Keep Us Strong WikiLeaks logo

Currently released so far... 2497 / 251,287

Articles

Browse latest releases

Browse by creation date

Browse by origin

A B C D F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z

Browse by tag

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
QA
YE YM YI

Browse by classification

Community resources

courage is contagious

Viewing cable 09MUNICH328, GERMANY/AFGHANISTAN: IS THE CSU THE WEAKEST LINK

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Understanding cables
Every cable message consists of three parts:
  • The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
  • The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
  • The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
To understand the justification used for the classification of each cable, please use this WikiSource article as reference.

Discussing cables
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #09MUNICH328.
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MUNICH328 2009-12-22 14:02 2010-11-28 18:06 CONFIDENTIAL Consulate Munich
VZCZCXRO2941
OO RUEHAG RUEHDBU RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHMZ #0328/01 3561442
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221442Z DEC 09
FM AMCONSUL MUNICH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5006
INFO RUCNMEU/EU INTEREST COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0320
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE IMMEDIATE
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MUNICH 000328 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR S/SRAP 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/23/2019 
TAGS: PGOV EUN GM AF
SUBJECT: GERMANY/AFGHANISTAN: IS THE CSU THE WEAKEST LINK 
IN THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT'S AFGHANISTAN POLICY? 
 
REF: A. BERLIN 1601 
     B. MUNICH 324 
 
Classified By: Consul General Conrad Tribble for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d 
) 
 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1.   (C) Support within Chancellor Merkel,s partner 
Christian Social Union (CSU) for sending more German troops 
to Afghanistan is not a sure thing.  CSU chief and Bavarian 
Minister President  Seehofer, rattled German policy makers 
nationwide when he told Bild on December 7 that he had 
"little sympathy" for increasing the number of German 
soldiers sent to Afghanistan and that "someone would have to 
convince him of a clear alternative" and "any further German 
engagement had to be linked to a clear exit strategy."  CSU 
insiders privately regretted Seehofer's remarks, but the CSU 
General Secretary told us that it reflected realistic 
thinking.  Edmund Stoiber (ex-CSU chairman and ex-Minister 
President) acknowledged December 10 that the CSU was not 
automatically a firm U.S. ally on this question but said he 
expected all federal coalition parties to "live up to their 
responsibility" and take the right decision following the 
January 28 Afghanistan conference.  However, if he is wrong 
and there are significant defectors in either the CSU or the 
FDP, it will be difficult for even supportive SPD and Green 
parliamentarians to vote in favor of the revised mandate. 
End Summary. 
 
SEEHOFER MIGHT ECHO POPULAR CONCERNS 
------------------------------------ 
 
2.  (C) Echoing concerns expressed privately by some 
Consulate contacts, many commentators reacted badly to the 
December 7 timing of Seehofer's skeptical Afghanistan 
remarks.  They accused him of populist posturing while 
Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, also CSU, was 
under intense political pressure for the Kunduz tanker 
bombing, Ambassador Holbrooke was in Germany to receive the 
Augsburg University Peace Prize, and President Obama was 
heading to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. However, 
others acknowledged that Seehofer reflected "proper concerns" 
and that Germany "needed to deliberate as carefully as the 
U.S. had done before committing new troops."  State 
Chancellery and Ministry officials, including the State 
Secretary for Federal and European Issues, told the Consul 
General in a private meeting on December 8 they were 
"embarrassed by Seehofer's remarks" and suggested he had 
reacted "like a populist" to recent opinion polls that showed 
69 percent of Germans opposed sending more German soldiers to 
Afghanistan.  (NOTE: Another recent poll reported that 69 
percent favored immediate withdrawal.)  A CSU contact called 
us that same morning from party headquarters to express his 
frustration over Seehofer who had "once again not consulted 
anybody before giving his two cents."  In contrast to this, 
CSU Secretary General Alexander Dobrindt told CG Tribble on 
December 8 that Seehofer's statement was by no means new but 
reflected "common CSU thinking."  Seehofer had "said this 
many times before," he insisted, without producing proof. 
 
AFGHAN ENTANGLEMENTS SPOOK THE CSU 
---------------------------------- 
 
3.  (C) The CSU and Bavaria have a well-documented aversion 
to sensitive engagements in Afghanistan.  The CSU has refused 
to accept any of the 17 Uighurs to be released from 
Guantanamo, even though Munich is home to an estimated 500 
Uighurs, the largest Uigher community in Germany.  Bavaria 
resisted for over a year all entreaties to send police 
trainers to Afghanistan; the  first Bavarian police trainers 
just left in November after a change of heart by the Interior 
Minister.  CSU Bundestag deputy Peter Gauweiler, together 
with his CDU colleague Willy Wimmer, appealed to the Federal 
Constitutional Court in March 2007 to rule against German 
Tornado reconnaissance aircraft "assisting the U.S. in a 
mission in Afghanistan that was violating international law." 
In October 2008, Gauweiler again voted against German ISAF 
 
MUNICH 00000328  002 OF 002 
 
 
engagement.  While Gauweiler is generally seen as an outsider 
within the CSU party caucus, he may have some secret 
followers.  Another CSU Bundestag deputy, Thomas Silberhorn, 
said in October that the debate on Afghanistan "should not be 
limited to discussing more and more foreign soldiers but 
rather appealing on Afghanistan's own responsibility." 
 
CHANCELLOR NEEDS TO WORK HARDER TO CONVINCE THE PUBLIC 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
4.  (C) On December 10, Ambassador Murphy called on Edmund 
Stoiber, Bavarian Minister President from 1993 to 2007 and 
CSU party chairman from 1999 to 2007.  Stoiber praised the 
new U.S. Administration and President Obama's "courageous and 
honest" speeches in West Point and Oslo.  He reminded the 
Ambassador how German engagement in and responsibility for 
two world wars had "left marks of deep trauma on the German 
people."  The largest demonstrations ever, he recalled, 
occurred in the fifties when over one million Germans 
protested German rearmament.  The decision to support the 
NATO two-track decision in the early 1990,s even led to the 
resignation of Helmut Schmidt, one of Germany's most popular 
chancellors.  Stoiber said he did not expect any new insights 
from the January 28 London Afghanistan conference, but he 
expressed the hope that all parties of the federal government 
coalition would live up to their responsibilities.  In order 
to get broad CSU support, the leadership had to develop a 
realistic exit strategy as President Obama had showed the way 
with his 2011 target for the United States.  Stoiber said he 
had much confidence in Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu 
Guttenberg (CSU) who was politically well-connected, an 
expert on foreign policy, and sensitive for what had to be 
done.  However, he called on Chancellor Merkel to start a 
"public relations initiative" aimed at explaining to the 
German public why these operations were so vital for German 
security interests.  At the same time, Stoiber predicted the 
SPD and Greens would "return to their anti-war propaganda." 
Leaders like Gerhard Schroeder and Joschka Fischer had left 
the political scene, and ex-Foreign Minister Steinmeier was 
about to get marginalized in the new SPD. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5. (C) At the Consulate in Munich, we heard unprompted, 
mostly negative, reactions from CSU leadership and working 
level operatives around Seehofer to his skeptical remarks 
concerning Germany's Afghanistan troop levels.  However,  it 
is clear that the CSU is on the fence and remains to be 
convinced about the need or wisdom of sending additional 
troops,  especially combat troops as opposed to troops sent 
to train the Afghan National Army or to provide force 
protection for police mentoring teams.  He may be accurately 
reflecting the opinion of a skeptical German public that 
"wants to take its time, just like the United States' 
President did."  Embassy Berlin observes that unanimous or 
near unanimous support from the CSU is critical to Chancellor 
Merkel's goal of obtaining a broad majority in the Bundestag 
for a revised ISAF mandate after the London Conference.  If 
there are significant defectors in either the CSU or the FDP, 
where there is also significant skepticism about a troop 
increase, it will be difficult for even supportive SPD and 
Green parliamentarians to vote in favor of the revised 
mandate. 
 
6.  (U)  ConGen Munich and Embassy Berlin coordinated this 
cable. 
TRIBBLE