Cablegate: Minstate for Defense On Fmf and Gsd


DE RUEHMK #0713/01 3491353
R 151353Z DEC 09

C O N F I D E N T I A L MANAMA 000713



E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/15/2019

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Adam Ereli for reasons 1.4(b) and (d)

1.(C) Summary: Bahrain's Minister of State for Defense Affairs said Bahrain cannot afford the needed upgrades to its existing fleet of F-16s, and expressed a desire for a second Perry-class frigate under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. He said that he believed social problems were fueling the current conflict in Yemen, and praised the planned troop surge in Afghanistan. The MinState also welcomed renewed Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD) talks in early 2010. End Summary -------------------------- FOREIGN MILITARY FINANCING --------------------------

2.(C) PM A/S Shapiro and ASD Vershbow met with Bahrain's Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Dr. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, on the margins of the Manama Dialogue on December 12. The MinState started the conversation by highlighting concerns about Bahrain's ability to fund the USD $400 million Common Configuration Implementation Program (CCIP) avionics upgrade for its existing fleet of F-16s. He said that it was important for Bahrain to extend the viable service life of these aircraft as long as possible, as the Kingdom could not afford to purchase new aircraft. He cited a difficult budgetary environment for defense expenditures in Bahrain, with most government funding going to social programs. Brigadier General Yousef Ahmed Malalla, Director of Planning, Organization, and Information Technology for the Bahrain Defense Forces (BDF), indicated that Bahrain had already allocated USD $55 million to pay for the basic Service Life Extension (SLE) for the aircraft's engines, but the budget would not support additional expenditures to support CCIP. Brigadier General Shaikh Hamad Abdulla Al Khalifa, Commander of the Royal Bahraini Air Force, said Bahrain needed assistance in modernizing its F-16s in order to continue to support coalition operations. A/S Shapiro noted that the USG had increased Bahrain's FY10 FMF allotment to USD $19.5 million, and ASD Vershbow encouraged Sheikh Mohammed to take a long-term strategic view of its defense budget.

3.(C) BG Malalla asked if the USG would be able to transfer a second Perry-class frigate to Bahrain under the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program. He indicated that bilateral discussions on this issue had been on-going since 2002, with the USG initially projecting that such a ship would be available within 5 years. Citing concerns about the operational capacity of its existing Perry-class frigate the RBNS Sabha, BG Malalla reiterated Bahrain's need for assistance in order to continue its support of coalition operations. --------------------- YEMEN AND AFGHANISTAN ---------------------

4.(C) The MinState praised the USG's 'Friends of Yemen' diplomatic strategy. He asserted that social problems in Yemen contributed to the Houthi conflict, saying that there currently was, "No beginning of hope." Sheikh Mohammed praised President Obama's decision to send more troops, emphasizing the importance of strengthening the security situation in that country. However, he stressed that an effective political and economic plan was also critical to achieving stability stating, "The Afghanis need hope. If they have it, the security situation will calm down." ---------------------- GULF SECURITY DIALOGUE ----------------------

5.(C) The MinState welcomed A/S Shapiro's offer to resume the GSD in early 2010, with a focus on high-level, strategic discussions. Making reference to public speculation on a possible new round of Iran sanctions, he added, "After the beginning of the year there will be a lot to talk about." ------------ PARTICIPANTS ------------

6.(U) Participants: U.S: PM Assistant Secretary Andrew Shapiro ASD Alexander Vershbow Ambassador Adam Ereli Major David Burke (notetaker for A/S Shapiro) David Edginton (Embassy notetaker) Bahrain: Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Shaikh Lieutenant General Mohammed bin Abdulla Al Khalifa Bahrain Ambassador to U.S. Huda Nunu Brigadier General Yousef Ahmed Malalla Brigadier General Shaikh Hamad Abdulla Al Khalifa Lieutenant Mohammed bin Hasan Al Khalifa (BDF notetaker) ERELI

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Save The Children: Tonga Volcano Ash And Smoke Cause Concern For Air And Water Safety
Families in Tonga are at risk of exposure to unsafe air and water due to ash and smoke from the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano that erupted on Saturday, reports Save the Children...

Sudan: 15 Attacks On Health Facilities And Workers In Two Months

With the crisis escalating in Sudan, there have been 15 reports of attacks on healthcare workers and health facilities since last November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday... More>>

Kazakhstan: Bachelet Urges Peaceful Resolution Of Grievances
Amid alarming reports of deadly violence in Kazakhstan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday urged all, including security forces, protesters and others, to refrain from violence and to seek a peaceful resolution of grievances... More>>

Tigray: Agencies Suspend Aid As ‘Scores’ Are Killed Due To Airstrikes
Recent airstrikes on camps for internally displaced persons and refugees in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, have reportedly killed scores of civilians, including children, and left many more injured... More>>

UN News: For 25th Year In A Row, Greenland Ice Sheet Shrinks

2021 marked the 25th year in a row in which the key Greenland ice sheet lost more mass during the melting season, than it gained during the winter, according to a new UN-endorsed report issued on Friday... More>>

Afghanistan: Economy In ‘Freefall’, Threatening To Take Entire Population With It

Afghanistan’s economy is in “free fall”, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told a special meeting on Sunday, warning that if decisive and compassionate action is not taken immediately, it may “pull the entire population with it”... More>>