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Viewing cable 10SANAA221, AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN DISCUSSES CT ASSISTANCE,

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10SANAA221 2010-02-03 13:01 2010-12-03 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Sanaa
VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYN #0221/01 0341341
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 031341Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3706
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0292
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RHEFHLC/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/COMSOCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
S E C R E T SANAA 000221 

NOFORN 
SIPDIS 

DEPT FOR NEA/ARP ANDREW MACDONALD, S/CT AMBASSADOR DANIEL 
BENJAMIN, DS/ATA JOHN NASON, AND OBO ADAM NAMM 
NSC FOR DPNSA BRENNAN 
HQ USCENTCOM/CCCC-CIG FOR JSEATON 
DHS/TSA FOR TOM WARRICK 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/02/2020 
TAGS: PTER PREL PGOV PINR PINS MOPS MASS MCAP ASEC
EAIR, ABLD, SA, UK, YM 
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR BENJAMIN DISCUSSES CT ASSISTANCE, 
AIRPORT SECURITY WITH SALEH 

Classified By: Ambassador Stephen A. Seche for reasons 1.4(b) and (d). 

1. (S/NF) Summary. During a 35-minute meeting on January 
31, the Department's Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, 
Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, congratulated President Saleh on 
the success of the London meeting and counter-terrorism (CT) 
operations the ROYG has undertaken in recent weeks against 
al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) elements, and 
described USG interest in increasing airport security and 
sharing information on travelers in and out of Yemen. Saleh 
agreed to the upcoming Transportation Security 
Administration/Anti-Terrorism Assistance (TSA/ATA) visit, 
requesting at the same time additional CT support. When 
pressed by Ambassador Benjamin about Sa'ada, he indicated 
that the ROYG had no intention of agreeing to a ceasefire at 
this time. In a separate meeting, Foreign Minister Dr. 
Abubakr al-Qirbi agreed on the success of the London meeting, 
and suggested that the follow-up meeting in Riyadh would be 
important for determining concrete steps. Senior ROYG 
security officials expressed support for the Embassy's 
struggle to acquire land and a willingness to act on the 
Embassy's behalf. End Summary. 

SALEH ON CT ASSISTANCE, AIRPORT SECURITY, AND SA'ADA 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 

2. (S/NF) In a January 31 meeting with President Saleh, the 
Department's Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, Ambassador 
Daniel Benjamin, congratulated Saleh on the success of the 
London meeting and suggested that stability in Yemen can be 
achieved only through a dual focus on security and 
development. He commended Saleh on actions the ROYG has 
taken in recent weeks against AQAP elements in Yemen and 
assured Saleh that he could count on continued operational 
support and intelligence sharing from the U.S. President 
Saleh said he was satisfied with counter-terrorism (CT) 
assistance to date and with Secretary Clinton's speech at the 
London Conference, but said he "would like to be more 
satisfied in the future" and appealed for the acceleration of 
additional support, specifically citing helicopters and 
vehicles with IED-jamming devices. Describing Americans as 
"hot-blooded and hasty when you need us," but "cold-blooded 
and British when we need you," he asked for a "moderate blood 
temperature" and measured approach. (Note: Also present were 
Deputy Prime Minister for Defense and Security Rashad 
al-Alimi, National Security Bureau Director Ali al-'Anisi, 
and Political Security Organization (PSO) Director Ghalib 
Mutahir al-Gamish, with whom Benjamin met separately after 
the conversation with the President. End Note.) 

3. (S/NF) Ambassador Benjamin reiterated the USG desire to 
ensure that no international terrorist attack originates 
again from Yemen. He said the USG wants to help the ROYG 
strengthen screening procedures at all of Yemen's 
international airports, and establish a mechanism for sharing 
information on passengers traveling via air to and from Yemen 
as well as foreign nationals who have come to Yemen to study 
at language or religious institutions. When approached with 
the upcoming Transportation Security 
Administration/Anti-Terrorism Assistance (TSA/ATA) visit, 
Saleh agreed to the idea but deferred to his Supreme Security 
Committee (Alimi, et al) on the details. In the follow-on 
meeting, Alimi and 'Anisi both concurred with the upcoming 
ATA/TSA visit and expressed support for increasing airport 
security. 'Anisi, however, had reservations about sharing 
information on foreign students in Yemen, and complained that 
the USG request was too broad. (Comment: According to GRPO 
reporting, the ROYG is willing to share information with the 
USG on American students in Yemen and would likewise share 
information with other embassies about their nationals. 
While Western governments would presumably share information 
among themselves, this system would still leave intelligence 
gaps about non-Western countries such as Nigeria. End 
Comment.) 


4. (S/NF) Citing Saudi Arabia's decision to suspend its 
military operations in Sa'ada and Abdul Malik al-Houthi's 
public acceptance of the ROYG's conditions for a ceasefire, 
Ambassador Benjamin asked Saleh if he saw an end to the 
fighting. Saleh dismissed these points, arguing that the 
Saudis gave a ceasefire ultimatum to the Houthis, and will 
resume fighting in two weeks if the ceasefire is unfulfilled. 
He called the Houthis "liars" and declared that they would 
violate the six conditions of the ceasefire. He indicated 
that the ROYG had no intention of agreeing to a ceasefire at 
this time. 

5. (S/NF) In a visit to Yemen Special Operation Forces 
(YSOF) Headquarters, Ambassador Benjamin was treated to a 
display of military equipment and briefed by YSOF Chief of 
Staff Brigadier General Ahmad Dahan on YSOF activities. 
Ambassador Benjamin emphasized common security interests and 
congratulated Yemeni forces for their role in recent 
operations. Dahan reiterated the request for helicopters and 
asked for communications systems and additional training 
courses. He lauded Yemeni operations as having a great effect 
on AQAP elements, and indicated that the operations were 
possible only due to the exchange of intelligence. 

FM QIRBI LOOKING FORWARD TO RIYADH 
---------------------------------- 

6. (S/NF) In a separate meeting, Foreign Minister Dr. Abu 
Bakr al-Qirbi agreed the London Conference was a success and 
expressed hope that the February follow-up meeting in Riyadh 
would help determine concrete steps to move forward. Qirbi 
agreed that a smaller group, focusing on Gulf Cooperation 
Council (GCC) member countries, rather than a broader donor 
group, would be more constructive. Qirbi said that the ROYG 
wanted to focus on the Top Ten Economic Reform Priorities 
over the course of the next year, but would need donor 
assistance to accomplish these goals. He expressed support 
for discussion at the GCC-hosted meeting of funding for an 
extremist rehabilitation center, indicating that an 
educational institute with a long-term plan would do much to 
counter radicalization and address issues of poverty and 
unemployment, particularly in areas where AQAP has a hold. 
Qirbi and other ROYG officials expressed support for US 
intervention with GCC member countries in an attempt to gain 
financial support for a rehabilitation center as an 
expression of regional support for Yemen's stability. 

EMBASSY LAND DISPUTE 
-------------------- 

7. (C) The Supreme Security Committee was familiar with the 
Embassy's struggle to acquire land, and said they were 
willing to act on the Embassy's behalf. Foreign Minister 
Qirbi said that he had been in communication with Minister of 
Religious Endowments Judge Hamoud Hitar, who indicated the 
ROYG's readiness for the purchase and resolution of a dispute 
over ownership. Alimi said that Deputy Foreign Minister 
Mohyadeen al-Dhabi was following up and had secured the full 
cooperation of the Ministry of Religious Endowments. Alimi 
encouraged Ambassador Seche to sign the contract for the 
land, professing that he would personally guarantee the 
investment. (Comment: In a follow-on conversation on 
February 3, Alimi repeated his assurance to the Ambassador 
that the ROYG is prepared to provide for the security of the 
proposed housing site both during and after construction. He 
suggested that the Ambassador meet with 'Anisi, who President 
Saleh has charged with overseeing the process, to discuss 
final details of the deal, including our timeframe for 
beginning construction. The Ambassador will try to see 
'Anisi next week for this purpose. End Comment.) 
SECHE