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Cable sobre la política antiterrorista en el Magreb

El "número dos" de la embajada de EE UU repasa, en 2008, con representantes españoles varias aspectos de la actualidad militar y de la lucha contra el terrorismo

ID: 171424
Date: 2008-09-25 09:42:00
Origin: 08MADRID1021
Source: Embassy Madrid
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 08MADRID1006 08MADRID738 08STATE100149 08STATE100758 08STATE100790 08STATE97395 08STATE97991 08STATE99701 08STATE99726
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0000

DE RUEHMD #1021/01 2690942
R 250942Z SEP 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L MADRID 001021



E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/23/2018

REF: A. STATE 100790
B. STATE 100758
C. STATE 97991
D. STATE 97395
E. STATE 99726
F. STATE 99701
G. STATE 100149
H. MADRID 1006


1. (C) Summary: Deputy Chief of Mission Arnold Chacon paid a
courtesy call on MOD Secretary General for Defense Policy
Luis Cuesta September 23. They discussed NATO and Russia,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Somali piracy, Mauritania, U.S. military
flights to Guantanamo, and U.S. ship visits to Gibraltar.
Cuesta advised that Spain would formally request a meeting in
Budapest next month for MOD Chacon with SECDEF. End summary.


2. (C) Cuesta reviewed Spain's position on Georgia, noting it
had called on Russia to comply with the cease-fire document
and condemned Russia's recognition of the breakaway regions.
He said the solution must be political, not military. He
noted the economic losses Russia was suffering, the damage
they had done to their WTO and OECD membership bids, and the
harm to Russian business interests. Cuesta said the
challenge was to help Russia out of the dead end street it
had entered. He compared Russia to an adolescent who had not
learned to control his own strength. Russia, he said, did
not understand that the use of force brought negative
consequences. Nevertheless, Cuesta cautioned against
confrontation with Russia. The DCM said that neither could
it be business as usual and drawing on refs a and b,
explained the U.S. view that now was not the time to resume
the NRC Prep Com meetings. He added that A/S Fried had
advised the Russians of the postponement of the CFE meeting.
Cuesta said Spain did not view this as a return of the Cold
War. The threats of the 21st Century were asymmetric and
Russian cooperation would be needed to defeat them. He said
the challenge would be to find a way to "encapsulate" the
Georgia problem while we continued to work with Russia on
other issues such as WMDs or Afghanistan.


3. (C) The DCM congratulated Spain on its contributions in
Afghanistan, including the project to stand up an Afghan
National Army unit, but noted that although the ANA had made
great progress, it was clear that sustainment and enlargement
of the ANA were key to success in Afghanistan. The DCM noted
the U.S. was expanding its own efforts both in terms of
troops and funding, and asked that Spain likewise look at how
it could make a greater effort. Specifically (as requested
in ref c), the DCM asked Spain provide $50 million per year
from 2010-1014 as well as deploy more troops and trainers and
ease caveats. The DCM also asked that Spain support the
amendment of the ISAF OPLAN to expand CN authorities,
emphasizing the direct link between the drug trade and the
insurgency and the military advantages of amending the OPLAN
(drawing from talking points in ref d).

4. (C) Cuesta said Spain would maintain its current
commitment for the medium to long term. However, he said
Spain wanted to consolidate its current effort before taking
on any new commitments. He noted that Spain already ran a
PRT, had contributed two OMLTs, was standing up an ANA
company. He added that support for the ANA unit might be
extended beyond the two years contemplated in the MOU signed
with the GOA. Cuesta noted Spain was working to improve the
quality of its forces in Afghanistan, saying Spain had
fielded more capable helicopters, deployed UAVs, and was
sending improved armored vehicles (he said the first shipment
was heading out that day). Cuesta added that before

committing to further contributions, Spain would want to see
progress on the pol-mil plan agreed to at Bucharest and signs
of greater "Afghanization" of the effort. He noted that $50
million a year was a large sum and would be difficult for
Spain. Nevertheless, he said Spain was willing to study ways
in which it might improve training and assistance for the
ANA; however, he reiterated that at the end of the day it was
the Afghans who had to fight and win the war. He also
expressed concern over the growing alienation of public
support resulting from civilian casualties. On the CN
mission, Cuesta said it was fundamentally an Afghan
responsibility and required a two-pronged approach of
alternative development and law enforcement. He said the
allies could help with intelligence and training but it was
preferable for Afghanistan to shoulder the main effort.

5. (C) The DCM again acknowledged Spain's contribution to
date but insisted a greater effort was clearly going to be
required by all concerned. Countries such as the U.S. and
France were making that greater effort. He noted the
essential point with respect to the CN mission was not
whether it was appropriately an Afghan or an ISAF
responsibility but that success or failure had direct
consequences in the fight against the insurgency.
"Afghanization," he said, depended greatly on international
support for the sustainment and enlargement of the ANA. On
the subject of civilian casualties, the DCM drew from the
points in ref e, emphasizing that the U.S. regretted the loss
of innocent lives and was taking every possible measure to
minimize civilian casualties.

NATO Training Mission - Iraq

6. (C) Drawing on ref f, the DCM noted that the Bucharest
summit had produced a declaration urging member states to
give favorable consideration to Iraqi requests to enhance
NTM-I. He pointed out that Spain's Center for Excellence on
Countering IEDs was a splendid resource that could make an
important contribution. Cuesta noted Spain had provided some
training for Iraqis and was willing to consider concrete
proposals for additional training. He added that the
stability of Iraq was important to Spain.

Somali Piracy

7. (C) The DCM raised the issue of Somali piracy, noting it
was much in the news in Spain (Spain has a tuna fleet off
Somalia, operating mainly out of the Seychelles, which has
been preyed upon by Somali pirates). He noted the U.S.
interest in escort assistance for World Food Program
shipments to Somalia (ref g). Referring to Spain's decision
to deploy a P-3 patrol aircraft to Djibouti, the DCM urged
that the various national and EU efforts be coordinated with
NATO. Cuesta explained the EU had just created a
coordination cell in Brussels (headed by a Spanish naval
officer) which he said would work with concerned
international organizations (e.g., WFP), receive
intelligence, and then establish contact with the countries
who had forces in the region to pass on that intelligence.
He acknowledged that coordination of the various efforts was
essential and said the EU would be coordinating with NATO
regarding alliance assets that might be transiting the region
and able to help. He reiterated what we had already been
told (ref h): Spain could not contribute escorts vessels for
WFP shipments because their focus had to be protecting their
own fishing fleet.


8. (C) The DCM raised Mauritania and the issue of NATO
training activities with that country, noting with concern
that Spain had been reluctant to join consensus in the NAC in
favor of suspending training activities in September. Cuesta
said Spain's condemnation of the coup in Mauritania had been
unequivocal (Note: the Spanish MFA issued a statement August

6. End note.); however, it was important for Spain to
preserve Mauritania's cooperation in the fight against
illegal immigration. He noted Spain provided security
assistance to Mauritania for just that purpose. Cuesta added
that the history of Mauritanian juntas was to stay in place
for a time and then convoke elections. (Note: Gregorio
Martinez, Chief of Staff to the Spanish Minister of Interior,
was even more explicit, telling us September 23 that while
Spain condemned the coup, it was vital to Spain's national
security to maintain cooperation with the Mauritanians on
illegal immigration and counter-terrorism. He argued that al
Qaeda in the Maghreb was trying to make inroads Mauritania,
and this was a serious long-term threat for all of Europe and
the U.S. He noted other European countries and the U.S.
could afford to take a more detached view of Mauritania and
focus exclusively on the democracy issue because they were
not on the front line in coping with the effects of illegal
immigration from Mauritania. End note).

Guantanamo Flights, Gibraltar

9. (C) Cuesta mentioned a Spanish judicial investigation into
so-called CIA flights to Guantanamo. The presiding judge in
that case subpoenaed MOD records relating to U.S. military
flights that passed through Rota and Moron, allegedly
carrying detainees to Guantanamo. The media reporting on the
case is a hopeless muddle of innuendo and outright
misinformation. Cuesta explained that the MOD was complying
with the judge's subpoenas, but he hoped the case would be
eventually be filed away and forgotten. He stressed that the
GOS had no reason to doubt that the U.S. had fully complied
with the bilateral agreement on defense cooperation
regarding. However, he noted for the record that the GOS did
not consider military flights carrying prisoners to
Guantanamo to be covered by the blanket flight clearances in
effect and expected to be informed regarding the details of
any flight that could prove controversial in Spain.
Nevertheless, he repeated the GOS had no reason to believe
the U.S. had ever failed in this regard.

10. (C) Cuesta raised the issue of Gibraltar, noting Spanish
sensitivities to U.S. warships, particularly nuclear
submarines, visiting that port. He recognized that
operational considerations might sometimes make it necessary
for U.S. warships to call there, but asked our understanding
in minimizing such visits as much as possible. See ref i for
additional background on this issue.

MOD Request for Meeting with SECDEF

11. (C) Cuesta advised that Spain would be requesting
formally through NATO channels a meeting for MOD Chacon with
SECDEF on the margins of the NATO Defense Ministers meeting
in Budapest in October.


12. (C) Post strongly recommends the proposed appointment for
MOD Chacon with SECDEF in Budapest. Chacon has impressed us
in her first months as MOD as a serious person who wants to
work with the U.S. Immediately after taking the job and
heavily pregnant, she visited Spanish troops in Afghanistan,
praising their work there. While still on maternity leave,
Chacon made a point of inviting the Ambassador to breakfast,
we believe her first meeting with a foreign envoy as MOD and
the only one she held while still on maternity leave. Doubts
about her that were voiced by some of our Spanish military
contacts at the outset (too young, too inexperienced) have
disappeared, and she is getting high marks from our contacts.
She handled the rotation of the CHOD and service chiefs
smoothly, and the new picks were well-received here. She
also made a point of arranging for opposition leader Mariano
Rajoy to meet the new military chiefs, an unusual grace note
in Spanish politics and one that stresses the message that
Spanish defense policy should be state policy. Chacon (and
her husband -- a former communications director for Zapatero)

are close to the President. An appointment with SECDEF would
be one of the strongest signals we could send of the
importance we place on our military relationship with Spain,
a relationship that among other things provides us the use of
two key military bases in southern Spain, midway between the
continental U.S. and Afghanistan and Iraq.
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