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Viewing cable 09KUWAIT760, GEN PETRAEUS AND KUWAITI DCOS ON IRAN, IRAQ, CT,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09KUWAIT760 2009-08-02 06:06 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET Embassy Kuwait
VZCZCXRO2565
PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR RUEHIHL RUEHKUK RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKU #0760/01 2140656
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 020656Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3753
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNIRA/IRAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 000760 
 
SIPDIS 
 
NEA/ARP, NEA/RA 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/22/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER MOPS KU IZ
SUBJECT: GEN PETRAEUS AND KUWAITI DCOS ON IRAN, IRAQ, CT, 
YEMEN AND JOINT MILITARY EXERCISES 
 
REF: KUWAIT 724 
 
Classified By: DCM Tom Williams for reasons 1.4 b and d 
 
1. (S) CENTCOM Commander GEN David Petraeus, accompanied by 
Ambassador, engaged in a wide-ranging exchange on the evening 
of July 22 with Kuwaiti Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff 
(DCOS) LTG Ahmed Khalid Al Sabah.  Key Points: 
 
-- (C) On Iraq, General Petraeus said the USG appreciates 
Kuwait's robust aid for our Iraq efforts; Kuwait's security 
remains a top U.S. priority, and we will coordinate closely 
on force outflows from Iraq.  The U.S. forces relied on 
support from Kuwait for our efforts in Afghanistan as well. 
Kuwait should remain open to engagement with Iraq as a means 
to help resolve disputes between the two countries and help 
Iraq achieve greater stability.  DCOS Al Sabah responded that 
Kuwait seeks to rebuild relations with Iraq and prefers that 
negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait on international 
disputes be under the UN aegis. 
 
-- (S) On Iran, Kuwait's head of Military Intelligence said 
the fate of Iran is in Supreme Leader Khamene'i's hands.  He 
must either compromise with Ayatollah Rafsanjani or continue 
to support President Ahmadinejad.  He assessed that the 
public had crossed the "fear line," and continued protests 
against the government were a possibility.  He thought it 
would be important to see the Supreme Leader's response to 
protests.  Continued unrest and government repression may be 
the catalyst that provokes Iranian security forces to crack 
down, align with the masses, or fracture. 
 
-- (C) On CT, General Petraeus noted USG appreciation for 
recent CT actions by Kuwait's Interior Ministry forces, and 
said passage of comprehensive anti-terror legislation would 
greatly facilitate further efforts. 
 
-- (C)  General Petraeus characterized the bilateral security 
relationship as strong, and welcomed the upcoming Joint 
Military Commission (JMC) in October, as well as Kuwait's 
continued participation in joint military exercises. 
 
Iraq 
---- 
 
2.  (C) GEN Petraeus thanked the GOK for its support for 
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and its facilitation of U.S. 
forces deploying and redeploying through Kuwait.  He provided 
his congratulations on the results of the recent 
Parliamentary elections, noting in particular the election of 
four U.S.-educated women, and said that it was encouraging to 
see Kuwait's recent counter-terrorism progress.  Petraeus 
also thanked the GOK for its financial, reconstruction, and 
moral support for Iraq during OIF.  He urged that the GOK 
continue to remain open to negotiate disputes between Iraq 
and Kuwait, and hoped that such negotiations would be 
concluded successfully.  He assessed that with assistance 
from its Arab neighbors Iraq would "muddle through" towards 
stability.  Though establishing Iraqi stability absorbs a 
great amount of USG focus, he reassured the DCOS that Kuwaiti 
security would remain a priority for the U.S., and also 
promised that the U.S. would closely coordinate with the GOK 
on working through the logistics of support for the 
withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq through Kuwait.  GEN 
Petraeus said Iraqi PM Maliki's visit to Washington would 
provide an opportunity for discussion on issues of concern to 
Kuwait, such as compensation, borders, and recovering the 
remains of Kuwaiti prisoners still missing from the 1990 
invasion and Iraqi occupation.  General Petraeus briefed the 
DCOS on levels of violence in Iraq, noting that the surge of 
US forces, fighting side-by-side with Iraqi forces that now 
number nearly 650,000, has contributed greatly to growing 
stability.  U.S. combat forces have completed their 
withdrawal from Iraqi cities, although advisors and liaison 
elements remain along with joint coordination centers in 
Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul that provide the Iraqis with access 
to U.S. enablers and expertise. 
3.  (C) In response, the DCOS -- who was personally held as a 
POW during the Iraqi invasion -- expressed a desire to 
rebuild relations with Iraq, but, echoing the policy of the 
GOK, said that all Kuwaiti-concerned negotiations with Iraq 
should be conducted under the auspices of the UN.  GEN 
Petraeus informed him, that in a recent conversation with 
Vice President Biden, he recommended that former Special 
Representative of the UN Secretary General Staffan de Mistura 
adjudicate the Iraq/Kuwait dispute. 
 
 
KUWAIT 00000760  002 OF 002 
 
 
Iran 
---- 
 
4.  (S) BG Abdulrahman al-Hadhood, Chief of Kuwaiti Military 
Intelligence, in a frank discussion on Iran, asserted that 
the future of Iran, and its relations with its regional 
neighbors, is in the hands of Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah 
Khamene'i.  The direction in which Khamene'i will lead Iran 
in this post-presidential election era will largely depend on 
whether he forges a compromise with Ayatollah Ali Akbar 
Rafsanjani or continues to pull the "puppet strings" of 
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  Al-Hadhoud said the Iranian 
public, in staging mass protests in the wake of the 
elections, had "crossed the fear line."  The next test for 
Iran will be to face the future reactions of the Iranian 
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and to what extent the 
IRGC, the Basij militia, and the regular army are ordered to 
maintain security.  He questioned whether the IRGC would hold 
ranks with Khamene'i or begin to sympathize with the Iranian 
masses should further crackdowns be instigated, as happened 
with the Iranian Army when it fractured and many joined the 
mass student protests in the 1979 Islamic revolution. 
Al-Hadhoud predicted that such a tripwire to tip the balance 
would be the arrest of Presidential challenger Mir Housein 
Mousavi.  The DCOS also mentioned Kuwaiti understanding that 
Iran was supporting Shi'a in the Gulf and extremists in 
Yemen.  GEN Petraeus asked for assistance in determining if 
Iran was, in particular, supporting the al-Houthi in Yemen. 
 
5.  (S) GEN Petraeus assured the DCOS that the US military is 
"very capable" and is fully prepared for various 
contingencies should unrest escalate or Iran become more 
unpredictable.  He added that the US military is assisting 
Gulf states in shoring up ballistic missile and counter air 
defenses, as well as early warning systems in the eventuality 
of an Iranian missile launch.  He encouraged the GOK to 
consider establishing a regional "Center for Excellence for 
Air and Missile Defense," -- complementing the UAE's Gulf Air 
Warfare Center -- which would focus on air and missile 
defense and on the interoperability of systems such as the 
PAC-III Kuwait now has deployed. 
 
Counterterrorism 
---------------- 
 
6.  (S) GEN Petraeus congratulated the DCOS on the success of 
GOK security forces in counterterrorism (CT) operations in 
recent months, citing Kuwaiti crackdowns on individuals of 
"mutual concern."  He conveyed to the DCOS that passage of 
comprehensive CT legislation would greatly facilitate further 
cooperation in this critical area.  General Petraeus observed 
that Kuwait, based on its experience with extremists, should 
recognize that such elements will ultimately turn to 
targeting Kuwait. 
 
Mil-Mil:  Joint training and JMC 
-------------------------------- 
 
7.  (C) GEN Petraeus told the DCOS that the bilateral Defense 
Cooperation Agreement (signed in 1991, renewed in 2001) had 
proved mutually beneficial and that the USG is inclined to 
renew it in 2011.  He also said that he was looking forward 
to the October JMC to discuss with Kuwaiti COS LTG Fahad 
al-Amir Kuwaiti concerns over the FMS program and the 
possibility of creating a regional air and missile 
defense center of excellence in Kuwait.  He also noted the 
receipt and approval of a Kuwaiti request for an avionics and 
weapon systems upgrade, and encouraged Kuwaiti participation 
in joint military exercises like Eager Mace and Bright Star. 
He also offered to help in the coordination of an Eagle 
Resolve exercise, should the GOK desire to host it.  In 
addition, he encouraged Kuwait to send its special operations 
forces to Jordan's King Abdullah II Special Operations 
Training Center and its fighter-attack aircraft to the UAE's 
Gulf Air Warfare Training Center. 
 
8.  (U) GEN Petraeus has cleared this cable. 
 
********************************************* ********* 
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit: 
visit Kuwait's Classified Website at: 
 
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Kuwa it 
********************************************* ********* 
WILLIAMS