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Cablegate: Action Request: U.S. Weapons Release to Iraq

VZCZCXRO3630
OO RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1699/01 1430824
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 230824Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1318
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001699

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS MCAP PGOV PTER MARR PINS PNAT IZ
SUBJECT: ACTION REQUEST: U.S. WEAPONS RELEASE TO IRAQ

1. (U) This is an action request. Please see para 15.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY: We request the release of U.S. sensors and
weapons (described in para 3-5) to the Government of Iraq
(GOI) for incorporation onboard Iraqi Air Force (IAF)
aircraft to advance the GOI's counter-terrorism capability
and security self-sufficiency. The aircraft and the
equipment will remain under U.S. operational control until
the GOI and IAF meet key milestones in security and training
readiness. The equipment will be procured primarily through
a U.S. funded Foreign Military Sales (FMS) case. The GOI and
Coalition consider the equipment a force generation
requirement. It will take twelve to twenty months lead time
to develop, build, test and deploy these systems. END
SUMMARY.

Description of Technology for Release
-------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Three IAF Counter-Terrorism Cessna 208B Caravans,
under U.S. operational control, would be equipped with the
following sensors and weapon systems: 1. Sensors: Mx-15 or
MTS-A Electro-Optical/Infrared (EO/IR) sensor
(space-stabilized EO/IR sensor with laser range finder, laser
illuminator, and laser designator). 2. Weapon Systems: 1553
NATO standard data bus, 2-4 hard points, and "Group A" wiring
to support the laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire. Finally, the
ISR data link system included on the Caravans will be
upgraded to allow the aircraft to perform
aircraft-to-aircraft image transfer.

4. (SBU) The IAF AT-6 or Super Tucano aircraft, under U.S.
operational control, would be equipped with the following
sensors and weapon systems: 1. Sensors: Mx-15 or MTS-A EO/IR
sensor (space-stabilized EO /IR sensor with laser range
finder, laser illuminator, and laser designator). 2. Weapon
Systems: 1553 NATO standard data bus and 2-4 hard points to
support laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire, 2.75-inch rockets,
250-500 lb ballistic and laser-guided bombs, and the
ALE/AAR-47 defensive system.

5. (SBU) The IAF UH-1H Huey II CT platform, under U.S.
operational control, would be equipped with the following
sensors and weapon systems: 1. Sensors: Mx-15 or MTS-A EO/IR
sensor (space-stabilized EO/IR sensor with laser range finder
and laser illuminator but no laser designator). 2. Weapon
systems: capability to support 2.75-inch rockets as well as a
forward-firing gun not to exceed the caliber of guns already
released to Iraqi ground forces. In addition, the ALE/AAR-47
defensive system currently installed on the original 16 UH-1H
Huey II and C-130 aircraft is needed for aircraft
survivability.

Rationale for Technology Release
--------------------------------

6. (SBU) U.S. forces presently perform all airborne
counter-terrorism missions; the GOI and IAF do not have
adequate capability to find, track, target, and engage
Anti-Iraq Forces (AIF). To successfully transition security
responsibilities to the GoI, the IAF must be capable of
engaging time-sensitive targets. U.S. Government purchase
and release of technology described in para 2-4 for
incorporation on U.S.-controlled Iraqi aircraft will enable
the IAF to meet its need for organic airborne CT platforms.
These systems are critical for support of Iraqi Special
Operations Forces and other Iraqi CT forces, and both the
Prime Minister and the Commanding General fully support such
an increase in capability.

Technology to Remain Under U.S. Operational Control
--------------------------------------------- ------

7. (SBU) U.S. forces will rigorously track, maintain, and
safeguard all sensitive munitions and technology released for
deployment onboard the IAF aircraft. The GOI and IAF will
only be permitted to retain a limited stock of sensitive
weapons for their aircraft, and the US will provide
just-in-time replacement of these weapons as they are needed
for ongoing operations. Furthermore, IAF aircrew will not
have autonomous control and authority to use airborne
counter-terrorism weapons until they and their leadership
have demonstrated the capability and intent to use them in a
manner consistent with US human rights standards and the
international laws of armed conflict.

8. (U) The GOI and IAF maturity will be measured by two key
milestones: (1) the ability to properly secure and protect

BAGHDAD 00001699 002 OF 002


sensitive technology (through specific bilateral agreements
as applicable) and (2) the ability to properly control,
sustain, and operate sensitive technology (through ongoing
Training Readiness Assessments). If the GOI and IAF do not
eventually conform to agreed upon standards in either area,
the technology will not be transferred to the GOI and IAF.
Since the technology will be procured with Iraqi Security
Force Funds, the US may ultimately decide to remove it from
the Iraqis and redirect it for other purposes consistent with
US national security objectives.

9. (U) We believe the IAF/GOI will continue to develop
security protection skills before the arrival of these
capabilities in early 2008. Airborne weapon system operators
and pilots will continue to mentor and train the IAF in the
proper use, protection, and safeguarding of these
technologies until they demonstrate this maturity and intent.

Iraq Safeguarding Sensitive Technology
--------------------------------------

10. (U) The GOI has demonstrated the intent and ability to
protect sensitive, classified military technology through
cooperation with U.S. and Coalition forces. The GOI's
implementation of an Article 505 agreement (signed July 24,
2004) demonstrates Iraq's willingness and ability to protect
grant defense articles and technology in a manner consistent
with U.S. standards. MNF-I intends to continue to mentor the
GOI in the protection of sensitive USG technology. The
Country Team and MNF-I will obtain necessary formal
agreements with the GOI and perform real-time assessments of
the stability of the GOI before transferring ownership of any
sensitive equipment, technology, or weapons. Lastly, we will
continue to carry out robust end-use monitoring through the
GOLDEN SENTRY program.

Anticipated Reaction From Neighboring Nations
---------------------------------------------

11. (SBU) Release of this technology may evoke negative
reactions from neighboring nations. Iraq's Sunni Arab
neighbors distrust the Shia-dominated GOI, fearing a "Shia
crescent" running from Iran to Lebanon. Although Saudi
Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait have received
similar equipment, they are unlikely to see Iraqi possession
as benign.

Iraq's Political Importance to the Region
-----------------------------------------

12. (SBU) A stable, democratically-elected Iraqi government,
capable of protecting its people and sovereignty, and
remaining at peace with its neighbors is one of the USG's
highest priorities. The release and employment of the
sensors and weaponry described in paras 3-5 will facilitate
progress toward this goal, advancing the Iraqi armed forces
ability to defend Iraq's borders, target illicit activity,
and improve air traffic safety.

Source of Financing and Economic Impact
---------------------------------------

13. (SBU) MNF-I intends to use U.S. funds appropriated for
Iraq (Iraqi Security Force Funds or ISFF) to procure and
equip Counter Terrorism aircraft for the IAF. The purchase
will be done primarily through a Foreign Military Sales
program. We believe that the GOI will be able to
financially support the operational and maintenance costs of
these technologies for the foreseeable future.

Relevant Human Rights Considerations
------------------------------------

14. (SBU) There are no human rights considerations that
should preclude the release of this technology to the Iraqi
military. GOI stability will be assessed prior to
transitioning direct US oversight and/or transferring
ownership.

Action Request
--------------
15. (SBU) We request Washington approval for the release to
the GOI of items and technology described in paras 3-5.
CROCKER

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