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05ABUDHABI3244 2005-07-25 07:54:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
Cable title:  

GENERAL ABIZAID MEETING WITH ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE

Tags:   MCAP MASS PREL IZ AF PK IR SY SA TC 
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Diana T Fritz  08/28/2006 04:29:40 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Search Results

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Text:                                                                      
                                                                           
      
C O N F I D E N T I A L        ABU DHABI 03244

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

DISSEMINATION: AMB
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: AMB:MJSISON
DRAFTED: POL:JFMAYBURY
CLEARED: USLO:RSIMM, DAO:BKERINS

VZCZCADI459
OO RHMFISS RUEHC RUEHZM RUEHDM RUEHIL RUEHBUL
RUEHDE RHEHNSC RUEKJCS RUEASRT RHRMDAB RUEADWD RUEAHQA RUEKJCS
RHEFDIA RUENAAA RHMFISS RHMFISS RUEKJCS RUEAHQA RUENAAA RUEADWD
DE RUEHAD #3244/01 2060754
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 250754Z JUL 05
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0814
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS 0726
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1414
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0227
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 5255
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP/ISA/NESA//
RUEASRT/COMUSARCENT FT MCPHERSON GA
RHRMDAB/COMUSNAVCENT
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAHQA/HQ USAF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASH DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUENAAA/CNO WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ1/CCJ2//
RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ3/CCJ4/CCJ5//
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-5//
RUEAHQA/OSAF WASHDC//IA//
RUENAAA/NAVY IPO WASHINGTON DC
RUEADWD/DA WASHINGTON DC//DALO-SA//
					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 ABU DHABI 003244 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/20/2015
TAGS: MCAP MASS PREL IZ AF PK IR SY SA TC
SUBJECT: GENERAL ABIZAID MEETING WITH ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE

REF: A. ABU DHABI 3161

B. ABU DHABI 767

C. ABU DHABI 3008

Classified By: AMBASSADOR MICHELE J. SISON, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D).



1. (C) Summary: CENTCOM Commander General Abizaid met July 20
with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of
the UAE Armed Forces General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al
Nahyan (MbZ). Abizaid praised the UAEG for its steadfast
determination to wage a public campaign against extremist
ideology and terrorism, citing the Friday sermons delivered
across the country July 15 condemning terrorism (ref A).
Abizaid and MbZ reviewed the security and political situation
in Iraq. MbZ continues to believe that the Iraq Transitional
Government is being influenced by Tehran. Abizaid said
stability would come to Iraq eventually, but that the recent
uptick in suicide bombings was an indication that the road
would be rough for the foreseeable future. Both Abizaid and
MbZ expressed concern about Syria's failure to prevent
insurgents from entering Iraq via its territory. Noting that
his brother, Information Minister Sheikh Abdullah, planned to
travel to Damascus to meet with Syrian President Bashar Al
Asad, MbZ offered to deliver "any message" the USG would like
passed to the Syrian leadership. Abizaid and MbZ also
reviewed Pakistan's counterterror efforts. MbZ said the UAE
would proceed with plans to build a causeway linking the UAE
and Qatar despite Saudi objections. MbZ informed us that
Bahrain had withdrawn its Special Forces contingent from
Afghanistan (the Emiratis had trained the Bahrainis to fight
alongside them in Afghanistan). End Summary.



2. (SBU) On July 20, CENTCOM Commander General Abizaid,
accompanied by the Ambassador, CENTCOM J2 General Custer, the
Commander's Executive Officer Col. Smith, USLO Chief, Defense
Attache, and Pol Chief (notetaker) had lunch with Abu Dhabi
Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed
Forces General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. MbZ was
accompanied by his brother, Information Minister Sheikh
Abdullah, UAE Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General
Hamed Thani Al Rumaithy, Directorate of Military Intelligence
Director Brigadier Essa Al Mazrouie, and MbZ's Director for
International Affairs, Yousef Al Otaiba.

A PUBLIC STAND ON COMBATING EXTREMISM


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





3. (C) Abizaid praised the UAE leadership for taking a strong
public stand against extremism and terrorism. He noted the
UAEG-approved sermon condemning terrorism delivered
throughout the country on July 15 (ref A). "These are great
words," he said. MbZ affirmed the UAE's "national strategy"
to counter extremist ideology and combat terrorism. He
emphasized that people needed guidance from their leaders;
without direction, their minds could be manipulated by
extremists. He said the lone dissenter to the July 15 sermon
was a lawyer from the emirate of Fujairah who thought it was
not appropriate for imams to deliver political speeches in
mosques. Two days after the sermon, the lawyer apologized,
MbZ said. MbZ emphasized his strong belief that Saudi Arabia
should confront its extremist problem now rather than to
"wait until it was too late." MbZ said he was willing to
wager that if "fanatics" in Riyadh began to "blow themselves
up," the Saudis would "scream like babies" to the U.S. to
"come and help." The UAE has done its own housecleaning to
rid itself of "Muslim Brotherhood" influence. "We used a
Hoover (vacuum)," he said, laughing.

IRAQ


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





4. (C) MbZ and Abizaid reviewed the security and political
situation in Iraq. Abizaid noted the recent increase in
suicide bombings targeted at civilians. The insurgents had
focused their deadly attention on Iraqi non-combatants )
men, women and children. He was optimistic that the Iraqi
forces being trained by the Coalition would eventually be
able to ensure security that would pave the way for greater
stability in Iraq. "There are more Iraqis fighting for Iraq
alongside the Coalition than are fighting against Iraq as
insurgents," he said.



5. (C) MbZ inquired about U.S. casualties in Iraq and said he
shared Abizaid's concerns about the present security
situation. MbZ made clear that he continues to believe that
the Iraqi Transitional Government was being influenced by
Iran. MbZ also said he would continue to support - "with
cash" - former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, adding that
he hoped the U.S. would support Allawi as well.



6. (C) Abizaid said it was important for the political and
constitutional processes to advance in Iraq, and for Sunnis
to continue participating in the political process. This
would contribute to a lessening of violence. Ambassador
urged MbZ and Sheikh Abdullah to continue publicly supporting
the Iraqi political process, and asked about the UAE's
current efforts to engage the Iraqi Sunni population. MbZ
said he did not have confidence in Iraq's Sunni leadership.
Sheikh Abdullah noted that Sunni members of Iraq's
constitutional drafting committee had withdrawn from the
committee after fellow Sunni committee members had been
killed on July 19.

OFFER TO CONVEY USG MESSAGE TO SYRIA'S BASHAR


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





7. (C) MbZ informed us that Sheikh Abdullah planned to travel
to Damascus the week of July 25 to meet with President
Bashar, and offered to have Abdullah deliver a message from
the USG. Ambassador asked Abdullah when he had last met
Bashar face to face; Abdullah replied that it had been two
days before the Iraq conflict began. In a sidebar
conversation, Ambassador shared with Abdullah the USG's view
that Syria was expending minimal efforts to combat terrorism,
and that Syrian territory continued to be used by those
supporting Iraq's insurgency. As a neighbor of Iraq, Syria
should be doing more to dismantle terrorist networks and end
the use of its territory as a place where terrorists gathered
and transited into Iraq. Ambassador noted Secretary Rice's
public statement that the Syrians were frustrating the hopes
of the Iraqi people by not acting decisively against these
terrorists.



8. (C) MbZ and Abizaid discussed Syria's role in maintaining
security along its border with Iraq. Abizaid estimated that
approximately 100 insurgents were crossing the border into
Iraq monthly, and expressed concern about the uptick in
suicide bombings in Iraq. Abizaid noted that the Syrians
were "making themselves vulnerable to extremists." MbZ
nodded in agreement and said that Bashar should "get the
message very clearly" that Syria cannot continue to help the
insurgency. DMI Director Brigadier Al Mazrouie told General
Custer and DATT at the luncheon table that the Syrian
military could close the border to insurgents, but that they
could not sustain that for very long. Last February -- after
General Abizaid had described how extremists visit Saudi
mosques, target young Saudis, whisk away the new recruits to
Damascus, and send them into Iraq to carry out suicide bomber
operations -- MbZ had directed DMI Director Al Mazrouie to
send intelligence officers to Syria to learn more about
foreign fighter recruiting -- ref B. Further information has
yet to be developed. (Note: On July 24, Ambassador met with
Sheikh Abdullah and raised USG concerns that a high-level
visit to Syria might send the wrong signal to the SARG )-
septel. She underscored again the need to make clear to the
SARG that the flow of foreign fighters from Syria into Iraq
needed to cease. Ambassador also underscored the need to end
Syrian interference in internal Lebanese affairs and for the
SARG to expel Palestinian rejectionist groups. End note.)
PAKISTAN


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





9. (C) During a smaller meeting after lunch, Abizaid remarked
that Pakistani President Musharraf had made vigorous efforts
along the Pak-Afghan border to combat insurgents.
Approximately 50 insurgents had been killed, 15 of whom were
Arabs (MbZ requested a specific breakdown by nationality,
noting that UAE's State Security Directorate might be able to
"fill in gaps" in U.S. information.) MbZ said when he met
President Musharraf in May in Lahore, he was "shocked" to
observe that Musharraf did not appear fully in command of his
facts. For example, Musharraf had not been aware that a
network of several Pakistanis with terrorist links had been
rounded up in UAE earlier this year. MbZ added that he had
not been overly impressed by ISI's General Kiyani. Did
Musharraf truly have full authority over all elements of the
ISI, he wondered. UAE Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen.
Hamad Thani said he would be in Islamabad August 3-5 on a
counterpart visit. Abizaid encouraged the UAE to keep up
such political leadership and senior military contacts. MbZ
and Ambassador also discussed Musharraf's choice as
Pakistan's nomination of Ehsan Al Ullah Khan as new
Ambassador to the UAE. Al Ullah, from Sharjah's Crescent
Petroleum, is a school friend of Musharraf's who has lived in
Sharjah for some 20 years. MbZ said Al Ullah had been Iyad
Allawi's secretary years ago and it was through Al Ullah that
MbZ first met Iyad Allawi.

UAE-SAUDI TENSIONS


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





10. (C) MbZ said that despite Saudi objections, the UAE was
not backing down from a planned UAE-Qatar causeway linking
the two countries (ref C). "We are going ahead," he
declared. MbZ said the UAE was "not in a hurry" to tackle
its other major issue with Saudi Arabia, the Shaybah/Zarrarah
oil field, 20 percent of which lies on the UAE side. MbZ
opined that King Fahd was primarily concerned about the
territorial issue (the causeway) while Crown Prince Abdullah
was principally interested in the financial issue (seeing
that the oil field remained fully under Saudi control.) MbZ
extended an invitation to General Abizaid to view firsthand
the UAE-Saudi border during his next visit to the UAE.
(Note: Saudi Arabia claims that a plan by the UAE and Qatar
to build a causeway violates the 1974 UAE/Saudi border
treaty, whereby the UAE ceded to Saudi Arabia a 25km strip of
land connecting the UAE and Qatar. The UAE claims that it
only gave up the land, not the maritime waters, and it
considers Saudi Arabia's objections to the causeway an effort
by Saudi Arabia to prevent Gulf nations from deepening ties
independent of the kingdom. Yousef Al Otaiba told Ambassador
separately that the UAEG had developed a list of 27 options
with which to respond to the Saudi pressure, ranging from
international arbitration to military action. End note.)

BAHRAINI SPECIAL FORCES; QATAR F-16 ACQUISITION?


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

---



11. (C) MbZ asked that his 215-member Special Operations
Contingent, assigned to Afghanistan on six-month tours, be
moved to "tougher" areas to gain more exposure to action.
MbZ also informed us that Bahrain had decided to withdraw its
Special Forces from Afghanistan, although he did not explain
why. Earlier this year, the UAE Special Forces had trained
the Bahrainis to fight alongside them.



12. (C) During the smaller meeting, MbZ also inquired whether
the U.S. would supply the Qataris with F-16 fighter aircraft.
He said he was interested in knowing this because of Gulf
Cooperation Council interoperability reasons. (Note: On July
24, Lockheed-Martin representatives told Ambassador and USLO
Chief that the Qataris were in the preliminary stages of
exploring the acquisition of F-16 Block 50 or Block 60
models. The Qatar Air Force was talking about the
acquisition of approximately 30 aircraft. End note.) Gen.
Abizaid also invited MbZ to visit Al Udeid Air Base in
September, or to visit troops together in Afghanistan in the
autumn.

UAE CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE


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





13. (C) Abizaid inquired about the UAE's protection of its
critical infrastructure, such as its oil and water
desalination facilities. MbZ acknowledged the potential
threat to the installations.

COMMENT:


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





14. (C) MbZ's comments to General Abizaid were telling for
several reasons. First, the UAE's July 15 sermon was clearly
a key component of a new national strategy to influence the
views of Emiratis * and the large expatriate Pakistani,
Palestinian, Jordanian, Iraqi, Bangladeshi, and Afghan
population ) on the targeting of civilians in Iraq and
terrorism in general. Second, MbZ's continuing discomfort
and dismay at the ascendance of the Shi'a majority in Iraq
remains strong (and his support for Iyad Allawi consistent).
Third, as Sheikh Abdullah,s interest in traveling to
Damascus shows, the UAE seeks to remain a quiet player on the
larger Middle East stage. Fourth, Abu Dhabi's ire over the
Saudi border issue remains strong. These themes are likely
to be raised again during MinState Foreign Affairs Sheikh
Hamdan bin Zayed's visit to the United States in August.



15. (C) Finally, MbZ's decision to meet over lunch with
General Abizaid and a support party of 17 U.S. armed forces
personnel in uniform at a public restaurant adjacent to a
posh waterfront hotel in Abu Dhabi illustrates his confidence
in his country's ) and his own ) safety and security.
While aware of potential terrorist threats, MbZ and the
Emirati leadership are keen to project an image of the UAE as
a safe place for investors and tourists. After lunch, MbZ
made a point of going from table to table to shake hands with
other diners. End Comment.



16. (U) General Abizaid has cleared this message.
SISON