US embassy cable - 88STATE34351

LIBYA: THE VIEW FROM QADHAFI'S BACK PORCH

Identifier: 88STATE34351
Wikileaks: View 88STATE34351 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1988-02-04 06:32:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL NG MR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 040632Z FEB 88
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
AMEMBASSY NOUAKCHOTT
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 034351 
 
FOR AMBASSADOR 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, NG, MR 
SUBJECT: LIBYA: THE VIEW FROM QADHAFI'S BACK PORCH 
 
1.  C - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  FOLLOWING IS TEXT OF STATE 14270 TO CAIRO (DATED 
JANUARY 16, 1988) REPEATED FOR YOUR INFO.  BEGIN TEXT. 
 
3.  QADHAFI IS MAKING SOLID GAINS IN THE MAGHREB.  HIS 
RAPPROCHMENT WITH ALGERIA IS BEARING FRUIT--THOUGH NOT YET 
THE FULL-BLOWN UNION HE IS SEEKING.  THE PROCESSION OF CHAD 
DEFEATS HAS ENDED; AND HE IS SLOWLY STRENGTHENING HIS LINKS 
WITH NEIGHBORING AFRICAN STATES.  AS A RESULT, HIS 
SELF-CONFIDENCE IS RISING, AND WE EXPECT HIM GRADUALLY TO 
SHIFT TO A HIGHER PROFILE STANCE IN COMING MONTHS. 
 
---------------------- 
MAGHREB THE JEWEL IN THE GROWN? 
----------------------- 
4.  (C)  QADHAFI CONTINUES TO DIGEST THE LESSONS HE LEARNED 
FROM OUR AIRSTRIKE IN 1986.  HE CANNOT COUNT ON OUTSIDE 
SUPPORT IF HE GETS IN DIFFICULTY BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN TO OUT 
OF STEP WITH HIS FELLOW ARABS.  TO REMEDY THIS WEAKNESS IN 
HIS POSITION, HE HAS BEEN EAGERLY RESPONDING TO ALGERIAN 
OVERTURES FOR HALF A YEAR.  WHILE HE HAS ON OCCASION 
STARTLED THE ALGERIANS WITH TOO AVID A COURTSHIP--HE HAS 
SETTLED INTO MORE DURABLE STEPBY-STEP MILITARY, BUSINESS 
AND "PARLIAMENTARY" EXCHANGES.  HE HAS MET ALGERIA'S 
INSISTENCE THAT HE RENEW RELATIONS WITH TUNISIA.  HE MAY 
EVEN HAVE ARRESTED THE EROSION OF RELATIONS WITH MOROCCO BY 
MONEY AS WELL AS WORDS CRITICAL OF THE POLISARIO. 
 
------------"--------- 
FRIENDSHIP ON THE DOTTED LINE 
---------"------------- 
 
5.  (C)  IF QADHAFI ACCEDES TO ALGERIA'S SECOND 
CONDITION"LIBYAN MEMBERSHIP IN THE TRIPARTITE ACCORD OF 
1983 WHICH ENSURED (PAPER) CORDIALITY BETWEEN ALGERIA, 
MAURITANIA, AND TUNISIA--HE WILL GET APPLAUSE FROM LIBYANS 
AND , THAT MOST ELUSIVE OF GOALS, LEGITIMACY IN THE 
REGION.  QADHAFI LOVES SIGNED STATEMENTS OF FRIENDSHIP, 
ALMOST AS MUCH AS "UNION" PACTS; HE WILL ACCEPT HALF A LOAF 
BY JOINING THE MAGHREB CLUB, RELISHING ITS PROPAGANDA VALUE. 
 
6.  (C) HE WILL UNDOUBTEDLY EXPLOIT HIS NEW ROLE TO TAUNT 
THE US, WHICH GIVES HIM CLOUT WITH SOME ARABS WHILE 
DISMAYING HIS OLD ENEMY, EGYPT.  HE WILL CERTAINLY USE THE 
RELAXATION OF VISA RESTRICTIONS FOR ITS INTELLIGENCE VALUE 
OF HAVING UNDERCLARED AGENTS ON THE GROUND IN TUNIS, 
NOUAKCHOTT, AND ALGIERS.  ECONOMICALLY, HE MAY SUGGEST 
"JOINT VENTURES" WITH HIS NEWFOUND PARTNERS, WHICH COULD 
AFFECT CURRENT US BUSINESS VENTURES WITH MAGHREB STATES, OR 
GIVE HIM ACCESS TO US TECHNOLOGY.  EVERYONE ELSE IN THE 
ACCORD IS CASH-POOR AND OPEN TO LIBYAN LARGESSE.  QADHAFI 
MAY ALSO BE LOOKING AT SECURITY IMPLICATION, I.E. TURNING 
ANY FUTURE US THREATS OF HOSTILE ACTION AGAINST HIM INTO 
"THREATS AGAINST THE ACCORD" 
 
-------------------------- 
QUIET ALONG THE SOUTHERN FLANK 
-------------------- 
 
7.  (C) MEANWHILE, QADHAFI'S DIPLOMATS ARE PLAYING A 
WAITING GAME WITH THE OAU ON CHAD.  THE LONGER THE 
NEGOTIATIONS OVER WHO OWNS HOZOU ARE DRAGGED OUT, THE 
FIRMER ARE LIBYAN SOUTHERN DEFENCES AGAINST HABRE'S 
WARRIORS.  LIBYAN ENVOYS TO NIGER HAVE PROMISED TO MAKE 
GOOD SOME 1973 URANIUM DEBTS, PROBABLY IN AN ATTEMPT TO 
FACILITATE ACCESS TO THE CHADIAN FRONT.  LIKEWISE IN SUDAN, 
QADHAFI CONTINUES TO PLY SADIQ-AL-MAHDI WITH GOODIE BAGS OF 
ARMS, MEDICINE, AND AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT--MEANWHILE 
CONTINUING TO SEND LIBYANBACKED MERCENARIES IN THE 
TRACKLESS CORNER OF SUDAN NEAR CHAD.  IN UGANDA, QADHAFI 
EXPLOITS A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH MUSEVENI, KEEPING 
MILITARY HARDWARE AND TRAINING FLOWING--OR DID UNTIL LAST 
WEEK WHEN SOME UGANDANS, UPSET ABOUT TOO CLOSE AN EMBRACE, 
KILLED A LIBYAN OPERATIVE.  END TEXT. 
 
SHULTZ 

Latest source of this page is cablebrowser-2, released 2011-10-04