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Viewing cable 09TRIPOLI590, THE CAST OF THE JAMAHIRIYA: BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR NEA AA/S FELTMAN'S VISIT TO TRIPOLI REF: A) 08 TRIPOLI 960; B) O8 TRIPOLI 993 TRIPOLI 00000590 001.2 OF 003 CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TRIPOLI590 2009-07-21 17:05 2011-01-31 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Tripoli
VZCZCXRO2715
PP RUEHBC RUEHBZ RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDU RUEHKUK RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN
RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0590/01 2021726
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P R 211726Z JUL 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5062
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1090
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0766
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0535
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 0081
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0211
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 5601
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TRIPOLI 000590 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/MAG; DRL/NESCA; AND PM/RSAT (MIKE MILLER) 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  7/21/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR UNGA MARR LY ABLD
SUBJECT: THE CAST OF THE JAMAHIRIYA: BACKGROUND INFORMATION FOR NEA AA/S FELTMAN'S VISIT TO TRIPOLI REF: A) 08 TRIPOLI 960; B) O8 TRIPOLI 993 TRIPOLI 00000590 001.2 OF 003 CLASSIFIED BY: Joan Polaschik, Charge d'Affaires, U.S. Embassy Tripoli, Department of State. REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)

1.(S/NF) Summary. Personalities and relationships play an extremely important role in Libya's opaque system of government. Your visit will bring you face-to-face with the ambiguity of the Libyan bureaucracy and will enable you to initiate relationships with the GOL's key decision-makers: Muammar al-Qadhafi, FM Musa Kusa, PM al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, and the sons who are rivaling to carry their father's mantle -- Muatassim and Saif al-Islam. While Musa has taken a larger foreign policy role, he still appears to hold sway on certain intelligence and security issues. Whereas Musa has served as a proponent of an expanding US-Libya relationship, the PM has been more reluctant and has reportedly slow-rolled fulfillment of GOL WMD commitments. As National Security Advisor, Muatassim's role has been to herald the call for security assurances as Libya's compensation for giving up its WMD program. While Saif has ostensibly retreated to the shadows, his influence seems to be continually present in business and social realms. In spite of the different personalities vying for influence in Libya, pleasing the Leader is still the end goal. End summary.

MUAMMAR AL-QADHAFI: SELF-STYLED LEADER OF AFRICA

2.(S/NF) Qadhafi is a famously mercurial interlocutor: his comportment ranges from quiet and difficult to engage (sometimes avoiding eye contact) to holding forth in rambling, non-linear fashion. His latest interactions with the West, including during his most recent visit to Rome, reflect his desire to have his ego fed. He has capitalized on his AU chairmanship by participating in nearly every international meeting to which he has been invited over the last six months, including the Arab League Summit and the G8 Summit in L'Aquila. Local press reports indicate that Qadhafi was honored by his handshake with POTUS at L'Aquila and his subsequent meeting with UK PM Gordon Brown. Nevertheless, he has reflected his insecurity about national security by seeking military, security and procurement agreements with the likes of Russia, France, and Italy. He will want to hear from you the new administration's views on the bilateral relationship, particularly assurances on peaceful USG motives in Libya.

3.(S/NF) Qadhafi views himself as a man of particular historical importance and has long sought to leverage leadership of Libya into a more prominent international role. His role as African Union Chair has provided both a convenient forum to raise his international profile and to promote his long-standing policy goals for the continent. Qadhafi's interest in Africa dates to the late-1980's, when it became clear that efforts to position Libya as a leading Arab state were unlikely to succeed. Libya has significant commercial investments and development projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and has leveraged them as part of its "dinar diplomacy" approach to managing relations on the continent. Qadhafi is keenly focused on African issues and seems to genuinely aspire to be the founding father of a United States of Africa. He has expressed willingness to assist U.S. efforts in Darfur, Somalia, and in ending the Chad-Sudan conflict.

4.(S/NF) Qadhafi's increased international profile as AU Chair coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Fatah Revolution (September 1) and the tenth anniversary of the Sirte Declaration that created the AU (September 9). Libya's current roles on the UNSC and as UNGA President add to the importance of this year for Qadhafi. Libyan officials will be looking toward Qadhafi's appearance at UNGA as the capstone of an extraordinary year; any potential interaction with POTUS will have long-lasting implications for our bilateral relationship.

MUSA KUSA'S EXPANDING PORTFOLIO

5.(S/NF) Musa Kusa was named Foreign Minister in March, and was dual-hatted as External Security Organization (ESO) chief for several weeks before a new External Security Organization Director was named. (Note: The extent to which Kusa has relinquished control of day-to-day intelligence operations remains unclear. The current ESO Director, Abuzeid Dorda, is a former Prime Minister and most recently served as the Chairman of the high-profile Housing and Infrastructure Board; however, he does not have experience in intelligence and security issues. End note.) Kusa frequently travels with the Leader and is a TRIPOLI 00000590 002.2 OF 003 principal advisor on security matters. He is Western-educated, holding an M.A. from Michigan State, and is seen as a strong supporter of reengagement with the West. The Ambassador and GRPO have met him frequently. He has played a prominent role in U.S.-Libya relations and, more broadly, in Libya's foreign affairs. Since becoming Foreign Minister, he has assumed several portfolios previously held by other prominent regime figures.

6.(S/NF) Kusa is a key mentor for Muatassim al-Qadhafi and served as his "minder" during the latter's first trip to the U.S. in September 2007 to attend the UN General Assembly. Muatassim made his latest trip without Kusa, but the two likely consult extensively on matters of security and intelligence. Kusa previously served (circa 2004-2006) as a mentor to Muatassim's brother and potential succession rival, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, and reportedly remains close to him. Kusa is rare among Libyan officials -- he embodies a combination of intellectual acumen, operational ability, and political weight. When the USG has promoted specific areas of cooperation with Kusa, he has been willing to cast the USG message in terms palatable to Libya's leadership.

AL-BAGHDADI AL-MAHMOUDI: THE SKEPTIC

7.(S/NF) Prime Minister Dr. al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi has been described as having limited influence with Muammar al-Qadhafi, though he is a key decision-maker within the regime. We have had limited contact with al-Mahmoudi. GOL sources have told us that he is seen as an obstacle to deepening bilateral engagement and have hinted that he is personally responsible for holding up the GOL's signing of the HEU-LEU agreement. xxxxxxxxxxxx Al-Mahmoudi also is a key player in resolving the standoff between the Land Registery Office and Ministry of Finance regarding payment for our seven USG properties in Tripoli.

MUATASSIM AL-QADHAFI'S ROLE AND INTERESTS

8.(S/NF) Muatassim's visit to Washington was seen here as further evidence that he is being groomed as a potential successor to his father's throne. His meeting in March with AFRICOM Commander Ward reflected skepticism about the role of the Africa Command and a desire for security assurances. The points he raised with Ward are likely to preview the issues he will raise with you: 1) Libya has not been adequately compensated for its decision to give up its WMD programs and abandon terrorism in 2003; 2) Libya wants security assurances in the form of a defensive alliance with the United States; and 3) Libya needs U.S. training and equipment to adequately secure its borders and fight transnational terrorism. Muatassim also stressed to Ward that Libya is eager to procure lethal and non-lethal military equipment and to resolve the case of Libya's eight C-130's in Marietta, Georgia. The GOL recently sent two amendments to the military-to-military MOU, requesting security guarantees and rehabilitation and return of Libya's eight C-130's.

9.(S/NF) When Muatassim raised the issue of Libya's C-130's with the Political-Military (PM) Bureau, PM responded that while the U.S. would look favorably on requests for new aircraft (C-130J's), the USG position remains that there will be no compensation for the old aircraft, and Libya should work directly with Lockheed Martin to resolve the matter. Regarding Libya's requests for lethal and non-lethal equipment, Post has submitted a draft end-use and transfer agreement to the MFA to enable some of the sales, but the Libyans have not responded with an acceptance of the agreement.

10.(S/NF) During his visit to Washington, USG interlocuturs urged Muatassim to initiate a Political-Military Dialogue and marked it as the appropriate venue to develop plans for political-military cooperation. Muatassim will be listening for a reaffirmation of our willingness to move forward on the military component of the bilateral relationship, to include security assistance. Post continues to urge the GOL to discuss outstanding security concerns within the framework of a TRIPOLI 00000590 003.2 OF 003 Political-Military Dialogue.

SAIF AL-ISLAM AL-QADHAFI -- MOVING BEHIND THE SCENES

11.(S/NF) Whereas Saif al-Islam ostensibly retreated from political life nearly one year ago, his influence remains palpable within the country. Saif stands behind the Economic and Social Development Fund (ESDF), which holds one of the most extensive investment portfolios in the country. His oil company NESSO is a member of one of the few successful oil production consortiums in the country, and he is the primary investor in Libya's Coca-Cola operation, among other ventures. Saif also plays a lead role in Libya's quasi-civil society. His Qadhafi Foundation oversees the International Society for Peace and Relief (which focuses on refugee assistance) and a new organization entitled the Arab Alliance for Democracy, Human Rights, and Development (which he launched at in February at the Davos Forum to "name and shame" regional human rights abusers). Our contacts report that Saif continues to play an influential role with his father and within the regime. Some observers view him as retreating strategically from the limelight, after having overstepped boundaries with his expansive reform agenda. Nevertheless, he has played an enduring role behind the political scene by brokering dialogue in late-2008 on the release of former LIFG fighters and facilitating our access to Fathi el-Jahmi in prison (refs a, b). We believe that Saif and the Qadhafi Foundation could be helpful in pushing the Human Rights Dialogue forward and in creating the buy-in necessary for the regime to actively engage in areas that are of priority concern to us, including rule of law; the detention and treatment of minorities and refugees; human trafficking; and religious freedom.

12.(S/NF) Comment: We have requested meetings for you with all of the personalities outlined above. Because the roles that Musa, Muatassim, and Saif play are fluid and influential with Qadhafi in different ways, you will have the opportunity to lay out USG policy priorities as outlined in septel with each of them. A clear, unified message that explicitly links achievement of our goals to engagement on their priorities will speak most effectively to the Qadhafi regime. End comment. POLASCHIK