. . . → Read More if you dare: February 2010"/>

Archives

February 2010

10TELAVIV344 2010-02-16 14:32 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tel Aviv

VZCZCXRO4548
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHTV #0344 0471432
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 161432Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5473
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TEL AVIV 000344

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2020
TAGS: PREL MOPS KWBG IS
SUBJECT: IDF PLANS HARSHER METHODS WITH WEST BANK
DEMONSTRATIONS

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Luis G. Moreno for reasons 1.4 (
b) and (d).

¶1. (C) In meetings with U.S. officials on February 4, OC
Central Command MG Avi Mizrachi expressed frustration with
on-going demonstrations in the West Bank, which he believes
are being orchestrated to increase tensions. Mizrachi, whose
area of responsibility includes all of the West Bank and
Central Israel, warned that the IDF will start to be more
assertive in how it deals with these demonstrations, even
demonstrations that appear peaceful.

¶2. (C) After visiting two of these “so-called peaceful
demonstrations,” Mizrachi said he did not know what they were
about; the villages were not near the barrier and they had no
problems with movement or settlers. Mizrachi asserted that
the Palestinian villagers also do not know the reason for the
demonstrations and said that they were only demonstrating
because they were told to do so.

¶3. (C) Mizrachi warned that he will start sending his trucks
with “dirty water” to break up these protests, even if they
are not violent, because they serve no purpose other than
creating friction. (NOTE: dirty water is a reference to the
IDF’s chemically treated water that duplicates the effects of
skunk spray. End note.) Mizrachi said he heard rumors that
Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad was planning to attend one of
these protests, adding that if Fayyad gets sprayed with dirty
water, it will make everyone look bad.

¶4. (C) On orders from Mizrachi, West Bank commander BG
Nitzan Alon and West Bank civil administrator BG Poli
Mordechi reportedly met with the Palestinian security force
commanders recently to deliver a strong message that they
must stop these demonstrations or the IDF will. Mizrachi
asserted that he would prefer not to break up these
demonstrations, but will if he must. Many of the
demonstrations are organized by “suspicious people,” Mizrachi
said, and he plans on arresting organizers of demonstrations
that “serve no purpose” beyond exciting the population.

¶5. (C) COMMENT: Less violent demonstrations are likely to
stymie the IDF. As MOD Pol-Mil chief Amos Gilad told USG
interlocutors recently, “we don’t do Gandhi very well.” The
IDF impatience with these demonstrations may also be
connected to the recent arrests of foreign NGO workers with
expired or solely tourist visas who have been attending, and
often organizing, the protests. The GoI reportedly ceased
issuing B1 work visas to the foreign staff of NGOs working in
the occupied territories; for several months now it has
restricted them and their families to B2 visitor visas with
varying durations and sometmies limited to single-entry. On
February 10, officials from the MOI immigration enforcement
unit (the “Oz” unit) told PolOff that they made the arrests
of NGO workers in the West Bank at the request of the IDF.
However, the court ruled that the Oz unit cannot operate
beyond the Green Line, and subsequently released the
detainees, who were mostly European. The Oz unit officials
told PolOff that they will not challenge that ruling and have
no further operations planned in the West Bank. END COMMENT.
Cunningham

10DOHA70 2010-02-23 10:10 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDO #0070/01 0541047
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 231047Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9699
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L DOHA 000070

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/2020
TAGS: PREL KWBG KPAL IR QA
SUBJECT: SENATOR KERRY’S MEETING WITH QATAR’S AMIR

Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d).

————–
(C) KEY POINTS
————–

— The Amir of Qatar urged the U.S. in his February 14
meeting with Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to do everything in
its power to find a lasting solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Amir said the best way to
begin is by moving first on the Syrian track.

— In Qatar’s view, now is the time to reach out to
Damascus. The Syrian Government can help Arab extremists
make tough choices, but only if the U.S., whose involvement
is essential, demonstrates to Syria early on a willingness to
address the return of the Golan Heights and supports Turkey’s
mediation efforts between Israel and Syria.

— According to the Amir, Hamas will accept the 1967 border
with Israel, but will not say it publicly so as to lose
popular Palestinian support.

— The Egyptians’ goal, according to the Amir, is to stay in
the game and maintain their relationship with the U.S., which
is built around brokering regional peace, for as long as
possible.

— The Amir recommended that the U.S. and Qatar establish a
small bilateral committee to discuss how to advance regional
peace. Qatar can help move Hamas, because Qatar does not
“play in their internal politics.” That does not mean Qatar
shares Hamas’ ideology, stressed the Amir.

— On Iran, the Amir said President Ahmadinejad is strong
because he is uncorrupted. The Amir also advised the U.S. to
continue ts efforts to open a dialogue with the Iranian
ladership.

End Key Points.

¶1. (C) Senator Joh Kerry (D-MA), the Chairman of the Senate
Foreig Relations Committee(SFRC), joined by Ambassador,P/E
Chief, and SFRC staff member Dr. Jonah Blank met February 14
with the Amir of Qatar, Hamad bn Khalifa Al Thani. The
meeting took place at Waba Palace, the residence of the
Amir, and the Amir began the meeting by pointing out that the
comfortable chairs on which the U.S. party was seated were
made in Syria.

——————————
IMPORTANCE OF THE SYRIAN TRACK
——————————

¶2. (C) This opening led Senator Kerry to remark that he had
held great discussions with Syria’s President, Bashar
Al-Asad, when he met him in Damascus some months ago. The
Amir said President Asad is committed to “big change,” but
Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri’s death and complications
resulting from Syria’s alleged involvement in it had brought
about “complications” for Asad. The Amir added that “Bashar
is still young and can grow.”

¶3. (C) Senator Kerry said he took away from his visit to
Damascus that Asad wants change. The Amir added that the
Syrian President also wants peace with Israel and that the
arrival of a U.S. Ambassador in Damascus would help in this
regard. Senator Kerry said he had wanted a U.S. Ambassador
in Syria a year ago, but agreed that the naming of an
Ambassador is a positive development.

¶4. (C) The Amir cautioned that the Syrians will not accept
everything the U.S. proposes, stressing that the Israeli
occupation of the Golan Heights continues and that the return
of this land to Syria is paramount for Damascus. The Amir
observed that the “Syrians have lost confidence in the U.S.
and that the Israelis now have the upper hand in the region
because of the support of the United States.” The Israeli
leaders need to represent the people of Israel, who
themselves do not trust Arabs. The Amir said this is
understandable and “we can’t blame them” because the Israelis
have been “under threat” for a long time.

¶5. (C) What has changed, continued the Amir, is that Arabs
“for sure” now want two states — Israel and Palestine. When
you consider that many in the region perceive that Hizballah
drove Israel out of Lebanon and Hamas kicked them (at least
initially) out “of the small piece of land called Gaza,” it
is actually surprising that the Israelis still want peace.
The region, however, is still “far away” from peace,
concluded the Amir.

¶6. (C) Senator Kerry responded that in his long experience
with the region, it was not unusual for people to take
positions adverse to their own interests. Yasser Arafat went
from living as a terrorist in Tunisia to signing an agreement
with Israel on the White House lawn. The transformation of
Arafat is an example of how actors in the region need to take
risks if we are to move forward in advancing regional peace.
Turning the conversation back to Syria, Chairman Kerry
pointed out that Syria’s facilitation of arms to Hizballah
and its turning a blind eye to missile upgrades in Lebanon do
not represent risk-taking in the promotion of peace.

¶7. (C) The Amir pointed out that any progress toward regional
peace had come about due to American involvement. He implied
that it would take U.S. intervention on the Syrian-Israeli
track to address these issues and asked Senator Kerry what he
would have Damascus do.

¶8. (C) The Chairman responded that President Asad needs to
make a bolder move and take risks. He observed that if the
Syrian President wants peace and economic development for his
country, he needs to be more statesman-like, which would in
turn help Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu engage him.

¶9. (C) The Amir agreed with Senator Kerry’s assessment of
Asad’s aims and said he is ready for peace, but asked if the
Israelis are ready. Would Israel accept to resume Turkey’s
mediation between Syria and Israel? Would the U.S. play a
role in advancing the Syria track?

¶10. (C) If we can get Abu Mazen back to the negotiating
table, we can engage on border issues — including Israel’s
borders with Syria, advised Senator Kerry. Abu Mazen right
now is not strong enough, though, to make necessary
compromises with Israel because the Palestinian people have
wanted him to stick to his guns on a settlement freeze and
the Goldstone Report. The Chairman added that Netanyahu also
needs to compromise and work the return of the Golan Heights
into a formula for peace.

¶11. (C) The Amir encouraged the U.S. to work the Golan
Heights issue first. He stressed that Syrians are very
different from Iranians in “mentality,” and said the Syrians
turned to Iran for support only because they had nowhere else
to go. Now is the time, the Amir told Senator Kerry, to
reach out to Damascus.

————————-
PARAMETERS FOR DISCUSSION
————————-

¶12. (C) Senator Kerry responded that the U.S. is prepared to
play a strong role in bringing about peace in the region.
President Obama, said the Chairman, understands that he
personally must engage and do so strongly. The Senator told
the Amir that in his speech to the U.S.-Islamic Forum the
previous evening, the Senator had focused on former President
Clinton’s parameters for peace and the 2002 Arab League peace
initiative. Now, said the Senator, is the time to put those
back on the table and resume talking, with the U.S. acting as
a legitimate agent of peace. Chairman Kerry told the Amir he
is convinced that we can see great progress in the coming
year by moving swiftly from proximity talks, to direct talks
between the parties and ending with final status discussions.

¶13. (C) To be successful, continued Senator Kerry, we must
begin by agreeing at the outset the amount of land each side
(Israelis and Palestinians) will obtain in the end and use
that understanding to draw the borders. If both sides make
good compromises, we can address the settlement issues in the
context of giving something up so that the borders, when
drawn, contain the agreed-upon amounts of land for both
sides. The Amir agreed with the Senator’s assessment and
complimented President Obama for being the first U.S.
President to take on the Middle East conflict in the first
year of his term.

¶14. (C) Continuing the presentation of his ideas on the
parameters of peace between Israel and the Palestinians,
Senator Kerry noted that one of the biggest problems for
Israel is the potential return of 5-6 million Palestinian
refugees. The parties broached the return issue in
discussions at Taba and agreed that the right of Palestinian
return would be subject to later negotiation, pointed out the
Chairman. If we can proceed from that point on the right of
return, the Senator believes there is an “artful way” to
frame the negotiations on borders, land swaps, and Jerusalem
as a shared capital.
¶15. (C) Any negotiation has its limits, added Senator Kerry,
and we know for the Palestinians that control of Al-Aqsa
mosque and the establishment of some kind of capital for the
Palestinians in East Jerusalem are not negotiable. For the
Israelis, the Senator continued, Israel’s character as a
Jewish state is not open for negotiation. The
non-militarization of an eventual Palestinian state and its
borders can nonetheless be resolved through negotiation.

¶16. (C) The Amir underscored that Abu Mazen needs Arab
support to make the above happen. Hamas “for sure,” he said,
will accept the 1967 border but will not say it publicly so
as to lose popular Palestinian support.

—————————
DEALING WITH THE EXTREMISTS
—————————

¶17. (C) Senator Kerry told the Amir he knew Qatar could help
the U.S. but asked how we deal with those who advocate
violence. The Amir said the short answer is to work the
Syrian track, which means pushing for Israel’s return of the
Golan Heights to Syria. The Amir said return of the Golan is
important not just to Syria but also to Hizballah and Iran.
The U.S. must bear in mind that Misha’al, a leader of Hamas
based in Damascus, has drawn the conclusion that the Oslo
accords were bad for Arafat. He lost the support of his own
people and died living under Israeli siege. The Syrians can
help Misha’al and others make tough choices, but only if the
U.S. demonstrates to Syria early on a willingness to address
the Golan. Senator Kerry responded that the U.S. would
accept a legitimate discussion of the Golan Heights.

¶18. (C) What is more, said the Amir, the U.S. needs to
support Turkey’s mediation between Israel and Syria. It is
important that the U.S. encourage Israel to understand that
that resolving the status of the Golan Heights is very
important to the United States.

¶19. (C) Senator Kerry asked the Amir if Hamas is under
pressure given the circumstances in Gaza. The Amir answered
by saying that Hamas needs Iranian support. He added that
the biggest misconception in the region is that the Syrians,
who host Hamas leaders in Damascus, go to Iran because they
like the Iranians. This is wrong. Syria goes to those who
will not shun them.

————-
ROLE OF EGYPT
————-

¶20. (C) Returning to the pressure Hamas is facing, Senator
Kerry observed that economic development in the West Bank is
taking place, but not in Gaza. The Palestinian
reconciliation that would make possible developmental
assistance in Gaza has not happened. The Egyptians have not
delivered, said Senator Kerry.

¶21. (C) The Amir said the Egyptians’ goal is to stay in the
game and maintain their relationship with the U.S., which is
built around brokering Middle East peace, for as long as
possible. According to the Amir, Fatah and Hamas agreed on a
memorandum of understanding, but the Egyptians wanted it
changed. The Amir remarked that he has a feeling he knows
which capital (Cairo) is the source of reports that Gaza is
under pressure. He said the economic pressure in Gaza on
families is not what it was. He offered as an example that
Qatar Charity recently offered a family in Gaza 500 USD, but
the family declined the gift saying its members had enough to
get by and suggested another family that was in more dire
need of assistance. The Amir said the notion that a family
would turn down money is new.

¶22. (C) The Amir told Senator Kerry that everyone knows
“Egypt has a problem with the Muslim Brotherhood. Okay, we
understand. But Egypt should not expect the world to take
external actions that would help it internally.”

¶23. (C) Asked his advice for President Obama, the Amir
recommended the establishment of a small U.S.-Qatar committee
to discuss how to proceed. Qatar is close to Hamas,
emphasized the Amir, because “we don’t play in their internal
politics.” That does not mean we share their ideology or do
not disagree with them. “I can remember many arguments with
them (Hamas) on the 1967 border with Israel.” The Amir noted
that he had mediated with Hamas previously at the U.S.
request, namely when he urged Hamas at the previous
Administration’s request to participate in Palestinian
elections.

¶24. (C) Returning to the leadership of Hamas, Senator Kerry
asked the Amir for his insights into how the leadership, with
leaders sitting in both Gaza and Syria, makes decisions. The
Amir said the impression that Misha’al sits in Damascus and
others take orders from him is wrong. Several key players
within Hamas are involved in decisions. They have
differences over policy, but “the bottom line is that they
all want the Palestinians to take their rights from Israel.”

—-
IRAN
—-

¶25. (C) Senator Kerry observed that the international
community is moving toward imposing additional economic
sanctions on Iran. Understanding and respecting that Qatar
needs to balance its relationships with regional powers,
including Iran, the Chairman asked the Amir for his
perspective on where we are going on Iran.

¶26. (C) The Amir answered by affirming that his first
obligation is to defend the interests of Qatar. Due to the
natural gas field Iran shares with Qatar, Qatar will not
“provoke a fight” with Iran. He added that in the history of
the two countries, “Iran has not bothered us.” That said,
the Amir noted that Iran is an important country in the
Middle East. He faulted the U.S. for “making the mistake of
speaking up for protesters” after the disputed Iranian
presidential elections.

¶27. (C) The Iranian regime is strong, continued the Amir,
because President Ahmadinejad is uncorrupted. “That is the
secret to his success.” Khatami is also not corrupted, but
as a reformer he is in a weak position. Rafsanjani, on the
other hand, is corrupt.

¶28. (C) Senator Kerry lamented that every communication the
current Administration has attempted to the Government of
Iran has gone back channel and been met with no response.
There have been non-U.S. initiatives, too. Again, no
success. The Chairman observed that the Iranians are scared
to talk. The Supreme Ayatollah had met with Russian President
Putin, but seems not inclined to meet with other political
leaders. Our instinct is that we need to find a way to talk
to him.

¶29. (C) Your instinct is right, replied the Amir. The U.S.
needs to talk directly with senior Iranian officials. The
Amir then asked, “What if I talk to the Iranian President.
What would you have me say?”

¶30. (C) Senator Kerry responded, “The U.S. seeks serious
discussion and sought to create a new foundation for a
relationship based on Iran’s non-confrontational compliance
with IAEA requirements and other mutual interests.” Those
interests include dealing with drug-running, the Taliban, and
illicit trade. The Chairman told the Amir he feared that
Iran still thinks it is dealing with the 1953 America that
tried to overthrow the Iranian government.

¶31. (C) The Amir responded that you cannot blame them for
having that attitude, and Senator Kerry agreed, adding that
the U.S. has a very different posture in the post-Cold War
world of today. Iran has ambitions; I know this from other
regional leaders, said the Senator. These are the first
words that come out of their mouths.

¶32. (C) Iran wants to be a “big power,” agreed the Amir, but
what sort? He reminded Senator Kerry the U.S. should not
forget that Iranians are Persian and the U.S. needs to
approach them in that framework.

¶33. (C) Senator Kerry stressed that the U.S. “would love to
have that dialogue.” The U.S. respects Iranian civilization
— talent, art, culture, etc. It is crazy to continue on
this collision course. The region needs schools and jobs,
emphasized the Chairman, not another war. The Amir agreed
that “demographics are a big worry.” Not just for the
countries in the region but for the U.S. too.

¶34. (C) Many scientific and technological transformations are
underway, noted the Senator, “but Iran misinterprets the road
to being a great power and the degree to which the
international community is concerned about Iran’s acquisition
of nuclear weapons.” We are at a “fork in the road,” and
Iran must choose between confrontation or building
partnerships. If the latter, we can open up new
opportunities for cooperation in the sciences, technology,
education, robotics, energy and other ongoing
transformations.

¶35. (C) Going back to the speech he had delivered in Doha the
previous evening, Senator Kerry told the Amir that 17 former
U.S. Secretaries of State and Defense had come out in favor
of eliminating nuclear weapons. Every stop closer to
realizing that goal is a sign of progress, but “no one
believes Iranian nukes get us closer to that goal.”

¶36. (C) Senator Kerry reported that leaders of regional Arab
countries tell me they want nuclear weapons if the Iranians
have them. The Amir responded that he did not believe they
were serious, but are saying this to put additional pressure
on Iran.

¶37. (C) The Chairman noted that the disputed Iranian
presidential elections may have derailed U.S. efforts to have
serious dialogue with Tehran. The Amir agreed, offering that
the Israelis are also using Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons
as a diversion from settling matters with the Palestinians.
The historical backdrop of Arab-Persian relations does not
help, the Amir added.

————–
FINAL THOUGHTS
————–

¶38. (C) The Amir advised the U.S. to continue trying to open
a dialogue with the Iranian leadership. He also told Senator
Kerry the U.S. needs to tell the Israelis they are causing
the U.S. to lose the hearts and minds of Muslims. There was
a time, such as during the Suez Canal crisis, when the Arabs
loved the Americans and disliked the British and French, he
said.

¶39. (C) Senator Kerry asked the Amir how the U.S. goes about
changing its reputation. The Amir said first and foremost
the U.S. must do everything in its power to find a lasting
solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the best
way to begin is by moving first on the Syrian track.

¶40. (C) The Chairman of the SFRC said he expects a genuine
effort by the President this year on an agreement and
expressed his hope that Iranian issues would not complicate
matters. The Amir agreed, adding that China likes the
distraction for the U.S. as its forces fight in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

¶41. (C) Senator Kerry concurred, noting that China is lending
the U.S. money and expanding its influence at U.S. expense.
He added that he ran against President George W. Bush saying
the war with Iraq was the wrong war in the wrong place and
time.

¶42. (C) The Amir closed the meeting by offering that based on
30 years of experience with the Iranians, they will give you
100 words. Trust only one of the 100.

¶43. (U) CODEL Kerry has cleared this message.

Lebaron

10DOHA71 2010-02-24 09:09 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Doha

VZCZCXRO1707
PP RUEHBC RUEHKUK RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHDO #0071/01 0550944
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 240944Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9704
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 DOHA 000071

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/12/2020
TAGS: PREL KWBG KPAL IR QA
SUBJECT: SENATOR KERRY’S MEETING WITH QATAR’S PRIME MINISTER

Classified By: Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron, for reasons 1.4 (b, d).

————–
(C) KEY POINTS
————–

— Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani (HBJ) told
Senator John Kerry February 13 that we will all lose us 4-6
months of time in pursuing the recently announced “proximity
talks” between the Israelis and Palestinians.

— HBJ underscored that it is a mistake to ignore Hamas in
seeking a lasting agreement.

— From Qatar’s perspective, there are differences in style
and approaches between the two wings of Hamas, but in
principle both are fundamentally aligned. Hamas leaders in
Damascus and Gaza can accept recognition of Israel, but must
calibrate the timing very carefully because Hamas supporters
are not ready for this change.

— According to HBJ, Egypt has a vested interest in dragging
out Palestinian reconciliation talks for as long as possible.
Egypt “has no end game; serving as broker of the talks is
Egypt’s only business interest with the U.S.”

— The Prime Minister suggested that one or two GCC members,
Morocco, and Syria form the core membership of an Arab League
committee to address Palestinian-Israeli concerns. Giving
Syria a role would create jealousy among the Arabs, which HBJ
said would help the U.S. move talks forward.

— HBJ said putting economic pressure on Iran by targeting
its oil revenues is the best way to get Tehran to rethink its
quest for nuclear weapons. For the sanctions to work, it
would be vital that Russia and other countries bordering Iran
implement them fully.

End Key Points.

¶1. (C) The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee (SFRC), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), accompanied by
Ambassador, P/E Chief and SFRC staff Frank Lowenstein and
Fatema Sumar, met February 13 with Prime Minister (and
Foreign Minister) of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani
(HBJ). HBJ opened the meeting by observing that President
Obama’s presidency had brought a lot of optimism to the
region. Senator Kerry agreed, adding that now we “need to
deliver.”

—————————
PROXIMITY TALKS NOT HELPFUL
—————————

¶2. (C) HBJ expressed dissatisfaction that “everyone in the
region” seems to have a separate plan for moving ahead on the
Israeli-Palestinian dispute when only one plan was needed —
a plan that both the Israelis and Palestinians would accept
and finalize. More disconcerting to Qatar, he said, was the
announcement by Special Envoy Mitchell that both parties
would now engage in “proximity talks.” Such talks “will lose
us 4-6 months of time,” stated HBJ.

¶3. (C) Senator Kerry responded that we “are where we are.”
He assessed that the Goldstone Report and dissatisfaction in
Fatah’s ranks in the West Bank made it difficult for Abu
Mazen to “give something to Israel” that would allow direct
negotiations to begin between the parties. Add in Abu
Mazen’s previous statements on the need for a full settlement
freeze, and the ingredients for the Palestinian people to
accept direct talks simply are not there.

¶4. (C) Abu Mazen is out on a limb, responded HBJ. “He
climbed a tree (drawing a line in the sand on settlements)
and can’t get down.” HBJ suggested that President Obama’s
address to the UN General Assembly at the opening of its
current session could serve as a “roadmap” forward: two
states (Israel and Palestine) remain the goal, and the
establishment of settlements must stop while negotiations
take place. HBJ stressed again that the “proximity talks”
will cause a “lot of problems.”

———————————–
NEED FOR PALESTINIAN RECONCILIATION
———————————–

¶5. (C) HBJ told Chairman Kerry he had met recently in Doha
with an Israeli delegation and had encouraged them to work
with Palestinians of all stripes in the pursuit of peace.
HBJ underscored that it is a mistake to work with just one
partner, Fatah, and ignore Hamas. Saying this does not mean

DOHA 00000071 002 OF 004

that Qatar expresses a preference for Hamas. HBJ pointed out
that Abu Mazen had taught in Qatar for 30 years and remains a
friend of Qatar. Qatar has no differences with him or those
around him, but the Palestinian Authority (PA) cannot sign
off on an agreement on behalf of the Palestinians where open
divisions exist.

¶6. (C) HBJ noted that in conversations Qatar has held with
Hamas’ leadership, it is clear that Hamas is ready to accept
Israel’s right to exist. But the acceptance must come about
gradually, not in one day. Senator Kerry said he had heard
this elsewhere, but in his own conversations in Damascus —
where a many leaders of Hamas reside — he did not get the
sense that Hamas was ready to accept Israel’s existence.

¶7. (C) Qatar’s PM observed that the biggest obstacle on the
Palestinian side to an eventual agreement with Israel is the
reconciliation of Hamas and Fatah. HBJ maintained that it
would have happened during the previous U.S. administration,
but President Bush told Abu Mazen not to sign off on it.
Now, said HBJ, progress is slow, and bringing the two parties
together in the spirit of reconciliation is hampered by Arab
politics. Reconciliation can happen, HBJ asserted, but only
“if bigger countries in the region allow it.”

8, (C) Senator Kerry, noting that he had seen Yasser Arafat
make the transition from PLO fighter to signer of an
agreement on the White House lawn, observed that people can
come around and change their position. But was that the case
here? The Senator asked HBJ if the differences at play
between Hamas’ leaders in Damascus and Gaza were too wide to
bridge.

¶9. (C) From HBJ’s perspective, there are differences in style
and approaches between the two wings of Hamas, but in
principle both are fundamentally aligned. They can accept
recognition of Israel, but have to calibrate the timing very
carefully because Hamas knows that its supporters in the
Palestinian territories are not ready for this change. HBJ
said Hamas leaders in Damascus and Gaza are aligned on
wanting to open the border crossing at Rafah, for example,
but differ on tactics in reaching this goal. The leaderships
in Syria and Gaza consult each other, and no one leader in
Hamas can take a decision alone, reported HBJ.

——————————————–
EGYPT INTERESTED IN THE PROCESS, NOT RESULTS
——————————————–

¶10. (C) Chairman Kerry asked HBJ if Hamas is feeling
political pressure from Gazans over their current living
conditions. HBJ responded that anytime people do not have
housing, schools or public utilities, their political leaders
feel pressure. Hamas, however, has a greater sense of
urgency in reconciling with Fatah, observed HBJ, than does
the broker of the talks between the Palestinian parties.

¶11. (C) According to HBJ, Egypt — the broker — has a vested
interest in dragging out the talks for as long as possible.
Egypt “has no end game; serving as broker of the talks is
Egypt’s only business interest with the U.S.” HBJ likened
the situation to a physician who has only one patient to
treat in the hospital. If that is your only business, “the
physician is going to keep the patient alive but in the
hospital for as long as possible.” HBJ emphasized that
Qatar, on the other hand, is interested only in bringing
about peace in the region — and as quickly as possible.

¶12. (C) Short term, HBJ said Hamas wants to form with Fatah a
unity government and rebuild the Israeli-inflicted damage in
Gaza. Senator Kerry, steering the conversation toward Hamas’
long-term aims, acknowledged that Qatar’s leaders speak
frequently with Hamas. The Chairman asked HBJ to explain why
Hamas does not seem “to move when we need Hamas to move.”

¶13. (C) Simply put, answered HBJ, “Hamas does not trust Egypt
and the Quartet enterprise.” HBJ noted that since its
inception the Quartet has been anti-Hamas and aligned with
the interests of Abu Mazen, Egypt and Jordan. These partners
of the Quartet, observed HBJ, are the very partners who have
not delivered a Palestinian-Israeli agreement.

¶14. (C) Returning to his theme that “peace brokers” act in
their own self-interest, HBJ observed that President Mubarak
of Egypt is thinking about how his son can take his place and
how to stave off the growing strength of the Muslim
Brotherhood. The Egyptian government, said HBJ, has jailed
10,000 Muslim Brotherhood members without bringing court
cases against them. The Egyptian “people blame America” now
for their plight. The shift in mood on the ground is “mostly
because of Mubarak and his close ties” to the United States.

DOHA 00000071 003 OF 004

His only utility to the U.S. is brokering peace between
Palestinians and Israelis, so he has no interest in taking
himself out of the one game he has, underscored HBJ. “Tell
your friends (in Egypt) they must help themselves.”

¶15. (C) As for Qatar, “We want to help Abu Mazen and the
Palestinians,” declared HBJ. The short-term needs of
Palestinians in Gaza are acute, said HBJ. We need to broker
a quick reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and move
forward quickly on rebuilding Gaza. Senator Kerry asserted
that HBJ was preaching to the converted and told the PM he
was “shocked by what I saw in Gaza.”

¶16. (C) Continuing to illustrate how Egypt had not delivered
for the U.S. on Palestinian issues, HBJ said Qatar was told
in late 2008 that Israel and the U.S. needed the Egyptians to
deal with the crisis in Gaza. Yet former Israeli PM Olmert
later complained to Qatar that Egypt is a big country and not
nimble; it could not move fast enough. Senator Kerry pointed
out he was in Cairo at the time Qatar was calling for an Arab
League Summit in December 2008/January 2009 and asked HBJ for
his perspective on the rift between Qatar and Egypt at that
time.

¶17. (C) HBJ told Senator Kerry that Mubarak refused to come
to Doha for a meeting of Arab leaders, preferring that the
meeting take place in Riyadh. The request to move the
meeting was relayed to Qatar by the Saudis, not the
Egyptians. Saudi Arabia, as a big country like Egypt, has a
vested interest in keeping Egypt afloat, said HBJ. The
Saudis agreed to host the meeting in Riyadh not because they
objected to traveling to Doha, but because the Egyptians did.
“So we argued over the meeting location” while the
Palestinians suffered, and we in Qatar “called a meeting and
said whoever comes, comes.”

¶18. (C) Qatar is worried, said HBJ, about Egypt and its
people, who are increasingly impatient. Mubarak, continued
HBJ, says Al Jazeera is the source of Egypt’s problems. This
is an excuse. HBJ had told Mubarak “we would stop Al Jazeera
for a year” if he agreed in that span of time to deliver a
lasting settlement for the Palestinians.
Mubarak said nothing in response, according to HBJ.

¶19. (C) Asked his advice on bringing about an agreement
between Israel and the Palestinians, HBJ said President
Clinton recognized before leaving office that Egypt was a
problem. When President Clinton sought help at the end of
his term in reaching a final deal, the Saudis and Egyptians
did not encourage him, said HBJ. “They told him to do what
he thinks right.” Culturally, said HBJ, that is the way
Arabs say “you are on your own.” And President Clinton was,
said HBJ.

¶20. (C) Now we are at a stage, said HBJ, where Egypt does not
want Arab League involvement in brokering a reconciliation
agreement among the Palestinians unless the talks bog down.
HBJ said he had told Abbas that climbing down from his tree
on no settlement activity so that talks can go forward will
require Arab support. But the Egyptians won’t allow it.

¶21. (C) Asked if tabling a more specific plan for peace
between the Israelis and Palestinians would help, HBJ said it
would be a mistake to table a plan that is too specific. HBJ
then reiterated that the problem is more with those carrying
out the negotiations. “The good cooks (Egypt) have not given
good food to now.”

¶22. (C) Senator Kerry noted that Special Envoy Mitchell had
made a lot of requests of Arabs but with little success.
Leaving Qatar aside, the Chairman asked HBJ for proposed next
steps. HBJ said he trusts the Saudis, but because they talk
openly to Egypt and do not want to create more problems for
Egypt than the Egyptian government already has, it is
essential to bring in the small countries and start there.

¶23. (C) HBJ suggested one or two GCC members, Morocco
(although the King there is hesitant) and Syria as the core
membership of an Arab League committee to address
Palestinian-Israeli concerns. HBJ told Senator Kerry the
inclusion of Syria might surprise him, but having Syria play
a role would create jealousy among the Arabs. Some jealously
and rivalry is just what the U.S. needs, opined HBJ, to get
the process moving.

—————-
IRAN AND LEBANON
—————-

¶24. (C) Turning to Iran, Senator Kerry said he understood
Qatar’s need to find the right balance in dealing with bigger

DOHA 00000071 004 OF 004

neighbors, especially Iran given the natural gas field both
share. Due to the working relationship Qatar maintains with
Iran, the Chairman asked HBJ for his advice as the
international community becomes more serious about economic
sanctions against Iran.

¶25. (C) HBJ said Iran’s president views the U.S. as a country
that is overstretched and in difficulty as a result of too
many commitments. Iraq, Afghanistan, and the U.S. economy
are the three main problems President Ahmadinejad sees. HBJ
observed that a Western attack against Iran for Ahmadinejad
would be good politics, because it would allow him to take
out his opposition using the war as a pretext. Senator Kerry
asked clarification of whether Ahmadinejad had said these
things, or if HBJ inferred them from conversation.

¶26. (C) Qatar’s PM said Ahmadinejad had told him, “We beat
the Americans in Iraq; the final battle will be in Iran.”

¶27. (C) HBJ said putting economic pressure on Iran is the
best way to get the leadership to rethink its quest for
nuclear weapons. To be successful, he told Senator Kerry,
Russia would definitely have to be on board, as would the
Central Asian countries bordering Iran that provide food and
supplies.

¶28. (C) Asked his perception of the state of play with the
opposition, HBJ said the U.S. had done a good job of standing
back and not becoming the symbol of the opposition. Cracks
in the regime are appearing. It is highly significant that
many demonstrators ignored Khamenei when he called on them to
stop their protests. The four key pillars of Iranian power
— the court, oil sector, imams, and Revolutionary Guards —
all must stick with him, stressed HBJ. There are cracks in
the system, but the downfall of the regime may not be in the
cards.

¶29. (C) Asked what the sanctions should target, HBJ said the
money that Iran derives from oil. Depriving Tehran of this
revenue would force the regime to negotiate.

¶30. (C) Senator Kerry observed that Ahmadinejad was making it
easier by his actions. There is wide consensus in the
Executive and Legislative branches of Washington to press
ahead. Senator Kerry warned that Ahmadinejad “should not
equate Afghanistan and Iraq with what he faces.”

¶31. (C) HBJ encouraged Chairman Kerry to bear in mind that
Iran is clever and makes its opponents dizzy in the quest for
deals. They will keep you working on a deal and then start
from scratch with a new interlocutor. HBJ stressed that Iran
will make no deal. Iran wants nuclear weapons, and HBJ said
he would not be surprised to see Iran test one to demonstrate
to the world its achievement.

¶32. (C) On Lebanon, Senator Kerry asked if Iran and Hizballah
are ratcheting up their weapons stockpiles as part of Iran’s
war against Israel. HBJ affirmed that is the case.

—-
IRAQ
—-

¶33. (C) On Iraq, HBJ told Senator Kerry that Prime Minister
Al-Maliki wants a Shia state, even though the Sunnis (when
you count Kurds and non-Kurds) have the majority.

¶34. (U) CODEL Kerry has cleared this message.

Lebaron

February 25, 2010 UN Goldstone resolution: New Zealand is watching Europe

date:2010-02-25T02:34:00
source:Embassy Wellington
origin:10WELLINGTON69
destination:VZCZCXYZ0002 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHWL #0069 0560234 ZNY CCCCC
ZZH O R 250234Z FEB 10 FM AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON TO RUEHC/SECSTATE
WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0425 INFO RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0002
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0008 RUEHSM/AMEMBASSY STOCKHOLM 0003
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0001 RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON
classification:CONFIDENTIAL
reference:10STATE15722
?C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000069
SIPDIS
NOFORN
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND EUR/HR COURTNEY MUSSER ()

?C O N F I D E N T I A L WELLINGTON 000069
SIPDIS
NOFORN
SENSITIVE
STATE FOR EAP/ANP AND EUR/HR COURTNEY MUSSER ()
E.O. 12958: DECL: (##)
TAGS: PHUM, UNGA, PREL, PGOV, NZ
SUBJECT: UN GOLDSTONE RESOLUTION: NEW ZEALAND IS WATCHING EUROPE
REF: 10 STATE 15722

CLASSIFIED BY: Adam Smith, Second Secretary, DoS, P/E; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (SBU) Poloff delivered reftel demarche to Michael McBryde, the Foreign Ministry’s UN Division Deputy Director, urging GNZ to vote no or abstain (as NZ did in November 2009) on the February 26 UN Goldstone Report draft resolution recently circulated by the Palestinian Observer Mission.

2. (SBU) McBryde stated that Jim McLay, NZ’s UN Ambassador, follows Middle East issues very carefully and is well aware of sensitivities regarding the Goldstone Report. Last November McLay recommended abstention on the Goldstone Report draft resolution because he felt that the UN should “take note of” the report, not endorse it. NZ’s UN delegation considers the latest draft resolution to be more “moderate and constructive”, and it is waiting to see how European countries such as the UK, France, and Sweden will vote. NZ’s UN delegation will have the authority to finalize its position (and its vote) based upon how the February 26 debate unfolds.

3. (SBU) NOTE: James Kember, the Foreign Ministry’s UN Division Director, will travel on March 11 to meet with NZ’s European and New York-based UN delegations. McBryde stated that Kember has only been in his current position since September 2009, and this will be his first trip to meet with these two groups. McBryde referred to the trip as a “pastoral mission” and did not share any specific agenda items. END NOTE

4. (C/NF) COMMENT: When pressed, McBryde admitted that, in particular, New Zealand is watching to see how the UK will vote on the Goldstone Report draft resolution. He said the UK has indicated that the new draft resolution is more “moderate and constructive”, and there is a chance that London will change its vote from abstain to yes. Post believes that a shift in the UK position could have a significant impact on New Zealand’s vote. McBryde further confided that this is a “particularly sensitive issue because Ambassador McLay is scheduled to travel to several Middle Eastern countries next week (including
Israel).” END COMMENT

CLARKE

10ABUDHABI103 2010-02-24 10:10 2010-12-25 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Abu Dhabi

VZCZCXYZ0007
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAD #0103 0551051
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 241051Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0361
INFO RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI IMMEDIATE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI

S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000103

NOFORN
SIPDIS
FOR NEA/ARP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/24
TAGS: PREL PINS CJAN AE
SUBJECT: UAE REQUEST FOR USG ASSISTANCE IN INVESTIGATION OF KILLING
OF MAHMOUD AL-MABHOUH

CLASSIFIED BY: Doug Greene, DCM; REASON: 1.4(D)

¶1. (C/NF) On the margins of a meeting with visiting
Secretary Chu, on Feb 24 MFA Minister of State Gargash made a
formal request to the Ambassador for assistance in providing
cardholder details and related information for credit cards
reportedly issued by a U.S. bank to several suspects in last
month’s killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai.
According to a letter Gargash gave the Ambassador (which
transmitted details of the request from Dubai Security authorities
to the UAE Central Bank), the credit cards were issued by
MetaBank, in Iowa. Embassy LEGATT is transmitting the request and
associated details to FBI HQ. Gargash asked that Embassy pass any
reply to the director of the General Directorate of State Security
(GDSS) in Dubai.

¶2. (S/NF) Comment: Ambassador requests expeditious handling
of and reply to the UAEG request, which was also raised by UAE
Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in a February 23 meeting with
Secretary Clinton in Washington.

¶3. (C/NF) Text of letter from GDSS to the Governor of the UAE
Central Bank:

Excellency Sultan Al-Suwiadi

UAE Central Bank Governor

Subject: Credit Cards

MC 5115-2600-1600-6190

MC 5115-2600-1600-5317

MC 5301-3800-3201-7106

General Management of The State Security offers greetings, and asks
your Excellency to direct the money laundry and suspicious
transactions unit at the Central Bank to urgently obtain details of
the above credit cards, in addition to details for purchases,
accounts, and payments on those cards, as the users of those cards
were involved in the murder of Mahmoud Mabhouh. Those cards were
issued by META BANK in the state of Iowa, USA.

Thank you for your kind cooperation.

END TEXT

(Letter is accompanied by a chart with identifying data for alleged
credit card users – scanned and emailed to NEA/ARP.)
OLSON

10CAIRO257 2010-02-28 13:01 2010-12-13 21:09 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Cairo

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #0257/01 0591345
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 281345Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0433
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

C O N F I D E N T I A L CAIRO 000257

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/28
TAGS: PREL MASS MARR IS IR IZ EG LY SU
SUBJECT: DASD Kahl Meeting with Egyptian Military Officials

CLASSIFIED BY: Donald A. Blome, Minister Counselor, DOS, ECPO;
REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

¶1. (C) Key Points:

— On January 31, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the
Middle East Dr. Colin Kahl met with Major General Mohammad
al-Assar, Assistant to the Minister of Defense, Major General Ahmad
Moataz, Chief of the American Relations Branch, and Major General
Fouad Arafa, Consultant to the Military Intelligence Department.

— During the meeting, Kahl discussed the need to incorporate a
military strategy that included symmetrical and asymmetrical
capabilities, pursuing a capabilities-based approach to security
assistance, FMF issues, balance of power in the region, nuclear
weapons in the Middle East, current U.S. policy towards Iran,
Egyptian efforts to counter-smuggling and interdict illicit weapons
destined for Gaza, and the release of advanced weapons systems.

— The Egyptian defense officials continued to stress that the
threats facing the United States were different from Egypt’s, and
Egypt needs to maintain a strong conventional military to counter
other armies in the region.

——————————————— ———————-
————–

Egypt’s Current Security Concerns and National Defense Policy

——————————————— ———————-
—————

¶2. (C) During the 31 January 2010 meeting, al-Assar
constantly referred to the numerous unstable security situations in
the Middle East that influenced Egyptian military doctrine to
include: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon/Hezbollah,
Palestine/HAMAS, Yemen, Sudan/Darfur, Somalia, Eritrea, Piracy
issues, Algeria, and al-Qaida. Al-Assar emphasized that ethnic
conflict throughout the region and border issues could have a
negative impact on Egyptian sovereignty at any time. al-Assar
commented that he did not expect any of these security situations
to resolve in the near future; instead, he believed the list would
grow even larger.

¶3. (C) al-Assar outlined Egypt’s National Defense Policy
which he stated was based on a defensive, capabilities-based
strategy instead of threat-based. The number one priority is the
defense of Egyptian land and the Suez Canal. Other goals include:
preparedness for unexpected threats such as terrorism; the
achievement of regional stability; interoperability with Egypt’s
military partners; and a leading role for Egypt in the region.
Al-Assar provided the Egyptian military’s list of regional
threats/concerns such as Nile Basin water rights and the conflicts
in Darfur and southern Sudan. He commented that one never knows
what Libya might do and that it was essential that Egypt maintain
the balance of power on its eastern border. He reiterated the fact
that Israel possesses unconventional weapons and sophisticated
conventional weapons, which creates a regional imbalance and
contributes to instability. He noted that stability in the region
cannot be attained without balance of power. He stated that the
Egyptian military doctrine did not intend to gain an edge on any
other country in the region or cause offense to anyone.

¶4. (C) Al-Assar complained that the Egyptian military
sometimes felt pressured by the United States to reform its
doctrine and capabilities to counter asymmetric threats. He
emphasized that the threats faced by the United States were
different from Egypt’s. He commented that tanks and aircraft were
necessary to fight asymmetrical threats as well. He referred to
General Patreaus’ Sadr City battle plan against extremists and
noted that this plan depended on the use of tanks and aircraft in
Iraq. He called on Dr. Kahl to educate Congress about Egypt’s
military needs and not put limits on the numbers of aircraft and
tanks. He noted that the Egyptian military preferred to purchase

its weapons and armaments from the United States, but that Egypt’s
national security was a red line and they could go elsewhere if
they had to.

——————————————— —-

Security Assistance and Modernization

——————————————— —-

¶5. (C) Dr. Kahl commented that the U.S. military had learned
some hard lessons about the promises and limits of technology
during the first years of the war in Iraq. Kahl stated that there
are no longer any purely conventional military conflicts in the
world and the last large conventional war was the First Gulf War.
The current challenge for modern armies is to find the right
balance between conventional and irregular forces and doctrines to
fight what Secretary Gates refers to as “hybrid wars.” Kahl
commented that the U.S. lost more tanks in Iraq to roadside bombs
than in battles with Iraqi tanks. He also noted that information
technology in the modern war was just as valuable as military
equipment in order to have the ability to rapidly communicate and
assess the environment.

¶6. (C) Dr. Kahl reiterated that a modern military should rely
on quality equipment rather than a large quantity of outdated
armaments, and should place a greater emphasis on the scope of its
aggregate capabilities vice number of high-end weapons platforms.

¶7. (C) Major General Fouad Arafa interjected during the
discussion to note that the spirit of the Camp David accord was
that there would be a 2:3 balance between Egypt and Israel’s
security assistance. Egypt’s role was to keep a certain balance of
power in the region that would not allow other parties to go to
war. Egypt had fulfilled this role faithfully for the last 30
years. al-Assar added that the current ratio of 2:5 was a
violation of the Camp David ratio.

——————————————— ——–

Yemen, Iran, and the Weapons Free Zone

——————————————— ———

¶8. (C) al-Assar noted that Iran effectively interfered in
the internal affairs of Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. He commented
that Iran’s nuclear ambitions would significantly change the
balance of power in the region and was contributing to further
regional instability and intensifying the conflicts. Al-Assar
stated that Egypt views Iran as a threat to the region and its
conventional and unconventional weapons would only increase the
instability in the region. Al-Assar commented that if Iran was
successful in obtaining nuclear weapons, it would only encourage
other countries in the Middle East to pursue the same path.

¶9. (C) Al-Assar brought up President Obama’s pledge to
pursue a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East. He
called on the United States to not ignore the Israeli nuclear
program. He stated that Israel’s nuclear program only gave Iran
justification for creating its own nuclear weapons. If Iran
obtained nuclear weapons, it would only embolden Iran to use
Hezbollah and HAMAS with impunity.

¶10. (C) Dr. Kahl stated that ultimate goal for the United States
was the creation of a NWFZ in the Middle East. However, it was not
possible to draw strict parallels between Iran’s acquisition of
nuclear weapons and other Middle Eastern countries. Iran is the

only country in the world that was currently threatening to wipe an
entire country off the map, and Tehran reinforced this message
through destabilizing activities pursued by its proxies in the
region. The goal of a NWFZ in the Middle East could take 10-20
years to achieve; however, the international community could not
wait 20 years to address Iran’s nuclear program and needed to
figure out ways to slow down the clock on the Iran’s nuclear
ambitions.

¶11. (C) Major General Fouad Arafa joined the conversation stating
that Iran was using the various Middle East conflicts for its own
ambitions and was gaining power because of its interference in the
internal affairs of the Middle Eastern countries. It was essential
to cut Iran’s connections and influence in the regional conflicts
in Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine in order to decrease the level of
influence Iran enjoyed in the region. Iran was effectively using
Arab public opinion to advance its goals. Dr. Kahl agreed and
reinforced the need for continued Arab engagement on this issue to
ensure a “unified front” on the part of the international
community.

¶12. (C) Kahl stated that the United States had reached out to
Iran in 2009 through unconditional talks and that this was meant as
a test of Iran’s willingness to prove that its nuclear program was
for peaceful civilian use. Iran, however, had not seized this
opportunity to resolve international concerns. Kahl speculated
that European countries and even Russia, which would not have
supported the sanctions in the past, were now ready to increase
pressure on Iran.

————————-

Counter-smuggling

————————-

¶13. (C) Dr. Kahl extended his appreciation for Egypt’s enhanced
counter-smuggling efforts in the past year, but expressed concern
over recent increases in smuggling activity into the Gaza strip and
HAMAS’ efforts to rearm. Dr. Kahl emphasized that the United
States understands that this is an especially sensitive political
issue internally in Egypt, as well as in the region. Dr. Kahl
noted that the United States was looking forward to the positive
completion of the BTADs project and thanked the Egyptian Military
for its agreement-in-principle to sign a follow -on statement for
future BTADs support as this provided an opportunity for further
cooperation on counter-smuggling and border security. He also
underscored the importance of targeting smuggling networks and
their financiers in Sudan and the Sinai-not just their activities.

¶14. (C) Dr. Kahl renewed Secretary of Defense Gate’s offer to
assist the Egyptian military in expanding its counter-smuggling
efforts on the Sudanese border and the Red Sea region.

¶15. (C) Al-Assar stated that the smuggling tunnels threatened the
national security of Egypt (highlighting HAMAS specifically) and
that “terror” could come to Egypt via these tunnels. Egypt has
spent approximately $40 million to purchase the steel for the
underground wall on the Gaza border, and Egypt was paying the cost
of this wall in terms of public opinion both within Egypt and the
region. He noted that once the wall was in place, the time would
come to pressure Israel to take responsibility for the humanitarian
situation in Gaza. Dr. Kahl reaffirmed that in all of engagements
with Israel, the U.S. officials strongly encourage Israel to open
crossings into Gaza to allow humanitarian goods to cross, and that
Egypt’s focus must be affixed on thwarting the movement of illicit
weapons into the strip.

————-

Homework

————-

¶16. (C) Dr. Kahl encouraged Egypt to sign a Communications
Electronics Security Agreement (CESA aka CISMOA) with the Unites
States, which would pave the way for the transfer of advanced
technology to Egypt and greatly increase interoperability.
Al-Assar stated that Egypt had “its reasons to delay a decision on
a CISMOA.” He noted that thousands of Egyptian military officers
have participated in training and education programs in the United
States and learned about U.S. technology and strategy. He
commented that the younger officers are frustrated with the delay
in obtaining political release for more advanced U.S. technology.
Specifically, al-Assar referred to TOW2B and JAVELIN, which he
commented had already been released to other countries. Al-Assar
noted that a CISMOA was not a condition for obtaining these
systems, but instead they were held up due to a “third party”.

¶17. (C) Al-Assar commented that Egypt was in negotiations with
Iraq to supply the Iraqi military with approximately 140 tanks,
which are manufactured at the FMF tank facility. He noted that the
Egyptian Ministry of Defense was awaiting the United States
positive response to its request for approval of the transfer. Dr.
Kahl noted that the U.S. was considering this request and would
provide a response soon.

¶18. (C) Al-Assar encouraged Dr. Kahl to convince the U.S.
Congress that Egypt was worth more than $1.3 billion a year. Dr.
Kahl mentioned that Egypt receives the second largest amount of
assistance in the world, and that during these difficult financial
times in the United States, it was unlikely that annual flow of FMF
would increase. He did however reassure the Egyptian officials
that the USG would continue to advocate for current levels of FMF
and push back on any attempts to condition those funds.
SCOBEY

10TELAVIV414 2010-02-22 14:02 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Embassy Tel Aviv

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHTV #0414 0531445
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 221445Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5589
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 6743
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 7611

S E C R E T TEL AVIV 000414

SIPDIS

EO 12958 DECL: 02/22/2025
TAGS PREL, PTER, MASS, SY, LE, IS
SUBJECT: ISRAELI OFFICIALS REQUEST USG DEMARCHE SYRIA ON
POSSIBLE MISSILE TRANSFER TO HIZBALLAH

REF: IIR 6-849-9075-10

Classified By: Luis G. Moreno for reasons 1.4 (b),(d)

¶1. (S/NF) On February 22, 2010, BG Yossi Baidatz, Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI) Chief of Production and Analysis, advised Embassy Tel Aviv officers that IDI had information suggesting Syria intended to imminently transfer SCUD-D missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon. Baidatz explained that IDI viewed completion of such a transfer as creating a “new level of concern” along Israel’s northern border, and he requested that the USG demarche the Syrian government in an attempt to dissuade them from transferring the missiles. Baidatz requested that any demarche be delivered prior to the February 25 arrival in Washington of Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Baidatz was concerned that a demarche following Barak’s meeting in Washington would lead the Syrians to believe that the U.S. and Israel collaborated to uncover and thwart the transfer.

¶2. (S/NF) Embassy Tel Aviv’s Office of Regional Analysis is sending additional details separately.

Cunningham

10STATE17307 2010-02-25 00:12 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Secretary of State

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #7307 0560006
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 250003Z FEB 10
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 0000
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0000
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0000
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0000
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUETIAA/DIRNSA FT GEORGE G MEADE MD PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

S E C R E T STATE 017307

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/24/2020
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MASS IS LE SY
SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON TRANSFER OF BALLISTIC MISSILES TO
HIZBALLAH

REF: TEL AVIV 404

Classified By: NEA A/S Jeffrey Feltman for reasons 1.4(b,d)

¶1. (U) This is an action request: see paragraph 3.

——-
Summary
——-

¶2. (S/NF) Per reftel and other information, the Government of
Israel (GOI) is concerned that Syria intends to imminently
transfer SCUD-D missiles to Hizballah in Lebanon. We share
this concern. The transfer of such weapons would constitute
a significant escalation of a potentially volatile situation
that could threaten regional stability. Embassy is requested
to demarche SARG officials at the highest possible level to
communicate the points below and report responses via front
channel cable. NEA will deliver the same points to the
Syrian Ambassador upon his return to Washington. End summary.

————–
Action Request
————–

¶3. (S/REL SYRIA) Post is requested to use the following
points in demarching the SARG on the imminent missile
transfers to Hizballah. Begin points:

— Mr. Vice Minister, Washington has asked me to follow up on
an issue that Under Secretary Burns raised privately with
President Asad last week. We are growing increasingly
concerned about the risk of a regional military conflict —
one that could have dire consequences for Syria. We believe
it is in our mutual interests that we share our concerns with
you again.

— Just weeks ago, we saw how the war of words between
yourself, Foreign Minister Muallim and the Israelis could
have quickly escalated out of control. President Asad
assured U/S Burns that Syria had no interest in escalating
the potential for conflict with Israel. With that assurance,
we want to discuss with you frankly two increasingly
worrisome issues that we believe could spark the next
conflict.

— First, we are concerned about Syria’s provision of
increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hizballah. In our
meetings last week it was stated that Syria is not
transferring any “new” missiles to Lebanese Hizballah. We
are aware, however, of current Syrian efforts to supply
Hizballah with ballistic missiles. I must stress that this
activity is of deep concern to my government, and we strongly
caution you against such a serious escalation.

— Next, we are concerned that Hizballah is still planning an
operation to avenge the death of Imad Mughniyeh. While
Hizballah may be willing to risk a renewal of the 2006
conflict, it does not seem to be in Syria’s interest to
accept that risk.

— While Syria’s influence over Hizballah’s operational
decision-making may be limited, the political reality is such
that a major escalation would surely complicate our efforts
to improve our bilateral relationship, and undermine our
efforts to build political conditions conducive for
re-launching Middle East peace negotiations. We therefore
urge you to use whatever influence you have to avoid such a
scenario.

— Your interest in avoiding war should require you to exert
maximum restraint, including restraining Hizballah and
preventing the group’s acquisition of such lethal, long-range
weapons.

— Iran and Hizballah both have interests that are not in
Syria’s own strategic interest. I know you are a strategic
thinker, which is why I want to underscore for you that, from
our perspective, your operational support for Hizballah is a
strategic miscalculation that is damaging your long-term
national interests.

End points.
CLINTON

10DAMASCUS168 2010-02-25 13:01 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Embassy Damascus

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0168/01 0561343
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 251343Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7419
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN PRIORITY 7727
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA PRIORITY 5921
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 5240
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO PRIORITY 0012
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 0889
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW PRIORITY 0888
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0842
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 2497
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 0807
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC PRIORITY

S E C R E T DAMASCUS 000168

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/FO, NEA/ELA
NSC FOR SHAPIRO/MCDERMOTT
LONDON FOR LORD
PARIS FOR NOBLES

EO 12958 DECL: 02/25/2019
TAGS PTER, PREF, PREL, IS, LE, SY
SUBJECT: V/FM MIQDAD DENIES SUPPLYING BALLISTIC MISSILES TO
HIZBALLAH, DIRECTS U.S. DEMARCHE TO ISRAEL
REF: A. STATE 17307 B. TEL AVIV 404

Classified By: CDA Charles Hunter, for reasons 1.4 b,d.

¶1. (S) Summary: Responding to Ref A demarche, Syrian Vice Foreign Minister (V/FM) Miqdad expressed surprise the U.S. was sharing such a strong message in the wake of Under Secretary (U/S) William Burns’ positive February 17 visit. He argued Israel represented the major threat to stability in the region and that the U.S. should be directing its message toward Israeli officials. Syria, he claimed, wanted peace and was working with Turkey and the U.S. toward that end. Flatly denying any Syrian role in the supply of weapons to Hizballah, The most sophisticated weapons Damascus supported Lebanese independence while Israel violated Lebanese sovereignty on a daily basis. Miqdad argued Syria wanted to preserve the positive results of U/S Burns’ recent visit and promised to convey the message. He also pledged to review our request for assisting the Center for Victims of Torture and agreed to follow up Charge’s request for official written notification of the government’s decision to allow the Damascus Community School (DCS) to reopen. End Summary

————————————–
Miqdad: Direct Your Message to Israel
————————————–

¶2. (S) Charge and Pol/Econ Chief delivered Ref A demarche to Syrian Vice Foreign Minister (V/FM) Faisal al-Miqdad on February 25. A clearly surprised Miqdad listened attentively and took detailed notes, interrupting twice to confirm whether the demarche concerned the transfer of ballistic missiles and to clarify whether the message represented a U.S. or an Israeli “warning.” Charge explained the message reflected Washington concerns that SEMEP Mitchell and U/S Burns had shared previously with President Asad. Addressing the substance of the demarche, Miqdad argued that Israel itself could not have sent a stronger warning. The message, he continued, “shows the U.S. has not come to a mature position (that would enable it) to differentiate between its own interests and Israel’s.” Syria was “of course” not in the mood to increase tensions or escalate, “because we believe in peace.” Toward that end, Syria was doing its best with Turkey and the U.S. to achieve peace. Syria was not taking steps to escalate. Unless Israel had plans to escalate against Syria or Lebanon, “there’s no need to worry,” said Miqdad.

¶3. (S) Referring to Hizballah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s February 16 speech, Miqdad emphasized that Hizballah was responding to Israeli threats and clearly conveyed Hizballah’s intent to respond only if Israel attacked first. Syria believed in and supported the role of UNIFIL, and was using its contacts with the Lebanese Government to “insist” on Lebanon’s full cooperation with UNIFIL. Miqdad insisted Israel, not Syria or Lebanon, was issuing provocative threats and using Hizballah as a pretext. The Syrian government had been pleased to hear Lebanese PM Hariri’s remarks expressing concerns about Israeli provocation, including the violation of Lebanese airspace and assassinations. The U.S. message, summed up Miqdad, “should be directed to Israel not to escalate.”

—————————————-
Denial of Supply of Weapons to Hizballah
—————————————-

¶4. (S) Charge replied that the U.S. message had come in the context of improving bilateral relations, which depended on a frank and candid exchange of assessments of regional developments. The U.S. was issuing neither threats nor
ultimatums, but rather it sought to convey what it believed to be a shared interest in avoiding conflict. Miqdad commented that it was “strange” the U.S. had chosen to deliver “harsh words while we’re trying to build better relations.” He promised to convey the message to his superiors but reiterated Syria’s desire to avoid escalation. “You may hear about weapons going to Hizballah,” he claimed, “but they are absolutely not coming through Syria.” The real threat to stability was coming from Israeli officials who had threatened recently to attack Damascus and to change the Syrian regime. “Please convey to Washington, while we take note of your demarche, this message should be directed at Israel,” he said.

¶5. (S) Charge replied that, as U/S Burns had conveyed to President Asad, the U.S. was urging all parties in the region, including Israel, to exercise restraint and support Lebanese independence. “This is our commitment,” Miqdad responded, “we shall not interfere (in Lebanon).” The Lebanese should be allowed to decide for themselves on how to resolve their own issues; those who would interfere want to disturb the peace after Lebanon successfully conducted national elections and formed a consensus government. “We’re confident the Lebanese can deal with their own situation,” he said. Charge rejoined that the military capabilities of a non-state actor like Hizballah represented a major concern because Hizballah responded only to its own leadership and not to government authorities.

¶6. (S) Miqdad said this issue should be discussed in the overall framework of the situation. He then contended the provision of U.S. weapons to the region represented a destabilizing factor. “The most sophisticated weapons are coming to Israel, to be used against whom?” he asked. When the U.S. pressed Israel to stop threatening its neighbors, the situation would stabilize. “We want peace. It’s the only solution. We are the ones who are threatened,” he declared. Charge replied the whole region was threatened. Miqdad said the U.S. and Syria needed to worked toward peace. “You should address your message to the people who don’t want peace,” he added, noting the results of U/S Burns’ visit should be preserved and continued to improve relations. Syria had responded positively to U/S Burns’ message because it felt more confident of Washington’s desire to move forward.

———————
CVT and DCS Follow-Up
———————

¶7. (C) Charge affirmed the U.S. shared this intent and wanted to maximize the opportunity by staying in close contact. In that context, he raised PRM’s pending request to Miqdad to assist the Center for the Victims of Torture to receive approval to begin a proposed project in Syria; Miqdad agreed to look at the matter and requested Embassy follow-up. Likewise, on the issue of visas for the next group of DHS circuit riders, Miqdad asked that the circuit riders not apply for visas until he had had a chance to intervene. (Note: Embassy will provide Miqdad with a list of the circuit riders.)

¶8. (C) Charge also asked Miqdad for advice on how to proceed regarding Damascus Community School (DCS). FM Muallim had instructed the Embassy to “start hiring teachers,” but the MFA had not yet provided any written notification of President Asad’s decision to allow the school to re-open. There also remained the issue of whether Syrian students would be allowed to enroll. Miqdad agreed that this matter required a response and advised the Charge to follow up with him in the coming week. (Note: Miqdad reported he would be traveling to Libya for two days to discuss bilateral
relations.)

——-
Comment
——-

¶9. (S) In the midst of hosting a quick-notice visit by Iranian President Ahmedinejad (who openly criticized the Secretary’s Congressional testimony expressing concern about Syria and Hizballah), the SARG might interpret our demarche as an attempt to divert the spotlight from the show of mutual support between Tehran and Damascus. Miqdad’s surprise that we would raise this issue so forcefully on the heels of U/S Burns’ visit may have been genuine, but the abject denial of any Syrian role in supplying arms to Hizballah and the verbal counter-attack against Israeli provocation were standard (if disingenuous) responses. Yet even a seasoned diplomat like Miqdad could not restrain a raised eyebrow at our mention of the transfer of ballistic missiles to Hizballah. We expect the specificity of this concern could well prompt further discussions among Syrian officials, Hizballah, and the visiting Iranian delegation.

¶10. (S) Miqdad notably did not respond to our concern about a possible Hizballah revenge operation for the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh. While Miqdad and Syrian officials might take some comfort in UNIFIL’s role in preventing the spillover of recent tensions in south Lebanon, a Hizballah operation against Israeli targets could easily result in a situation in which UNIFIL found itself unable to contain rising escalation. One point we might stress in the future: Syria’s desire for a deterrent against Israeli military action — presumably a motivation for the transfer of ballistic missiles to Hizballah — will not increase stability because there are no mechanisms or rules of the road to prevent and/or manage unanticipated escalation. Not having control over Hizballah’s missiles or influence over Hizballah’s military plans to avenge Mughniyeh increases this danger. Our demarche might resonate more fully here if we can persuade other key countries, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, France, and others, to underscore their concerns about regional instability, to which Syria’s supply of ballistic missiles to Hizballah is directly contributing.

¶11. (S) Leaving aside the substance of Miqdad’s response to the demarche, his agreement to meet us on two hours’ notice on a Syrian holiday (the Prophet’s birthday) and during the Ahmedinejad visit is worth noting. Miqdad’s Chief of Staff is typically the recipient of Embassy demarches; CDA’s only other meeting with Miqdad apart from appointments involving Washington visitors was to discuss the Vice Minister’s trip to the U.S. last September. His future willingness to meet directly with us — which FM Muallim instructed him to do to follow up on DCS issues — will serve as one more barometer of the SARG commitment to engagement in the weeks and months ahead. HUNTER

10STATE17894 2010-02-26 00:12 2010-12-06 21:09 SECRET Secretary of State

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHC #7894 0571855
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O P 260036Z FEB 10
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHDO/AMEMBASSY DOHA IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS IMMEDIATE 0000
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH IMMEDIATE 0000
INFO RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT PRIORITY 0000
RUEHDM/AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS PRIORITY 0000
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV PRIORITY 0000
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM PRIORITY 0000
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUETIAA/DIRNSA FT GEORGE G MEADE MD PRIORITY
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

S E C R E T STATE 017894

SIPDIS

EO 12958 DECL: 02/25/2020
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PTER, MASS, IS, LE, SY

SUBJECT: DEMARCHE: CONTINUED CONCERN OVER SYRIAN SUPPORT
TO HIZBALLAH

REF: A) 2009 STATE 129636

Classified By: NEA A/S Jeffrey D. Feltman for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (U) This is an action request. Please see paragraph four.

Summary
——-

¶2. (S) We previously demarched Britain, France, and Turkey on our increasing concerns over Syria’s continued provision of advanced weapons to Hizballah (Ref A). In London, Paris and Ankara the demarches were taken seriously and all governments pledged to raise their concern with Syrian officials. French diplomats noted that they routinely deliver the same message to the Syrians, but that Damascus denies involvement. This issue now needs to be reinforced with these governments and brought to the attention of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar. Under Secretary Burns visited Damascus on February 17 and stressed U.S. concerns about weapons transfers to Hizballah directly with Syrian President Bashar Asad, who bluntly stated that he knew of no new weapons systems going to Hizballah. In light of disturbing and weighty evidence to the contrary — that Syria currently provides Hizballah with advanced ballistic missiles and other weaponry — we want France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar to make a renewed push to echo our concerns with Syria, given that Syria continues to ignore warnings that its transfers of advanced surface-to-surface and surface-to-air weapons to Hizballah could jeopardize prospects for an agreement with Israel or spark a conflict significantly more destructive than the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war. Syria’s actions clearly jeopardize regional stability and could risk drawing Damascus into any future war between Israel and Hizballah.

¶3. (S) The Syrian leadership views military support to Hizballah as integral to Syria’s security and as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Israel over the return of the Golan Heights, as well as a possible stick to bring the Israelis back to the table. While our commitment to principled engagement with Syria — as demonstrated by Under Secretary Burns’ recent visit — remains strong, we must enlist additional French, British, Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian, and Qatari support to help dissuade Syria from expanding its ties to Hizballah any further, especially via the transfer of additional sophisticated weaponry.

Objectives
———-

¶4. (S/REL FRANCE, BRITAIN, TURKEY, SAUDI ARABIA, JORDAN, AND QATAR) Drawing on paragraphs 2 and 3 for context, we request that Embassies in Paris, London, Ankara, Riyadh, Amman, and Doha pursue the following objectives with senior French, British, Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian, and Qatari officials at the highest appropriate levels.
— Highlight that Under Secretary Burns visited Damascus on February 17 as part of our ongoing engagement with Syria. Reiterate our commitment to sustained, principled engagement with Syria. We plan to continue our dialogue with Syria and look forward to the arrival of our new ambassador in Damascus once the confirmation process is complete.
— Stress that in addition to discussing bilateral issues of mutual interest, Under Secretary Burns conveyed to President Asad a number of our priority concerns with Syria, specifically cross-border weapons smuggling into Lebanon destined for Hizballah.
— Note that in response, Asad claimed that Syria could not be Israel’s policeman and that he knew of no new weapons systems being smuggled from Syria to Hizballah.
— Underscore that, contrary to President Asad’s statements, we are aware of current Syrian efforts to supply ballistic missiles to Hizballah.
— We also note President Asad’s recent comments — during a February 25 joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart — that support for Hizballah was a “moral and legal duty.”
— Express deep concern that Syria’s expanding military ties to Hizballah, including the supply of ballistic missiles to Hizballah, jeopardize regional prospects for peace and stability. Specifically, Syrian transfers of increasingly sophisticated weaponry risk renewed conflict between Israel and Hizballah that may expand, unlike in 2006, into Syria.
— Convey that arms shipments to Hizballah — especially ballistic missiles — increasingly undermine Israel’s confidence in Syria’s willingness and ability to deliver peace and diminish the value of an eventual Syrian-Israeli accord, as Hizballah will not return the weapons it has already received.
— Underscore that the next report on Security Council resolution 1701 will be discussed on March 12. Full implementation of Security Council resolution 1701, including the arms embargo and weapons-free zone, remains a priority for the United States. In light of the upcoming report, it is especially important to stress that Syria’s actions constitute serious violations of Security Council resolution 1701 — which will be taken seriously by the international community — and belie its claims to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty.
— Express our appreciation for your host government’s support on the critical issue of Syrian weapons transfers to Hizballah and note that we hope to continue our cooperation to prevent serious miscalculations by the Syrian government.
— Share the following S/REL FRANCE, BRITAIN, TURKEY, SAUDI ARABIA, JORDAN, QATAR text verbatim:
(Begin releasable text.)
We would like to convey to you that we have information indicating that Syria is providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to Hizballah, including from its own military stocks.
For example, we assess that Syria has provided or will provided guided short range ballistic missiles to Hizballah that could target two-thirds of Israel, including Tel Aviv, from launch sites north of the Litani.
Our information also indicates that Syria has made advanced surface to air missile systems available to Hizballah and has probably provided training on these systems to Hizballah personnel.
(End releasable text.)
— Urge France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Qatar to raise these concerns once again in their dialogue with senior Syrian officials. We do not want to undermine our collective outreach to Syria. However, we are increasingly concerned that the Syrian government is making a strategic miscalculation by incorrectly assuming that increasing Hizballah’s military capability concomitantly bolsters Syria’s security and strength at the negotiating table with Israel, when the opposite is more likely to be true.
— Syria’s desire for a deterrent against Israeli military action — presumably a motivation for the transfer of ballistic missiles to Hizballah — is not producing a stable deterrent because there are no mechanisms to prevent unanticipated escalation. Not having control over Hizballah’s missiles increases the risk of this danger.
— Emphasize that Syria’s actions risk derailing our common efforts to bring peace to the region.
— Note that we are raising our concerns with Syrian officials in Damascus and with the Syrian Ambassador here in Washington.
— Also note our continuing strong commitment and support to the full implementation of resolutions 1747 and 1701, encouraging France, Britain, and Turkey to stress their continuing support for the full implementation of resolution 1701 — in its entirety (including the arms embargo and weapons free zone) — with senior Syrian officials.
— These are U.S. concerns. We are not carrying somebody else’s “water” on this issue.
— (For Turkey) Express that we greatly appreciate Turkey’s continued efforts to combat weapons smuggling. As conveyed by Under Secretary Burns when he was in Ankara on February 18, we urge Turkey to use its close ties with Damascus to underscore the repercussions that Syria’s continued provision of weapons to Hizballah has for regional stability and the broader goal of Middle East peace. We hope that Turkey will leverage its influence with Syria on this crucial issue.

Reporting Deadline
——————

¶5. (SBU) Embassies are requested to report the results of this demarche to Syria desk officer Andrew Abell and Lebanon desk officer John Duchak by March 3, 2010. CLINTON