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Viewing cable 07DUBAI355, DUBAI RULER DISCUSSES IRAN AND IRAQ WITH SENATOR LIEBERMAN

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07DUBAI355 2007-06-03 11:11 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Consulate Dubai
VZCZCXRO3701
RR RUEHBC RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHDE #0355/01 1541114
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 031114Z JUN 07
FM AMCONSUL DUBAI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5452
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHZM/GCC C COLLECTIVE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 2461
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 8545
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DUBAI 000355 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  6/3/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINS KNNP IR IZ AE
SUBJECT: DUBAI RULER DISCUSSES IRAN AND IRAQ WITH SENATOR LIEBERMAN 
 
DUBAI 00000355  001.2 OF 003 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Paul R Sutphin, Consul General, Dubai, UAE. 
REASON: 1.4 (b), (d) 
 
 
 
 
1.(S) SUMMARY.  Senator Joseph Lieberman met with Sheikh 
Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum (MbR), Vice President and Prime 
Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on 29 May.  MbR voiced 
support for US policy in Iraq, but expressed strong reservations 
about the al Maliki government and its links to Iran.  He called 
for new elections to produce leaders who would work for Iraq's 
interests. He voiced suspicion of Iran's goals in the region, 
and their claims that their nuclear program was for energy 
purposes alone.  He recommended, however, that the US seek to 
contain Iran through negotiations and diplomacy. Using force, he 
said, would only help the current leadership stay in power. MbR 
also talked about his ambitions for Dubai as a regional model, 
noting "we want to be number one." END SUMMARY 
 
2.(SBU) Senator Lieberman, along with the Ambassador, Consul 
General, codel staff members and ConGen staff met MbR at the 
Zabeel Palace in Dubai on 29 May.  Joining MbR were Mohammad 
al-Gergawi, his principal aide and UAE Minister for Cabinet 
Affairs; Major General Dhahi Khalfan al-Tamim, Commander of the 
Dubai Police; Brigadier Mohammad al-Qemzi, Director of the Dubai 
General Department of State Security; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed 
al-Maktoum, head of Dubai Civil aviation and Emirates Airlines; 
and a number of MbR's sons, including Sheikh Rashid bin 
Mohammad, Sheikh Mohammad's eldest son; and Sheikh Hamdan bin 
Mohammad, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and Sheikh 
Mohammad's heir apparent. 
 
Iraq:  Any plan B? 
------------------ 
 
3.(C) MbR restated the UAE's support for the US in the region, 
noting "the UAE is the only country that is 100 percent with the 
US." MbR said UAE support for the US effort remained firm, but 
asked what is "plan B" should the current US approach not 
stabilize Iraq. Senator Lieberman quoted the Chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs of Staff as saying "plan B is to make plan A work." 
 
Alternative Approaches: New Elections in Iraq? 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
4.(S) Asked by the Senator for his advice on steps to move the 
situation in Iraq forward, MbR commented that he has little 
confidence in Iraqi PM al Maliki, and believes his loyalties lie 
elsewhere, i.e. Iran.  MbR suggested the way ahead would be 
improved by new elections, which he believes would now yield a 
better leader who is loyal to Iraq. Senator Lieberman noted he 
thought that al Maliki and his allies would oppose new elections. 
 
The Problem of Al-Sadr 
---------------------- 
 
5.(S) MbR said that at the moment Muqtada al-Sadr is the single 
most powerful person in Iraq; the US should act against him, 
i.e. arrest and imprison him.  Asked if new elections might not 
yield a al-Sadr victory, MbR made clear he thought Sunnis would 
now turn out in large numbers and that al-Sadr would not be able 
to win - were the election fair.  (Comment: Reflecting 
commonly-held thinking by UAE seniors, he clearly implied that 
al-Maliki had been elected through rigging in the last Iraqi 
vote.  End comment.) 
 
Progress in Anbar Province: Look to the Tribes 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
6.(C) Commenting on the improved security situation in western 
Iraq, MbR voiced strong support for closer cooperation with the 
tribal sheikhs.  As has been proven, if the tribal leaders can 
be co-opted to work with the US, they have the ability to defeat 
or suppress Al-Qaeda.  He stressed the importance of working 
with the tribes without regard to their being Sunni or Shia. 
 
Sheikh Mohammad on Iran 
----------------------- 
 
7.(C) Senator Lieberman asked MbR for his views on Iran and US 
policies vis-`-vis Iran.  MbR stated Iran is a large country 
with great ambitions, a historic sense of its importance, and a 
desire to dominate the region culturally and politically. Iran 
has a long-term strategy for the region, and would like to 
recreate the Persian Empire and spread Shi'a Islam throughout 
area. Rehearsing themes often heard by US senior visitors, MbR 
said Iran "can make trouble throughout the region" if it is 
 
DUBAI 00000355  002.2 OF 003 
 
 
provoked.  While he suggested that Iran is the cause of the 
deteriorating situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, he also noted 
that Iran could make the situation in Afghanistan, for example, 
"explode" should chose to do so. 
 
Iran Promises a Peaceful Nuclear Program 
---------------------------------------- 
 
8.(C) MbR told the Senator that the UAE does not want Iran to 
acquire nuclear weapons. He said that during the recent visit of 
Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the UAE that the Iranians had 
promised their nuclear program is only to help meet domestic 
energy needs -- quipping "how much can we believe what the 
Iranians say is another question."  MbR seemed perplexed about 
the work of the IAEA inspectors and believed that they could 
provide an objective view of the program.  Senator Lieberman 
reminded MbR that Iran has blocked the inspectors and they have 
only been able to conclude that Iran will have the capacity to 
produce enriched uranium on a sufficient scale to either 
generate power or create a nuclear weapon within the next three 
to eight years. 
 
Negotiations - the Best Course of Action 
---------------------------------------- 
 
9.(C) MbR and the Senator briefly discussed the recent meeting 
in Baghdad between the US and Iran.  MbR saw this as a very 
positive move, recommending negotiations as the best way forward 
with Iran.  He said that threatening Iran encourages the Iranian 
leaders to be defiant.  Iranians are proud and the current 
extremist leadership would not only endure, but benefit from an 
attack by the US. Such attacks would ensure the continuing power 
of the current government (note: presumable by rallying all 
Iranians behind it in the face of a foreign enemy). 
 
10.(C) Senator Lieberman commented would maintain the stick even 
while it considered the carrot, and that the two carrier battle 
groups now in the Gulf were sending a message to Iran.  MbR 
responded that everyone in the region knows the US is powerful 
and can fight two wars simultaneously.  He said that part of the 
problem "is the way you (the US) talk."  After making a demand, 
"you (the US) should take two steps back before your next 
action."  Everyone in the region needs to avoid the dangerous 
cycle of action and reaction.  The Israeli-Palestinian problem 
has worsened because actions are followed immediately by 
reactions without thought. 
 
11.(S) Brigadier Mohammad al-Qemzi, who heads State Security in 
Dubai added that the Iranians are traditionally great game 
players.  He said that the US should play the game of 
negotiation and diplomacy (to contain Iran) rather than engaging 
in hostilities.  Al-Qemzi recommended working for the longer 
term, and believes that there will be a cultural and leadership 
change in Iran -- over time, Iran would change for the better. 
 
UAE Support for Counter Proliferation 
------------------------------------- 
 
12.(S) MbR reiterated the UAE's continued support of the US' 
counter proliferation efforts in the region.  Brigadier al-Qemzi 
added that the previous day and in the previous week the UAE had 
stopped Iranian vessels at US request suspected of carrying 
goods proscribed by the UN sanctions regime.  The UAE, he said, 
would continue to work with us to stringently enforce UN 
sanctions. 
 
Dubai, the Region, and Transformation via Education 
--------------------------------------------- ------ 
 
13.(C) Noting Dubai appeared to be a model of tolerance and 
opportunity for the region, Senator Lieberman asked MbR to talk 
about his goals for the emirate. MbR said bluntly "we want to be 
number one."  But, he said that Dubai has only taken the first 
step on a journey of 1000 miles. He said that if Dubai plays it 
right, the whole region can develop like Dubai. 
 
14.(SBU) MbR indicated that Dubai has succeeded because it is a 
place where all people can enjoy health, wealth, security, and 
the opportunity to succeed. Commenting on his recent 
announcement at the World Economic Forum in Jordan of a new $10 
billion Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation for education and job 
creation (septel), he said "God gave us wealth and we must give 
it back to the people in the region."  MbR sees Dubai as the 
leading city of a wide region and he commented "I am serving 1.5 
billion [people] in the region."  MbR underscored that education 
is the key to regional modernization and moderation. In Dubai, 
he noted, "we are trying to teach people how to fish and not 
just giving a fish to our neighbor." 
 
DUBAI 00000355  003.2 OF 003 
 
 
 
15 (SBU) He also called for more US universities in Dubai, and 
asked for Senator Lieberman's help in resurrecting the 
possibility of the University of Connecticut building a sizeable 
campus here (note: this deal was put on hold by UCONN leadership 
after Connecticut state legislators and others objected to the 
UAE regulation which prevents the entry of Israeli passport 
holders). 
 
16.(U) Senator Lieberman has cleared this cable. 
SUTPHIN