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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08BAGHDAD1100 2008-04-09 07:38:00 SECRET Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

DFM ABBAWI ON BORDER SECURITY WORKING GROUP

Tags:   PBTS PREL PTER IR IZ KU SY TU 
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001100 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/08/2018
TAGS: PBTS PREL PTER IR IZ KU SY TU
SUBJECT: DFM ABBAWI ON BORDER SECURITY WORKING GROUP

Classified By: Pol-Mil Minister Counselor Marcie B. Ries, Reasons 1.4(b
) and (d)



1. (S) SUMMARY AND REQUEST: In an April 7 call on Deputy
Foreign Minister Labeed Abbawi, Pol-Mil M/C discussed the
upcoming Border Security Working Group, Iraq's preparations
for the event, and what it could accomplish. Both agreed
that a commitment to stopping the flow of weapons to criminal
militias in Iraq would be a successful outcome. Abbawi
briefly discussed his suspicions regarding an MOU which he
believed Turkey would attempt to negotiate at an upcoming
mil-mil visit by Iraqi DCHOD LTG Abadi. Abbawi revealed that
the PM was still leaning against attending the April 22
Expanded Neighbors Ministerial. Post requests that the
Department take steps to urge Saudi Arabia to participate
constructively in the Border Security Working Group being
held in Damascus April 13-14 (see paragraph 3). END SUMMARY.



2. (C) Abbawi explained the preparations which the GOI was
making for the upcoming Border Security Working Group in
Damascus April 13-14. The GOI delegation was reviewing
progress since the last working group on the subjects of
measures to strengthen borders, interdict terrorists, and
exchange information regarding suspected criminals and
terrorists. It would also be evaluating the effectiveness of
its bilateral agreements with working group participants on
these topics and whether the agreements had been actively
used or not.



3. (C) According to Abbawi, the Syrian Interior Minister will
formally open the working group but will then leave the
chairmanship to him and the Syrian DFM. Abbawi indicated
that Saudi Arabia had not yet responded to its invitation and
was concerned that the Kingdom would again fail to appear as
they did at the inaugural working group. He expected that
they would claim that the working group duplicated the
periodic regional interior ministers meeting, but asserted
that this was not the case. While the border security group
was being hosted by Damascus, the Saudis should hold their
noses and attend as it was actually an Iraqi-oriented event.
He urged the U.S. to use its good offices to encourage Saudi
attendance. "Even a representative from their embassy would
be something," pleaded Abbawi. He mentioned that he would
have bilateral meetings with the Syrians and UNAMI, although
he related that UNAMI Amb. Sambrana would not be attending
the working group as he was now focused on the International
Compact with Iraq. Pol-Mil M/C recommended that he consult
with the Turks as well, as they had been particularly
constructive partners in the Neighbors Process.



4. (S) Pol-Mil M/C reaffirmed our intention to provide a
briefing to key members of the Iraqi delegation. Abbawi
requested that the briefing provide information regarding
weapons flowing into Iraq from Iran, an issue which has a
greater resonance with the GOI leadership since the recent
fighting with Shia militants. He also sought specific
information regarding Syrian tolerance or complicity in the
flow of foreign terrorists into Iraq. Abbawi wanted to be
able to "confront" the Syrians if they denied such activity
was occurring. NOTE: Embassy is coordinating with MNF-I to
provide a briefing per Abbawi's request. END NOTE.



5. (S) Abbawi queried Pol-Mil M/C regarding suggested goals
for this session of the working group. As a next step, she
suggested that the GOI seek a commitment from all
participants to halt any weapons or lethal aid flowing to
lawless, criminal elements in Iraq. This would dovetail with
the mention of halting interference by neighboring countries
made in the '15 points' agreed to by the Political Council
for National Security. Iraq should avoid an accusatory tone
regarding specific countries in any joint communiqu, she
cautioned. Abbawi agreed that an emphasis on criminal
elements battling the GOI was apropos, as Iraq's main problem
was shifting from AQI (the focus at the last working group)
to dealing with militias. Iraq needed help from her
neighbors in this struggle in order to stop the flow of
weapons and technical support to the criminal militias. A
joint statement committing all of the participants to stop
the flow of weapons into the hands of illegal armed groups in
Iraq would be a good outcome. While he did not feel it would
be politic to ask for a statement of support for the tribal
awakening movements, Abbawi thought some mention of them
would be warranted as he believed Iran was now targeting
them. NOTE: PM Maliki has recently encouraged an awakening
among tribes near Basrah as part of his drive against

BAGHDAD 00001100 002 OF 002


criminal militias there. END NOTE.



6. (S) Abbawi revealed that Turkey had presented a revised
article 4 to their bilateral counterterrorism agreement and
that the MOI was examining the document. Abbawi expressed
some concern that the Turkish military may attempt to
negotiate yet another agreement with Iraqi DCoS GEN Abadi
during his April 21-25 technical committee meeting with
Turkish DCHOD GEN Saygun in Turkey. Abbawi feared that the
Turks would seek a mil-mil MOU out of the visit which would
be inappropriately broad. Abbawi based these suspicions on
discussions between Turkish Special Envoy for Iraq Murat
Ozcelik and DPM Barham Salih in which Ozcelik hinted that
each side ought to allow their respective militaries to carry
out negotiations. Abbawi insisted that this would be
inappropriate and that the military should only be involved
in implementing what would be negotiated at a political level.



7. (S) Pol-Mil M/C inquired whether the PM had changed his
mind regarding attendance at the next Expanded Neighbors
Ministerial in Kuwait. Abbawi thought not, indicating that
the FM would lead the delegation and that the PM would send
his political advisor, Sadiq Rikabi. Pol-Mil M/C remarked
that it would be odd for the PM not to attend, as he had led
Iraq's delegation to both previous ministerials. "He might
change his mind," offered Abbawi.
BUTENIS