|06JAKARTA10366||2006-08-16 11:37:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Jakarta|
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C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 010366
1. (C) Summary: Indonesia is preparing to send a 1000 troops
to serve in UN-led peacekeeping operations in Lebanon. The
composite force includes elements from a range of Indonesian
military units, including mechanized and engineering
elements. Indonesia lacks airlift capability for
transporting the equipment to theater, but has not requested
U.S. assistance in this area. A request for 32 armored
personnel carriers from France will likely be granted,
according to French embassy officials in Jakarta, assuming
France accepts command of the UN operation. Indonesian
President Yudhoyono has portrayed the deployment within the
context of Indonesian diplomatic efforts within the
Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) and a response
to "Israeli aggression." End Summary.
2. (C) Indonesia,s preparations to send a battalion-sized
unit to the Middle East as part of UN peacekeeping operations
for Lebanon continue to move forward. Since plans were first
announced in late July, the size of the projected force has
grown from under 600 to 1,000 personnel. Plans foresee an
initial stay of 12 months, if requested. The battalion-sized
force, which is being assembled for the first time, will
consist of 850 troops plus 150 support staff, military police
and guard units. Led by a Colonel Surawahadi, Commander of
the 17th Brigade of the Indonesian Army, it will be composed
of elements of the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force, Strategic
Forces (KOSTRAD) and Air Force Special Forces. The Army
contingent includes cavalry, while the Marine contingent
comprises a mechanized company and a logistical company with
armored vehicles and unarmored personnel carriers.
Engineering elements will be included as well.
3. (C) Although publicly the force is said to be ready for
deployment, Indonesian defense officials have privately
described it as 75 to 80 percent ready, with an estimated
deployment in the region in October. It is not clear whether
the force is receiving special or advanced training in
preparation. Military contacts admit to needing money for
repairing the equipment that is to be used and have confirmed
that the Indonesian military has requested to use 32 armored
vehicles from France for the operation.
4. (C) Current plans call for personnel to be flown and
equipment to be shipped by sea to the Middle East. Contacts
in the Indonesian military acknowledge that the military does
not have the capability to provide adequate, sustained lift
for the operation. So far, there has been no request for
U.S. assistance in transporting either troops or equipment to
the theater of operations.
5. (C) The French DATT, however, confirmed that France had
received a request, which had been conveyed directly between
capitals, for 32 wheeled armored personnel carriers. He said
no decision had been made on the request but saw no reason
why it should not be approved. Indonesian Presidential
Advisers Dino Patti Djalal also confirmed to us that
Indonesia had requested APC's from France.
6. (C) Indonesian President Yudhoyono has announced that
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and French President
Jacques Chirac called him on August 13 to request
Indonesia,s help in monitoring the ceasefire in Lebanon.
The French DCM in Jakarta has told us, however, that
Yudhoyono requested to speak with Chirac so that Yudhoyono
could convey Indonesia,s desire to send forces.
7. (U) Domestically, Yudhoyono has implicitly portrayed the
deployment as a fruit of Indonesian diplomatic actions. In a
state of the union speech to the House of Representatives on
August 16, Yudhoyono said Indonesia,s support for the
struggle of the Palestinian people to realize an independent
and sovereign Palestinian state had led Indonesia to take
JAKARTA 00010366 002 OF 002
"proactive measures to end the Israeli aggression on
Lebanon." Indonesia and Malysia had initiated the convening
of an emergency summit of the OIC in Kuala Lumpur, which had
produced a declaration urging the United Nations to end the
conflict in Lebanon. Indonesia therefore welcomed the
adoption of UNSC Resolution 1701. As evidence of its
commitment, Indonesia stood ready to join a UN peacekeeping
force "in order to protect the Palestinian and Lebanese
peoples from Israeli attacks."
8. (C) In remarks to the press, MFA Director for
International Security and Disarmament Hasan Kleib stressed
Indonesia was participating only under Chapter 6 of the UN
Charter, since under chapter 6 the costs of the operation
would be reimbursed and Indonesian forces would not be placed
under another country,s command. (Privately, Foreign
Minsitry officials have called the resolution six-plus-plus).
Separately, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani said expenses for
the deployment should be approved by the Budget Commission of
the House of Representatives (DPR) since the funding was
above the approved national budget.