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Cablegate: King and Queen Outline Iranian "Nemesis" For

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DE RUEHAM #0869/01 0791734
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R 191734Z MAR 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2100
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 000869

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/18/2018
TAGS: PGOV KWBG IR JO
SUBJECT: KING AND QUEEN OUTLINE IRANIAN "NEMESIS" FOR
VISITING STAFFDEL

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Classified By: Ambassador David Hale for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

Summary
-------

1. (C) Speaking to members of an Jordanian MFA-organized
delegation of staffers from the U.S. Senate, King Abdullah
and Queen Rania stressed the threat Iran poses to security
and stability in the region, and linked the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the rise of Iranian influence
in the region. The King asserted that a collapse of the
peace process would strengthen Iran's hand. The Queen added
that economically strong, politically moderate alternatives
in the region are the only thing that will ultimately defeat
Iran's influence. Asked about the utility of direct
engagement with Iran, the King believed that it would likely
prove unfruitful, and any such initiative would have to be
accomplished with delicacy and full consultation with
America's allies in the region. Both the King and the Queen
spoke about their efforts to build a solid economic future
for the young people of Jordan. In closing, the King spoke
highly about his recent visit to the United States. End
Summary.

The Iranian Threat
------------------

2. (C) Opening up the meeting, the King said that he
believes that in the post-Annapolis peace talks, the parties
will at some stage need U.S. intervention to close gaps on
core issues, as the parties will be unable to do so on their
own. He urged that the U.S. look at the Israeli/Palestinian
issue in its regional context. "Failure (of the peace talks)
will give Iran and its proxies exactly what they're looking
for," the King asserted. He stated his belief that the
Iranian regime is playing for time, working to block a
solution to the Palestinian problem before the end of the
Bush presidency, in order to strengthen the hands of
militants throughout the Middle East. Iran was also advising
the Syrian leadership to wait for a new administration before
embarking on any Golan initiative. The King referred to the
"Iranian nemesis" and noted its "signature" in the conflicts
of the region, and its presence by proxy on the
Mediterranean, as evidence of its growing influence and
confidence. The King stressed that we should "connect the
dots" between regional stability and Iranian influence, and
avoid compartmentalizing Iran, Iraq and the peace process.
The King said failure on the peace process would make Iran
even more aggressive, compel a Sunni Arab response, and thus
deepen conflict in Lebanon and Iraq. A lot was at stake in
the peace process this year to preserve U.S. interests in the
region, he said.

3. (C) Queen Rania chimed in on the issue as well, saying
that success for moderate Arab states was critically
important in order to defeat Iran's agenda. She said that
Jordan was trying to become a model, a place where people
say, "this is the kind of country we want to live in." The
Queen said this is the only strategy that will ultimately
work in countering Iranian influence - "this is what they're
afraid of." Jordan's economic reforms and support for
education are part of that overall effort, but the going is
tough - the Queen said that "sometimes it feels like we're
swimming against the current."

4. (S/NF) Asked about direct U.S. engagement with Iran, the
King replied, "it depends on what you're trying to achieve."
He sees Iran as a revolutionary power first and foremost. As
such, it will either continue to expand (both in terms of
territory and in terms of influence), or it will implode. In
this context, the King wondered, "are they willing to deal
sensibly with you?" If a mutually beneficial dialogue is
started, the King said it should be behind the scenes, and at
a low level. Any expansion to a more formal relationship
would have to be accomplished with constant consultations
between the U.S. and its allies - it is not something that
Arab leaders should learn about from the press. In the end,
however, the King betrayed his underlying skepticism that
direct contact with Iran would be fruitful.

Youth and Opportunity
---------------------

5. (C) The King and Queen both touched briefly on outreach
to youth in Jordan. Citing a recent poll, the King indicated
that the younger generation is concerned less with politics
and more with jobs. He believes that building a solid middle
class in Jordan is the key to keeping radicalism under wraps.
"If the youth have hope, they'll be a stabilizing factor,"
added the Queen. In the end, they both cited supply and
demand in the job market as the critical factor in Jordan's

AMMAN 00000869 002 OF 002


future. The King noted his recent visit to the poor rural
town of Shobak, in which he encountered a seamstress in a
garment factory who was college-educated. Investing in
education is a worthy goal, he noted, but jobs must be
waiting for those trained workers if the economy is to
advance as a whole.

Visit Feedback
--------------

6. (C) The King told the staffdel how pleased he was with
his recent trip to the United States. "It's the best visit
I've had in seven and a half years. I left extremely
optimistic," he said.

HALE

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