May 2005

05ABUDHABI2178 2005-05-16 09:09 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Embassy Abu Dhabi

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.



E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/16/2015


Classified By: Ambassador Michele J. Sison.
For reasons 1.4 (a), (b), and (d).

¶1. (U) Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed,s weekly
Sunday “VIP Majlis” provided an excellent opportunity for a
visiting National Defense University delegation to observe
first-hand the UAEG,s informal consultative process. MbZ,
brothers MinState Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamdan and Interior
Minister Sheikh Saif, and Labor Minister al Ka’abi were
joined by several dozen prominent Abu Dhabi officials and
businessmen for the weekly gathering at Bateen Palace.


¶2. (U) NDU President Lt. Gen. Dunn and National War College
Deputy Commandant Ambassador Wahba briefed MbZ on several new
NDU initiatives, including opportunities for UAE students in
the Information Resources Management College program, which
emphasizes threats, vulnerabilities, and risks in a
net-centric environment. Ambassador Sison praised the UAE’s
selection of NDU candidates, noting that several were serving
in key positions today: GHQ Armed Forces Deputy Chief of
Staff MG Mohammed Hilal al-Kaabi, GHQ Director of General
Procurement Obaid Al Ketbi, Deputy Commander UAE Air Force
Brigadier Ali, and MbZ’s aide Yousef al Otaiba had all
benefited from NDU programs.


¶3. (C) Ambassador Sison noted that day’s visit to Iraq by
Secretary Rice, highlighting the Secretary’s encouragement

for continued momentum in the political process and her
meetings with PM al-Jaafari and KDP leader Barzani. MbZ
voiced disdain for al-Jaafari, citing (again) his concerns
over the Prime Minister’s ties to Iran. These concerns were
aimed at Jaafari’s Dawaa Party colleagues, as well. While
agreeing that it was important for Iraq’s Sunni Arabs to be
more involved in the political process and in drafting the
constitution, MbZ complained that “there wasn’t one
worthwhile Sunni” on the scene. He criticized new Sunni
Defense Minister Dulaimi as being “in it for himself.” Nor
did MbZ have anything good to say about former Iraqi Finance
Minister Mahdi’s nomination as one of two Vice Presidents,
complaining that Mahdi “did not work for the people of Iraq.”
Nonetheless, MbZ said he agreed with the USG’s efforts to
encourage the various Iraqi factions to work together. The
UAE would continue to help train Iraqi police forces at the
UAE’s police academy in Al Ain and provide reconstruction
assistance. It was important for the region as a whole that
the U.S. and its allies “got it right” in Iraq, Saudi Arabia,
and Egypt, he underscored. (Note: MbZ aide Yousef al Otaiba
had a few days earlier shared with Ambassador concerns passed
by former PM Allawi that Dulaimi was “devious,” “bad news,”
“very close” to Iranian intelligence, and had been introduced
to the Iranians by Chalabi. Yousef had also noted the
UAEG,s impression Mahdi had not always been a “team player”
in the government of former PM Allawi. End note.)


¶4. (S) Turning to Iran, MbZ voiced certainty that the EU-3
efforts with Iran would break down and that Iran would resume
its nuclear activities ) if it had not already done so.
Repeating concerns first voiced to us in February (reftel),
MbZ appeared convinced that it was only a matter of time
before Israel or the U.S. would strike Iranian nuclear
facility targets. U.S. installations in the Gulf could be
targeted by Iran in the aftermath of such an action, he
warned. MbZ agreed with the USG,s tough line with Tehran
and the Europeans. A nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize
the Gulf region and possibly allow terrorist access to WMD.
MbZ asked Lt. Gen. Dunn whether it would be possible for
&anyone8 to “take out” all locations of concern in Iran via
air power; Lt. Gen. Dunn voiced doubt that this would be
possible given the dispersed locations. “Then it will take
ground forces!” MbZ exclaimed. Ambassador noted that the
UAE’s Director of Military Intelligence, BG Essa al Mazrouei,
would pay counterpart visits this week to CENTCOM, J-2, DIA,
and CIA for discussions on Iran and Iraq-related matters.
MbZ said he looked forward to sharing “contingency planning”
scenarios in future conversations.


¶5. (C) Ambassador asked about MbZ’s visit the week before to
Lahore to meet with Pakistani President Musharraf. MbZ
chuckled and asked why the USG “always” convinced the
Pakistanis to delay news of the capture of senior Al Qaeda
operatives such as Abu Faraj al Libbi. MbZ went on to
congratulate Washington for its decision to allow U.S. firms
to bid for contracts to provide F-16s and other defense
technology to Pakistan. It was important to support
Musharraf as he battled the terrorists, he emphasized. While
the Indians had and would continue to balk at the decision,
the region needed Musharraf to stay strong. There was no
alternative leader in sight, MbZ opined. Besides, he
continued, the F-16 decision would not tip the military
balance between India and Pakistan. Even if it had, India’s
strength as a stable democracy would ensure that it would not
ever be in as “risky” a situation as its neighbor. MbZ then
slapped his knee and said “you,ll never guess what Musharraf
asked me…he asked me whether the UAE had received approval
for the Predator!” (Note: the USG’s inability to meet the
UAE’s request for an armed Predator remains a sore point for
MbZ, although he has not directly raised the issue with us
for some time.)

Gyrocopter, GAWC

¶6. (SBU) MbZ also referred to his interest in exploring
selling the UAE’s “gyrocopter” (a helicopter-supported UAV
co-developed with Austrian company Schiebel) to the U.S. Air
Force, an idea he first floated during Gen. Moseley,s visit
for the May 3 F-16 ceremony. MbZ noted that his aide would
pass detailed gyrocopter specifications to the Embassy this
week. (Note: We will be exploring this initiative with
CENTAF and CENTCOM in relation to force protection aerial
surveillance system needs at Al Dhafra airbase for the 380 th
Air Expeditionary Wing. End note.)

¶7. (C) Lt. Gen. Dunn complimented MbZ on the Gulf Air
Warfare Center (GAWC), which he and the NDU group had toured
that morning. MbZ expressed satisfaction over the
relationship between the UAE and U.S. Air Forces, but
expressed disappointment that more GCC countries had not
joined recent GAWC classes. Ambassador noted the recent
robust participation by Saudi Arabia in the GAWC’s fourth
class, which had included six Saudi F-15s and two young
pilots who were also members of the Saudi royal family. MbZ
asked whether the two high-ranking Saudis had actually
completed all requirements for graduation or had been “passed
through.” Ambassador confirmed that they had completed all
course requirements. MbZ commented that “the real reason”
the Saudis had turned out for the GAWC class had been “to see
what the UAE was up to” with the F-16 Block 60 and other
procurement successes. Although Egypt and Jordan wished to
join in the next GAWC class, MbZ added, they also wanted the
UAE Air Force to pay fuel costs. MbZ said he had asked both
countries “to go talk to ADNOC,” the state-owned Abu Dhabi
National Oil Company.


¶8. (U) MbZ noted that he would travel to Paris June 18-20 to
meet with President Chirac, recalling that he had canceled
his trip to France at the last minute in mid-January.

Camel Jockeys

¶9. (SBU) On the margins of the MbZ conversation, Ambassador
thanked Interior Minister Sheikh Saif for his assistance the
week before in allowing G/TIP visitor Feleke Assefa access to
camel jockey rehabilitation and social support centers.
Ambassador noted that a Tier 3 ranking remained a possibility
despite the UAEG,s vigorous efforts since mid-March with
UNICEF, IOM, and others. A trafficking in persons
reassessment would take place in August, she noted, and it
was important for the UAE to continue the good work it was
doing in solving the problem. MbZ aide Yousef al Otaiba
promised to forward a copy of the UAE-UNICEF TIP implementing
agreement and budget. (Note: he has done so; we have
forwarded the document electronically to G/TIP and NEA/ARPI.
End note.)

Labor and the FTA

¶10. (SBU) Labor Minister al Ka’abi noted he had received
reports that the U.S. and UAE sides had moved closer on the
text of the labor chapter of the FTA during the last day of
negotiations. He reiterated the UAEG,s concern that it
receive some recognition of its unique demographic situation,
as only 15 percent of the population held Emirati