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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08BAGHDAD2511 2008-08-11 03:16:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Baghdad
Cable title:  

IRAQI MINISTER OF DEFENSE: NEXT STOP, NINEWA

Tags:   PBTS PREL MARR MOPS IZ TU IR 
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DE RUEHGB #2511/01 2240316
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8758
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHDIR/RPO DUBAI 0077
RUEPMNF/MNF-I C2X BAGHDAD IZ
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 002511 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/09/2028
TAGS: PBTS PREL MARR MOPS IZ TU IR
SUBJECT: IRAQI MINISTER OF DEFENSE: NEXT STOP, NINEWA

BAGHDAD 00002511 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: Pol-Mil Minister Counselor Marcie B. Ries for reasons
1.
4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: POL-MIL Minister-Counselor and her incoming
successor met with Iraq Minister of Defense (MoD) Abdul Qadr
August 6 to discuss security developments in Iraq. Citing
with approval the current operation in Diyala, MoD said his
plan was to next turn to Ninewa "to clean it out." He said
that Syria is threatened by and opposed to democracy in Iraq
and that Iran and Turkey use the presence of the MEK, PKK and
PJAK terrorist groups in Iraq as an excuse to violate Iraq's
borders. He stated that Iraqi forces are ready to accept the
transfer of security for the MEK camp at Ashraf. While
conceding more could be done now, Abdul Qadr said it would
likely be 2010 before Iraq was able to deploy military force
against the PKK. END SUMMARY.



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


THE IMPROVING FACE OF SECURITY IN IRAQ


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





2. (C) At an August 6 meeting with POL-MIL Minister Counselor
and her incoming successor, Minister of Defense Abdul Qadr
said that the security situation in Iraq was improved
drastically from that of six months earlier. Citing the high
level of cooperation with Coalition Forces (CF) and,
particularly U.S. Forces, MoD said the Iraqi Security Forces
(ISF) were now "working much better."



3. (C) Asked what the MOD next hoped to accomplish after the
(thus far) successful operations now underway in Diyala, MoD
answered without hesitation that his "dream" was to do the
same in Ninewa Province. "We are planning to clear out the
bad elements and the terrorists in Ninewa," he said, adding
that reconnaissance had already begun and the planning for an
operational phase there was already underway. He envisaged
the operation starting at the beginning of 2009. "In 2009,
we want real improvements in security," he stated. The MoD
said while the GOI needed to concentrate more on border
security. Previously, the GOI took steps to counter weapons
being brought across the border. "Now it is more a problem
of people crossing over, and we are interested in how they
are providing supplies to these terrorists," he concluded.



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


RELATIONS WITH SYRIA


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





4. (C) Asked whether the GOI had seen changes in the last
several months in the way the Iranians were behaving towards
the GOI, the MoD demurred. "I cannot say they have changed
their way of doing things with us," he said, but noted the
flow of weapons from Iran was more restricted now than it had
been previously. He told of weapons and people (presumably
Special Groups) coming into Iraq through Basrah and Amarah,
but said their freedom of movement was restricted because of
Iraqi forces in those areas. The MoD stated that not a day
passed without arrests or weapon seizures, telling us, "we
are no longer waiting for incidents to occur - we are now the
initiator." According to the MoD, this explained why both
Syrian and Iranian activities were much more limited now.



5. (C) The MoD reserved his sharpest criticism for Syria,
asserting that the Syrians oppose democracy in Iraq and feel
threatened by it while permitting Baathists to move around
freely. In Ninewa, the MoD said, anti-government forces
receive support from Syria. "We are suffering badly there,"
he said. The MoD said the GOI had lots of conversations with
the Syrians, and "since 2004, they have never lived up to
their promises."

---
MEK
---



6. (C) On the subject of the Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK) presence
in Iraq, the MoD said the GOI was working to coordinate
protection of the MEK camp and surrounding area with CF,
deploying a battalion to carry out the mission. It fell to
the Ministry of Interior, he said, to restrict MEK members'
movements and their meetings. "I know the MEK well. They
are highly educated, well trained and can be extremely
dangerous - especially in training others," the MoD said.
The MEK needed to understand and respect the fact that they
were on Iraqi soil and that they must conform their actions
to the will of the Iraqi government. He said that the GOI

BAGHDAD 00002511 002.2 OF 002


was not willing to have a group "work against a neighboring
country."



7. (C) The Minister continued that MEK members have the right
to go back to Iran or to some other country. The MoD drew
comparisons to the PKK and PJAK organizations, calling the
subject of foreign terror groups in Iraq a "real problem for
the Iraqi government." "With all three of these groups, we
should cut their wings and tell them how they should act with
our neighbors," he said, thereby removing the need for
neighboring countries to cross Iraq's borders to strike the
groups.



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


PKK AND RELATIONS WITH TURKEY


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





8. (C) In response to MinsCouns' query about PKK, the
Minister said he thought more could and should be done to
block PKK supply routes. He said that it would likely be
2010 before the GOI would be able to take strong military
steps to finally eliminate the PKK. "We need to fight all
the militants here, before we go up north." The MoD saw the
presence of MEK, PKK and PJAK as providing ongoing excuses
for both Turkey and Iran to keep striking Iraq's borders. He
claimed that Turkish bombers were conducting sorties in Iraq,
turning around in Iran and flying back to Turkey and said
that Iraq needed to limit the Turkish Air Force in its
efforts against the PKK inside Iraq. As for the Iranians,
they knew that the Americans would shoot down any Iranian
aircraft violating Iraqi airspace so relied on Turkish
aircraft to maintain pressure on PJAK.



9. (C) The Minister said, nevertheless, that relations
between Iraq and Turkey were excellent"- especially as the
Turks see Iraq taking steps against the PKK. He was
optimistic for the prospects of increased Turkish training
for the Iraqi forces. However, the MoD said, at present
there is no real border between Iraq and Turkey, citing the
paucity of border posts and the need to establish new ones.
He said he would be very willing to have Turkish companies
work on the necessary construction.
CROCKER