El príncipe de Emiratos Árabes Unidos dice que los detenidos en Afganistán solo crean más Bin Laden

Date:2008-04-21 10:46:00
Source:Embassy Abu Dhabi
DE RUEHAD #0497/01 1121046
P 211046Z APR 08




E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/21/2018


Classified by Charge d'Affaires Martin Quinn, reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (S) Summary: Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed
(MbZ) on April 16, in his first meeting with the U.S. Chief
of Naval Operations (CNO), sounded out ADM Gary Roughead on
missile defense and commented extensively on his concerns
over extremism. The Crown Prince affirmed the UAE's
commitment to security cooperation with the United States,
emphasizing the need for close communications to prevent
Tehran from dividing Washington and Abu Dhabi through
provocations. He posited education reform as critical to
securing a stable future for the UAE. End summary.

2. (S) The CNO expressed gratitude to the UAE for its robust
defense cooperation, including hosting hundreds of USN port
calls annually and sending Special Operations Forces (SOF) to
Afghanistan. Responding to ADM Roughead's observation that
enormous changes had happened in the UAE, MbZ noted that "the
world has changed" in recent years. Nonetheless, he said,
the UAE tried to remain optimistic in an often antiquated
cultural environment, citing neighboring Saudi Arabia where
"52% of the population can't drive." The UAE had fortunately
stayed "one step ahead of the bad guys" due to wise
leadership, good allies like the U.S., and luck. "I prefer
to be lucky rather than smart" in this area, said MbZ, as one
cannot always anticipate emerging surprises. His focus was
on securing the UAE "100%."

Bolstering the national defenses

3. (S) MbZ asked the CNO how he could help the United
States. ADM Roughead underscored his commitment to helping
the UAE and hailed the Emirates' significant contributions to
peace and stability. The CNO thanked MbZ for the UAE's
decision to participate in the Maritime Coalition, observing
that international solidarity offered the best demonstration
to Iran that disruptive behavior was unacceptable. ADM
Roughead emphasized that he sought a stable and prosperous
environment in the Gulf.

4. (S) MbZ affirmed UAE willingness to work with the United
States and declared that it was important to bolster
communications between Washington and Abu Dhabi. He
expressed concern that Iran might resort to provocative
behavior. Especially if it acquired nuclear weapons, Tehran
might attempt to divide the United States and the UAE. That
would be "a day to regret," and the UAE and its armed forces
had to be ready for it. In this context, cooperation with
the United States was important and, indeed, should deepen.

5. (S) MbZ queried the CNO on the strength of Iran's
ballistic missiles. ADM Roughead stated that ballistic
missiles were becoming the weapon of choice for blackmail and
intimidation, and observed that Iran was unlikely to abandon
its missile acquisition program in the foreseeable future.
In response, countries needed to build military capabilities
to defend themselves. Noting his personal experience
commanding AEGIS-equipped warships, the CNO observed that the
technology was now mature and, indeed, sufficiently advanced
to be adapted on short notice to the unanticipated mission of
shooting down a failing satellite. The United States was
increasing the number of ships with ballistic missile defense
capability. An effective ballistic missile defense in the
Gulf would require a structure that linked these systems with
shore-based counterparts to provide for earliest possible
warning and for timely command and control. This
coordination would take some time, the CNO predicted.

6. (S) The CNO stressed the importance of contact between
young naval personnel from both countries to build trust and
familiarity. As one step in this direction, he proposed that
USN non-commissioned officers be able to go to sea aboard UAE
ships for short periods. The USN hoped to identify
opportunities of this sort. The Navy had been in the Gulf
for a long time, ADM Roughead commented, and was not going to

7. (S) Preparing UAE defenses required modern communications
gear and top-flight missile defense systems, emphasized MbZ,
who said he could not walk the streets of Abu Dhabi and look
into the eyes of its people unless he made every effort to
defend the nation. He also noted that Iran would not
necessarily retaliate against the aggressor if attacked, but
"they will make sure somebody suffers." That reality
underpinned his sense of urgency on the defense front,

ABU DHABI 00000497 002 OF 003

because the easiest "somebody" might be the UAE.

8. (S) MbZ warned against terrorists "more threatening" than
Osama bin Laden (citing a future al-Qaeda, Hamas and
Hizballah) as these organizations built capacity and
increased technological prowess in cooperation with
governments. The Iran - Syria - Hizballah nexus was of
particular concern. He worried in particular that these
groups might gain access to WMD. It had taken investigators
years to identify the perpetrators in the 1992 attack on the
Israeli Embassy in Argentina, he lamented, and increased
technical expertise on the terrorists' part would only tip
the balance further in their favor.

The long-term battle against extremism

9. (S) MbZ said it was more difficult to "get into the
brain" of al-Qaeda than the Taliban, but anyone carrying an
AK-47 in Afghanistan is "not on a skiing vacation" and should
be dealt with severely. It is a big mistake to take
prisoners, offering food and medical care in hopes of
gleaning intelligence from them; he did not think there was
much intelligence to gained from the fighters. Furthermore,
anyone released after detention may well return to his
village or mosque, lay low for a while, but emerge as a
"little bin Laden" in five years. Detentions are creating
more bin Ladens over the long term.

10. (S) As for the Taliban, they represent a backward slide
in Islamic teaching to a prior century. MbZ said it is
important to study how a more open social environment
(characterized by more casual female dress codes) in the
1970s and 80s fell prey to extremist penetration. MbZ places
much of the blame on education.

11. (S) The UAE Education system was "penetrated by the
Muslim Brothers" (MbZ's euphemism for Islamic
fundamentalists) in 1967; the UAE Minister of Education from
1972 to 1977 was "recruited from the Muslim Brothers" and
education has been headed in the wrong direction since.
Reforming education to focus more on "real knowledge" is a
top MbZ priority. He chided a former UAE education and
finance minister (Ahmad Humaid al-Tayer) who had spoken the
previous day to a crowd of 600 Emiratis at an "Agenda for
National Identity Forum" on the need to revive Arabic
language and Islamic studies (in a curriculum rapidly
shifting to vocational and scientific knowledge). MbZ was
particularly concerned that the audience supported the
speaker's words. "I'm not worried about my enemy," he added,
but about "my people." Freedom of speech and competent media
are all founded on strong education, he noted, emphasizing
that any possible return to the late 1960s education
environment "should worry me."

12. (S) MbZ offered an anecdote about the establishment of a
high quality private school (Choueifat, run by Lebanese) in a
rural area -- many objected to sending their children to the
new school. When they saw the quality of education, however,
many returned one year later to ask for an additional school
to be built to meet growing demand. Residents had seen
students in the new school make more progress in one year
than others made over many years. When quizzed on their
initial hesitation to join the new school, locals said Syrian
and Egyptian teachers in the government schools, who were
established in the town as respected educators, had told them
"the infidel is coming" in the form of the new school. MbZ
characterized the education challenge in the UAE as a
national security issue. Admiral Roughead agreed that the
quality of training for the next generation of military
officers and NCOs is also important for both countries,
suggesting that exercises be held to allow American sailors
to go to sea with Emirati counterparts.

13. (S) Another dangerous distortion, according to MbZ, is
viewing mosques in the west through the lens of traditional
separation of church and state. Imams who do not speak the
language of the host community, "in Brighton or San
Francisco, for example," will not grasp the history or
society around them. A conservative cleric from Saudi
Arabia, seeing two men showing affection for one another on
the street, might deliver a mosque sermon the following
Friday that is straight out of the 13th century. Modern
context and tolerance suffer when untrained Imams lead a
flock back in time. The "Wahhabis" have spent $36 billion
sending preachers around the world, including into remote
parts of the Amazon, said MbZ, describing "Wahhabist
penetration" as enemy #1 in the UAE's history. ("We fought
them even before we had the oil.") He lamented that if

ABU DHABI 00000497 003 OF 003

extremists succeed in bringing down Egypt or Saudi Arabia, it
would only be a matter of time before the neighbors are
dragged down too.

14. (S) In spite of the threats, MbZ said we cannot let one
bad day (incident) make us weak. We must focus on defeating
the enemy and make them think twice about attacking us. He
felt the UAE had a vision of where it was headed as a nation,
pointing to the dangers of other societies with an aging
leadership (likely referring to Saudi Arabia).

Trusted allies

15. (S) Stressing again the importance of human ties with
trusted allies, MbZ hoped the next generation of UAE
nationals "would be better than we are" and would continue to
foster relations with the U.S. in order to create an enduring
alliance "based on friendship and trust." Admiral Roughead
responded that his personal motto has been "the best defense
is a true friend."

16. (S) More UAE students studying in the U.S. are therefore
welcome, MbZ said, lamenting that over a thousand UAE
students (30% of the total studying in the U.S.) had returned
from America prematurely after 9/11. He investigated their
reasons for returning and found that only 10% identified
run-ins with the USG and law enforcement authorities, or
family concerns for their safety, as the impetus for their
return. The vast majority were simply doing poorly in their
studies. He "was shocked" but felt the anecdote confirmed
the need to sort out the truth (in this case overblown
assumptions about U.S. treatment of Arabs) before drawing
sweeping conclusions.


17. (C) Coming after the CNO's successful day of meetings
with the UAE's Chief of Defense and head of navy, MbZ's
expansive exchange with the CNO and the duration of the
meeting -) twice as long as planned )- underscored the
Crown Prince's support for close military cooperation,
including in the maritime arena.

18. (U) ADM Roughead has cleared this message.
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