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Cablegate: Joint Working Group On Critical Energy

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O 161525Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY RIYADH
TO RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5392
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S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 RIYADH 001028

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOE PASS TO ADEALVAREZ AND PWILLGING
CIA PASS TO TCOYNE

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/15/2017
TAGS: EPET ENRG PTER SA
SUBJECT: JOINT WORKING GROUP ON CRITICAL ENERGY
INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION: SAUDI READOUT AND NEXT STEPS;
AL-QAEDA LOSING POPULARITY BY TARGETTING OIL FACILITIES

REF: RIYADH 873

Classified By: ECONOMIC COUNSELOR BOB SILVERMAN
FOR 12958 1.4 B, D, AND E

1. (U) This is an action request for S/CT, DS/ATA, and
DOE/Office of Energy Reliability. Please see paragraph
three.

--------
Summary
--------

2. (S) In a May 15 meeting with Ministry of Interior (MOI)
Chief of Staff Saad al Jabri, Joint Working Group (JWG)
Co-Chair Dr. Saud al-Semari, MOI Industrial Security Director
Khalid al-Ageel, Econ Counselor and Energy Attache reviewed
next steps on critical infrastructure protection. Two items
are imminent on the JWG calendar: a June 15 visit to Saudi
Arabia by a JWG expert team to assess maritime security at
key facilities; and a June 10 two-week Design Basis Threat
training class led by Sandia Labs, for MOI and other security
personnel. Following implementation of these programs, we
hope to be in a position to schedule the fourth JWG meeting
in Jeddah in July 2007. Al-Jabri also described an April 14
Saudi TV broadcast of four al-Qaeda suspects who confessed on
air to getting Bin Laden's order to attack Saudi oil
facilities. Attacking the country's main source of wealth is
losing al-Qaeda popularity in the Kingdom, al-Jabri
concluded. End Summary.

2. (C) Al-Jabri said the April 30 meeting was a valuable
exchange; we was pleased that we are planning to reschedule
the threat assessment brief so as to coincide with the Gulf
Security Dialogue meeting here in Riyadh on May 23.
Following are next steps we agreed to:

-----------------------------
US Embassy Riyadh Next Steps
------------------------------

--To avoid delays for Saudi JWG members traveling to the US
for JWG meetings or associated training, Embassy Riyadh is
working with the MOI to obtain 2-year multiple entry visas
for all Saudi JWG members and affiliated security
representatives from parastatal companies of significant
interest, such as Saudi Aramco and SABIC.

--Mission Saudi Arabia will work to program visits in June
for the JWG maritime security expert team, and the DOE/Sandia
Labs Design Basis Threat training class. Please see action
requests below.

----------------------------------------
Action Requests for Washington Agencies
----------------------------------------

--For DOE/Sandia Laboratories: In line with the MOI's
request, please provide full program information and
preparatory reading material for the Design Basis Threat
training program proposed for June in Riyadh. The MOI would
also appreciate receiving information on necessary
qualifications or background for program participants, to
assist MOI in selecting appropriate participants for the
training program.

--For JWG Maritime Security Experts: Please indicate what
sites and organizations you would like to visit, so MOI can
coordinate with MOI constituent elements, MODA and Aramco to
arrange these site visits.

--For S/CT: Please send to Economic Counselor draft minutes
from the April 30 JWG meeting in Washington, so we can
finalize them with Saudi co-chair.

--DS/ATA: MOI and US Mission Saudi Arabia request that DS/ATA
Officers Soler and Maloy be available to provide additional
assistance to the MOI's efforts to design a Facilities
Securities Force (FSF) guard training curriculum. DS/ATA
please advise if Officers Soler and Maloy could travel to the
KSA in the near future to assist with this key task.

--DS/ATA: Please advise on the outcome of a proposal to
provide federal police training for MOI officers.

--------------------------------------------- -----
Saudi TV Airs Al-Qaeda Confessing to Attacks on
Energy and Water Facilities, including Ras Tanura
--------------------------------------------- -----

4. (S) Al-Jabri told Econ Counselor he would send him a
video copy of a Saudi TV broadcast, which featured four
al-Qaeda members arrested in April 2006 confessing to plans
to attack Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Press reports
indicate the suspects planned to attack Ras Tanura, Saudi
Arabia's largest oil export facility, and Jubail City, a
major industrial complex. They claimed they were waiting for
authorization from Osama bin Laden to carry out the attacks,
which they said would be "equal to the September 11 strike."

5. (S) Al-Jabri stated the al-Qaeda members also mentioned
attacks on desalination facilities. (Note: The Jubail City
desalination plant and associated power plant provide more
than 90 percent of Riyadh's water, pumped uphill for 300
kilometers. The US Mission considers the Jubail desalination
plant and associated power infrastructure to be critical
infrastructure, an attack on which would be a significant
strike against Riyadh's ability to survive and function as
the capital city. End note.)

6. (S) The TV-aired confessions were followed by a very
critical broadcast commentary by leading Saudi clerics
against al-Qaeda and bin Laden, including a well-known Sheikh
named al-Diri'ya. Al-Jabri explained that al-Qaeda appears
to be losing popular support in Saudi Arabia by targeting the
oil industry, the nation's source of wealth. The religious
sheikhs are starting their attacks on al-Qaeda here based on
this, he said. Economic Counselor compared the situation to
that of Egypt after the 1997 terrorist attacks in Luxor,
which resulted in al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya losing support in
Upper Egypt because terrorism had damaged Egypt's
tourist-dependent economy, and caused hardship for many
citizens. Al-Jabri agreed that Saudi public was gradually
coming to realize its economic well being was threatened in
the same manner by al-Qaeda. He added that the sheikhs were
also attacking Al-Qaeda's religious credentials, for
instance, Bin Laden's misinterpretation of the Prophet
Mohammed's last words about driving non-Muslims from the
Arabian Peninsula.
FRAKER

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