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Cablegate: Saif Al-Islam's Staff Reaches Out On Pol-Mil Issues

VZCZCXRO5048
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHTRO #0960/01 3480905
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 140905Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5539
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1195
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI 6089

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TRIPOLI 000960

NOFORN
SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA/MAG

E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/14/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR KACT MCAP MASS LY
SUBJECT: SAIF AL-ISLAM'S STAFF REACHES OUT ON POL-MIL ISSUES

REF: A) TRIPOLI 941; B) TRIPOLI 924; c) TRIPOLI 208

TRIPOLI 00000960 001.2 of 002


CLASSIFIED BY: Gene A. Cretz, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy Tripoli,
Department of State.
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (S/NF) Summary: During recent meetings, Saif al-Islam
al-Qadhafi's staff has shown an increased interest in bilateral
military and security issues, particularly requests linked to
Captain Khamis al-Qadhafi, including purchases of helicopters
and "Tiger" vehicle components, and M113 refurbishment. Saif's
staff also indicated Libya was interested in purchasing French
SCALP cruise missiles to replace its SCUD Bs. This increased
attention may be reflective of Saif's broader plans to
consolidate military and security issues within his expanding
"General Coordinator" portfolio. Saif's staff declined to
comment on any future division of responsibility between Saif
al-Islam and Mutassim al-Qadhafi in these areas. The clear
interest in military sales represented by Saif's staff on behalf
of Khamis al-Qadhafi may be indicative of Saif's attempts to
curry his youngest brother's favor. End Summary.

Saif's aide advocates on behalf of khamis

2. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx meetings with Pol/Econ Chief
and DATT, xxxxxxxxxxxx Saif al-Islam
al-Qadhafi, expressed interest in military equipment sales,
particularly purchase requests from Khamis al-Qadhafi's 32nd
Brigade. xxxxxxxxxxxx labeled "strange" the "broad" list of equipment
requests made by National Security Advisor Mutassim al-Qadhafi
to the Department of Defense earlier this year, and focused
discussion on Libyan military requests for helicopters and
vehicles -- requests that likely derived from the "Khamis
Brigade." xxxxxxxxxxxx sought an explanation on the USG refusal of the
sale of Little Bird helicopters to the Libyan military, and
designated for the "Khamis Brigade." Stating that the Libyan
military was still very interested in purchasing the aircraft,
he suggested the helicopters have all armament removed so they
could be categorized as "non-lethal equipment." DATT informed
him that the Libyan military was free to purchase a number of
other helicopter systems that the Defense Security Cooperation
Agency had already cleared for Libyan military purchase. xxxxxxxxxxxx
insisted that the Libyan military wanted to purchase the Little
Bird helicopters.

3. (S/NF) Additionally, xxxxxxxxxxxx requested an update on the status
of the license request by a jointly owned U.S. and Turkish
company to refurbish Libya's fleet of M113 vehicles, in which
Khamis al-Qadhafi had expressed a personal interest. He asked
emboffs to provide him with a written update on the status of
the request, which he would then pass to Khamis. xxxxxxxxxxxx then
reiterated a GOL complaint (which Saif had raised with the
Ambassador on November 27, ref A) that a UAE company could not
meet the requirements for the sale of a fleet of Jordanian
"Tiger" 4x4 vehicles to the Libyan military, as the U.S.
manufacturer of the vehicles' engines would not approve the
sale. DATT informed xxxxxxxxxxxx that, per discussions with the
manufacturer, it was that company's policy, not U.S. law, that
prohibited the sale of equipment to the Government of Libya.
"We have a long way to go," retorted xxxxxxxxxxxx. He stated that if
the UAE could not outfit the Tiger vehicles with American
engines, then the Libyans would purchase engines from
Mercedes-Benz. "But we want American engines," he added. DATT
extended the possibility that Libyan military procurement
provide a Letter of Request to purchase the engines via the
Foreign Military Sales process, which xxxxxxxxxxxx said he would
discuss with the appropriate officials.

xxxxxxxxxxxx to follow up on military engagement offers

4. (S/NF) In addition to the three issues raised, DATT educated
xxxxxxxxxxxx on the five pending Letters of Offer and Assistance (LOA)
that have been held up in Libya's military procurement office
for several months, all of which focus on C-130 related
purchases and refurbishment requests, as well as the full range
of military exchange and training opportunities that have been
offered to the Libyans over the last year. While xxxxxxxxxxxx did not
show interest in the C-130 LOAs, he seemed surprised by the
number of military exchange and training opportunities on offer
and was particularly shocked that most of them had gone
unanswered. "Who did you make these offers to?" he asked. He
took particular interest in an offer made for Khamis to travel
around the United States to tour U.S. military installations and
pledged to follow-up directly with Khamis on that program.

Libya potentially identifies scud b replacement system

5. (S/NF) Separating the topic as one that was "political" as
well as "military," xxxxxxxxxxxx emboffs that the Libyans may
have found an MTCR-compliant "replacement system" for its stock
of SCUD B missiles. He explained that the GOL had discussed,

Tripoli 00000960 002.2 of 002


during a recent high-level French visit, the purchase of the
French SCALP Missile (a.k.a. "Storm Shadow") to replace the SCUD
B. xxxxxxxxxxxx asked whether the USG would consider the equipment
MTCR-compliant, and if so, whether the USG would bless the sale.
Emboffs offered to pass the information to Washington for
guidance. "How soon do you think you will know?" he asked. We
told him we would follow-up as soon as we had more information
for him. (Note: The SCALP Missile is an air launched
cruise-launched missile, fired from Rafale as well as other
combat aircraft. From a separate source, DATT learned December
10 that although France is keen to sell Rafale jets to Libya, it
is not interested in selling the Libyans the SCALP Missile,
which is deemed "too sensitive." End note.)

Security role for saif?

6. (S/NF) When asked whether Saif would be the point person for
military and security issues if and when he takes on his new
position as "General Coordinator," xxxxxxxxxxxx -- that the Embassy should continue to track
military-related issues through Mutassim's office xxxxxxxxxxxx from now on.

7. (S/NF) Comment: The concerted attention that xxxxxxxxxxxx devoted to military and security issues during recent
meetings with Emboffs suggests that Saif is beginning to insert
himself into the political-military and security spheres. The
discussion of Khamis' requests in particular may indicate that
Saif is trying to curry favor with his little brother. Given
the fact that the "Khamis Brigade" is considered the
best-equipped and most capable of defending the regime, it seems
only natural that anyone intent on assuming power would try to
align himself with Khamis. xxxxxxxxxxxx cautious advice to continue
to track military and security issues through Mutassim's office
seems to indicate that Saif's interest in these issues is still
informal and perhaps not fully vetted within the Libyan
government. End Comment.
Cretz

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