Cablegate: Us Centcom Commander Fallon Meets with Amir And

DE RUEHKU #1457/01 2741440
P 011440Z OCT 07

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 001457




E.O. 12958: DECL: 2017


Classified By: CDA Misenheimer for reasons 1.4 b, d and h

1. (S) Summary. On September 24, U.S. Central Command
(CENTCOM) Commander, Admiral William J. Fallon discussed the
issues of Iraq, Iran, and Kuwaiti Guantanamo detainees with
the Amir of Kuwait, the Crown Prince, the Prime Minister,
Defense Minister and Armed Forces Chief of Staff. The
Government of Kuwait (GOK) message on Iraq was one of support
for U.S. and Iraqi efforts to continue working with tribal
leaders to assume political leadership in Iraq. The GOK
reiterated GCC policy that Iran has a right to pursue
non-military use of nuclear energy, but the region must
remain free of WMDs. The Amir spoke of his concern regarding
the four remaining Kuwaiti detainees in Guantanamo and
expressed Kuwaiti determination to continue pursuing their
release. End summary.

Meeting with Kuwaiti leadership

2. (U) On September 24, U.S. CENTCOM Commander Admiral
Fallon, accompanied by Charg d'Affaires, ARCENT Commander
and Office of Military Cooperation-Kuwait (OMC-K) Chief, met
in separate meetings with Kuwaiti Amir Shaykh Sabah Al-Ahmad
Al-Jaber Al Sabah, Prime Minister Shaykh Nasser Mohammed
Al-Ahmed Al Sabah, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant
General Fahad Al-Amir. Crown Prince Shaykh Nawaf Al-Ahmad
Al-Jaber Al Sabah and Defense Minister Shaykh Jaber Mubarak
Al-Hamad Al Sabah attended the meetings, but provided no

Iraq: It's up to the Iraqis

3. (S) The Amir told Admiral Fallon that the situation in the
Gulf region is "abnormal" and welcomed the chance to consult
with USG and regional leaders to discuss issues of concern.
He said that Iraqis must come to realize that the country
that they are destroying is their own and the people that
they are killing are themselves. The Amir praised the recent
success of USG efforts to reach out to tribal leaders and
mentioned that real reconciliation lies in the hands of these
leaders. He added that he spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri
Al-Maliki recently and advised him to reach out to Sunnis,
noting that Iraqis should embrace the notion of a new Iraq,
not sectarianism.

4. (S) The Amir told the Admiral that he supports the USG
effort in Iraq, but advised that U.S. forces be stationed
outside of Iraqi cities. This, he clarified, would enable
the Coalition to respond militarily as needed to crises and
to continue the training of Iraqi forces, while allowing the
Iraqis to govern themselves.

Saddam,s legacy

5. (S) Like the Amir, the PM called for the end to the
sectarianism in Iraq, and said that unity is vital for Iraq.
He added that no one can solve the problems in Iraq but the
Iraqis. He blamed the woes of the country on Saddam, who, in
his opinion, made the Iraqis dependent on his handouts.

Tribalism in Iraq

6. (S) The PM commented positively on the growing leadership
assumed by tribal leaders in Iraq. He said the tribal
leaders are "good, generous and wise people," and have played
significant roles in Iraq's history. According to the PM,
much of Saddam,s early success in attaining power can be
attributed to his exploitation of tribal alliances. He added
that Saddam essentially bought tribal loyalty to aid him in
his rise to power and then later turned viciously on the
leaders. He advised Admiral Fallon to continue to gain the
confidence of the tribes and work with them to shape the
leadership in Iraq. He added that among Kuwait's greatest
fears is the answer to the question of who will replace the
British in the south. He predicted that the Iraqi forces
will be too weak or divided and that the vacuum will lead to
power grabbing by the four to five militias already active in
the region. And this, he added, will likely result in a

KUWAIT 00001457 002 OF 002

major spillover into Kuwait in terms of refugees or the
export of violence.

GITMO Detainees

7. (S) The Amir was cordial during the meeting, but became
more forceful when he tabled the topic of the four remaining
Kuwaiti Guantanamo detainees. He recalled that he had
written two letters assuring the USG that the GOK would take
all necessary precautions to ensure that, upon their release,
the detainees would be monitored and kept under comprehensive
surveillance. He said Kuwaitis are wondering about the fate
of these men and questioning why they are still being
detained while nationals from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and other
regional neighbors have been released. He added that "It is
our responsibility to deal with Kuwaitis," and that the GOK
would not allow these individuals to harm U.S. interests. He
promised to continue to push for their release. The Admiral
responded that this issue was sensitive and complicated, and
would continue to be worked from Washington. The Charg
added that the USG has specific concerns about the contacts
and movements of previously transferred Kuwaiti detainees,
and that such concerns would have to be addressed
conclusively before the remaining four could be transferred.

GCC to be nuclear free

8. (S) The Amir told the Admiral that Kuwait has an
excellent relationship with Iran and reiterated the GCC
policy that all countries have the right to pursue nuclear
energy for peaceful purposes. He confirmed that the GOK was
also in accordance with GCC policy that the region should be
WMD-free. The PM said that Afghanistan's President Karzai
told him that Ahmadi-Nejad seemed to relish his course of
isolation vice cooperation. He added that the GOK wants to
maintain a dialogue with Iran. Both the Amir and PM set up
North Korea as a model of diplomatic success in terms of
achieving the abandonment of WMD ambitions. The Admiral
stressed the significance of pressure applied by North
Korea's neighbors, urging that the GCC states adopt a similar
policy toward Iran.

Kuwait would suffer collateral damage

9. (S) The Amir called for diplomacy to take its course and
stated that Kuwait does not support a war with Iran unless it
is unavoidable. The Amir expressed his concern that one of
the primary military targets, in the event of military
escalation, would be the Bushehr nuclear reactor facility.
He stressed that this facility is less than 200 kilometers
from the Kuwaiti border, and any fallout from damage to this
facility would result in an environmental disaster in the
fresh water supply to Kuwait and throughout the Gulf.

Iranian use of F5E jets

10. (S) The PM asked Admiral Fallon's view of Iran's
announcement that it had developed a "new" fighter
aircraft--one clearly similar to the old F5E. Noting that
the F5E is a 60s vintage craft and that Iran has endured
years of military equipment embargoes, he wondered how and
where Iran was getting the parts to service and maintain the
craft. The PM also showed a great deal of interest in
Admiral Fallon's descriptions of the Iranian-designed IEDs
being used to target American soldiers in Iraq, and echoed
U.S. concerns over Iranian infiltration in Iraq.

11. (U) Admiral Fallon has reviewed this cable.

********************************************* *
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