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Viewing cable 10ABUDHABI69, UAE - SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF CJCS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ABUDHABI69 2010-02-09 11:11 2010-11-28 18:06 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Abu Dhabi
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHAD #0069/01 0401136
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 091135Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RHMFISS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
INFO GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0266
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
S E C R E T ABU DHABI 000069 
 
NOFORN 
SIPDIS 
FROM AMBASSADOR 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 2020/02/09 
TAGS: PREL MARR MOPS AE
SUBJECT: UAE - SCENESETTER FOR VISIT OF CJCS 
 
CLASSIFIED BY: Richard Olson, Ambasador; REASON: 1.4(A), (B), (C), 
(D) 
 
1.  (SBU) Admiral Mullen:  we warmly welcome your visit to Abu 
Dhabi, and have requested an appointment with Abu Dhabi Crown 
Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces Shaykh 
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (MbZ), whom you last met on 9 
September 2009 in Washington.  We have also requested a meeting 
with your counterpart, Lieutenant General Hamad al-Thani 
al-Romaithi, Chief of Staff of the UAE Armed Forces, whom you last 
met on 8 October 2009 in Washington. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
The Relationship 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
 
 
2.  (S/NF) The UAE is one of our closest partners in the Middle 
East and one of our most useful friends worldwide. 
 
-- Al-Dhafra Air Force Base is the high altitude ISR hub for the 
AOR, and supports 50 percent of aerial refueling in the AOR. 
 
-- Ports in Dubai and Fujairah are the logistics backbone for the 
U.S. Fifth.  Jebel Ali (Dubai) is the most frequented USN liberty 
port after Norfolk. 
 
-- Minhad Air Base is a critical hub for Coalition/ISAF partners in 
Afghanistan, including the Australians, Dutch, Canadians, Brits and 
Kiwis. 
 
-- The UAE is a cash customer with FMS sales in excess of $11 
billion.  Commercial sales have an equivalent value.  An additional 
$12 billion of FMS cases are in development with approximately the 
same volume of commercial sales in the works. 
 
-- The UAE recently purchased nine Patriot batteries, and expects 
to move forward on the purchase of THAAD as the first non US 
customer. 
 
-- The UAE currently commands CJTF-152 (Arabian Gulf) and maintains 
an active exercise schedule with U.S. (Red Flag) and other 
multi-lateral partners. 
 
-- The UAE recently hosted an AFCENT survey team to consider U.S. 
access to Liwa (Safran) Air Base in support of contingency 
operations. 
 
-- Additionally, the UAE is considering hosting the Regional 
Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center of Excellence. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
Iran - the Primordial Concern 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
 
 
3.  (S) The UAE leadership sees Iran as its primary external 
threat, and one that is existential in nature.  Like much of the 
international community, the UAE finds the idea of an Iran with 
nuclear weapons unacceptable and thinks this eventuality would lead 
to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.  At least as worrying to 
MbZ are Iran's aspirations for regional hegemony by support for 
terrorist proxies (Hizballah, HAMAS, possibly underground 
organizations in the Arab Gulf countries).  MbZ is skeptical that 
Iran can be convinced to end its nuclear weapons program, and is 
not convinced that the international community will adopt tough 
sanctions.  In other words, he sees the logic of war dominating the 
region, and this thinking explains his near obsessive efforts to 
build up the UAE's armed forces. 
 
 
 
4.  (S/NF) MbZ's main message to us during his September visit was 
that we needed to be better coordinated for Iran contingencies. 
High level engagement by CENTCOM planners have helped to address 
this concern, but he believes we have made less progress in 
addressing what he sees as the slow pace of deliveries of US 
 
security assistance and he is still worried that he does not have 
enough equipment in place to defend his people when war with Iran 
breaks out.  (And for MbZ it is a matter of when, not if.)  We have 
repeatedly presented to his staff the various explanations for what 
he perceives as delays, but he remains unconvinced that we are 
addressing his concerns as a matter of priority. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
Afghanistan - Pakistan:  A Solid Partner 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
 
 
5.  (S) Afghanistan:  UAE SOF has been quietly deployed as part of 
OEF since 2003, and the UAE surged its contribution in 2009 adding 
a combined arms task force.  The UAE's UAV capability has been a 
much appreciated force multiplier.  On the economic development 
side, the UAE has pledged about $300 M in assistance, and quietly 
supported the Afghan Reintegration Fund at the recent London 
Conference.  You should thank MbZ for his leadership in being the 
first Arab country to send troops to Afghanistan. 
 
 
 
6.  (C) Pakistan:  the UAE has taken a leading role in the Friends 
of Pakistan initiative and has provided about $800 M in assistance 
in recent years.  The Al Nahyan family had a long-standing 
relationship with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and this 
has transitioned to support for her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, but 
the UAE stays in touch with all elements on the Pakistani scene, 
including Musharraf.  MbZ will be very interested in your dialogue 
with General Kayani. 
 
 
 
7.  (S/NF) Threat finance:  we have a cooperative relationship with 
the UAE at the Federal level on addressing Taliban financing.  As 
our information has begun to flow, we have seen increasing activity 
and interest on the part of UAE authorities.  That said, the 
subject is delicate and operational aspects are best handled 
through our well established Treasury/Intelligence channel. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
Yemen:  Increasing Concern 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
 
 
8. (S/NF) MbZ shares our concern about Yemen, and if anything, is 
more alarmed about the possibility for destabilization of Saudi 
Arabia.  He is convinced that the Iranians are involved in Yemen, 
and supporting the Houthi rebels.  When we tell him that we have no 
evidence of Iranian support, he is somewhat incredulous, suggesting 
that our focus on Al Qaeda has caused us to lose sight of the 
bigger picture of Iranian adventurism.  You should encourage him to 
provide any specific information on Iranian activities to us 
through intelligence channels. 
 
 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
Iraq:  the Bellwether for Iran 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
 
 
9.  (S) Iraq:  the UAE was the first GCC Country to cancel Saddam 
era debt and re-establish an embassy, and has generally followed a 
policy of constructive engagement with the Maliki Government.  But 
MbZ runs hot and cold on Iraq.  Sometimes he chooses to emphasize 
his supportive position; at other times he suggests that Iran has 
been the big winner in Iraq, and that Southern Iraq will be one of 
the major flashpoints in the upcoming confrontation with Iran. 
Anything you can say to reassure him about the US commitment to 
 
Iraqi stability will be helpful. 
OLSON