wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04ABUDHABI2508 2004-07-28 09:03:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Abu Dhabi
Cable title:  

CENTCOM COMMANDER DISCUSSES IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, REGIONAL THREATS WITH SHAYKH MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED

Tags:   AF IZ PK PREL PTER SY TC 
pdf how-to read a cable
null
Diana T Fritz  02/06/2007 04:41:54 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Search Results

Cable 
Text:                                                                      
                                                                           
      
SECRET

SIPDIS
TELEGRAM                                            July 28, 2004


To:       No Action Addressee                                    

Action:   Unknown                                                

From:     AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI 2508 - UNKNOWN)         

TAGS:     PREL, PTER                                             

Captions: None                                                   

Subject:  CENTCOM COMMANDER DISCUSSES IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, REGIONAL
           THREATS WITH SHAYKH MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED                

Ref:      None                                                   
_________________________________________________________________
S E C R E T        ABU DHABI 02508

SIPDIS
CXABU:
    ACTION: POL 
    INFO:   RSO DCM P/M ECON DAO USLO AMB 

DISSEMINATION: POL
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: CDA:RALBRIGHT
DRAFTED: POL:SRADDANT
CLEARED: USLO:RSIMM

VZCZCADI844
OO RUEHC RUCAACC RHEFDIA RUEKJCS RUEASRT RHMFISS
RHRMDAB RUEADWD RUEAHQA RHEFDIA RUEHC RUENAAA RUCAACC RUCAACC
RUEKJCS RUEAHQA RULSSAK RUEADWD RUCNRAQ RHEHNSC RUEAIIA RUEHBUL
RUEHDE
DE RUEHAD #2508/01 2100903
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 280903Z JUL 04
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5271
RUCAACC/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
INFO RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP/ISA/NESA//
RUEASRT/COMUSARCENT FT MCPHERSON GA
RHMFISS/COMUSCENTAF SHAW AFB SC
RHRMDAB/COMUSNAVCENT
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5272
RUENAAA/CNO WASHDC
RUCAACC/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ1/CCJ2//
RUCAACC/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ3/CCJ4/CCJ5//
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-5//
RUEAHQA/OSAF WASHDC//IA//
RULSSAK/NAVY IPO WASHINGTON DC
RUEADWD/HQDA WASHINGTON DC//DALO-SA//
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0174
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 4197
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 ABU DHABI 002508 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

STATE FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ARP, AND NEA/NGA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2014
TAGS: PREL, PTER, AF, SY, IZ, PK, TC
SUBJECT: CENTCOM COMMANDER DISCUSSES IRAQ,
AFGHANISTAN, REGIONAL THREATS WITH SHAYKH MOHAMMED BIN
ZAYED

Classified by Charge d'Affaires Richard A. Albright,
reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

1. (S) Summary: CENTCOM Commander General John
Abizaid on July 24 discussed regional security issues
with Abu Dhabi Deputy Crown Prince and UAE Armed
Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Shaykh Mohammed bin
Zayed Al Nahyan (MbZ) in Abu Dhabi. Abizaid thanked
MbZ for the UAE's strong support for coalition
operations in Afghanistan. They discussed political
developments and military operations in Iraq and
counter terrorism efforts in Saudi Arabia, Syria and
UAE/Oman. MbZ apologized for canceling the Seeker II
deployment to Afghanistan on short notice, and
reiterated his requirement for an armed Predator UAV,
saying that he must make a decision on acquiring a
foreign UAV system by February 2005 if the U.S. could
not release an armed Predator to the UAE. Abizaid and
MbZ shared security and public opinion viewpoints,
including potential problems following the release of
Guantanamo detainees. End Summary.

2. (U) MbZ was accompanied by his half brother, Maj.
Gen. Shaykh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Director General
of Abu Dhabi Police and U/S of the Ministry of
Interior, and by UAE Armed Forces Deputy Chief of
Staff Maj. Gen. Hamad Thani Al Rumaithy, and Advisor
Yousuf Al Otaiba. Charge, RADM Robb (J5), Brig. Gen.
Custer (J2), Executive Officer Col. Reynes, USLO, and
Poloff (notetaker) joined General Abizaid.



--------------------------


AFGHANISTAN


--------------------------



3. (S) Abizaid thanked MbZ for the UAE's strong
support for coalition operations in Afghanistan,
singling out the UAE special operations deployment for
special praise. Both agreed that the drug trade,
corruption, and warlords posed greater threats to
Afghanistan's stability over the coming year than Al
Qaeda and Taliban remnants. Good cooperation with
Pakistan and Uzbekistan is putting the Al Qaeda threat
to rest in Afghanistan, according to Abizaid, and
several extremist leaders have faded from the picture
due to the pressure. Abizaid was encouraged by the
positive turnout of Afghan citizens registering to
vote. Almost eight million Afghans have already
registered, well exceeding the prediction of six
million voters or less. Abizaid said that the
remarkable success in registering voters indicated a
strong desire among Afghans for a normal state. A
strong turn-out at the polls would convey legitimacy
to the Afghan government. MbZ asked if coalition
forces were finding Arabs in Afghanistan. Abizaid
said no. MbZ responded that this was both good and
bad - good because Arab extremists shouldn't be there,
bad because we don't know where they are going and
what they are doing instead. MbZ expressed his view
that the Pakistanis were starting to do a better job
in controlling extremists.

4. (S) MbZ apologized for canceling the Seeker II
deployment to Afghanistan on short notice, stating
that border security requirements mandated deploying
the Seekers at home. (NOTE: The commander of the UAE
Special Operations Command briefed USLO Chief July 17
on the cancellation of plans to deploy its squadron of
Seeker II UAVs to Bagram, scheduled for late summer.
In a very cordial meeting, Brig. Gen. Juma Ahmed Al
Bawardi expressed regret at the cancellation and also
cited "operational requirements" for border security
as the reason for the change. On July 19, the
commander of UAE Land Forces - Artillery told USLO
officers that the Seeker II was now being deployed in
patrols along UAE'S western border with Saudi Arabia.
END NOTE.)



--------------------------


IRAQ


--------------------------



5. (C) Abizaid and MbZ discussed political changes in
Iraq since their March 2004 meeting. They agreed that
while the security situation remains extremely
dangerous, Iraq's security forces have improved, since
they are more motivated to fight for an Iraqi-led
government than for the coalition. Abizaid expressed
cautious optimism about the immediate future of the
region's security, emphasizing that the key to
stabilizing the region was to ensure that the upcoming
national elections in Afghanistan and Iraq occurred as
planned. Abizaid thanked MbZ for the UAEG's effective
support, in particular for funding the transfer of
Jordanian APCs to Iraq, in cooperation with King
Abdullah of Jordan.



--------------------------


SYRIA


--------------------------



6. (C) Asked by MbZ which Arab country was causing the
greatest problems for Iraq, Abizaid replied Syria.
Abizaid told MbZ that Syrian President Bashar had
promised Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi to increase
border control efforts. But terrorists, including
suicide bombers, are still regularly getting through.
Abizaid said that he believes Syria is aware of the
problem but is not doing all it can to stop the
incursions. Abizaid also told MbZ that Damascus
appears to be home to a number of former regime
elements who may be supporting the insurgency and that
the Syrian government is aware of these activities.



--------------------------


SAUDI ARABIA


--------------------------



7. (C) MbZ informed Abizaid that the UAE is watching
its border with Saudi Arabia very carefully. He
credited Saudi efforts to arrest terrorists, but
expressed concern that the more effectively the Saudis
clamp down, the greater the potential for the
extremists to collect in neighboring countries. MbZ
cited Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain as likely
destinations. Abizaid recalled MbZ's characterization
of this in an earlier conversation when MbZ compared
the Saudi's moves to "squeezing water" - extremists
find cracks and collect elsewhere.

8. (S) Abizaid contrasted his latest trip to Saudi
Arabia with a visit several months ago. In July,
Saudi officials appeared much more confident about
their ability to combat terrorism. The amnesty was
proving effective, and raids have unraveled several
cells.



--------------------------


OMAN/UAE ARRESTS


--------------------------



9. (S) MbZ briefed Abizaid on the recent joint
UAE/Oman operation, based on U.S. information, that
resulted in the arrest of 13 members of an Omani
terrorist cell. Those arrested included several
Afghans and one Emirati woman. MbZ claimed that the
cell was planning an "event," and expressed his
satisfaction at the cooperation between the Omani and
UAE services.



--------------------------


SECURITY CONCERNS


--------------------------



10. (S) Abizaid told MbZ that he sees intelligence
patterns emerging that indicate one of three very
serious incidents potentially occurring before the
November U.S. elections:

--A strike against one or more European allies to
force their retreat from Iraq, similar to the pullouts
of Spain and the Philippines. Abizaid listed Italy,
Japan, Bulgaria and the U.K. as potential targets.

--Another major strike on U.S. soil, as damaging as
9/11 or more so. However, rather than retreating,
Abizaid predicted that this would cause an "extreme"
U.S. retaliatory reaction.

--A major hit against the oil manufacturing
infrastructure in one or more moderate countries in
the region. The economic impact could be global, and,
like any of the above incidents, the effects could be
intended to influence U.S. elections.

11. (C) MbZ agreed with Abizaid's concerns,
particularly related to the oil industry. MbZ sharply
criticized the decision by the Philippines to withdraw
its contingent in Iraq to gain the release of a
kidnapped citizen. This would embolden the terrorists
to kidnap others. He said that the UAE had received
chatter about potential terrorist activity, noting
that much of it originates in the U.S. He shared the
concern about the potential for an al Qaeda attack on
regional oil infrastructure, noting that it would be
relatively easy to destroy a refinery.



--------------------------


MEDIA AND PUBLIC OPINION


--------------------------



12. (C) On several occasions, Abizaid stated
frustration that the U.S. is losing the "perception
war" in Iraq and Afghanistan, due in large part to bad
media coverage. He stressed that the coalition has
suffered no military losses in Iraq, even at the
platoon level, yet the media, particularly Arab media,
focuses on perceived U.S. failures. MbZ agreed that
the Arab media will discredit anything favorable to
the U.S. He said that the U.S. needs to present its
side of the story more effectively. Citing the recent
Fallujah bombings, MbZ said that Al Jazeera aired an
old woman in front of a bombed house saying that she
and her family were innocent civilians and that the US
had killed her sheep, goats and cows. This is very
hard to counter to an Arab audience. The only way to
do so was to present the evidence and explain why U.S.
forces attacked and what they achieved. Let the
people see that terrorists have been killed. He also
urged the U.S. to better publicize the positive
changes the U.S. is bringing about. Abizaid said that
Iraqi services and facilities, including schools, are
better now than they have been for 30 years. However,
these success stories are not getting out. MbZ agreed
that this is the story that the U.S. must tell to
change the world's perception of the U.S. role in
Iraq. MbZ's special assistant recommended that CENTCOM
let the Iraqis talk as much as possible. They will
have more credibility to an Arab audience.



--------------------------


GUANTANAMO


--------------------------



13. (C) MbZ commented that the release of the
Guantanamo detainees had the potential to cause
problems. Citing the appearances of a released
Jordanian detainee named Rami on Arab talk shows, he
said that these people are becoming heroes. In the
future, some of them could be running mosques with
thousands of followers, plaguing the region for years
to come. Saying that this person, who was arrested by
U.S. forces in Tora Bora, had certainly not been there
as a tourist, MbZ stated that it would have been
preferable for these people to have been killed in
action.



--------------------------


PREDATOR


--------------------------



14. (S) Referring to General Yagi's visit, Abizaid
asked MbZ for his views on Predator. MbZ said that he
is seeking an armed Predator from the U.S. and
expressed disappointment that the U.S. appeared ready
to offer only an unarmed version. MbZ confirmed that,
while he strongly preferred the Predator, he was
looking at co-developing in the UAE alternative UAV
systems available from other countries. He said that
the UAE required armed UAVs to control its long land
and maritime borders and pointed out that they have
been using UAVs since the first Gulf War. He stressed
the benefits of sharing information through a common
security system with the U.S. and other allies.
Abizaid said that he wanted to work with MbZ, and
asked for some time to explore options and get back to
him. MbZ said that he could wait for a few months to
hear from Abizaid before committing to another system.
But he said that he planned to make a decision by the
International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) to be held in
Abu Dhabi in mid-February 2005. Both agreed that the
Predator issue would not damage the strong U.S./UAE
relationship.

15. (C) In closing, MbZ reaffirmed the strategic value
of the relationship and expressed his commitment not
to let disagreements on some issues detract from close
and effective bilateral cooperation. General Abizaid
agreed.
16. (U) General Abizaid cleared this cable.

ALBRIGHT