US embassy cable - 05CAIRO2852


Identifier: 05CAIRO2852
Wikileaks: View 05CAIRO2852 at
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Created: 2005-04-12 15:49:00
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 002852 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/11/2030 
Classified by Charge Gordon Gray for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1.  (S) During an April 11 visit to Egypt, Iraq Policy 
Coordinator and Senior Advisor (S/I) Richard Jones met 
separately with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Soliman and 
Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit.  They expressed interest in 
hosting a preparatory meeting of senior officials ahead of an 
international conference on Iraq, but sought additional 
details.  Aboul Gheit proposed that the international 
conference in Europe be held June 1, immediately following a 
ministerial meeting in Barcelona.  Soliman pressed on the 
need to strengthen Iraq's security and intelligence services, 
while Aboul Gheit repeated Egypt's open invitation to train 
Iraqis in any field.  Aboul Gheit said that the GOE could 
offer training to Iraqi judges.  Both Soliman and Aboul Gheit 
expressed general concerns over Iran's influence in Iraq.  To 
a request that Egypt forgive the relatively small amount of 
Iraqi debt on its books, Aboul Gheit showed interest in the 
details of Iraq's debt but did not offer a definitive reply. 
End summary. 
2.  (U) S/I Jones was accompanied by Colonel Phil Smith of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Larry McDonald of the Treasury 
Department, and Staff Assistant Matthew Fuller.  The Charge 
and poloff (notetaker) also joined the meetings. 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
Meeting with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Soliman 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
3.  (S/NF) Soliman told Jones that Egypt considered the 
strengthening of Iraq's security and intelligence 
capabilities as the crucial element in ensuring stability 
there.  A clear, obvious plan should be put in place 
promptly, he suggested, to recruit, train, and arm Iraq's 
security services over the next two or three years.  It was 
also important, he added, that the focus of such training be 
on units rather than individuals and that these units be well 
equipped to carry out their responsibilities.  The Iraqi 
intelligence forces, he continued, require training and 
independence from the Coalition as well as clearly-defined 
missions.  Only with a strengthened intelligence capability 
would the Iraqis be able to stop infiltrations from across 
the borders of weapons and insurgents and control the 
domestic security situation.  Such moves would permit a 
decrease in the number of U.S. troops in Iraq.  Soliman also 
counseled that new faces be brought into the political 
leadership in order to convince Iraqis that a new political 
era is truly at hand and the insurgency is "a cancer in the 
4.  (C) Jones described for Soliman USG policy priorities in 
Iraq, including a detailed description of Coalition training 
efforts for Iraqi security personnel and a readout on the 
political timetable for the new government in Baghdad. 
Stressing the USG goal of handing off security responsibility 
to the Iraqi government, Jones gave a progress report on 
training efforts for Iraqi forces and on the political 
process.  Describing Iraq's political timetable, Jones 
explained USG plans to co-host with the Europeans an 
international conference on Iraq to build on what had been 
accomplished last November in Sharm El Sheikh.  The goal, he 
stressed, was to build further international support for Iraq 
in the political, security, and economic realms.  Egypt, 
Jones added, might hold a preparatory meeting of senior 
officials in May to prepare for the conference, to be held in 
either Brussels or Luxembourg.  Soliman immediately expressed 
interest and support, noting that he would explore the 
subject with President Mubarak and Foreign Minister Aboul 
Gheit.  Jones also suggested that Egypt might consider 
forgiving the remaining, relatively small amount of debt owed 
it by Iraq as a symbolic show of political support at the 
5.  (S/NF) Changing direction, Soliman said that his 
organization had been approached recently by various Iraqis 
who considered themselves part of the resistance.  The GOE 
was willing to deepen such contacts should the USG concur via 
intelligence channels.  Specifiying that these Iraqis were a 
mixture of Sunni tribal and former-regime elements interested 
in political participation, Soliman said that he would raise 
the topic with Director of Central Intelligence Goss during 
his late-April visit to Washington.  Soliman, while 
acknowledging that the opposition figures would make demands 
in return for engaging with Egypt, believed that it was 
important to engage them to bring them into the political 
process and to isolate foreign terrorists. 
6.  (S/NF) Expressing GOE willingness to provide training to 
Iraqis, Soliman suggested Egypt could send moderate Islamic 
figures to Iraq to preach a message of non-violence. 
Responding to Ambassador Jones's interest in the idea, 
Soliman further suggested Egypt could provide cultural and 
entertainment programming to Iraq's television and other 
media outlets to push a non-violent, tolerant, and moderate 
interpretation of Islam.  Soliman also offered that the Iraqi 
government should link the apportionment of its regional 
development and construction financing to each province's 
security status.  In other words, he argued, should attacks 
and violence continue in a specific region, that region would 
not receive funding from the central government.  Iran, 
Soliman added, was also a major concern and should be 
prevented from spreading its influence into Iraq and 
jeopardizing the security situation there. 
Meeting with Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit 
7.  (C) During their 45-minute meeting April 11, Aboul Gheit 
peppered Jones with questions on U.S. efforts on the ground 
in Iraq, and pressed on the need to rebuild Iraqi security 
forces and promote self-sufficiency for Iraqi society. 
Responding to Jones's assertion that training of Iraqi forces 
was progressing well, Aboul Gheit queried why Egypt's offer 
to train Iraqi forces had not been taken up more robustly. 
Responding to Jones's assertion that high training costs in 
Egypt was a concern, Aboul Gheit proposed the issue be 
discussed between the respective officials involved. 
Similarly, the Minister offered Egypt as a venue for legal 
and judicial training, given that Iraq's needs are 
substantial and the USG considers this area a priority ("send 
us 2,000 judeges, and we'll train them").  Egypt can do any 
sort of training and will do it cheaper and in line with the 
Iraqi mentality which "we understand very well," Aboul Gheit 
8.  (C) Raising the issue of an upcoming international 
conference on Iraq to be co-hosted in Europe by the United 
States and the Europeans, Jones requested that Egypt host a 
preparatory meeting of senior officials to prepare for that 
conference.  Such a meeting would offer a connection to the 
Sharm El Sheikh ministerial hosted by the Egyptians last 
November, Jones said.  Aboul Gheit sought additional details 
but offered a positive initial reaction.  First clarifying 
that the conference was not a pledging conference, he 
requested that the Embassy pursue the issue further, but 
noted that it was crucial that there first be a government in 
Baghdad before scheduling the meeting.  (Note:  The Embassy 
met on April 12 with a working level official on Aboul 
Gheit's staff and will report separately on the results.  End 
note)  Aboul Gheit suggested that the international 
conference be held June 1, immediately following a 
previously-scheduled Euro-Mediterranean Partnership meeting 
of foreign ministers in Luxembourg which he and other 
regional players would attend. 
9.  (C) Aboul Gheit offered his personal view on societal 
changes in Iraq, highlighting his negative impression that 
Iraqi society was becoming "Islamicized," evidenced, he said, 
by the larger number of veiled Iraqi women.  His concerns 
were amplified by what he perceived as a worrying trend of 
growing Iranian influence in Iraq.  The U.S. must do more, he 
asserted, to prevent such influence. 
10.  (C) Jones and Treasury official McDonald requested that 
the GOE consider forgiving sovereign debt owed by Iraq as a 
symbolic gesture to help Iraq's financial situation.  Aboul 
Gheit sought clarification on the amount of debt Iraq owed 
within the region and to Paris Club countries, and said he 
understood the importance of allowing Iraq to write off its 
debts in order to access new loans on the international 
financial markets. 
11.  (U) S/I Jones did not have the opportunity to clear this 
message prior to his departure. 
12.  (U) Baghdad minimize considered. 
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