P 291313Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2412
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
INFO HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE C O N F I D E N T I A L ABU DHABI 000418
DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP AND PM/FO
DOD FOR OSD DASD KAHL
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/28/2019
SUBJECT: GSD CHAIR FROM UAE CONFIRMS STRONG RELATIONS
REF: 08 ABU DHABI 356
Classified by Ambassador Richard Olson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Welcoming Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA Middle
East) Colin Kahl to the UAE on April 27, Chief of the UAE Air Force
and Air Defense Air Vice Marshall (MG) Mohammed Sowaidan al-Gemzy
gave a strong endorsement of mutual cooperation in facing regional
challenges. In a brief strategic overview, he said we must avoid
letting Iran fill any vacuum left by the departure of U.S. troops
from Iraq, we share concerns regarding a solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian dispute, we cannot address Afghanistan without
dealing with Pakistan, and Iranian nuclear weapons are a key threat.
He agreed that Iran has a limited window in which to engage the
international community productively, yet cautioned that unilateral
action by Israel against Iran could threaten us all.
2. (C) Stating that his forces relied primarily on "U.S.-made
platforms," al-Gemzy stressed the need to continue regional
integration of missile defense efforts and a common operating
picture. He was pleased to hear that milestones were being reached
on Shared Early Warning (SEW) and stressed the value of the Air
Warfare Center (AWC) in training the region's pilots. He looked
forward to UAE participation in Red Flag (stating that all future Red
Flags should "include a UAE flag"). He referred in passing to delays
in FMS delivery, noting that using the equipment effectively is more
difficult than procuring it. In a reference to Link-16, he said that
"each plane" in a coordinated GCC effort needs both voice and data
communication with NATO planes, he suggested.
3. (C) Interestingly, al-Qemzy posited Iran as the current threat
but looked beyond it -- Iran is temporarily the black sheep of the
neighborhood but future priorities, to include disaster relief, also
require "a long-term strategy that works." He agreed that we must
seize the moment to make the region "safe for our children." He
cautioned against Iraqi "drift" towards religious Shi'a influences or
a civil war; he endorsed a strong U.S.-Iraq strategic partnership.
4. (C) Al-Qemzy noted that it had been a year since the most recent
Gulf Security Dialogue (GSD) and looked forward to continuing that
engagement. That said, he appreciated Kahl's visit as part of that
ongoing dialogue and said "take your time" on arranging the next GSD,
acknowledging some delay in USG personnel assuming their new
positions in the administration.
5. (U) DASD Kahl did not have an opportunity to clear this message
prior to departure, but it was reviewed by OSD staff.
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