Cablegate: Uae - Scenesetter for Visit of Cjcs


DE RUEHAD #0069/01 0401136
O 091135Z FEB 10

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000069


E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/09

CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Olson, Ambasador; REASON: 1.4(A), (B), (C),

1. (SBU) Admiral Mullen: we warmly welcome your visit to Abu
Dhabi, and have requested an appointment with Abu Dhabi Crown
Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Shaykh
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MbZ), whom you last met on 9
September 2009 in Washington. We have also requested a meeting
with your counterpart, Lieutenant General Hamad al-Thani
al-Romaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, whom you last
met on 8 October 2009 in Washington.

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The Relationship

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2. (S/NF) The UAE is one of our closest partners in the Middle
East and one of our most useful friends worldwide.

-- Al-Dhafra Air Force Base is the high altitude ISR hub for the
AOR, and supports 50 percent of aerial refueling in the AOR.

-- Ports in Dubai and Fujairah are the logistics backbone for the
U.S. Fifth. Jebel Ali (Dubai) is the most frequented USN liberty
port after Norfolk.

-- Minhad Air Base is a critical hub for Coalition/ISAF partners in
Afghanistan, including the Australians, Dutch, Canadians, Brits and

-- The UAE is a cash customer with FMS sales in excess of $11
billion. Commercial sales have an equivalent value. An additional
$12 billion of FMS cases are in development with approximately the
same volume of commercial sales in the works.

-- The UAE recently purchased nine Patriot batteries, and expects
to move forward on the purchase of THAAD as the first non US

-- The UAE currently commands CJTF-152 (Arabian Gulf) and maintains
an active exercise schedule with U.S. (Red Flag) and other
multi-lateral partners.

-- The UAE recently hosted an AFCENT survey team to consider U.S.
access to Liwa (Safran) Air Base in support of contingency

-- Additionally, the UAE is considering hosting the Regional
Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center of Excellence.

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Iran - the Primordial Concern

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3. (S) The UAE leadership sees Iran as its primary external
threat, and one that is existential in nature. Like much of the
international community, the UAE finds the idea of an Iran with
nuclear weapons unacceptable and thinks this eventuality would lead
to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. At least as worrying to
MbZ are Iran's aspirations for regional hegemony by support for
terrorist proxies (Hizballah, HAMAS, possibly underground
organizations in the Arab Gulf countries). MbZ is skeptical that
Iran can be convinced to end its nuclear weapons program, and is
not convinced that the international community will adopt tough
sanctions. In other words, he sees the logic of war dominating the
region, and this thinking explains his near obsessive efforts to
build up the UAE's armed forces.

4. (S/NF) MbZ's main message to us during his September visit was
that we needed to be better coordinated for Iran contingencies.
High level engagement by CENTCOM planners have helped to address
this concern, but he believes we have made less progress in
addressing what he sees as the slow pace of deliveries of US

security assistance and he is still worried that he does not have
enough equipment in place to defend his people when war with Iran
breaks out. (And for MbZ it is a matter of when, not if.) We have
repeatedly presented to his staff the various explanations for what
he perceives as delays, but he remains unconvinced that we are
addressing his concerns as a matter of priority.

--------------------------------------------- -----

Afghanistan - Pakistan: A Solid Partner

--------------------------------------------- -----

5. (S) Afghanistan: UAE SOF has been quietly deployed as part of
OEF since 2003, and the UAE surged its contribution in 2009 adding
a combined arms task force. The UAE's UAV capability has been a
much appreciated force multiplier. On the economic development
side, the UAE has pledged about $300 M in assistance, and quietly
supported the Afghan Reintegration Fund at the recent London
Conference. You should thank MbZ for his leadership in being the
first Arab country to send troops to Afghanistan.

6. (C) Pakistan: the UAE has taken a leading role in the Friends
of Pakistan initiative and has provided about $800 M in assistance
in recent years. The Al Nahyan family had a long-standing
relationship with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and this
has transitioned to support for her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, but
the UAE stays in touch with all elements on the Pakistani scene,
including Musharraf. MbZ will be very interested in your dialogue
with General Kayani.

7. (S/NF) Threat finance: we have a cooperative relationship with
the UAE at the Federal level on addressing Taliban financing. As
our information has begun to flow, we have seen increasing activity
and interest on the part of UAE authorities. That said, the
subject is delicate and operational aspects are best handled
through our well established Treasury/Intelligence channel.

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Yemen: Increasing Concern

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8. (S/NF) MbZ shares our concern about Yemen, and if anything, is
more alarmed about the possibility for destabilization of Saudi
Arabia. He is convinced that the Iranians are involved in Yemen,
and supporting the Houthi rebels. When we tell him that we have no
evidence of Iranian support, he is somewhat incredulous, suggesting
that our focus on Al Qaeda has caused us to lose sight of the
bigger picture of Iranian adventurism. You should encourage him to
provide any specific information on Iranian activities to us
through intelligence channels.

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Iraq: the Bellwether for Iran

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9. (S) Iraq: the UAE was the first GCC Country to cancel Saddam
era debt and re-establish an embassy, and has generally followed a
policy of constructive engagement with the Maliki Government. But
MbZ runs hot and cold on Iraq. Sometimes he chooses to emphasize
his supportive position; at other times he suggests that Iran has
been the big winner in Iraq, and that Southern Iraq will be one of
the major flashpoints in the upcoming confrontation with Iran.
Anything you can say to reassure him about the US commitment to

Iraqi stability will be helpful.

© Scoop Media

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