Archive | December, 2010

ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE WARNS DOE DEPSEC PONEMAN ABOUT IRAN

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 001151

NOFORN
SIPDIS
STATE FOR NEA/FO AND NEA/ARP
ENERGY FOR S1, S2, O???CONNOR AND SANDOLOW

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/12/17
TAGS: PGOV PREL PARM ENRG IR YM AE
SUBJECT: ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE WARNS DOE DEPSEC PONEMAN ABOUT IRAN

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard G. Olson, Ambassador, State, US Embassy Abu
Dhabi, UAE; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

¶1. (S/NF) Summary: During a December 9 meeting in Abu Dhabi (other
meetings reported septel), Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel
Poneman told Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) that
the USG shared many energy policy priorities with the UAE,
including renewable energy development and the importance of
critical energy infrastructure protection. Poneman briefed MbZ on
the Teheran Research Reactor (TRR) proposal and Vienna talks. MbZ
said he would be surprised if Iran accepted the P5+1/IAEA proposal
and warned that Iran was already acting like a nuclear power.
Further, and more dangerously, Iran is establishing “emirates”
across the Muslim world, including South Lebanon and Gaza, sleeper
“emirates” in Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Eastern Province of Saudi
Arabia, the mother of all “emirates” in Southern Iraq, and now
Saada in Yemen. MbZ suggested that the U.S. is misreading the
situation in Yemen and failing to recognize strong evidence of
Iranian support. End Summary.

POTENTIAL COOPERATION:

RENEWABLES, INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION

————————————-

¶2. (SBU) The Crown Prince asked DepSec Poneman several questions
about U.S. energy development plans, including the outlook for the
next 25 years. Poneman explained President Obama and Secretary Chu
have a strategic vision of a new energy economy with a low carbon
profile. In the short term, Poneman said DOE is investing Recovery
Act funds to improve efficiency and support new technologies, but
that the USG seeks to facilitate energy development through a
portfolio approach, not dictate what the market should pursue. On
nuclear, MbZ specifically asked what progress could be expected
within the next three years. Poneman said there are a number of
active deals under development, and strong public support for
nuclear power, but that capital costs continue to be a challenge.
(Comment: MbZ pressed hard on US plans for a nuclear renaissance,
suggesting to us that he is worried we may compete with his program
in the hunt for nuclear engineering and technical talent. End
Comment.) Turning to renewable energy and efficiency, the DepSec
noted that USG goals are very much in line with Abu Dhabi’s own
Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company) and that he looked forward
to greater DOE-Masdar cooperation (septel).

¶3. (SBU) Poneman also told MbZ that the USG is interested in
supporting Abu Dhabi’s critical energy infrastructure protection
(CEIP) plans and said a DOE team was discussing cooperation
potential with the Critical National Infrastructure Authority
(CNIA, reported septel). Learning from Hurricane Katrina, DOE was
focused on survivability of assets, resiliency and recovery. MbZ
said he was personally very interested in greater cooperation with
the U.S. on CEIP, through DOE, other USG entities and/or the
private sector. He stressed that citizens’ confidence in their
government was very important, noting “We’re doing our best to make
them feel secure.” MbZ added that while UAE is a small country, it
has the resources to protect itself, and is willing to invest in
top-quality infrastructure protection.

IRAN

—-

¶4. (S/NF) DepSec Poneman briefed MbZ on the international proposal
for Iran to ship 1,200 kg of Low Enriched Uranium produced at
Natanz to a location outside Iran and where it would be enriched to
20 percent for use to produce medical radioisotopes at the Tehran
Research Reactor. Poneman stressed that the IAEA, the Russians,
and the U.S. had all taken every possible step to address stated
Iranian concerns, including a first-ever official USG statement of
support for the proposal. He stressed that the offer would not
remain open indefinitely; as DG El Baradei had said, this is a
“fleeting” opportunity. He also explained that the extra effort
had strengthened international cooperation, with Russia and China
supportive of the recent IAEA Board of Governors resolution.

Poneman stressed that the deal was not offered out of naivete, but
rather out of the view that if Iran agreed it would remove a
significant amount of LEU from Natanz and if Iran refused it would
help build international support – beginning with Russia and China
– for tougher sanctions.

¶5. (S/NF) The Crown Prince said he would be “very surprised” if a
deal was possible, as Iran’s nuclear program is not an issue of
internal conflict but rather one of national pride for the vast
majority of Iranians. He stressed that Iran is not North Korea,
because 1) it is looking to reestablish a Persian empire in the
21st century, 2) Iran has resources and lacks neighbors, including
the UAE, who can pressure it, 3) the leadership has not changed (it
is the same people who seized Embassy Tehran in 1979) , and 4) Iran
believes itself to be a superpower. Poneman said the USG does not
disagree with MbZ’s analysis, but believes pride makes the Iranian
leadership more susceptible to the pressure of the world community
uniting against them, whereas North Korea revels in its own
isolation. MbZ agreed, and emphasized the strategic importance of
creating a Palestinian State (i.e., resolving the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict) as the way to create genuine Middle
Eastern unity on the question of Iran’s nuclear program and
regional ambitions.

YEMEN

—–

¶6. (S/NF) MbZ said Iran already acts like a superpower and
explained that, while the UAE is a federation of emirates, Iran’s
“emirates” have a larger army and budget that the UAE. In addition
to Iran’s established emirates in South Lebanon and Gaza, sleeper
emirates in Kuwait, Bahrain, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia,
and the mother of all emirates in Southern Iraq. Now Iran has an
emirate in Saada. MbZ told Poneman, “We believe you don’t want us
to believe” the mounting evidence of Iranian involvement in Yemen.
He stressed that he doesn’t believe Ali Abdullah Saleh either, but
this is “not like cracking the enigma code” (in World War II),
there are Iranian ships unloading weapons for the Houthis, and “you
have the capability to track this.” He warned, “We know your
priority is Al-Qaeda, but don’t forget Iran. Al-Qaeda is not going
to get a nuclear bomb; Iran is a matter of time.”

¶7. (SBU) DepSec Poneman has cleared this cable.
OLSON

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SCENESETTER FOR THE PRESIDENT’S MEETING WITH SHAYKH MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000862

NOFORN

DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR SRAP, S/SEMEP AND NEA.

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/02/2018
TAGS: PREL AE
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR THE PRESIDENT’S MEETING WITH SHAYKH
MOHAMMED BIN ZAYED

Classified by Ambassador Richard Olson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (C) Mr President: Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed is looking forward
to renewing your acquaintanceship, established during his 2006 call
on you.

——————————————— —-
MbZ – The Man
——————————————— —-

¶2. (C) Shaykh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, or MbZ in USG speak, is
the man who runs the United Arab Emirates. Officially he is the
Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi (the most important
principality of the seven emirate confederation) and his only federal
title is Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces; in fact he is
the key decision maker on national security issues. He will make
deferential noises about his “boss” (elder half-brother President
Khalifa, a distant and uncharismatic personage), but we assess that
he has authority in all matters except for final decisions on oil
policy and major state expenditures.

¶3. (C) Aged 47, MbZ is a leader not just in the UAE, but more
broadly in the Middle East, where he is seen as a particularly
dynamic member of the generation succeeding the geriatric cases who
have dominated the region for decades. He is a reformer, actively
seeking to improve the life of his citizens and the UAE’s future
through better education and health care, and through economic
diversification, including investments in clean energy to prepare his
citizenry for a post-hydrocarbon future. He is proud of the fact
that despite having had the option of life of privilege, he rose
through the ranks of the UAE Armed Forces, earning his wings as a
helicopter pilot and retains a common touch that appeals to Emiratis.

——————————————— —-
MbZ and the Bilateral Relationship
——————————————— —-

¶4. (C) MbZ has staked his reputation, and his country’s future, on
its relationship with the United States, especially since 1990, when
the UAE leadership saw that the United States was prepared to shed
blood in the interests of preserving international order and
stability in the Gulf. Since that formative experience, MbZ has
built armed forces (especially his Air Force) that are closely
aligned with the US. He is also a proponent of close economic,
commercial, and where possible political ties with the US. He has
generally tried to support us where he thinks we have been right
(Afghanistan), but also where he thinks we have pursued misguided
policies (Iraq). MbZ recognizes that partnership with the US is
fundamental to the UAE’s continued success, but he also knows that
the relationship is controversial among his people, and that if the
US is perceived as an unreliable protector, his own power base will
erode.

——————————————— —-
Iran
——————————————— —-

¶5. (C) MbZ sees Iran as the primary external threat to the UAE and
his regime. To his eyes, Tehran’s threatening rhetoric, dominance by
proxy, and pursuit of nuclear weapons is reminiscent of Saddam in
¶1990. Moreover, the confrontations with Iran during the late 1980s
tanker wars, long forgotten in the West, are vividly remembered here.
MbZ is probably the most passionately anti-Iran of the Arab leaders,
and the UAE’s position is solidly with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan
in seeing the principal threat to the region as coming from Iran.
MbZ is particularly concerned at the divisions among the Gulf Arabs,
and sees Qatar’s and Oman’s decision to accommodate, rather than
challenge, Iranian power as troubling.

¶6. (S/NF) While MbZ is a hard liner on Iran, there are
accommodationists within his own system, especially in Dubai, where
the Ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum (Prime Minister of the UAE)
takes a position that is much closer to Qatar’s. For this reason,
and because of the basic disparity in size and power between the UAE
and Iran, the Emiratis prefer to be seen as quietly supporting a
hard-line US position, rather than staking out their own views. MbZ
is skeptical that US engagement with Iran will be successful in
reversing Iranian positions on nuclear program, and believes that a
policy of engagement puts him in an awkward position, both
domestically and internationally. He will welcome thinking on next
steps on sanctions.

¶7. (S/NF) Regarding the nuclear issue, MbZ believes that the logic
of war now dominates the region. He regularly expresses his belief
that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear
facilities, most likely within next six months. This reflects his
own assessment of the Netanyahu Government, but also, probably, what
Israelis are telling UAE in their private exchanges. For this
reason, one of MbZ’s highest priorities is to finalize his integrated
air defense system (including THAAD and Patriots) and advance
bilateral contingency planning with the US. Because of Qatari and
Omani wobbliness, he is uncomfortable with multilateral (GCC)
military solutions. MbZ may float the idea of extending the US
nuclear umbrella to the Gulf as a way of shoring up an anti-Iran
coalition, and preventing a regional arms race.

——————————————— —-
Israel and the Arabs
——————————————— —-

¶8. (S/NF) MbZ’s pre-occupation with Iran (and his secondary concern
about Islamic fundamentalism) lead him to have a strategic view of
the region that is curiously close to the Israeli one. But domestic
politics flow the other way, and he feels constrained in what he can
say publicly. Also, for reasons that are not entirely clear, the UAE
still feels a need to hide behind Arab League and GCC consensus, and
in particular behind Saudi Arabia (even when, as is now the case,
bilateral relations with the Kingdom are rocky).

¶9. (S/NF) We should press MbZ to expend political capital in
resolving the century old Arab-Israeli conflict. The issue cries out
for leadership in the Arab world, not least so that the common
interests of moderate Arabs and Israelis in containing Iran can find
a political expression. So far, MbZ has not been prepared to run
real risks in this area, but we should press him to. He appreciates
the bold steps you have taken, and expects to be asked for help in
this area.

——————————————— —-
Afghanistan-Pakistan
——————————————— —-

¶10. (C) The discussion on Afghanistan and Pakistan should be an easy
one. The UAE has played a useful role since 2001, having deployed
Special Forces there since 2003, and recently sending a Battalion
sized task force during the elections. MbZ tried to organize a
pan-Arab force, but could not overcome the resistance of Moroccans
and Tunisians to send troops. In Pakistan, the UAE has been
supportive of Zardari and played a very useful role both as donor and
politically as one of the key members of the friends of Pakistan
grouping. MbZ agrees on the need to curtail Taliban financing, but
is frustrated by our seeming inability to generate actionable
intelligence.

——————————————— —-
CT/CP Cooperation
——————————————— —-

¶11. (C) The UAE has emerged as one of our principal partners in CT
Cooperation through intelligence channels, having rounded up a number
of cells over the past few years, and is moving toward cooperation
externally as well. In the counterproliferation area, the UAE has
interdicted 20 shipments over the past two years, including within
the past few days, seizing North Korean systems bound for Iran.
Domestic Export Controls have lagged somewhat, but the UAEG’s
bureaucratic structure for implementing its export control laws is
finally emerging.

——————————————— —-
Conclusion
——————————————— —-

¶12. (C) MbZ views himself as one our closest partners in the Middle
East, and is keen to build on what has been an important aspect of
his life’s work, a good relationship with the US. From my
perspective, our relationship with the UAE is one the most promising
and productive in the region.

OLSON

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MbZ HOSTS GULF SECURITY DINNER WITH ISA ASD VERSHBOW AND PM A/S SHAPIRO

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ABU DHABI 000754

NOFORN
SIPDIS

FOR S AND S/SRAP HOLBROOKE
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ARP AND SCA

E.O. 12958: 07/22/2019
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PARM EAID MOPS IR IS AF PK SY LE SA
QA, AE

SUBJECT: (S) MbZ HOSTS GULF SECURITY DINNER WITH ISA ASD VERSHBOW AND
PM A/S SHAPIRO

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES DOUGLAS C.GREENE FOR REASONS 1.4 B
AND D.

REF A SECRETARY’S LETTER TO MBZ ON PUMA HELICOPTERS
REF B SECSTATE 76108

¶1. (S) Summary: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ, also
Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and de facto defense
chief) hosted a July 19 executive session of the Gulf Security
Dialogue in Abu Dhabi (July 20 plenary with UAE uniformed officers
reported septel). The U.S. delegation was led by Assistant Secretary
of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow and
Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew
Shapiro. MbZ called for advanced U.S.-UAE joint military
coordination and faster delivery of FMS items to respond to a
worst-case scenario in Iran. As with other senior U.S. officials
(but with increasing alarm and a shortening time frame), MbZ focused
on the Iranian threat and his belief that an Israeli pre-emptive
strike on Iran is likely in a matter of months. ASD Vershbow assured
MbZ of the U.S. commitment to UAE security; A/S Shapiro relayed that
this visit was his first since taking his new position – reflecting
the importance we place on the relationship. Discussions also
centered on UAE military and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan
and Pakistan and the peace process. End summary.

¶2. (SBU) Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) hosted a
working dinner with U.S. Gulf Security Dialogue delegation the
evening of July 19. The U.S. Delegation was led by Assistant
Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro and
Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Alexander Vershbow and included RADM William Payne, Ambassador, and
DCM. The UAE was represented by Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces
Hamad Thani al-Rumaithi, Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba,
Under Secretary of the Crown Prince’s Court Mohamed al-Mazrouei,
Deputy Chief of Staff Ali Hamad al-Kaabi and Air Force Chief Mohammed
Swaidan al-Qamzi.

Joint Planning for Worst-Case Scenario in Iran
——————————————— –

¶3. (S) In a three-hour working dinner, MbZ focused primarily on his
overarching concern — the threat from Iran, stressing as he has with
other senior U.S. officials that U.S. engagement with Iran will
ultimately fail and that he fears a surprise (Israeli pre-emptive
strike on Iran) in a shorter timeframe than USG estimates (he fears
it could happen this year). ASD Vershbow assured MbZ of the U.S.
commitment to UAE security; A/S Shapiro relayed that his trip to the
UAE was his first since taking on his new position, reflecting the
importance we place on the relationship.

¶4. (S/NF) MbZ reiterated his belief that an Israeli pre-emptive
strike against Iran was increasingly likely, saying he was convinced
the Netanyahu government was prepared to act against Iran, and that
he agreed with Israeli intelligence assessments regarding how close
Tehran is to achieving its nuclear ambitions. The Iranian response
to a pre-emptive strike, predicted MbZ, would be attacks on U.S.
allies in the region, foremost among them the UAE; Iran may also
unleash terrorist cells against western interests around the world.
ASD Vershbow explained that the USG assessment differed in timeframe
— we do not anticipate military confrontation with Iran before the
end of 2009 — stressing, however, that denying Iran’s nuclear
ambitions and stemming its efforts to achieve regional hegemony were
foremost among U.S. international security concerns.

¶5. (S) In response to MbZ’s position that ultimately engagement
efforts with Iran would fail, both ASD and A/S made clear than while
the USG continues to press for a diplomatic solution, the offer of
engagement is not opened-ended and will not come at the expense of
Gulf security.

ABU DHABI 00000754 002 OF 004

¶6. (S) Referring to the Iran Region Presence Office (IRPO) in Dubai,
MbZ asked “how’s that office doing?” He did not demonstrate any
particular concern or sensitivity regarding IRPO activities in UAE.
MbZ said that the Iranian regime was in trouble internally and would
move swiftly to oppress post-election opposition. As for Rafsanjani,
MbZ said he was a “survivor” who would not succeed in a leadership
bid because he will not act unless he is one-hundred percent sure he
will win. Again turning to his primary security concern, MbZ
suggested that Tehran would likely accelerate its nuclear program to
draw attention away from its internal weakness and to foment
nationalism among its citizenry. “Time is not on our side”, he said,
hinting that a move should be made against Iran and “the sooner the
better.”

Russia
——

¶7. (C)ASD Vershbow briefed MbZ on the positive outcome of POTUS’s
recent talks in Moscow. MbZ said that he had met with Putin in June
and he did not believe Russia saw a nuclearized Iran as a challenge
to its interests, nor did Putin appreciate the threat of regional
proliferation in response to an Iranian bomb. He encouraged the U.S.
to continue to press the Russians saying he believed if the Russians
came over to our side, (with regard to tougher sanctions), the
Chinese would follow. MbZ said his he would travel in late July to
Beijing, where he will surely press the Chinese on Iran. ASD
Vershbow suggested he urge the Chinese to send Iran a message by
diversifying its oil imports away from Iran.

Afghanistan – Neighbors Not Doing Enough
—————————————-

¶8. (S/NF) MbZ complained that Arab regimes are not doing enough to
help in Afghanistan. He said that as of one month ago, he surveyed
the region and found that only Oman had funded its Tokyo conference
pledge of $2 million. He singled out Saudi Arabia and Qatar in
particular for not doing their part, saying that the Saudis clearly
did not see how important it was to their own interests.

¶9. (S/NF) MbZ criticized other regional leaders for playing both
sides and for “dating” Iran. MbZ compared the current situation to
pre-WWII Europe saying, “Ahmedinejad is Hitler,” and neighboring
capitals believe erroneously that they can prevent Iranian
retaliation by playing nice or signing agreements with Tehran. “They
think the are backing the winning horse,” MbZ explained, emphasizing
that if they think that by appeasing Iran they will avoid Iranian
retaliation “then they are seriously mistaken, Sir.”

National Defense Strategy
————————-

¶10. (S) Throughout the discussions, MbZ repeatedly called for
coordinated military planning for the worst-case scenario of an
unpredictable Iranian response to an Israeli strike, stressing that
U.S.-UAE preparations must begin now well before commencement of
hostilities. Both sides agreed that improved coordination was a good
idea, with ASD Vershbow utilizing the opportunity to push for a UAE
national defense strategy. (Note: GSD July 20 plenary meeting
reported septel. End Note.)

Pakistan – 14 Additional PUMAs
——————————

¶11. (C) Passing a letter from Secretary Clinton thanking the UAE for
its transfer of 14 U.S.-origin PUMA helicopters to Pakistan, A/S
Shapiro thanked MbZ for the UAEG’s partnership and regional
leadership in providing assistance to Pakistan as well as its
long-term participation in the coalition in Afghanistan. MbZ updated
the delegation on delivery status, saying that 10 of the promised 14

ABU DHABI 00000754 003 OF 004

had been delivered and the remaining 4 would shortly follow. He
added that efforts were underway to find and purchase additional
helicopters, announcing (for the first time that we have heard this)
the UAE’s intentions to provide Pakistan with an additional 14 PUMAs.

Humanitarian Aid for CT
———————–
¶12. (C) In the context of defeating AQ in Afghanistan and Pakistan,
MbZ called for Arab and Muslim regimes to do more to stem terrorist
financing, whether it means closing down charities, business
interests, “whatever is necessary.” He also pointed to the
zealousness of Arab fighters vice Afghani nationals. Nine-five
percent of Arab fighters go to Afghanistan knowing they are going to
die for ideological reasons. Afghan nationals, on the other hand,
are more practical. “This makes one of them [Arabs] more valuable to
AQ than ten or more Afghan fighters.” Afghanis, MbZ pointed out,
have tribes, families, homes — therefore the best way to counter
local extremism in Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent Pakistan, is
to improve the quality of life.

¶13. (SBU) MbZ described UAE humanitarian commitments of $300 million
to build “model villages” in Afghanistan, complete with housing,
hospitals and schools. He invited the USG to join the UAE, Germany
and France in this effort. A/S Shapiro stressed the urgency of the
displaced persons crisis in the Swat region of Pakistan, suggesting
the UAE consider housing aid in this region. MbZ replied “Why not?
We will try to help wherever needed.”

MbZ on Pakistani Leadership
—————————

¶14. (S/NF) MbZ shared his assessment of the current Pakistani
leadership saying President “Zardarni is dirty but not dangerous,”
while Prime Minister Sharif is “dangerous but not dirty — this is
Pakistan. Sharif cannot be trusted to honor his promises. MbZ
continued that a new personality may emerge but for the time being
the UAE position was to play a helpful role by supporting the PM.

Lebanon – Support for LAF and PM Hariri
—————————————

¶15. (C) ASD Vershbow reiterated our request that the UAEG assist the
Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) by funding the purchase and transfer of
some of 56 U.S.-origin tanks from Jordan to Lebanon, noting our
appreciation of the UAE’s earlier funding of the first 10 tanks.
This would help capitalize on the positive outcome of the elections
and help reduce Hezbollah’s (and Iran’s) influence in Lebanon.
Promising to look into what the UAE could do to help with this
matter, MbZ asked if we had made the same request to Doha. ASD
replied that we had and that he would do so again when he arrived in
Qatar July 20.

¶16. (C) Reiterating his favored theme of the generation gap in
regional leadership (UAE having already passed the baton to the
younger generation), MbZ praised Lebanese PM Saad Hariri, saying he
was a good man. “He feels very threatened at the moment (presumably
by the Syrian regime), and it is important we do not lose him.” A/S
Shapiro agreed, pointing to U.S. security assistance as proof of our
concern and suggested that the UAE support U.S. efforts to strengthen
Lebanese government institutions as the best opportunity to build GOL
stability and security.

July 18 Nasrallah Speech
————————

¶17. (S) MbZ pointed to Hezbollah SYG Hassan Nasrallah’s July 18
speech, saying he believed it reflected a change in Hezbollah’s tone
due to calculations that its Iranian backers were currently in a
weakened state post-Presidential elections. MbZ said that Nasrallah
is likely suffering from decreased financial support, at least for

ABU DHABI 00000754 004 OF 004

the next six months.

Behavior Change in Syria – I Think Not
————————————–

¶18. (S/NF) Vershbow pointed to recent progress with Syria on border
control issues to stem the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq as a
small step forward in effort at eliciting behavioral change from
Damascus. MbZ showed no confidence that Syria could be separated
from the Iranian camp. “If you want my opinion,” replied MbZ, “I
think not.” He advised that Syria had a lot of options and that,
judging from past behavior, the regime would continue hedging on key
regional issues (Iran, support for Hezbollah, peace process) for the
foreseeable future.

Praise for Bahraini Crown Prince
——————————–

¶19. (C) MbZ said that a two-state solution was the only option for
solving the Israeli-Palestinian issue. MbZ praised the Bahraini
Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa for his “courageous”
(July 17) editorial in the Washington Post (ref B), commenting that
not enough Arab countries we on the right side of this issue.

¶20. (U) ASD Vershbow and A/S Shapiro cleared this message.

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UAE GULF SECURITY DIALOGUE (GSD) JULY 20 PLENARY SESSION AND COS DIALOGUE

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ABU DHABI 000744

NOFORN
SIPDIS

FOR S AND S/SRAP HOLBROOKE
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ARP AND SCA

E.O. 12958: 07/21/2019
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PARM EAID MOPS IR IS AF PK SY LE SA
QA, AE

SUBJECT: UAE GULF SECURITY DIALOGUE (GSD) JULY 20 PLENARY SESSION AND
COS DIALOGUE

ABU DHABI 00000744 001.2 OF 004

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D’AFFAIRES DOUGLAS C.GREENE FOR REASONS 1.4 B
AND D.

Summary
——-

¶1. (S/NF) In a July 20 plenary session of the GSD with a large UAE
delegation, accompanied by a smaller session with the UAE Chief of
Staff, the immediate focus was largely on Iran. Participants
reiterated the good defense cooperation that the U.S. and UAE enjoy,
while noting the need to improve coordination further to deal with
real and urgent threats in the region. In this regard, the UAE put
the threat of Iran’s potential reaction to a “likely” Israeli attack
on its nuclear program at the center of scenarios to be considered.
Other issues, to include Yemen, counter-proliferation, Pakistan, the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and extremism were also addressed, but
even these were often seen through the prism of Iranian intentions.

¶2. (S/NF) This message begins with the Chief of Staff’s urgent plea
on “munitions” to deal with an unpredictable Iran, followed by a
synopsis of GSD plenary proceedings. A list of UAE participants is
included at para 20. End summary.

Chief of Staff Presses for Munitions:
Urgent about Iran’s unpredictability
————————————

¶3. (S/NF) In a brief session with principals only, Chief of Staff
Hamad Thani al-Romaithi (who also participated in the MbZ dinner and
was on his way to Lebanon later July 20) said the UAE cannot act
alone in the region and needs coherent plans — especially to deal
with the unique threat of Iran. How to deter Iran without provoking
it is a challenge. Ambassador al-Otaiba emphasized how the proximity
of the UAE to Iran magnifies the threat perception; the CoS said UAE
military planning had to consider worst-case scenarios.

¶4. (S/NF) ASD Vershbow said the USG did not disagree with the UAE
evaluation of Iran’s objectives, but that we need to work to prevent
them from achieving those objectives. Diplomacy is only one tool.
The USG wants to help provide the UAE with defensive capabilities and
our troop presence here should help act as a deterrent to Iran. We
don’t want to signal that we will give up on diplomacy, yet in
parallel to that effort we intend to keep the pressure on Iran. We
appreciate the candor of our defense engagement with the UAE. We are
dealing with an unpredictable foe and need to take all precautions.

¶5. (S/NF) The CoS said Iran will remain a threat in any case, as its
objectives are constant. He added that if the Israelis strike, Iran
may lash out at the UAE and around the Gulf — one can conceive of
many possible scenarios from missile strikes to attacks on isolated
islands to the exploitation of 130,000 Iranians living in the UAE.
The UAE therefore seeks ongoing support from the region’s “main
actor,” the U.S., and desires close defense coordination. The UAE’s
friends in the GCC, on the other hand, are not always realistic in
their approach to Iran, he said, citing Arab misinterpretation of
“brotherly” Iraqi intentions with regards to Kuwait back in 1990.

¶6. (S/NF) ASD Vershbow said that our message to Iran is that threats
against our allies will not go unanswered. We need to be prepared in
case deterrence does not work, with the realization that with or
without nuclear weapons Iran seeks to be a dominant power in the
region. This is a very interconnected region, asserted the CoS. “If
I was in the Israelis’ shoes, I would attack, to reduce the nuclear
threat.” The first reaction may be that the Iranians launch missiles
against targets in Israel and then the Gulf, he added. Air Chief
Sweidan added that the UAE needs munitions on a tighter timeline than
previously assumed — with urgent needs in 2010, 11, and 12. He said
the UAE Armed Forces could receive munitions from the U.S. inventory
and then replenish them later (he supplied the same list of
requirements as was relayed some months ago, noting that they had
only received a “political” answer to that inquiry thus far).

ABU DHABI 00000744 002 OF 004

¶7. (S/NF) The CoS was appreciative of Patriot deployments, progress
on command and control systems, and movement toward more effective
shared early warning, but lamented that other pieces of the air
defense puzzle require immediate attention. Ambassador al-Otaiba
reiterated the need to “borrow from U.S. inventories” to meet urgent
timelines. A/S Vershbow said we were leaning far forward for the UAE
on THAAD, for example, and would continue to look into opportunities
to assist, including filling gaps before UAE-purchased systems were
delivered.

¶8. (S/NF) Highlighting the importance of close defense coordination,
the CoS noted that in the event of an attack the UAE may have no time
to react. Taking the fight to Iran may require “passing over U.S.
aircraft carriers,” for example, so we need to be in lock-step at all
phases of preparation and operation.

Introductory remarks
——————–

¶9. (C) The Plenary session of the U.S.-UAE Gulf Security Dialogue
(GSD) convened July 20 at the Armed Forces Officers’ Club, with newly
promoted Deputy Chief of Staff Major General Ali Hamad Subaih
al-Kaabi stating that the “small but significant” Gulf region makes a
large contribution to global peace and development and seeks enhanced
cooperation with the U.S. He cited UAE troops in Afghanistan, U.S.
use of UAE bases, a robust intelligence exchange, strong
counter-terror efforts, and improved border control as evidence that
the UAE shares common goals with the U.S. Citing the “high
importance” of strong relations among GCC members, he thanked the
U.S. for its role in the defense relationship and wanted to learn
more about U.S. strategies vis-a-vis Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and
Palestine.

¶10. (C) Assistant Secretary of Defense Vershbow, leading the U.S.
team along with Assistant State of State for Political-Military
AffairsShapiro, expressed confidence in the strength and future of
the bilateral relationship, anchored by common strategic interests.
Recounting shared priorities, he noted that the GSD was being taken
to a new level as we seek strategic synergy in facing real threats
like Iran — which we are obligated to defend against. He called for
a more multi-lateral approach to counter-proliferation and cited the
need to prepare missile defenses. He lauded the UAE decision to host
LEADING EDGE 2009 and cited the 123 agreement with the U.S. as the
high standard on civil nuclear cooperation. The responsible drawdown
of U.S. troops in Iraq also calls for continued UAE support, he
emphasized, as Iraq seeks to assume responsibility for its own
security and integrate into the region. The UAE’s advanced fighter
squadron, growing air defense net, participation in RED FLAG, and
leadership of CTF 152 are all indications of a maturing defense
capability.

¶11. (C) A/S Shapiro emphasized the USG desire to ensure regional
stability, counter extremism, curb WMD proliferation, and tackle the
inter-related challenges of the region holistically. He focused on
the threat from Iran, stressing that the USG was attempting a
diplomatic solution — if possible — and would proceed in
consultation with our friends in the region. Recounting the basic
components of our Iraq policy, he also highlighted the need to
strengthen the institutions of government in Lebanon and build
capacity within the Palestinian Authority.

UAE offers threat analysis: all Iran
————————————

¶12. (S) The UAE’s presentation of the primary regional threat
assessed that Iran’s leadership “genuinely believes that it has
emerged victorious from its clash with the U.S.,” with gains made in
Iraq, an expanding “Shi’a tide” in the region, an ongoing nuclear
program, missile modernization, and continued provocation of
resistance in Gaza. While Israel was able to neutralize to some
degree threats on its flanks in Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2008/9),

ABU DHABI 00000744 003 OF 004

Iran’s main goals of regional influence were not inhibited. The UAE
assessment continued that Israel may act on its perception that only
“extreme” (and unlikely) UNSC action or unilateral Israeli military
action can slow Iran’s nuclear goals. As Iran continues to reject a
political solution, the UAE must prepare for the fallout should
Israel act on its fears. With that, the briefer introduced a slide
on Iran’s capabilities, with missile sites in the south of Iran and
concentric circles showing their likely range all covering UAE
territory.

¶13. (S) Iranian promotion of “Shi’ism,” coupled with sleeper cells
in the region, magnify the threat articulated by the UAE. If
attacked, it may seek to obstruct shipping in the Gulf and control
(more) islands over which it does not have legitimate sovereignty.
Working in alliance with al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Iraqi Shi’a, Iran
is poised to do damage of an unpredictable nature if/when provoked.
In sum, Iran continued as the traditional focus of the threat
briefing offered by the UAE at GSD sessions. Other regional concerns
noted in lesser detail included Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
the Arab-Israeli conflict, terrorism, and piracy.

Strategic Cooperation
———————

¶14. (C) In further briefings, the UAE team highlighted good
operational cooperation with the U.S. and offered a review of the
maturing Critical National Infrastructure Agency (CNIA) which is
taking charge of security on land, along the coast, and off shore —
with an initial focus on Abu Dhabi but an intent to serve as a
federal agency. The U.S. Coast Guard and NYPD were cited as partners
in the growing CNIA mission, with a U.S. promise of first-time
“Nuclear Security Training” in the near future.

¶15. (S) The UAE delegation received a draft “UAE National Defense
Strategy and U.S.-UAE Comprehensive Defense Strategy” document
outlining key priorities in the defense relationship (a document
proposed by UAE Ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba). Without
immediate comment on the substance of the USG draft, al-Kaabi said
the UAE would reply via embassy channels and looked forward to
continuing the dialogue.

Q&A on Iran, Yemen
——————

¶16. (C) When the floor was open to general discussion, two topics
dominated: Iran and Yemen. The UAE asked whether the USG had any
new information since the December 2007 NIE regarding Iran’s nuclear
weaponization program; the U.S. team noted that a new estimate was in
progress but it was premature to comment. The DMI representative
also noted that Iran exploits crises for its own advantage, making
the defusing of crises like Palestine and Lebanon imperative if we
are to keep Iran in check. In the case of Palestine, he added
optimistically, it is time to “cut to the chase” and deal with final
status issues; Lebanon is also ripe for progress, he suggested,
without a drawn out process.

¶17. (S) On Yemen, the UAE said it shared a U.S. concern that a
“failed state” could emerge on the Arabian Peninsula, with terrorist
partners and Iranian influence further poisoning the mix. A
collapsed Yemen “gives us Afghanistan,” said Commander of the Air
Force and Air Defense Major General Hamad bin Suweidan al-Qamzi, and
then it presents a long-term threat to the region. He said the UAE
was coordinating economic development support for Yemen while also
trying to assist with political reconciliation. He noted the dangers
of “another Somalia.” ASD Vershbow hoped the UAE could help secure a
unified GCC approach to Yemen, as time is running out on the
seccession question and Yemen cannot afford a “two front” war with
both seccesionists and the Al-Houthi insurgency. In a brief
discussion of Pakistan, all agreed that Islamabad needs to focus
resources to fight insurgency rather than obsessing with India as its
potential military foe.

ABU DHABI 00000744 004 OF 004

Positive Conclusions
——————–

¶18. (C) Enhanced U.S.-UAE cooperation to counter troublesome
financial flows and cash smuggling — solidified during a recent
visit by Treasury Secretary Geithner — was noted by the Charge as
another area of productive engagement. Both sides also put in very
positive words about the role of the Air Warfare Center which has
become a proud center of excellence for the region.

¶19. (S) In closing, al-Kaabi raised Iran yet again, noting that its
leadership is not likely to change fundamentally and therefore the
threat is likely to continue. He looked forward to ongoing
discussion of the defense strategy discussed earlier as we continue
to pursue a common vision.

¶20. (SBU) UAE delegation:

— Staff Major General Ali Hamad Subaih al-Kaabi, Deputy Chief of
Staff
— Staff Major General (Pilot) Hamad bin Suweidan al-Qamzi,
Commander of Air Force and Air Defense
— Staff Colonel Abdullah Saeed al-Hamoodi, Intelligence and
Military Security
— Lt. Colonel (Dr.) Albadr Shareef al-Shatri, Intelligence and
Military Security
— Staff Brigadier General Khalfan al-Kaabi, Ground Forces
— Staff Colonel (Pilot) Salim Saeed, Ground Forces
— Staff Lt. Colonel Abdullah al-Yamahi, Directorate of Joint
Operations
— Brigadier General (Dr.) Humaid Ali al-Kitbi, Purchasing
Directorate
— Staff Colonel Saeed Rashid al-Shihi, CNIA
— Staff Brigadier General Mohamed Murad al-Baloushi, Air Forces
— Colonel (Engineer) Ahmad Sultan, Air Forces
— Staff Lt. Colonel Engineer Jamal Mohamed al-Ameri, Air Forces
— Major Juma Sultan, Air Forces
— Staff Major (Pilot) Ali Saleh, Air Forces
— Major (Pilot) Abdullah Sultan al-Mazroui, GSD secretariat for
plenary

¶21. (U) The GSD traveling party approved this message .

GREENE

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CROWN PRINCE SOUNDS ALARM ON IRAN

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000736

SIPDIS
NOFORN

STATE FOR NEA/FO AND NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/19/2019
TAGS: PREL EFIN ECON IR AE
SUBJECT: CROWN PRINCE SOUNDS ALARM ON IRAN

Classified by Ambassador Richard Olson, reasons 1.4 (b, d).

¶1. (U) This cable contains an action request in para 12.

¶2. (S/NF) Summary. On July 15, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
joined Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan
(MBZ) and Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan (ABZ)
for a dinner covering a range of regional issues. MBZ expressed
serious concern over Iran’s regional intentions and pleaded for the
U.S. to shorten its decision-making timeline and develop a “plan B.”
He encouraged the U.S. to clearly communicate ‘red lines’ to the
Iranian Government, on nuclear and regional stability issues, with
direct consequences for transgressions. He painted to a nuclear Iran
as an existential threat to the UAE and invoked the well being of his
grandchildren while urging the U.S. to act quickly. MBZ asked for
close coordination between the U.S. and UAE to deal with the Iranian
threat. End Summary.

¶3. (S/NF) Secretary Geithner asked the Crown Prince for his views on
the situation in the region, particularly in Iran. Geithner
described the U.S. strategy on Iran, including our intention to move
forward with multilateral financial sanctions while waiting for Iran
to decide on its engagement with the U.S. He also conveyed
appreciation for the important support that UAE provides to other
regional trouble spots.

¶4. (S/NF) MBZ described a nuclear armed Iran as absolutely untenable.
He pointed to Iran’s relentless ambitions to restore regional
hegemony as evidenced by destabilizing interference in Iraq, Lebanon,
Afghanistan and Palestine. He believes that ‘all hell will break
loose’ if Iran attains the bomb, with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and
Turkey developing their own nuclear weapons capability and Iran
instigating Sunni – Shia conflict throughout the world. He said Iran
is surrounding Israel – driven by ideological conviction – and will
threaten Israel’s existence should it go nuclear. At the same time,
he described Iran’s ambitions as reflecting a desire to restore
Persia’s great-power status, rather than driven by religious
convictions.

¶5. (S/NF) MBZ differentiated the long term threat posed by Iran from
other menacing states like North Korea or Syria. Where these other
regimes were ruled by small cadres of corrupt ‘old guard’ officials,
the Iranian regime has raised its next generation to carry out its
designs for hegemony. As such, the world will be dealing with Iran’s
destabilizing ambitions for decades. MBZ assesses that the Iranian
regime has emerged from the recent election strife stronger and more
resolute.

¶6. (S/NF) While careful not to suQY.JQoWoRth Iran,
MBZ described a near term conventional war with Iran as clearly
preferable to the long term consequences of a nuclear armed Iran.
Without timely and decisive action by the United States, MBZ believes
that Israel will strike Iran, causing Iran to launch missile attacks
– including hits on the UAE – and to unleash terror attacks
worldwide. In his view, ‘the map of the Middle East’ would change.
He expects widespread civilian conflict to erupt as Iran sparks Sunni
– Shia violence worldwide (including the Eastern Province of Saudi
Arabia which he sees as the greatest vulnerability, along with Iraq,
in the Arab world). He speculated that such an event could unfold
within six months time and resolved that the UAE is prepared to
defend itself. He believes that an Israeli strike will not be
successful in stopping Iran’s nuclear program, and therefore we need
to plan.

¶7. (S/NF) Regarding the recent election in Iran, MBZ cautioned that
Mir Hossein Musavi is no different than Ahmedinejad when it comes to
their nuclear ambitions, ‘same goal, different tactic.’ In this
respect, he regards Musavi as more dangerous than his competitor, as
at least Ahmedinejad was ‘an open book.’ He reminded Secretary
Geithner that Musavi and his advisors are part of the same group that
took the U.S. Embassy in 1979.

¶8. (S/NF) MBZ questioned Europe’s basic understanding of the threat
posed by Iran, and wrote off their resolve to deal with the
situation. He was appalled by ‘top European diplomats’ that were
unconcerned by the possibility of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon. He
shared his theory that Russia was trying to instigate conflict
between the U.S. and Iran as a means to weaken the U.S. and drive up
oil prices. He suggested we could use Russia’s narrow views to help
persuade Russia to join international actions against Iran.

¶9. (S/NF) MBZ stated that financial sanctions would never be
sufficient to stop Iran, but allowed that the U.S. should continue
with such measures to demonstrate to the Arab world that we tried
everything. He pledged continued cooperation and support for
international sanctions and encouraged further action in the UN and
EU, as well as the U.S.
¶10. (S/NF) MBZ suggested that the key to containing Iran revolves
around progress in the Israel/Palestine issue. He argued that it
will be essential to bring Arab public opinion on board in any
conflict with Iran and roughly 80% of the public is amenable to
persuasion. To win them over, the U.S. should quickly bring about a
two state solution over the objections of the Netanyahu government.
He suggested working with moderate Palestinians that support the road
map, and forget about the others as there is no time to waste.

¶11. (S/NF) Foreign Minister ABZ urged the U.S. to make better use of
its allies in the region and engage Russia and China in a productive
way on this issue wherever possible. He urged clear and forceful
messaging to Iran and more regional gatherings (i.e. P+5+1 and GCC+3)
to increase pressure and isolation.

¶12. (S/NF) ACTION REQUEST: MBZ would like to visit Washington in late
July to discuss Iran with President Obama and other senior officials.
Treasury and Embassy recommend continuing the dialogue with MBZ as
soon as possible.

¶13. (SBU) This cable has been cleared by Andy Baukol, Department of
Treasury Acting Assistant Secretary for International Affairs.
GREENE

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ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE REITERATES IRAN CONCERNS FOR S/SRAP HOLBROOKE

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000347

NOFORN
SIPDIS

FOR S, S/SRAP HOLBROOKE AND S/SAGSWA ROSS
DEPARTMENT ALSO FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ARP AND NEA/IR

E.O. 12958: 03/24/2019
TAGS: PTER PGOV PREL PARM MOPS IR AF PK AE
SUBJECT: ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE REITERATES IRAN CONCERNS FOR S/SRAP
HOLBROOKE

CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR RICHARD G. OLSON FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D.

¶1. (S/NF) Summary: During a March 24 meeting with Special
Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Abu
Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) expressed his grave
concerns about the Iranian threat to the region. MbZ said the
Iranian response to the Nowruz message was primarily for domestic
consumption, but that the Iranian leadership is concerned that
dialogue with the West represents a regime threat. He said Iran
would obtain a nuclear weapon unless the regime could be “split from
inside” before nuclear capability was achieved. Foreign Minister
Abdullah bin Zayed argued for continued Gulf consultation in
conjunction with any U.S. efforts to engage Iran. (Other topics
reported septel.) End Summary.

NOWRUZ STATEMENT
—————-

¶2. (S/NF) MbZ began by telling Amb. Holbrooke that Khamenei’s
response to President’s Nowruz statement was designed to send a
message to the millions of Iranians who saw the statement on the
Internet that there will be no debate on engagement with the United
States and/or the West. MbZ opined that Khamenei had to deliver the
message personally as an Ahmedinejad response would have fueled
domestic debate. Commenting that Khamenei was conveying Iran’s
fundamental lack of trust in the United States, MbZ said the Iranians
want an apology “for everything from Carter to Bush.” He added that
the uncharacteristic speed of Khamenei’s response indicates the
extent of the perceived threat that improved relations with the West
might represent to the leadership’s control over the country.
Specifically, the Iranian regime fears the United States will demand
the renunciation of its nuclear program, which would be politically
impossible.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS A CERTAINTY, UNLESS REGIME FALLS
——————————————— —

¶3. (S/NF) MbZ told Holbrooke he was “100 percent” convinced Iran will
complete its nuclear weapons program. He candidly stated his
personal belief that negotiations with Iran were irrelevant and a
military solution would only delay the program, not derail it. MbZ
said that there was a “third way” between these unacceptable options:
Iran is domestically very fragile, and the only way to prevent it
from acquiring nuclear weapons was to “split them from inside.”

¶4. (S/NF) Turning to his concerns about an armed confrontation, MbZ
said war with Iran would only harm the UAE. He is deeply concerned
that the current Israeli government will initiate military action
without consultation. An Israeli attack on Iran would have little
impact on Iran’s capabilities, but MbZ was certain Iran would
respond. MbZ argued that the leadership believes its own lies, which
were “proven” by Iran’s success in Basra. Today’s conventional
Iranian weapons would target the Gulf, while Iran continues to expand
its missile program with the hope of reaching the West.

CONSULT US
———-

¶5. (S/NF) UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
(AbZ) stressed the importance of a continuation of the P5 plus 1 plus
GCC plus 3 coordination on Iran. AbZ said that such consultation in
2008 “agitated” Iran, but sent a message to Russia and China and
European allies that the Gulf is seriously concerned about Iranian
hegemony. Iran’s regional hegemony and nuclear program are two
issues that the West cannot tackle separately. AbZ noted that
countries in the region (“some friends”) are concerned that the
United States, especially under the current administration, would
engage Iran at the expense of ties with the region. AbZ said the
President’s Nowruz message supported this theory. He concluded, “The
more you engage Iran, the more you must engage the Gulf states.”
(Ambassador Olson’s comment: Abdullah’s reference to “friends” was
Emirati politesse – the UAE is deeply concerned that we are preparing
to trade, and is interpreting the Nowruz greeting in that way.)

¶6. (SBU) Ambassador Holbrooke has cleared this message.
OLSON

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URGENT UAE REQUEST FOR AIR DEFENSE — FIVE PATRIOT BATTERIES THIS YEAR

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000192

NOFORN

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2019
TAGS: PREL PARM MOPS MASS IR AE
SUBJECT: URGENT UAE REQUEST FOR AIR DEFENSE — FIVE PATRIOT BATTERIES
THIS YEAR

Classified by Ambassador Richard Olson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (S/NF) Summary: UAE Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces convoked
the Ambassador to request the urgent deployment of five U.S. patriot
batteries in the UAE as an interim measure until the UAE’s own
batteries are operational (anticipated in 2012). The UAE belief that
an increasingly likely pre-emptive Israeli attack on Iran would
prompt quick retaliation on U.S. allies (foremost among them the very
proximate UAE) prompted the request. End summary.

¶2. (C) On 22 February 2009, Ambassador Richard Olson, Defense
Attache (DATT) Colonel Bret Rider and Chief, US Liaison Office (USLO)
Colonel David Sprague were summoned to the office of the Chief of
Staff of the UAE Armed Forces (COS), where they were met by the COS,
LTG Hamid Thani al Rumaithy, Director Military Intelligence and
Security (MISS) MGen Eissa al Mazrouei, Commander of the UAE Air
Force and Air Defence (AF&AD) AVM Mohammed Swaidan al Qamzi and the
COSs office director BGen Faris Mohammed al Mazroui.

¶3. (S) Following very brief pleasantries the COS bluntly commented:
“I need to be open and frank with you, there are changes in the
region that concern us.” On behalf of his government, the COS then
made an official request of the US government to deploy between four
and five Patriot batteries to the UAE during calendar year 2009. He
requested these batteries remain in place until such time as they can
be replaced by the UAE’s own nine batteries, currently on order.

¶4. (S/NF) The UAE would place three of the US batteries in and
around Abu Dhabi, one battery at the port of Jebel Ali, and a final
battery somewhere else in the northern emirates (presumably Dubai).
The COS noted previous studies on the placement of the batteries are
on file and will help guide final placement. The COS stated the
batteries would be used to protect critical military and civilian
targets.

¶5. (S/NF) The COS noted that Iran will continue doing its best to
keep the entire region unstable. Iran is recognized as Israel’s
biggest threat in the region and Israel will attack Iran with little
or no notice. Following an Israeli attack, the UAE is convinced Iran
will lash out against those who “help Israel,” or the allies of
Israel’s friends, most significantly the UAE. The COS noted the UAE
has the Patriot system on order and expects to take delivery in 2012.
He went on to mention the pending deployment of a single Patriot
battery to protect Al Dhafra Air Base — which should be operational
within the next 30 to 60 days. The COS noted the UAE operational
capacity will come too late and the single US battery will be too
little to stop Iranian missiles if they attack sooner rather than
later.

¶6. (S/NF) Hamid Thani senses indications and warnings the Israeli
government now being formed will likely attack Iran. He thinks the
new (Netanyahu) government will be very determined to eliminate the
threat of Iranian missiles, especially nuclear tipped ones, which
they fear may come raining down on Israeli cities. He also stated
Israel would be justified to take such action as it must protect its
citizens just as any nation has the duty to do. He feels that a
breakthrough in international efforts in regard to Iran’s armament
programs may slow Israel’s actions. However, the COS knows that
Israel must maintain all its options. He also knows the Iranians
have toyed with the international community for over ten years as
they built their capability. He stated the Israelis are also very
aware of Iranian tactics.

¶7. (S/NF) When pressed on what type of event may precipitate an
Israeli attack, the COS thought the delivery of the Russian S-300
system could be the catalyst. The COS stated very flatly that “I
don’t trust the Russians, I’ve never trusted the Russians or the
Iranians.”

¶8. (S/NF) The COS went on to request continued and expanded
intelligence sharing between the US and the UAE. He asked the DATT
what advance warning the US could expect of an Iranian attack. He
quickly added that he asks the same question of his MISS chief at
least twice a week and gets no answer — as he knows there is no good
answer. (Note: The COS served as the MISS chief prior to becoming
COS and knows very well the capabilities related to predicting
Iranian actions. End note.)

¶9. (C) The meeting ended nearly as quickly as it began with both
sides wishing each other good will and great success during the
International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) opening later in the day
(immediately following this meeting all of the attendees departed
directly for IDEX). The COS met with and most certainly briefed the
President, Prime Minister and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince (the de facto
Minister of Defense) as IDEX began.

OLSON

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ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE TALKS IRAN CONCERNS WITH GENERAL MOSELEY

Posted on 29 December 2010 by hashimilion

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 000187

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/07/2017
TAGS: PREL PARM KNNP IR AE
SUBJECT: ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE TALKS IRAN CONCERNS WITH
GENERAL MOSELEY

REF: A. ABU DHABI 97
¶B. ABU DHABI 145

Classified By: Michele Sison, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D)

¶1. (S) Summary. Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme
Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed
(MbZ) Al Nahyan hosted Chief of Staff USAF General T. Michael
Moseley on February 1, 2007. MbZ warned Moseley of the
growing threat from Iran, stating that they (Iran) “can’t be
allowed to have a nuclear program.” MbZ further emphasized
that Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped “by all means
available.” As expected, MbZ inquired about Predator B.
Moseley informed MbZ that the question of Predator B would
require further discussion within the interagency and with
our MTCR partners, while Ambassador noted that the USG looked
forward to discussion of UAE defense requirements and our
shared security objectives in the context of the Gulf
Security Dialogue. MbZ expressed a desire to have a missile
defense system in place by Summer 2009, and was looking to
add ship-based launch platforms as a part of that system. He
also noted that the UAE had identified a location on the
northern border at an elevation of 6,000 feet that may be
suitable for installation of an early warning radar system.
End Summary.

Iran
—-
¶2. (S) Stating that “we are living in a dangerous
neighborhood,” MbZ stressed the importance of curtailing
Iran’s nuclear program to the overall stability of the Gulf,
the Middle East as a region, and to the world’s energy
markets. Pointing out that a nuclear weapon with even a
short-range delivery system puts all the critical
infrastructure in the Gulf at risk — as well as the oil
shipping lanes — MbZ asserted: “If Iran can increase oil
production to more than 15 million barrels of oil per day,
let them have nuclear power, but until they can replace (the
Gulf’s) oil production they can’t be allowed to have a
nuclear program.”

¶3. (S) MbZ told Moseley that the US should not focus too much
on Ahmadinejad as the problem, but should focus instead on
“the greater Iranian threat.” Calling Ahmadinejad “merely
the driver” of a bus (nuclear program) that has been running
for a long time in Iran, MbZ described Iran’s nuclear program
as one that is no longer driven by personalities — but which
has become part of the Iranian identity. Noting that even if
Ahmadinejad or other leaders were to change, the nuclear
program would still continue, MbZ stated: “Even a siege at
this point will not change anything.” In answer to
Moseley’s question what should be done, MbZ responded: “Delay
their program — by all means available.” He added: “I am
saying this knowing that I am putting my country at risk and
placing myself in a dangerous spot.”

¶4. (S) Speaking about his fears of Iran’s growing hegemonic
aspirations, MbZ warned the US not to underestimate the
Iranians characterizing them as “extremely smart.” “It
amazes me,” MbZ continued, “that the Muslim Brotherhood,
which controls Hamas, has at its core an opposition to all
things Shi’a, and yet they (Hamas) cooperate with Iran. That
shows you how smart they are.” MbZ then pointed to what he
called successful Iranian actions in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq,
and Palestine to illustrate how Iran has managed to
manipulate Muslim extremism in order to advance Shi’a and
Iranian goals.

UAV/Predator B
————–
¶5. (S) MbZ again asked about the status of the UAE request to
acquire Predator B. GeneralMoseley informed MbZ that the
question of Predatr B acquisition would require further
discussionwithin the interagency and with our MTCR partners.
MbZ nodded in understanding: “We are patient.” He then
added: “I hope the Iranians give us time; they are aggressive
and are moving fast.” MbZ also mentioned that there were
several other countries offering UAVs to the UAE. Ambassador
added that the U.S. and the other 33 MTCR members would be
meeting in March to review the MTCR control list. Growing
demand worldwide for unmanned aerial vehicles had led to the
need for a general discussion of how the MTCR controls UAVs
and cruise missiles, and the USG looked forward to further
discussion of UAE defense requirements and our shared
security objectives in the context of the ongoing Gulf
Security Dialogue (GSD).

Strategic Interests
——————-

ABU DHABI 00000187 002 OF 002

¶6. (S) Moseley’s meeting with MbZ immediately followed a
Raytheon/Lockheed Martin briefing of MbZ on the ongoing
development of THAAD/PAC-3 and shared early warning systems.
Speaking of a time frame for the first time, MbZ said he
wants a complete missile defense system by summer 2009. MbZ
expressed particular interest in the possibility of mounting
PAC-3 on Littoral Combat Ships (LCS). Learning that PAC-3
cannot yet be mounted on a seagoing platform, MbZ was pleased
to note that SLAMRAAM has already tested successfully on a
wide variety of platforms and could be ship-based. Sheikh
(Major) Ahmed bin Tahnoon A-Nahyan, advisor to MbZ on
critical infrastructure protection, took particular note of
this fact and asked about upgrading/extending their existing
Hawk/AMRAAM assets. When briefers noted the 32km limit of
unelevated radar, MbZ stated that he has a location
identified on the UAE’s northern border at an elevation of
6000 feet that he would like contractors to come back and
look at as a possible location for an early warning radar
system. Also present was International Affairs Advisor to
the Crown Prince’s Court Yousef Al-Otaiba, who is a UAE
representative to the GSD.

¶7. (S) Comment: Although MbZ is increasingly talking tough on
Iran, i.e., stop Iran “by all means possible” and “deal with
Iran sooner rather than later” (ref A), his comments should
also be taken in the context of strong UAE interest in
acquiring advanced military technology and, specifically,
MbZ’s repeated requests for Predator B (ref B). The UAEG is
clearly nervous about any US actions that could upset their
much larger and militarily superior neighbor. The UAE’s
significant trade relationship with Iran–approximately $4
billion–is another complicating factor in the relationship.
On more than one occasion, the UAE leadership has expressed
trepidation over the prospect of being caught in the middle
between the US and Iran. End Comment.

¶8. (U) POLAD, Chief of Staff USAF, Ambassador Marcelle M.
Wahba has approved this message.
SISON

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