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Viewing cable 07ABUDHABI145, GENERAL ABIZAID TALKS IRAN, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN WITH

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ABUDHABI145 2007-01-31 12:12 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Embassy Abu Dhabi
VZCZCXRO3512
PP RUEHDE RUEHDIR
DE RUEHAD #0145/01 0311205
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 311205Z JAN 07
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8138
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0280
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1559
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0349
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 000145 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2017 
TAGS: PREL PARM IZ IR AF AE
SUBJECT: GENERAL ABIZAID TALKS IRAN, IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN WITH 
ABU DHABI CROWN PRINCE 
 
Classified By: Ambassador Michele Sison, reasons 1.4 (B) and (D). 
 
1. (S) Summary.  On the evening of January 21, Abu Dhabi 
Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed 
Forces Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) Al Nahyan hosted 
CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid for dinner.  They 
discussed regional security issues, but Iraq was clearly the 
focus of MbZ's interest.  MbZ expressed lack of confidence in 
being able to work with the Maliki government.  MbZ believes 
that the Saudis will not support any Sunni group in Iraq with 
Al-Qaeda ties, but that the Saudis are firm in their resolve 
to counter Iran.  MbZ reiterated UAE interest in acquiring 
Predator B.  Referring to the recent events in Somalia, MbZ 
commented: "The Somalia job was fantastic."  Also present 
were UAE Chief of Staff, Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani 
Al-Rumaithy; Director of Intelligence, Staff Brigadier 
General Engineer Essa Saif Mohammed Al-Mazrouei; Commander of 
the Special Operations, Major General Juma Ahmed Al-Bawardi 
Al-Falasi; and Commander of the UAE Air Forces and Air 
Defense, Staff Air Vice-Marshal (Major General) Mohammed 
Sowaidan Al-Gimzy.  End Summary. 
 
Iraq 
---- 
2. (C) Clearly the focus for MbZ, discussion began with his 
pronouncement: "Let's talk about Iraq."  Gen. Abizaid noted 
that extremists on both ends of the Sunni/Shia spectrum are 
largely irretrievable, but we still have an opportunity to 
stabilize Iraq by reinforcing the moderate middle ground. 
MbZ said that he had little confidence in being able to work 
with this (Maliki's) government, saying of Maliki: "I think 
we are operating on different frequencies -- no, different 
radio systems altogether." 
 
3. (S) MbZ asked General Abizaid what the U.S. hoped to 
achieve with the extra troops set to deploy to Iraq in 2007, 
and reiterated his concern about the level of ongoing 
violence against the Sunni.  Abizaid responded that the 
violence in Iraq is highly localized, principally in the 
Baghdad area, and that most of the rest of Iraq is quiet. The 
extra troops are intended to bring calm to Baghdad and give 
the government sufficient space and time to contain violence 
even further.  It will also send a message that the U.S. is 
not abandoning Iraq.  MbZ stated that Ahmad Chalabi and 
others had made a "big deal" out of the Baathist threat, but 
said that the Baathists were not and are not the problem -- 
even though specific individuals linked to the Ba,ath Party 
were/are the problem.  MbZ offered that de-Baathification was 
and is "an unnecessary distraction," stating that "pursuing a 
problem that doesn't really exist only leads to more 
problems."  He said he had seen Iyad Allawi a month ago -- 
noting that Allawi was looking to the UAE for support and 
assurances.  MbZ said that there is no assurance that the UAE 
can give him, adding: "It's not his time."  MbZ added that he 
believes that the Saudis will not assist Sunni groups in Iraq 
that are aligned with Al-Qaeda. 
 
Iran 
---- 
4. (S) MbZ acknowledged that Tehran knows that the U.S. is 
serious in its stance against Iranian proliferation.  This 
can be clearly seen in "how Iran is changing its tactics." 
Abizaid pressed that countries in the region should make 
stronger statements.  Weak statements only encourage the 
Iranians: "We need our friends to say that they stand with 
the Americans."  MbZ avoided committing the UAE to anything 
like a public statement and shifted the discussion to other 
countries in the region saying: "The Saudis need no 
encouragement -- they are Wahhabis after all -- and will 
resolutely stand up to any Shi'a anywhere and counter them 
strongly."  Agreeing that it is only a matter of time before 
the Iranians develop or acquire advanced weapons 
technologies, including MTCR-controlled UAV technology, MbZ 
asserted:  "That's why we need it first . . . give me 
Predator B."  MbZ added: "Iran has to know that there is a 
price to pay for every decision they make.  They are 
expanding day by day -- they have to be dealt with before 
they do something tragic."  But that said, he continued: "We 
(UAE) are not ready yet" to confront Iran. 
 
Afghanistan/Pakistan 
-------------------- 
5. (S) Abizaid thanked MbZ for the actions of the UAE forces 
currently deployed in Afghanistan.  MbZ reciprocated: "No -- 
 
ABU DHABI 00000145  002 OF 002 
 
 
thank you.  This has been a good chance for us, and we 
appreciate the opportunity."  MbZ questioned the role the 
Iranians were playing in Afghanistan.  He further observed 
that Musharraf is not doing enough to engage the tribes in 
the south, and needs to expand its efforts there. 
 
Lebanon/Hizballah/Somalia 
-------------------------- 
6. (S) Noting Lebanese PM Siniora's January 16 visit to the 
UAE, MbZ characterized Siniora as &a good man.  We are 
supporting him."  MbZ said that Hizballah has made a "big 
mistake" in estimating its support in Lebanon, and has 
"played it wrong -- they do not have the support of the 
majority of the Lebanese people."  MbZ discussed with Abizaid 
the military technology that Hizballah used in 2006, 
specifically noting the amount of anti-tank weapons that 
Hizballah possessed.  Abizaid acknowledged that Hizballah has 
access to weapons technology that most Arab states don't 
have.  MbZ interrupted the conversation to state explicitly 
that he wants the U.S. to understand that the UAE was not 
involved in the transfer of those weapons or technologies in 
any way.  Referring to the recent events in Somalia, MbZ 
commented: "The Somalia job was fantastic." 
 
7. (U) POLAD Ambassador Richard Roth has approved this 
message. 
SISON