Cablegate: Scenesetter for Manama Dialogue, December 11-13
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SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR MANAMA DIALOGUE, DECEMBER 11-13REF: A. MANAMA 660 B. MANAMA 628 C. MANAMA 651Classified By: CDA Christopher Henzel nor reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
12. (C) King Hamad is personable and engaging. He rules as something of a “corporate king,” giving direction and letting his top people manage the government. He has overseen the development of strong institutions with the restoration of parliament, the formation of a legal political opposition, and a dynamic press. He is gradually shifting power from his uncle, Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who remains the head of the government, to his son, the Crown Prince. Crown Prince Salman received his high school education at the DOD school in Bahrain and earned a BA from American University in 1985. He is very Western in his approach and is closely identified with the reformist camp within the ruling family - particularly with respect to economic and labor reforms designed to combat corruption and modernize Bahrain’s economic base. King Hamad is committed to fighting corruption and prefers doing business with American firms because they are transparent. U.S. companies have won major contracts in the past two years, including: Gulf Air’s purchase of 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, a USD 5 billion joint-venture with Occidental Petroleum to revitalize the Awali field, and well over USD 300 million in Foreign Military Sales.
13. (S) Director of BNSA Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdallah Al Khalifa figures prominently into the King’s efforts on reform and stability. Charged by the King to “Bahrainize” and professionalize BNSA, Sheikh Khalifa is determined to rid BNSA of the last vestiges of British influence and grow BNSA into a world-class intelligence and security service with global reach. Sheikh Khalifa understands well that if he is to fulfill his mandate of protecting Bahrain, he must “go deep” and develop robust intelligence liaison relationships with partners around the world. To that end, he has embarked on a program to establish and strengthen intelligence ties abroad, with a central focus on counterterrorism. Against this backdrop, Sheikh Khalifa unabashedly positions his relationship with the U.S. Intelligence Community above all others, insisting that his key lieutenants communicate openly with their U.S. liaison partners and actively seek new avenues for cooperation. In your discussions, you will find Sheikh Khalifa to be frank and likeable, and he will no doubt emphasize his sincere desire to continue strengthening the already excellent relationship he enjoys with the U.S.