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Cablegate: Ethiopia: Action Request for Pre-Blast Training

VZCZCXRO1657
OO RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1533 1570604
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050604Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0845
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001533

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR DS/IP/AF, DS/ATA FOR ANTHONY GONZALEZ, S/CT FOR
BRIAN PHIPPS, INL AND AF/E

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PREL PHUM ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: ACTION REQUEST FOR PRE-BLAST TRAINING

REF: ADDIS ABABA 1502

1. ACTION REQUEST: Embassy Addis Ababa requests DS/ATA
provide Ethiopia the following courses, to be conducted in
Ethiopia, as soon as possible: Explosive Incident
Countermeasures (EIC) and Advanced Explosive Incident
Countermeasures (AEIC). The courses have been requested by
the Ethiopian police and are necessary to build Ethiopian
police capacity to address the rising threat to American
citizens and interests in Ethiopia of improvised explosive
devices (IEDs). The Ethiopians have put DS/ATA post-blast
training to use investigating a series of recent fatal IED
incidents. END ACTION REQUEST.

IED Incidents Rising
--------------------

2. Ethiopia is an important counterterrorism partner in a
very dangerous neighborhood. Recently, Addis Ababa has
experienced a noticeable uptick in fatal incidents involving
IEDs in 2008, including the May 20 bombing of a minibus that
killed an American citizen, the April 14 near simultaneous
bombings of two gas stations and the February 29 bombing of a
bank branch (reftel). Extremists justify attacks on the
Ethiopian government and its citizens based on Ethiopia's
military foray in Somalia, its counterinsurgency operations
in the Ogaden and its tense border standoff with Eritrea. Al
Qaeda and affiliated organizations have publicly stated that
Ethiopia and U.S. interests in the Horn of Africa are viable
targets.

An Attractive Target
--------------------

3. Addis Ababa is an attractive target for terrorists because
it is the diplomatic center for Africa, home of the African
Union (AU) and more than 150 resident diplomatic missions and
international organizations. It is also the United States'
third largest mission, which hosts hundreds of AmCit TDYers,
including uniformed military, each year. Scores of
international conferences are regularly held in the city,
including the AU Summit, and Embassy Addis Ababa facilitates
the visit of a number of significant delegations, including,
in the past year, the Secretary of State, the AFRICOM
Commander and the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs.

Capacity Needed
----------------

4. The United States and Ethiopia share an interest in
thwarting terrorist incidents in Ethiopia and the Horn of
Africa, and the United States seeks to build the capacity of
the Ethiopian police to respond quickly, efficiently and
safely to IED incidents in order to best protect American
lives and property. At present, the Ethiopians lack a bomb
squad with the necessary capability to effectively grapple
with IEDs. The EIC and AEIC courses can address their
deficiencies and get them on track. At the highest levels,
the Ethiopian security services have asked our RSO shop to
provide them DS/ATA's pre-blast training opportunities.
Specifically, the Director General of the Ethiopian police is
a close Embassy contact and has pressed the RSO for
pre-blast/suspect device response training.

Positive Results
----------------

5. Over the years, the United States has conducted a number
of counterterrorism-related trainings, but the Ethiopians
have expressed a preference for "hard" subjects. The courses
best received included: Preventing Attacks on Soft Targets,
Security of Vital Facilities, Border Control Management and
Post-Blast Investigation. The Ethiopian police
enthusiastically received the DS/ATA Post-Blast training last
year and have put what they learned to good use in
investigating reftel bombings. If DS/ATA can make the EIC
and AEIC courses available to Ethiopia, the Ethiopian police
will undoubtedly put the training to good use in pursuit of
our collective interests.
YAMAMOTO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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