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Viewing cable 07ABUDHABI1479, SCENE SETTER FOR ADMIRAL FALLON'S SEPTEMBER VISIT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ABUDHABI1479 2007-09-05 13:01 2011-01-21 21:09 SECRET Embassy Abu Dhabi
VZCZCXRO8665
OO RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHAD #1479/01 2481359
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 051359Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9644
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL IMMEDIATE
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 ABU DHABI 001479 

SIPDIS 

SIPDIS 

CENTCOM FOR ADMIRAL FALLON 
STATE FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ARP, PM/FO 
DOD/OSD FOR A/S LONG, DAS KIMMITT, KELSO, QUINN, ANDERSON 
CENTCOM ALSO FOR MAJ GEN FINDLEY, REYES, RODRIGUEZ 
NSC FOR NRAMCHAND, EABRAMS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/05/2017 
TAGS: PREL PTER PARM MOPS MARR IR IZ AF LE SY AE
SUBJECT: SCENE SETTER FOR ADMIRAL FALLON'S SEPTEMBER VISIT 
TO UAE 

REF: A. ABU DHABI 1214, B) ABU DHABI 702, C) SECDEF 31828 

Classified by Charge d'Affaires Martin Quinn, reasons 1.4 (b) 
and (d). 

1. (S) Admiral Fallon, Embassy Abu Dhabi welcomes you for 
your second visit to the UAE as CENTCOM commander. As you 
are aware, deepening ties with the UAE is all about 
relationships, and the relationship that most matters on the 
military front is that with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed 
bin Zayed (MbZ), who is also Deputy Supreme Commander of the 
UAE Armed Forces, has a personal background in the UAE Air 
Force, visited Washington (White House and Pentagon) in 
mid-May, and has engaged senior U.S. military officials for 
some years on key defense issues. Since your visit falls 
during the fasting month of Ramadan, a late evening meeting 
with MbZ will likely be the substantive highlight of your 
stop in Abu Dhabi. MbZ will be interested in current U.S. 
operations in Iraq and forward thinking on how to deal with 
Iran, topics that he also discussed with you at length during 
your April visit. Additionally, MbZ will want your views on 
potential weapons sales to the UAE, designed to deter and 
counter the Iranian threat, and how those proposed transfers 
will fare when they undergo U.S. congressional scrutiny. 
(Note: In spite of Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid (MbR) 
holding the nominal title of Minister of Defense -- in 
addition to his positions as UAE Vice President and Prime 
Minister -- he is not involved in the practical management of 
UAE defense issues. We have requested a meeting with him, at 
which you could thank Dubai for its hosting of U.S. ship 
visits in particular. End note.) 

UAE Cooperation 
--------------- 

2. (S) The U.S. enjoys strong defense cooperation with the 
UAE, working together in key aspects of the war on terror; 
the UAE has special operations troops on the ground in 
Afghanistan and has been a source of security assistance for 
Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority, in addition to 
assisting virtually every trouble spot in the region in need 
of reconstruction support. The nation provides critical 
basing and over-flight for U.S. reconnaissance and refueling 
assets, extensive naval logistics support, and the Navy's 
liberty port of choice in the region (425 ships annually). 
We suggest you thank MbZ for his strong support for the U.S. 
Air Force and Navy in the UAE and encourage continued 
partnership in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the region. A 
few quantitative measures of bilateral cooperation include: 

--- 1,300 USAF personnel at Al Dhafra Air Base; 
--- a vigorous training schedule at the Air Warfare Center 
at Al Dhafra; 
--- the F-16 Block 60 program; 
--- approximately 425 port visits last year; 
--- over 24,000 US military overflights/landings in 
2006; 
--- more than 150,000 U.S. servicemen and women 
enjoying liberty annually in the UAE; and 
--- 250 UAE Special Operations forces serving with the 
Coalition in Afghanistan (possibly increasing to 
300) to include BMPs and LeClerc tanks; 
--- 150 conventional ground forces with South African built 
armored 
personnel carriers are planned to deploy in support of 
OEF, to 
work directly with Canadian forces. 

3. (S) These contributions are significant in scope but also 
enduring in their continuity over a number of years. The 
ports of Jebel Ali and Fujairah are vital to U.S. Navy 
interdiction operations, re-supply and sustainment, and 
combat support efforts across the region. Jebel Ali in Dubai 
has hosted more port visits for each of the past three years 
than any other port outside the United States. In expressing 
appreciation for this outstanding partnership, you might also 
remind MbZ that the evolving nature of military requirements 
mandates an ongoing focus on joint planning, coordination, 
and strategic interoperability. 

Iraq 
---- 

ABU DHABI 00001479 002 OF 004 



4. (S) While the UAE has offered some political and economic 
support for Iraq and identifies Iraqi stability as a regional 
priority, the UAE's (all-Sunni) leadership has over the past 
several months exhibited a hardened attitude toward Prime 
Minister al-Maliki, perceiving him as beholden to Iran and 
incapable of moving beyond sectarian bias to lead a unified 
Iraq. The UAE has in the past favored former Prime Minister 
Iyad Allawi and has stalled on its commitment to relieve 
Iraqi debt (of $3.5 billion) in order to avoid al-Maliki 
claiming credit. The UAE has expressed concern over the 
continued violence and chaos in and around Baghdad as well as 
the failure of the al-Maliki government to improve overall 
security in the country. While clearly skeptical of 
al-Maliki's leadership, MbZ also told SecDef on August 2 that 
Iraq had not followed up on signals that the UAE would 
welcome an al-Maliki visit -- albeit with a rather cautious 
welcome mat (ref C). 

5. (S) Meanwhile, the UAE has been engaged in regional 
efforts to facilitate reconciliation between Sunni and Shi'a 
forces. The UAEG has frequently expressed alarm regarding 
Iranian influence in Iraq, and has made attempts to reach out 
to moderate Shi'a to encourage their engagement in the Iraqi 
political process independently of Iran. The UAE values and 
seeks reassurance of continued close consultation on U.S. 
plans and strategy involving Iraq (and Iran). As for its 
direct consultations with Baghdad, Iraqi National Security 
Adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie was in Abu Dhabi in late June, a 
visit during which the UAE leadership apparently sensed that 
al-Rubaie took the attitude that current UAE outreach actions 
in Iraq were hostile and indirectly justified Iranian 
counter-influence. Al-Rubaie reportedly focused his efforts 
on urging the Emiratis not to support the Iraqi Sunnis. MbZ 
will certainly be interested in your thoughts on General 
Petraeus' report to Congress on Iraq. 

6. (S) The UAE sent a team to Baghdad in August to explore 
options for re-opening its Embassy. You may wish to inquire 
with MbZ about any reports back from the delegation. (Note: 
Concern has been expressed by the Coalition about the use by 
terrorists of the UAE's abandoned Embassy compound; coalition 
forces captured the security chief of the compound, Abu 
Shinan, and continue to hold him due to his connections with 
Sunni insurgent groups. The UAE has expressed concern over 
his potential release to Iraqi forces, fearing his execution. 
The UAE has not maintained diplomatic staff in Baghdad since 
the May 2006 kidnapping of one of its diplomats. End note.) 

Iran 
---- 

7. (S) MbZ reiterated to SecDef that Iran is the UAE's most 
serious and long-term threat, a theme we hear repeated often 
in UAE defense circles (but not a theme we hear from the more 
business-oriented leadership of Dubai). MbZ may opine that 
any attempt at dialogue by Iran should be regarded as a pure 
faade and he is urgent about setting up a defense 
architecture against Iranian missiles. Nonetheless, the 
leadership has also told us they are not in a position to 
sacrifice $16 billion in annual trade with Iran, while 
realizing that this same neighbor and major trading partner 
is also a potential threat to the UAE. It is worth recalling 
that the May 10-12 visit of Vice President Cheney to the UAE 
was immediately followed by a one-night stopover by Iranian 
President Ahmadinejad, who was given a red carpet welcome and 
gave a defiant anti-U.S. speech at a Dubai sports arena 
during his stay. 

8. (S) Iran is the large neighbor that will not go away, so 
the UAE feels a need to engage (particularly on the economic 
side and especially in Dubai) with a potential foe in this 
rough and unforgiving neighborhood. While assisting our 
mission in the region, the UAE leadership has consistently 
pursued a cautious, non-confrontational public posture 
towards Iran. In the past the UAE has been hesitant to 
participate in certain military exercises designed to show a 
strong defensive front against Iran. The UAE did, however, 
send observers to Leading Edge 07 in October 2006 in the 
Gulf, which had a Proliferation Security Initiative theme. 
The decision to host Eagle Resolve 2008, with a Theater Air 
and Missile Defense theme, should be seen as a praiseworthy 

ABU DHABI 00001479 003 OF 004 


step. Iran is an adversary to prepare defenses against, 
which the UAE is doing, yet it considers economic engagement 
one of those defenses. 

Afghanistan 
----------- 

9. (S) While the UAE contributes 250 Special Operations 
troops to the Coalition effort in Afghanistan (with a 
potential increase of 50), it has not yet publicly 
acknowledged this participation. The UAE pursues Afghanistan 
reconstruction aid with an emphasis on road networks, 
mosques, medical facilities and schools and has made efforts 
at political mediation between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In 
January 2007 LTG Eikenberry escorted Afghan Armed Forces 
Chief of Staff General Bismillah Mohammadi Khan to Abu Dhabi 
in a bid to deepen direct engagement between the UAE and 
Afghanistan. The UAE Armed Forces Chief of Staff declared 
himself willing to help in any way possible, including 
training Afghan troops. UAE subsequently disbursed another 
$30 million in general assistance and is renovating two 
runways in Afghanistan for military use. During the June 
visit of Afghan Defense Minister Wardak to Abu Dhabi, MbZ 
agreed to donate ten Mi-17 helicopters to Kabul. One of 
MbZ's oft-stated interests in sending Emirati Special Ops 
troops to Afghanistan is to get his military forces 
battle-hardened so they may effectively confront imported or 
domestic extremism when called upon to do so back home. The 
UAE contribution in Afghanistan warrants our frequent 
expressions of appreciation. 

Elsewhere in the region 
----------------------- 

10. (S) The UAE provides significant humanitarian and 
security assistance to Lebanon; MbZ spoke with SecDef at some 
length about the need to bolster Lebanon's ability to stand 
against Syrian influence. The UAE has been at the forefront 
of reconstruction efforts, continuing a longstanding 
de-mining operation, and contributing resources for school 
construction and hospitals. UAE Air Force C-130s and 
helicopters have been used in relief efforts. The UAE has 
also provided UAE-manufactured pistols (Caracal) and 
ammunition to the LAF. Earlier in the summer the UAE Foreign 
Minister had a conversation with Lebanese PM Siniora on a 
proposal for a Muslim force for Lebanon (under UN mandate). 
The UAE seeks to strengthen the Siniora government, having 
delivered $300 million in assistance to Lebanon this year, 
while also seeking limited engagement with Syria (to include 
a mid-July visit by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al 
Nahyan and a donation of $10 million towards the support of 
Iraqi refugees and $100 million to build a hospital in Syria). 

11. (S) The UAE would like to see tangible progress on the 
Middle East Roadmap, rejects the Hamas agenda, and continues 
to support the Palestinian people through more than $400 
million in housing and humanitarian assistance since 2000. 
MbZ and his brothers, Foreign Minister Abdullah and National 
Security Advisor/State Security Director Hazza, are in close 
contact with President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam 
Fayyad. As the result of the May 2007 visit of USSC General 
Dayton, the UAE transferred $80 million to the Palestinian 
president. 

Weapons packages -- high UAE expectations 
----------------------------------------- 

12. (S) The UAE has committed billions to current and 
anticipated Foreign Military Sales cases, in addition to over 
$8.5 billion in direct commercial sales in the Block 60 F-16 
program, one of the premier security assistance portfolios in 
the region. At the invitation of the Pentagon and State 
Department to deepen the security relationship by cooperating 
on an integrated missile defense shield, the UAE has recently 
submitted Letters of Request on the Patriot (nine PAC-3/GEM-T 
batteries), Surface Launched Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air 
Missile (SL-AMRAAM), and Theater High Altitude Air Defense 
(THAAD) system (3 fire units), for an estimated total value 
of $8 to 12 billion. It is now incumbent upon the USG to 
make good on our offer of enhanced engagement by pressing for 
expeditious Congressional notification this fall (pressing at 
every opportunity for favorable results in any congressional 

ABU DHABI 00001479 004 OF 004 


review of the weapons package). The UAE will see our posture 
as a critical measure of USG willingness to truly stand by 
the UAE in a contingency involving Iran. 

13. (S) The UAE recently signed the High Mobility Artillery 
Rocket System (HIMARS) Letter of Offer and Acceptance for 
counter battery, a case valued at $597M. Both Boeing and 
Northrop-Grumman have provided Requests for Information on an 
Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft later this year. 
The UAE has also expressed a short-term interest in 
purchasing three E2-C Hawkeye AEW&C aircraft as an interim 
solution until delivery of a more permanent AEW&C platform. 
(Note: That decision is expected in mid-2008. End note.) 
The UAE has also made a request to buy 40 UH-60 Blackhawk 
helicopters for its Special Operations Command. They have 
already signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance for 26 
Blackhawks, plus a training package, a case valued at $807M. 
They have also purchased 10 Blackhawks via Direct Commercial 
Sales from Sikorsky. The UAE is upgrading its AH-64 Apache 
helicopters to the D (LONGBOW) model and has requested 1300 
Hellfire missiles with the expectation of a request for an 
additional 1200 missiles. Three separate Letters of Request 
for additional weapons for their F-16s have been received, 
valued at over $800M. (The current UAE portfolio of active 
cases handled by USLO stands at 44 cases, valued at just over 
$4 billion with another $1.56 billion in cases under 
development, most of which are expected to be signed by the 
end of the calendar year. These figures do not include the 
$8-12 billion for the missile defense requests or $1-3 
billion estimated for the AEW&C platform.) 

Defense Cooperation Agreement 
----------------------------- 

14. (S) In spite of differences on status of forces issues 
and the use of passports/visas versus military IDs/orders for 
UAE entry and exit, overall mil-to-mil cooperation with the 
UAE has been excellent, with consistently reliable support at 
Jebel Ali and Fujairah ports and at Al Dhafra Air Base. We 
recently moved routine military cargo flight operations from 
UAE civil airports in the northern Emirates to the Minhad air 
station, in accordance with a UAE request. The request 
enhances force protection considerations but comes with a 
one-time cost of approximately $4.5 million. Minhad is 
generally better positioned geographically to support CENTCOM 
needs. In very limited circumstances when a C-5 is required 
to land at Fujairah, the UAE has granted all requested 
clearances. 

15. (S) The Embassy believes the timing may be right to make 
progress on negotiating a new Defense Cooperation Agreement 
(DCA) with the UAE and has suggested submission of a USG 
counter-draft in answer to the UAE draft DCA presented for 
possible discussion at October 2-3 Joint Military Committee 
(JMC) working group meetings in Tampa and a full JMC meeting 
tentatively set for January 2008 in Abu Dhabi. We 
recommended urging the UAE to sign a new DCA superseding the 
un-ratified 1994 version as the official basis for existing 
and expanding military-to-military cooperation (taking care 
NOT to link the DCA issue with pending sales or other routine 
cooperation, which would be seen as unhelpful pressure.) 

Getting the relationship right 
------------------------------ 

16. (S) The UAE's reliable and enduring support for mutual 
military interests in the region creates both a sense of 
momentum in the relationship and high expectations on the 
part of our hosts. They will be looking for your endorsement 
of our partnership in the form of ongoing consultations on 
U.S. intentions in the region (particularly Iraq and Iran, 
but also Afghanistan and Lebanon), an honest sense of the 
congressional mood in terms of weapons sales in the region 
(keeping in mind that the UAE seeks congressional 
notification of its systems this fall and notification to be 
handled separately from any other nation, GCC or otherwise), 
and genuine appreciation for the UAE role in the region. 
QUINN