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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05ABUDHABI5243 2005-12-30 10:23:00 SECRET Embassy Abu Dhabi
Cable title:  

AMBASSADOR KHALILZAD VISIT TO ABU DHABI: ACHIEVING

Tags:   PREL PINR PTER IR IZ AE 
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1. (S) Summary: On December 27, Ambassador Khalilzad met with
Deputy Prime Minister/MinState for Foreign Affairs Sheikh
Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan(HbZ). Discussion centered on
recent elections in Iraq and the need for a unification
government to bring peace and stability to the country.
Ambassador Khalilzad outlined a strategy to forge a Sunni,
Kurdish and Allawi's bloc to negotiate with the Shia parties
to build a national unity government, requesting UAEG help in
reinforcing the message with Sunnis. HbZ promised to do what
he could, urging the USG to press the same message with the
Kurds. End Summary.

GOALS


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/



2. (S) Ambassador Khalilzad opened by addressing complaints
of election irregularities, stating that even as the U.S.
pursues international cooperation in examining reports, he
saw nothing that would change or invalidate the results. He
emphasized that all parties must turn their attention to
forming a national unity government based on accepted
election results. Ambassador outlined immediate goals in the
formation of the new Iraqi government. First, a true
unification government should be the result, since a
Shia/Kurdish coalition with only token Sunni participation
would exacerbate ethnic and sectarian tensions. Second, there
should be significant movement towards achieving a
meritocracy with ministers chosen on the basis of competence.
He noted that Iran is pushing strongly for a Shia/Kurdish
alliance.

PREVENTING A BREAK IN THE RANKS


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/



3. (S) Ambassador Khalilzad explained that if Iyad Allawi's
list, Tawaffuq, and the Kurds can hold together as a
coalition, they will constitute a power equal to the Shia and
command a position to negotiate a government and select
Iraq's leadership. However, if either Allawi, the Sunnis or
the Kurds cut from the rest to make separate deals in
exchange for a ministry here or there, the Shia would achieve
dominance. Khalilzad asked HbZ to use UAEG influence to
persuade Allawi not to leave Iraq, and the Sunnis not to
attempt to cut a separate deal with the Shia. HbZ stated
that he had the same discussion with Sheikh Mohammed bin
Zayed al Nahyan (MbZ), Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, earlier in the day,
and that their analysis of the situation is similar. HbZ
added that the most important point is preventing the Kurds
from breaking ranks; he observed that the USG is in a better
position to reinforce this message with the Kurds. Khalilzad
added that the goal of achieving a national unity government
in Iraq should become a regional strategy and asked HbZ to
present it to fellow concerned states and to encourage them
to embrace the goal.

CURBING VIOLENCE; ELIMINATING IRANIAN INFLUENCE


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--/



4. (S) Khalilzad turned to another key element: curbing the
violence in Iraq. He told HbZ that during the election
period the U.S. had suspended large-scale military
operations, limiting itself to targeted counter-terrorist
actions only, and that many insurgents reciprocated, allowing
elections to proceed in relative calm. Khalilzad said the US
would continue to focus operations against Al Qaeda and other
terror groups. He asked HbZ to use UAE influence with Sunni
leaders to renew their call for restraint. He explained that
once a national unity government is formed, the insurgency
itself will lose legitimacy -- and violence will decline over
time. The aim, Khalilzad stressed, is to make armed
resistance against the new government itself illegitimate.
HbZ remarked that the U.S. understands Iraq far better now
than in the past and that the Ambassador's analysis provided
the UAEG "relief from many of our concerns." He stated that
Iraq still has a long way to go, and that although the
Ambassador had identified two important steps, forming a
legitimate government and stopping the violence, there was
one more vital step: eliminating Iranian influence in the
South. Ambassador pressed HbZ again to lean on influential
expatriate Iraqis like Dubai-based Ahmad Al Kubaysi to issue
statements calling for cessation of violence and
participation in the political process.

GCC ROLE: REGIONAL STRATEGY


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/



5. (S) HbZ promised to report the conversation to UAE
President, Sheikh Khalifa, and to MbZ, and said he would do
what he could with the GCC and others with the qualification
that although the UAE would be on board he "doubted the GCC's
resolve." Khalilzad responded: "If we can get the government
right, everything else will fall into place." He added that
the mindset that participants in the post-election process
are somehow doing the U.S. a favor must be changed. Agreeing,
HbZ added that the Sunnis will not make the mistake of not
participating again. Ambassador noted that in his earlier
meeting in Riyadh, the Saudi Foreign Minister expressed
concerns that the Sunnis could be easily provoked,
recommending that positive encouragement from other Arab
states could be very helpful. Expressing concurrence, HbZ
promised to do what he could.
IRAQIS IN ABU DHABI


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/


6. (C) Comment: Ambassador Khalizad's meeting with HbZ was
directly preceded by the Al Nahyan sheikh's brief reception
of Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak Al Rubaie and
other Iraqis visiting Abu Dhabi for a conference on the Iraqi
Constitution sponsored by the quasi-official, UAEG-funded
Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research.



7. (U) This message has been cleared by Ambassador Khalilzad.
QUINN