAD ministers’ unanimous, strong support for the TFG seemed to visibly boost the TFG Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, who were present, and contrasted significantly with the criticism of Somalia’s government that had been the norm at preceding ministerials. ¶12. (U) DAS Wycoff cleared this message. SWAN