US embassy cable - 90STATE175914 (original version)

BAGHDAD SUMMIT: THE MORNING AFTER (original version)

Identifier: 90STATE175914
Wikileaks: View 90STATE175914 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1990-05-31 23:20:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL AL XF IZ
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
O 312320Z MAY 90
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 175914 
 
PASS TO AMBASSADOR DAVID NEWTON; ALSO FOR USEC 
 
FOLLOWING BAGHDAD 03168 DATED MAY 31 SENT ACTION 
SECSTATE INFO ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PARIS BEING 
REPEATED FOR YOUR INFORMATION 
 
QUOTE 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L BAGHDAD 03168 
 
PARIS FOR ROSENBLATT 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: PREL, AL, XF, IZ 
SUBJECT: BAGHDAD SUMMIT: THE MORNING AFTER 
 
REF: BAGHDAD 3145 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  SUMMARY:  THE SUMMIT, IN OUR VIEW, LEAVES ARAB 
POLITICS ABOUT WHERE THEY WERE.  ARAFAT, UNDER SEVERE 
INTERNAL PLO PRESSURE TO JUSTIFY HIS PEACE PROCESS 
APPROACH, SEEMED DRIVEN BY A SENSE OF USG BAD FAITH. 
THE SAUDIS WERE A SOLID ROCK OF GOOD SENSE AND THE 
EGYPTIANS, THOUGH THEY LOST SOME BATTLES ON 
COMMUNIQUE RHETORIC, LOST NO PRESTIGE TO SADDAM.  AS 
AN EXPONENT OF LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR ARAB FEARS 
AND ASPIRATIONS, SADDAM TOOK A STEP FORWARD.  BUT IT 
WAS THE ROILING EVENTS AROUND ARAFAT--NOT IRAQI 
BLUSTERING--THAT PUT THE HEAT ON MUBARAK TO SHOW THAT 
MODERATION CAN AND WILL WORK.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3. ON THIS THURSDAY HOLIDAY MORNING AFTER THE BAGHDAD 
SUMMIT, THERE ARE FEW ARAB DIPLOMATS AVAILABLE WITH 
WHOM WE CAN COMPARE NOTES.  THE FOLLOWING IS, THERE- 
FORE, CHIEFLY OUR OWN THOUGHTS AND NOTES ON THE 
EVENTS AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE DEBATES OF THE PAST 
THREE DAYS. 
 
A SUCCESSFUL SUMMIT? 
-------------------- 
 
4.  A SENIOR ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARIAT SOURCE RESOLUTELY 
ASSERTED PLEASURE WITH WHAT HE CALLED A "MODERATE" 
OUTCOME.  THE ADVISOR TO KLIBI SAID MANY 
DELEGATES HAD BEEN FEARFUL OF A BAGHDAD SUMMIT: 
"WE DID NOT KNOW WHAT SORT OF ADVENTURE SADDAM 
HUSSEIN WOULD LEAD US INTO""  IN FACT, SAID THIS 
ARAB DIPLOMAT, THE SECRETARIAT FOUND THAT SADDAM 
OFTEN ACTED AS AN ARBITER, TAKING HIS ROLE AS HOST 
AND CHAIRMAN SERIOUSLY.  AN EGYPTIAN SOURCE ALSO TOLD 
US THAT THE IRAQI BULLDOZER HAS DRIVEN CHIEFLY BY 
TARIQ AZIZ IN THE FOREIGN MINISTERS' DRAFTING 
SESSIONS, WHERE REPORTEDLY THE EGYPTIAN FOREIGN 
MINISTER TOLD HIM AND PLO "FONMIN" QADDUMI MORE 
THAN ONCE THAT HE WOULD NOT PUT UP WITH THEIR 
RUDENESS. 
 
5.  WE FIND IT CURIOUSLY DIFFICULT TO ASSESS THE 
RESULTS OF THIS SUMMIT FROM THE U.S. POINT OF 
VIEW.  POLITICALLY, IT WOULD APPEAR NONE OF THE 
PRINCIPAL ARAB PROTAGONISTS ACHIEVED ANYTHING 
LIKE THEIR MAXIMUM GOALS, YET NONE WAS EMBARRASSED 
BY INABILITY TO HOLD A MINIMUM LINE.  THE EXCEPTION 
TO THIS COULD BE KING HUSSEIN--WE SIMPLY DO NOT 
YET KNOW IF HE HAS RECEIVED FIRM PLEDGES OF FINANCIAL 
SUPPORT. 
 
6.  WHILE WE SEE UNWELCOME LANGUAGE IN THE 
COMMUNIQUE, PARTICULARLY ON THE PEACE PROCESS 
(E.G., THE PERENNIAL CALL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL 
CONFERENCE) AND ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION, WE 
CAN SEE NOTHING WHICH HEMS IN MOVEMENT IN A 
MODERATE DIRECTION, SHOULD THE MODERATES WISH 
TO CONTINUE THEIR EFFORTS.  WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT, 
AS A BRITISH JOURNALIST HAS WRITTEN, THE SUMMIT 
ITSELF WAS IN A SENSE A "CRY OF PAIN" FROM THE 
PALESTINIANS, THE EMOTIONAL CONTEXT OF EVENTS DID 
NOT UPSET THE PEACE PROCESS APPLE CART. 
 
NO LETTER FOR BUSH/GORBACHEV 
---------------------------- 
 
7.  THE VIRTUAL STALEMATE BETWEEN EGYPTIANS AND 
SAUDIS VERSUS THE IRAQIS AND LIBYANS HAD NO 
MORE EMBARRASSINGLY PUBLIC FAILURE THAN THE 
INABILITY TO AGREE ON THE LETTER WHICH THE 
IRAQI MEDIA IN PARTICULAR ANNOUNCED WOULD BE A 
PRIMARY AIM OF THE MEETING.  INABILITY TO AGREE ON EVEN 
A CLEAR STATEMENT OF VIEWS CONCERNING THE MOST 
SIGNIFICANT MIDDLE EAST EVENT IN MANY DECADES, 
I.E., SOVIET-JEWISH EMIGRATION, WILL BE SEEN BY 
THE WEST AS A BLACK EYE FOR "ARAB UNITY."  BUT 
FROM OUR VIEWPOINT IT WOULD APPEAR TO BE A 
DEMONSTRATION THAT SOME ARAB LEADERS ARE AT LAST 
WILLING TO FACE FACTS, AND FAHD WAS THE BEST 
EXAMPLE OF ALL. 
 
 
FAHD THE STATESMAN 
------------------ 
 
8. AS EMBASSY RIYADH SUGGESTED, BY ALL ACCOUNTS THE 
SAUDIS HAVE BEEN TOUGH AND ACTIVE SINCE FOREIGN 
MINISTER SAUD ARRIVED HERE MAY 22.  MAINTAINING   THE 
PENINSULAR BEDOUIN GOOD TASTE OF NOT WASHING 
LAUNDRY IN PUBLIC, BOTH FAHD AND SAUD WERE CLEAR 
AND DETERMINED IN THE PRIVATE SESSIONS. 
 
SADDAM: SATISFIED 
----------------- 
 
9. SADDAM WANTED TO CHANGE ARAB STRATEGY.  UNTIL THE 
LAST HOURS OF THE SUMMIT, HE TRIED TO DO SO, IN- 
CLUDING BY USING ALL THE FORCES OF HIS MEDIA.  HE 
FAILED.  IT IS CHIEFLY BECAUSE OF HIS EFFORTS THAT 
WE SEE OBJECTIONABLE PHRASEOLOGY IN THE COMMUNIQUE, 
BUT THOSE WORDS DO NOT CHANGE ARAB STRATEGY.  ON 
THE OTHER HAND, WE THINK THAT HE HAS ACHIEVED ANOTHER 
AIM, FURTHER IMPROVING HIS IMAGE, AS A JOURNALIST 
HAS SAID, MOVING FROM "WARRIOR" TO "WARRIOR STATES- 
MAN."     HE HAS MADE GREAT STRIDES IN CREATING A 
CONSTITUENCY OF THOSE ARABS, INCLUDING PALESTINIANS, 
DEEPLY FRUSTRATED BY LACK OF PROGRESS IN THE PEACE 
PROCESS.  AS LONG AS THE MODERATE  EGYPT/USG APPRAOCH 
DOES NOT WORK, THE NATURAL CONSTITUENCY FOR SADDAM'S 
LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR POPULISM WILL GROW. 
 
ARAFAT--THE HOT SEAT 
-------------------- 
 
10.  WE TAKE SERIOUSLY THE UNANIMOUS REPORTS OF 
ARAFAT'S DEEP CONCERN DURING THE SUMMIT ABOUT HIS OWN 
ABILITY TO HOLD HIS MAINSTREAM IN THE MODERATE 
CURRENT.  AN EMOTIONAL MAN, HE WAS, BY ALL ACCOUNTS, 
SHAKEN BY HIS GENEVA EXPERIENCE (THE PERCEPTION OF 
U.S. "BETRAYAL").  HE DID SEEM TO SPEND MORE TIME 
COORDINATING WITH SADDAM THAN WITH MUBARAK, AND HAD A 
TWO-HOUR MEETING AT THE END (REPORTEDLY ONE-ON-ONE), 
WITH KING HUSAYN).  WE BELIEVE WE HAVE CONFIRMED IT 
WAS ARAFAT WHO PUSHED (UNSUCCESSFULLY) FOR CREATION 
OF A JOINT ARAB DEFENSE FORCE, WHICH SUGGESTS A 
PERCEIVED NEED TO PLAY TO HIS RADICAL WING.  HIS 
SPEECH IN OPEN SESSION, EVEN THOUGH EMOTIONALLY 
DELIVERED, WAS AN EFFECTIVE AND ELOQUENT DESCRIPTION 
OF PALESTINIAN PAIN AND CONFUSION. 
 
QADHAFI'S ACTIVITIES 
-------------------- 
 
11.  QADHAFI REMAINED SILENT THROUGHOUT THE PUBLIC 
SESSIONS OF THE SUMMIT, POINTEDLY APPLAUDING ANY 
ANTI-AMERICAN REMARKS.  HE SPOKE ONLY ON THE FINAL 
DAY.  WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE A PRO FORMA STATEMENT 
CONGRATULATING THE SUMMIT AND SADDAM, TURNED INTO A 
RAMBLING SPEECH.  INTER ALIA, HE CHARGED THAT THE 
U.S. F-111'S, THE PLANES SENT TO "KILL" HIM AND HIS 
CHILDREN, HAD BEEN MOVED FROM TURKEY TO IRAQ'S 
BORDERS TO FRIGHTEN IRAQ.  HE CLAIMED: "WE WILL 
DESTROY THE JEWS;" PUTTING JEWS IN THE OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES WAS "PUTTING THEM IN A CEMETERY" RATHER 
THAN THE PROMISED LAND.  HIS REMARKS WERE SO 
DESPICABLE THAT SADDAM OSTENTATIOUSLY DISASSOCIATED 
HIMSELF AND THE SUMMIT FROM THEM. 
 
12.  WE CAN PROVIDE TENUOUS CONFIRMATION OF THE 
RUMORS (DAMASCUS 3325) THAT QADHAFI FROM DAMASCUS 
SENT AN ENVOY TO SADDAM IN A LAST MINUTE ATTEMPT TO 
RECONCILE SADDAM AND ASAD.  ACCORDING TO A GULF 
DIPLOMAT, THE PILOT OF THE PLANE CARRYING HIS 
COUNTRY'S DELEGATION TO BAGHDAD ON MAY 27 HEARD IRAQI 
CONTROLLERS TALKING WITH THE PILOT OF A LIBYAN PLANE 
ENROUTE FROM DAMASCUS TO BAGHDAD, TWENTY-FOUR HOURS 
BEFORE QADHAFI HIMSELF ARRIVED FOR THE SUMMIT. 
 
U.S. "MEMORANDUM" 
----------------- 
 
13.  THE TALKING POINTS FOR NEA AMBASSADORS HAVE 
ENTERED HISTORY AS A MEMORANDUM FROM THE USG TO THE 
AL.  ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS, AL SYG KLIBI HAS 
BEEN INSTRUCTED TO ADMONISH THE "U.S. AMBASSADOR" 
ABOUT THIS INTERFERENCE IN ARAB AFFAIRS. 
 
14.  WE WERE STRUCK BY THE JORDAN TIMES STORY THAT 
OUR MEMORANDUM "DEMANDED" THAT IRAQ SIGN ON TO A 
CHEMICAL WEAPONS BAN WITHOUT REGARD TO ISRAEL'S 
NONADHERENCE TO THE NPT.  THAT REPORT CAME FROM A 
JOURNALIST CLOSE TO THE PLO (JN2905093290) AND MAY 
REFLECT A MORE AND MORE JAUNDICED PLO VIEW OF THE 
EQUITY OF THE USG APPROACH TO MIDDLE EAST ISSUES. 
 
NEXT STEPS 
---------- 
 
15.  FOR THE RECORD, FOLLOWING ARE THE DECISIONS THE 
SUMMIT TOOK THAT REQUIRE FOLLOW-UP ACTION: 
 
--REGULAR SUMMITS WILL OCCUR ANNUALLY, WITH THE NEXT 
IN CAIRO IN NOVEMBER 1990.  (COMMENT:  IRAQ HAS 
REPEATEDLY ADVOCATED THE NEED FOR ANNUAL AL SUMMITS. 
WITH THE RETURN OF AL HEADQUARTERS TO CAIRO, THE 
ISSUE OF WHERE THOSE MEETINGS CAN BE HELD HAS BEEN 
SOLVED.  AS WE UNDERSTAND IT FROM THE EGYPTIAN 
EMBASSY, IF NO COUNTRY VOLUNTEERS TO HOST A SUMMIT, 
THE AL WILL DO SO, WITH EGYPT FORMALLY DOING THE 
INVITING.) 
 
--FOREIGN, ECONOMIC AND FINANCE MINISTERS TO MEET 
WITHIN TWO MONTHS TO DISCUSS JEWISH EMIGRATION, THE 
ARAB STANCE TOWARD INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC BLOCS AND 
ENCOURAGING OF INVESTMENT IN ARAB COUNTRIES.  THEY 
ARE TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE NEXT SUMMIT. 
 
--BILATERAL NEGOTIATIONS WITH JORDAN ON ASSISTANCE. 
 
--ATC TO FOLLOW UP IMPLEMENTATION OF THE TA'IF 
AGREEMENT. 
 
--ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNATIONAL FUND TO ASSIST 
LEBANON. 
 
--FOREIGN MINISTERS TO COMPLETE AMENDMENTS TO THE AL 
CHARTER AND SUBMIT THEM TO THE NEXT SUMMIT (MAJORITY 
RULE REVISITED?). 
 
--ACTION AGAINST ANY STATE RECOGNIZING JERUSALEM AS 
THE CAPITAL OF ISRAEL. 
 
--EFFORTS TO PREVENT REPEAL OF UNGA RSOLUTION 3379, 
"ZIONISM AS RACISM." 
- 
NO RESOLUTIONS 
-------------- 
 
16. AT THIS SUMMIT, WE ARE TOLD, THERE WERE NO 
RESOLUTIONS, JUST THE COMMUNIQUE. 
 
IRAQI MEDIA REACTION 
-------------------- 
 
17.  IRAQ'S GOVERNMENT-DIRECTED MEDIA DID NOT SEEM TO 
SUPPRESS ANY PUBLIC STATEMENT OR EVENT.  ALL OPEN 
SESSION SPEECHES BY SUMMIT PARTICIPANTS WERE PRINTED 
IN FULL IN THE LOCAL PRESS.  THE GOI'S PR MACHINERY 
HAD NO COMMENT ON THE SUMMIT MAY 31 OTHER THAN TO 
HAIL IT AS A GREAT SUCCESS.  IRAQI TV PROVIDED FULL 
COVERAGE OF "OPEN" SESSIONS, ALBEIT WITH A TWO-HOUR 
DELAY, AND DID NOT EDIT OUT UNEXPECTED INTIMATE 
MOMENTS (E.G., MUBARAK HARANGUING SADDAM IN THE HALL; 
QADHAFI SLICKING BACK HIS HAIR PRIOR TO A GRAND 
ENTRANCE). 
 
FOR KHARTOUM AND MOGADISHU 
-------------------------- 
 
18.  WE APOLOGIZE THAT BECAUSE WE ARE SO SHORT-HANDED 
WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO TRANSLATE SUMMIT SPEECHES OF 
YOUR PRESIDENTS, BUT WE WILL POUCH ARABIC VERSIONS 
ASAP. 
 
GLASPIE 
UNQUOTE 
 
BAKER 

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