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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04SANAA1261 2004-05-25 15:50:00 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Sanaa
Cable title:  

SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR

Tags:   PTER ASEC PGOV OVIP YM COUNTER TERRORISM TERFIN 
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 SANAA 001261 

SIPDIS

NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/24/2014
TAGS: PTER ASEC PGOV OVIP YM COUNTER TERRORISM TERFIN
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
TOWNSEND

REF: A. 02 SANAA 1945

B. SANAA 468

Classified By: CDA Alan G. Misenheimer for reasons 1.5 (b. and d.)



1. (S/NF) Embassy Sanaa warmly welcomes your first visit to
Yemen. You will find President Saleh and senior ROYG
officials keen to hear from you the Washington perspective on
bilateral and regional CT cooperation as well as the broader
GWOT. Since 9/11 Saleh has met with President Bush in
Washington, received a visit from VP Cheney (March, 2002) and
multiple visits by DCI Tenet, and FBI Director Mueller. In
addition to Saleh (whom you will meet in the Red Sea port
city of Hodeidah), you will meet with:

-- Acting Foreign Minister Mohieddin al-Dhabi (FM al-Qirbi
represented Yemen at the AL summit and has not yet returned);

-- Minister of Interior Dr. Rashad al-Alimi (responsible for
both the Central Security Forces (CSF) and the Yemen Coast
Guard (YCG), both key CT assets);

-- Political Security (i.e. intelligence) Chief GEN Ghalib
al-Gamish (who oversees ongoing intel exchange and holds
security detainees); and

-- Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Finance Alawi Salah
al-Salami (time permitting)



2. (SBU) Your visit is especially timely as Saleh has
accepted President Bush,s invitation to visit Sea Island in
conjunction with next month's G-8 summit. Saleh will also
see Kofi Annan in NYC and stop in Washington for TBD meetings
with U.S. officials. We recommend that your visit conclude
with a brief airport press conference highlighting the strong
U.S.-Yemen CT relationship and drawing attention to Saleh's
acceptance of the POTUS invitation to Sea Island.



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


CT Cooperation: Yemen a Partner in GWOT


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





3. (S/NF) Your basic message on Yemen's continued progress is
simple: Yemen is a valued partner in the Global War on
Terrorism. Saleh sees Yemen,s pro-U.S. stance in the GWOT
as a vital Yemeni interest, particularly since the 11/02
attack on the oil tanker M/V Limburg off Yemen,s southern
coast. Security in Yemen is vastly improved compared to a
year or two ago, and the ROYG continues to log important
progress, including:

-- The March recapture of USS Cole suspects Jamal Muhammad
Ahmad Ali al-Badawi and Fahd Muhammad Ahmad al-Quso;

-- Aggressive CT deployment in the Abyan region involving
coordination among military and MOI assets (including a
U.S.-equipped force).

-- The imminent trial of terrorist suspects in four cases:
the 9/02 incident in an al-Qaida safehouse in Saaa; the 10/02
M/V Limburg bombing; the 11/02 Hunt Oil Company helicopter
attack; and an al-Qaida cell rolled up in fall 2003 with a
long list of targets in Yemen, including the U.S. Ambassador.
The trial of the Cole suspects has been delayed until after
this trial.



4. (S/NF) Since the awkward period of friction with the FBI
at the outset of the USS Cole investigation, Saleh has made
critical decisions to align with the U.S. and confront
al-Qaida,s in-country presence. In the face of stiff
domestic criticism he acknowledged the 11/3/02 Predator
strike as a joint Yemeni-U.S. operation despite unilateral
U.S. disclosure that initially embarrassed the ROYG. At
present the USG is training the CSF and Yemen,s Special
Forces. FMF and IMET funds continue the revitalization of
Yemen's armed forces and have created the YCG, which hit the
water last month with eight 44-foot U.S. EDA boats. Fruitful
post-9/11 security cooperation set the stage for the return
of USAID last year and the launching of an ambitious
development assistance program designed to complement our
direct CT engagement.



5. (U) The following paragraphs provide background on topics
likely to arise during your visit.



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



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


Terrorist Financing and Zindani: Need ROYG Action


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



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





6. (S) Despite nascent efforts to build an effective
anti-money laundering regime, the ROYG,s capability to stop
the flow of money is limited. Since the 2003 passage of a
money laundering law, Central Bank officials, MFA contacts
and representatives of private banks have made repeated
requests for U.S. assistance to build their infrastructure.
Nevertheless ROYG officials tend to view terrorist financing
as a problem more for regional neighbors than for Yemen, and
have expressed to us concern over Gulf financing of extremist
charities operating in Yemen (ref A). ROYG officials would
welcome any information you may wish to offer on U.S.
strategy to interdict and deter terrorist financing in the
region.



7. (C) The ROYG's non-supportive public posture on the UN
action freezing Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani's assets
reflects the domestic sensitivity of his position as a public
figure widely seen more as a fund-raiser for Palestinian
humanitarian relief rather than a terrorist. Saleh dislikes
him, however, and in February a senior aide told us there was
"no disagreement or difference" between Yemen and the U.S. on
Zindani (ref B). Presidential Advisor Dr. Abdul Karim
al-Iryani told the Ambassador in March that the ROYG had
apprehended two couriers with Gulf money intended for
Zindani. To date, that is the only visible indication of
ROYG compliance with the UN sanctions. The ROYG has used the
excuse of requesting legal documentation on Zindani's
culpability and Gulf charities mentioned above to delay
further action. With Saleh and (if you see him) Salami you
may wish to underscore the ROYG,s UN-mandated obligation to:

-- freeze Zindani's financial assets and ensure that funds
are not made available to designated individuals;

-- prevent Zindani from traveling within the region; and

-- share information on ROYG actions pursuant to UNSCR 1267
and 1526



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


Grey Arms: Need Improved Border Control


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





8. (S/NF) In recent months Yemen and Saudi Arabia have
announced joint efforts to tighten border security, but
improvement to date appears limited and uneven. Past
examples of weapons smuggled from Yemen turning up at attack
sites in KSA and elsewhere are well known, so the security of
the country,s land and maritime borders must be a priority
concern. You might underscore this point with Interior
Minister Alimi as well as Saleh. The USG has installed the
pisces system here and just initiated the EXBS program for
further assistance.



9. (S/NF) Saleh may mention the case of light weapons seized
from a dhow of the coast of Yemen by a U.S. Navy ship. Crew
and boat were returned to the ROYG, but the weapons remain
aboard a U.S. vessel required for duty elsewhere. Saleh
wants the guns. In coordination with CENTCOM, we reached
agreement with the Yemenis that the weapons might/might be
handed over to Yemen pending a joint USG -ROYG investigation.
Should President Saleh raise it, we suggest you praise the
U.S.-Yemeni cooperation to date on the incident and stress
that both must work together to ensure that these weapons do
not fall in the wrong hands.



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


Future Areas for Law Enforcement Cooperation


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





10. (SBU) Embassy Sanaa has two requests in the area of law
enforcement cooperation which, as appropriate, you could
raise:

-- (S/NF) Full biographical data, including photographs and
fingerprints, for ROYG detainees. Yemen has emulated Egypt
in conducting systematic "dialogue" with terrorist suspects
and releasing those who (a) have committed no crime and (b)
repent their extremist leanings. About 200 were released
last winter, and we have requested biodata on remaining
detainees prior to any further release. This is an issue for
both Interior Minister Alimi and PSO Chief Gamish.

-- (S/NF) Rendition of Badawi and Quso. The ROYG provided a
temporizing response -- requesting further documentation --
to the formal U.S. rendition request we presented last month.
Rendition of Yemeni citizens is forbidden under the Yemeni
constitution, so a "Yes" is not likely. You might
nevertheless probe Alimi on the issue and underscore that
they are indicted in the United States.



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



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


Needed: Funding to Strengthen CT Cooperation with Yemen


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



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





11. (SBU) Your exchanges with Saleh and other senior ROYG
officials will have a strong, positive impact on the CT
relationship. There is another step that could increase that
impact back in Washington. Current foreign assistance
legislation prohibits use of FMF for training or equipping
non-Ministry of Defense forces. This stricture hurts us in
Yemen, where the CSO, a paramilitary force of the MOI, is the
CT unit of choice and has proven itself repeatedly. State
and Defense are engaged in seeking a legislative remedy. An
additional push from the NSC could help sustain the CT
engagement that has borne fruit for U.S. interests in Yemen
since 9/11.
MISENHEIMER