Viewing cable 09CONAKRY432
Title: INSIDE LOOK AT A DIPLOMATIC DEBACLE

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
09CONAKRY4322009-07-24 14:21:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Conakry
VZCZCXRO6836
RR RUEHPA
DE RUEHRY #0432/01 2051421
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 241421Z JUL 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY CONAKRY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3874
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 CONAKRY 000432 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GV
SUBJECT: INSIDE LOOK AT A DIPLOMATIC DEBACLE 
 
REF: A. CONAKRY 423 
     ¶B. CONAKRY 400 
     ¶C. CONAKRY 408 
     ¶D. FREETOWN 280 
 
Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Kent C. Brokenshire for Reason 1.4 B/D 
 
 ¶1. (C) Summary: A closer examination of the July 11 CNDD 
communiqu, which placed Guinea's military on a high state of 
alert following alleged threats to the country's borders, 
provides a revealing look into the dysfunction and 
miscommunications of Guinea's current military government and 
the impulsive nature of the man who leads it. End Summary 
 
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THE NARCOS ARE COMING.... 
------------------------- 
 
¶2. (C) During a recent conversation at a diplomatic 
reception, a career officer in Guinea's MFA, El Hadj Naby 
Dina Soumah, told Charge that the CNDD's July 11 communiqu 
caught Guinea's Foreign Ministry by complete surprise. The 
communiqu, which was read by junta leader Moussa Dadis 
Camara over national television, stated that troops financed 
by narco-traffickers were massing along Guinea's borders with 
Senegal, Guinea Bissau and Liberia, and were poised to 
strike. Dadis announced he was placing Guinea's military on 
high alert to thwart the perceived threat. 
 
¶3. (C) The Guinean public has become accustomed to the antics 
of Dadis and did not react to his alarms with any concern. 
Nearly every observer of regional events quickly surmised 
that Dadis had invented this new menace either to focus the 
military's attention on the border regions and away from its 
own ethnic worries or as an artifice to delay elections. 
Across the spectrum of Guinean society, Dadis quickly became 
the butt of ridicule. Note: There were reports of an incident 
involving gunfire along Guinea's border with Guinea Bissau. 
However, nothing has surfaced to suggest a possible invasion 
or even a serious threat. End Note. 
 
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REGIONAL EFFECTS 
---------------- 
 
¶4. (C) While the communiqu stirred laughter and head shaking 
among the populace, Guinea's Foreign Ministry found itself 
facing a serious international incident involving three heads 
of state and five of the six countries on its borders. "The 
CNDD did not inform us about the border issue," said Naby. 
"They did not ask us to clear on the communiqu and they did 
not ask for our opinion." 
 
¶5. (C) According to Naby, the MFA had been negotiating with 
neighboring states Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Cote d'Ivoire 
on the venue for the Mano River Union Summit. During this 
summit the presidency of the Mano River Union was to be 
passed from Liberia to Guinea. The summit was originally 
scheduled to take place in Liberia. According to Naby, Dadis 
did not feel secure enough in power to leave the country, and 
insisted on changing the venue to Guinea. The Liberians 
graciously accommodated the request and informed the other 
nations. Sierra Leone president Ernest Koroma was scheduled 
to arrive in Conakry on July 13, while President Sirleaf 
Johnson made arrangements to travel to Guinea the following 
day accompanied by Cote d'Ivoire's Laurent Gbagbo. Then came 
the communiqu. 
 
¶6. (C) "Imagine what Sirleaf Johnson must have felt," said 
Naby. "After offering to move the summit to Conakry she hears 
that Guinea has placed its military forces along Liberia's 
border on a state of high alert for reasons that are quite 
ridiculous." While the communiqu was seen as another CNDD 
bungle by the populace, it "scared all of our neighbors," 
said Naby. 
 
¶7. (C) The communiqu also resulted in the cancellation of 
the summit. "Gbagbo heard that narco-traffickers were in 
control of our border areas and asked for assurances of 
security," said Naby. When the Guinean Government was 
reportedly unable to provide a satisfactory response, Gbagbo 
canceled his visit. Soon after, Sirleaf Johnson also 
canceled, saying she would not attend without Gbagbo. This 
left Sierra Leone's Ernest Koroma waiting on the tarmac in 
Conakry for the Godot-like delegations from Liberia and Cote 
d'Ivoire to arrive. Meanwhile, Senegal, Guinea Bissau and 
Liberia all denied any narco-military activity along their 
borders with Guinea. 
 
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CONAKRY 00000432  002 OF 002 
 
 
DAMAGE CONTROL SPARKS MORE CONTROVERSY 
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¶8. (C) Seeing that the communiqu was setting off 
international alarms abroad and laughter at home, Dadis tried 
to downplay its significance, which created further 
embarrassments. He claimed it dealt purely with military 
matters too technical for civilian comprehension. When this 
failed to quieten the chuckles of disbelievers, he threatened 
to jail anyone who criticized the communiqu, particularly 
members of political parties. This didn't placate anyone but 
it did bring human rights groups into the picture in defense 
of free speech. 
 
¶9. (C) Dadis has reportedly grown tired of discussing the 
communiqu. During the visit of the International Contact 
Group (Ref A), he mentioned the communiqu only to say that 
if anyone attempts to use it has a tool to block elections he 
would "pursue them and punish them." He then quickly changed 
the subject. 
 
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COMMENT 
------- 
 
¶10. (C) Little apparent thinking beyond the impulsive went 
into the formulation of the communiqu. Neither is there 
evidence to suggest that any consideration was given to its 
possible consequences, either domestic, regional or 
international. Though the MFA could have warned Dadis of dire 
consequences of broadcasting such a volatile message in the 
midst of Mano River Summit negotiations, its views were 
apparently never considered. This is not the first time that 
Dadis has launched new initiatives without consulting the 
experts at hand. In this case, he has so alienated the MFA 
that Guinean diplomats in Conakry routinely approach US 
counterparts to state that their president is a national 
embarrassment. 
 
¶11. (C) The incident also points to disturbing flaws in the 
government's command structure. Perhaps the most notable is 
Dadis' penchant for making on-the-spot decisions without due 
consultation or consideration of the consequences. He does 
this quite frequently, with the result that he has built up a 
steady record of taking decisions based on incomplete 
information and little debate. The second is the fear that 
grips his advisers whenever there is unpleasant news or 
dissenting advice to give Dadis. We have received repeated 
reports of this. Their ensuing silence on this score has 
created a bubble of infallibility around Dadis. Dadis 
apparently spends a great deal of time in this bubble 
convinced he is right on all counts. Only the occasional 
uproar from the population and or weary sigh from 
international community offers him hints of a different 
reality lying beyond. 
 
¶12. (U) Embassy Conakry will continue to collaborate with the 
international community and local partners to impress upon 
Dadis and the CNDD that free and fair elections offer the 
best chance to achieve political and economic stability. 
Dadis has publicly committed Guinea to elections in 2009. On 
this matter he has made the right decision. We will work with 
our partners to assure him of this, and support efforts to 
see it through. 
 
 
 
BROKENSHIRE