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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04AMMAN2004 2004-03-17 09:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

KING ABDULLAH TO CODEL STEVENS ON HIS CONCERN

Tags:   PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM KPAL IZ IS JO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L AMMAN 002004 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/16/2014
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM PHUM KPAL IZ IS JO
SUBJECT: KING ABDULLAH TO CODEL STEVENS ON HIS CONCERN
ABOUT THE IRAQ TRANSITION, PEACE PROCESS

Classified By: Amb. Edward W. Gnehm for reasons 1.5 (b) (d)

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SUMMARY
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1. (C) King Abdullah told CODEL Stevens that Iraqi security
forces will not be ready for a July 1 handover of authority,
and expressed continuing concern over what he sees as Iranian
influence among the Shia in southern Iraq. He was
pessimistic about prospects for progress on the MEPP before
the U.S. elections, but thought Israel could find competent
Palestinians to run Gaza after an Israeli withdrawal. END
SUMMARY.



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TOO LITTLE, TOO SOON IN IRAQ


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





2. (C) In a meeting with visiting Senators Ted Stevens,
John Warner, and Fritz Hollings March 14, King Abdullah
expressed his concern that the Coalition may be moving too
fast to turn over power to Iraqis by July 1. The King fears
that Iraqi security forces will not be ready by that date to
carry out their responsibilities. Some in the Iraqi
Governing Council (IGC), the King asserted, are pressing for
a fast transfer of authority to assure that they keep a share
of power. Other Iraqis want to delay the departure of the
U.S. to ensure the continued flow of U.S. money to Iraq and
their organizations. He cited the de-Baathification process
and the dissolution of the Iraqi military as Coalition moves
that had unnecessarily alienated the Sunni population, and
recommended that the Coalition revisit both of these
decisions.



3. (C) The King argued that the U.S. should not be "lulled"
into a false sense of security in the south of Iraq.
According to Jordan's assessment, many Iraqi Shia "take
orders from Iran," and Iranian influence is strong and
growing, and is potentially destabilizing. The King told the
Senators that the U.S. must do more to counter Iranian
influence in the south and to "reconnect" the Sunni and Shia
communities.



4. (C) Asked about Iraqi WMD, the King responded that the
public perception is that Saddam Hussein did not have any
before the war. In his opinion, the King said, Saddam had
the intent to develop WMD, but it is unclear whether he
actually achieved that goal (although the King entertained
the possibility that some weapons might still remain hidden,
or have been moved to another country).



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LITTLE BUT "DAMAGE CONTROL" ON THE MEPP


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





5. (C) The King expressed pessimism about short-term
prospects for the Middle East peace process, commenting that
he expected only "damage control" from the major parties
until after the U.S. elections in November. Israeli PM
Sharon claims that there is no Palestinian partner for peace
and, in fact, the Palestinian Authority is in trouble and
"disintegrating." The King thought that an Israeli
withdrawal from Gaza could push the roadmap forward if done
correctly, saying that there are competent PA officials --
like Finance Minister Salam Fayyad -- to whom Israel could
turn over authority in Gaza.



6. (U) CODEL Stevens did not have an opportunity to review
this message.



7. (U) CPA Baghdad minimize considered.

Visit Embassy Amman's classified web site at

http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/amman/

or access the site through the State Department's SIPRNET
home page.
GNEHM