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Viewing cable 09ABUDHABI192, URGENT UAE REQUEST FOR AIR DEFENSE -- FIVE PATRIOT BATTERIES

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ABUDHABI192 2009-02-24 07:07 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Abu Dhabi
P 240739Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2167
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
IRAN COLLECTIVE
CJCS WASHINGTON DC
DIA WASHINGTON DC
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC//J-5//
HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
NSC WASHDC
S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000192 
 
 
NOFORN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/23/2019 
TAGS: PREL PARM MOPS MASS IR AE
SUBJECT: URGENT UAE REQUEST FOR AIR DEFENSE -- FIVE PATRIOT BATTERIES 
THIS YEAR 
 
Classified by Ambassador Richard Olson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (S/NF) Summary:  UAE Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces convoked 
the Ambassador to request the urgent deployment of five U.S. patriot 
batteries in the UAE as an interim measure until the UAE's own 
batteries are operational (anticipated in 2012).  The UAE belief that 
an increasingly likely pre-emptive Israeli attack on Iran would 
prompt quick retaliation on U.S. allies (foremost among them the very 
proximate UAE) prompted the request.  End summary. 
 
2.  (C) On 22 February 2009, Ambassador Richard Olson, Defense 
Attache (DATT) Colonel Bret Rider and Chief, US Liaison Office (USLO) 
Colonel David Sprague were summoned to the office of the Chief of 
Staff of the UAE Armed Forces (COS), where they were met by the COS, 
LTG Hamid Thani al Rumaithy, Director Military Intelligence and 
Security (MISS) MGen Eissa al Mazrouei, Commander of the UAE Air 
Force and Air Defence (AF&AD) AVM Mohammed Swaidan al Qamzi and the 
COSs office director BGen Faris Mohammed al Mazroui. 
 
3.  (S) Following very brief pleasantries the COS bluntly commented: 
"I need to be open and frank with you, there are changes in the 
region that concern us."  On behalf of his government, the COS then 
made an official request of the US government to deploy between four 
and five Patriot batteries to the UAE during calendar year 2009.  He 
requested these batteries remain in place until such time as they can 
be replaced by the UAE's own nine batteries, currently on order. 
 
4.  (S/NF) The UAE would place three of the US batteries in and 
around Abu Dhabi, one battery at the port of Jebel Ali, and a final 
battery somewhere else in the northern emirates (presumably Dubai). 
The COS noted previous studies on the placement of the batteries are 
on file and will help guide final placement.  The COS stated the 
batteries would be used to protect critical military and civilian 
targets. 
 
5.  (S/NF) The COS noted that Iran will continue doing its best to 
keep the entire region unstable.  Iran is recognized as Israel's 
biggest threat in the region and Israel will attack Iran with little 
or no notice.  Following an Israeli attack, the UAE is convinced Iran 
will lash out against those who "help Israel," or the allies of 
Israel's friends, most significantly the UAE.  The COS noted the UAE 
has the Patriot system on order and expects to take delivery in 2012. 
 He went on to mention the pending deployment of a single Patriot 
battery to protect Al Dhafra Air Base -- which should be operational 
within the next 30 to 60 days.  The COS noted the UAE operational 
capacity will come too late and the single US battery will be too 
little to stop Iranian missiles if they attack sooner rather than 
later. 
 
6.  (S/NF) Hamid Thani senses indications and warnings the Israeli 
government now being formed will likely attack Iran.  He thinks the 
new (Netanyahu) government will be very determined to eliminate the 
threat of Iranian missiles, especially nuclear tipped ones, which 
they fear may come raining down on Israeli cities.  He also stated 
Israel would be justified to take such action as it must protect its 
citizens just as any nation has the duty to do.  He feels that a 
breakthrough in international efforts in regard to Iran's armament 
programs may slow Israel's actions.  However, the COS knows that 
Israel must maintain all its options.  He also knows the Iranians 
have toyed with the international community for over ten years as 
they built their capability.  He stated the Israelis are also very 
aware of Iranian tactics. 
 
7.  (S/NF) When pressed on what type of event may precipitate an 
Israeli attack, the COS thought the delivery of the Russian S-300 
system could be the catalyst.  The COS stated very flatly that "I 
don't trust the Russians, I've never trusted the Russians or the 
Iranians." 
 
8.  (S/NF) The COS went on to request continued and expanded 
intelligence sharing between the US and the UAE.  He asked the DATT 
what advance warning the US could expect of an Iranian attack.  He 
quickly added that he asks the same question of his MISS chief at 
least twice a week and gets no answer -- as he knows there is no good 
answer.  (Note: The COS served as the MISS chief prior to becoming 
COS and knows very well the capabilities related to predicting 
Iranian actions.  End note.) 
 
9.  (C) The meeting ended nearly as quickly as it began with both 
sides wishing each other good will and great success during the 
International Defense Exhibition (IDEX) opening later in the day 
(immediately following this meeting all of the attendees departed 
directly for IDEX).  The COS met with and most certainly briefed the 
President, Prime Minister and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince (the de facto 
Minister of Defense) as IDEX began. 
 
 
OLSON