Viewing cable 00ABUDHABI5893
Title: SULTAN BIN ZAYID: "MUST THE U.S. BE TOUGHER

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
00ABUDHABI58932000-10-31 08:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Abu Dhabi
R 310838Z OCT 00
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7529
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
NSC WASHINGTON DC
SECDEF WASHDC
CIA WASHINGTON DC
DIA WASHINGTON DC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 005893 
 
DEPT FOR NEA AND NEA/ARP 
NSC FOR CLARKE, RIEDEL AND POLLACK 
PARIS FOR O'FRIEL 
LONDON FOR SUTPHIN 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/30/2010 
TAGS: PREL XF TC
SUBJECT:  SULTAN BIN ZAYID: "MUST THE U.S. BE TOUGHER 
          THAN THE ISRAELIS ON PALESTINE?" 
 
¶1.  (U) CLASSIFIED BY THEODORE H. KATTOUF, AMBASSADOR, 
REASON 1.5 (B) AND (D). 
 
¶2.  (C) SUMMARY:  A FRIENDLY BUT CLEARLY FRUSTRATED SULTAN BIN 
ZAYID, UAE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND SECOND SON OF PRESIDENT 
ZAYID BIN SULTAN, CONVEYED TO AMBASSADOR IN FRANK, DELIBERATE 
TERMS OCTOBER 29 HIS OWN "AND MANY OTHERS'" DEEP DISAPPOINTMENT 
THAT THE U.S., IN ITS "UNCRITICAL SUPPORT" FOR ISRAEL AND HARSH 
CRITICISMS OF THE PALESTINIANS, HAD BETRAYED ITS HISTORICAL 
REPUTATION AS A CHAMPION OF FAIRNESS, JUSTICE AND THE 
INDEPENDENCE OF OPPRESSED PEOPLES.  THE ARABS, HE SAID, NO LONGER 
HAD ANY EXPECTATIONS THAT THE U.S. WOULD SERVE AS AN HONEST 
BROKER FOR PEACE, AND THIS COULD HAVE RAMIFICATIONS FOR LARGER 
U.S.-ARAB RELATIONS, "WHICH WAS NOT GOOD FOR EITHER OF US." 
OFFERING HIS CONDOLENCES FOR THE LOSS OF LIFE RESULTING FROM THE 
"COWARDLY" ATTACK ON THE USS COLE, SULTAN WARNED THAT EXTREMISTS 
WOULD CONTINUE TO EXPLOIT TENSIONS IN THE REGION TO FURTHER THEIR 
OWN AGENDAS.  IN A RARE COMMENTARY ON LEBANON, SULTAN LABELED 
SYRIAN POLICY THERE "DISASTROUS," AND SAID THE UAE WOULD BE THE 
FIRST TO APPLAUD THE WITHDRAWAL OF SYRIAN TROOPS FROM LEBANESE 
SOIL.  SULTAN'S UNVARNISHED VIEWS NO DOUBT REFLECT HIS FATHER'S 
THINKING, ALTHOUGH SULTAN SAID HE HAD AVOIDED RAISING THE CURRENT 
SITUATION IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES IN RECENT DISCUSSIONS WITH 
HIS RECUPERATING FATHER SO AS NOT TO UPSET ZAYID.  THE MEETING 
WAS GIVEN EXTENSIVE MEDIA COVERAGE THAT EVENING AND IN THE 
FOLLOWING DAY'S PRESS, UNDER THE HEADLINE "THE UAE URGES 
WASHINGTON TO BE HONEST AND DO WHAT IS RIGHT."  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------------------- 
MORE ZIONIST THAN THE ISRAELIS? 
------------------------------- 
 
¶3.  (C)  MEETING WITH THE AMBASSADOR, WHO WAS ACCOMPANIED BY THE 
DCM, ON OCTOBER 29 AT HIS SEASIDE PALACE, UAE DEPUTY PRIME 
MINISTER SULTAN BIN ZAYID -- RENOWNED FOR HIS FRANKNESS -- WASTED 
LITTLE TIME WITH CONVENTIONAL FORMALITIES BEFORE LAUNCHING INTO A 
CRITIQUE OF THE U.S. RESPONSE TO RECENT VIOLENCE IN THE OCCUPIED 
TERRITORIES.  SPEAKING QUIETLY (NOTE: IN TYPICAL BEDOUIN FASHION 
WHEN EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT TO A FRIEND.  END NOTE.) AND IN 
ARABIC, SULTAN ASKED WHY IT WAS THAT THE U.S. APPEARED TO BE 
TAKING A TOUGHER POLITICAL STANCE AGAINST THE PALESTINIANS IN THE 
CURRENT SITUATION THAN EVEN ISRAEL?  STRESSING THAT THIS WAS NOT 
JUST HIS OPINION, BUT WHAT HE WAS HEARING IN THE MAJLISES AS 
WELL, SULTAN SAID THERE WAS GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT THROUGHOUT THE 
ARAB WORLD IN THE U.S. FAILURE TO ACT AS AN HONEST BROKER. 
MOREOVER, THE ARABS WERE BLAMING THE U.S. MORE THAN ISRAEL FOR 
THE CRISIS BECAUSE IT WAS IN A POSITION TO DO SOMETHING AND DID 
NOT.  "THE ISRAELIS ARE FIRING U.S. WEAPONS -- APACHE HELICOPTER 
GUNSHIPS AND M16 RIFLES -- AGAINST UNARMED PALESTINIAN CHILDREN," 
SULTAN SAID; "THE WORLD HAD WITNESSED SCENES OF BEASTLY BEHAVIOR 
ON THE PART OF THE ISRAELIS, AND YET THE U.S. CRITICIZES THE 
ARABS."  THE ARABS HAD EXPECTED MUCH MORE OF THE U.S., GIVEN ITS 
HISTORY OF STANDING UP FOR JUSTICE, HUMAN RIGHTS AND FAIR 
TREATMENT, AND ITS OWN SUCCESSFUL FIGHT FOR INDEPENDENCE AGAINST 
AN OPPRESSOR NATION.  THE PALESTINIANS HAD BEEN LIVING UNDER ONE 
FORM OF OCCUPATION OR ANOTHER FOR YEARS.  THEY WERE LOSING ALL 
HOPE.  ALL THEY WERE SEEKING WAS THEIR INDEPENDENCE.  THE ARABS 
WOULD ACCEPT THE ISRAELIS AND THEIR NEED FOR SECURITY IF THEY, IN 
TURN, WOULD ACCEPT BOUNDARIES AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF OTHERS. 
THEY COULD NOT RELY FOREVER ON THEIR NUCLEAR ARSENALS TO PROTECT 
THEM; THEY WOULD HAVE TO MAKE PEACE WITH THEIR ARAB NEIGHBORS. 
BUT, SULTAN CONTINUED, EVEN THE WHITE HOUSE COULD NOT OFFER A 
BALANCED ASSESSMENT OF THE CONFLICT, AND SO THE ARABS NO LONGER 
HAD EXPECTATIONS OF AMERICAN FAIRNESS. 
 
¶4.  (C)  WHILE ACKNOWLEDGING THE TRAGIC ASPECTS OF THE CURRENT 
CRISIS AND OFFERING HIS SYMPATHIES TO THE INNOCENT VICTIMS OF 
VIOLENCE, THE AMBASSADOR URGED SULTAN TO TAKE THE LONGER VIEW. 
ALL PARTIES HAD EVOLVED IN THE PROCESS OF SEEKING PEACE, AND MUCH 
HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED OVER THE YEARS, IN PARTICULAR, FOLLOWING 
THE MADRID CONFERENCE.  RABIN AND PERES RECOGNIZED THE GROWING 
THREAT IRAN AND IRAQ POSED AND DECIDED TO MAKE PEACE WITH THEIR 
NEIGHBORS AND DEAL WITH THE PLO.  ALTHOUGH ONCE SHUNNED, ARAFAT 
HAD VISITED PRESIDENT CLINTON AT THE WHITE HOUSE ON NUMEROUS 
OCCASIONS AND WAS TREATED AS A FULL PARTNER IN THE SEARCH FOR 
PEACE.  THE REASON THINGS HAD NOW FLARED UP SO BADLY WAS 
PRECISELY BECAUSE OF THE PROGRESS MADE AT CAMP DAVID II, 
PARTICULARLY THE REQUIREMENT TO DEAL WITH JERUSALEM AND ITS HOLY 
PLACES.  THE EXTREMISTS WERE WORRIED.  BUT IT WOULD BE WRONG TO 
FORGET OR THROW AWAY ALL THE PROGRESS MADE OVER THE PAST DECADE 
BECAUSE OF THE TRAGIC EVENTS OF THE PAST MONTH.  WHAT WAS NOW 
IMPORTANT WAS THAT THE VIOLENCE CEASE SO THAT PASSIONS COULD 
COOL.  THE U.S. WOULD REMAIN ENGAGED IN THE SEARCH FOR PEACE NO 
MATTER WHO WON THE UPCOMING U.S. ELECTIONS, AS THIS WAS IN THE 
NATIONAL INTEREST. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
THE CONSEQUENCES FOR LARGER U.S.-ARAB RELATIONS 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
¶5.  (C)  SULTAN AGREED THAT "THIS WILL PASS (I.E. THE CRISIS); IT 
IS LIFE," WHILE EXPRESSING HIS HOPE THAT IT DID NOT GET WORSE. 
OTHERWISE, HE SAID, THERE WOULD BE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR U.S.- 
ARAB RELATIONS.  IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT FOR MODERATE ARAB LEADERS 
TO DEFEND CONTINUED CLOSE TIES TO THE U.S. OR TO DEFLECT 
ACCUSATIONS THAT THE U.S. IS MANIPULATING THEM UNLESS THE U.S. IS 
SEEN TO BE FAIR ON ISSUES IMPORTANT TO THE ARABS.  OFFERING HIS 
CONDOLENCES FOR THE DEATH OF THE 17 SAILORS FOLLOWING THE 
"COWARDLY" ATTACK ON THE USS COLE, SULTAN SUGGESTED A LINKAGE 
BETWEEN SUCH ACTS OF TERRORISM AND THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN 
CONFLICT.  IN THIS CONTEXT, SULTAN REMARKED THAT THE U.S. SEEMED 
TO FORGET THAT ISRAEL HAD "CREATED" HAMAS AND SUPPORTED HIZBOLLAH 
AS COUNTERWEIGHTS TO THE PLO.  NOW THESE EXTREMIST GROUPS WERE 
OUT OF CONTROL, PRESENTING A THREAT TO ALL CONCERNED.  YET WHEN 
THEY ATTACK, SULTAN SUGGESTED, THE REAL VICTIM IS U.S.-ARAB 
RELATIONS. 
 
------------------------------------------ 
BUT ISRAEL NOT THE ONLY OCCUPYING POWER... 
------------------------------------------ 
 
¶6.  (C)  EXPANDING ON HIS THEME OF ISRAELI ATTEMPTS TO DOMINATE 
AND POLARIZE -- RATHER THAN LIVE WITH -- HER NEIGHBORS (AND 
ALLUDING TO PERCEIVED ISRAELI EFFORTS TO CANTONIZE THE WEST 
BANK), SULTAN DESCRIBED ISRAELI EFFORTS TO "DIVIDE AND CONTROL" 
LEBANON THROUGH THE CREATION OF A SERIES OF SECTARIAN CANTONS. 
"THIS WAS BEN GURION'S AND SUBSEQUENTLY SHARON'S PLAN," HE SAID, 
"AND IT DIDN'T WORK."  THE AMBASSADOR IMPLIED THAT SYRIA HAD 
CONTRIBUTED ITS SHARE TO LEBANON'S TRAVAILS, AIDED AND ABETTED BY 
CERTAIN LEBANESE POLITICIANS WHO CONTINUED TO LOOK TOWARD 
DAMASCUS FOR DECISIONS EVEN ON TRIVAL MATTERS.  SULTAN READILY 
AGREED THAT SYRIA'S POLICIES IN LEBANON WERE "DISASTROUS," AND 
EFFECTIVELY JUST ANOTHER FORM OF OCCUPATION.  THERE WOULD BE 
BROAD ARAB SUPPORT FOR SYRIA'S WITHDRAWAL OF ITS MILITARY TROOPS 
FROM LEBANON AND "THE UAE WOULD HEAD THE LIST."  "I KNOW THIS," 
SULTAN EMPHASIZED, "AND CAN SPEAK FOR MY COUNTRY'S POSITION." 
 
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COMMENT 
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¶7.  (C)  THE TELEVISION CAMERAS AND CREW THAT AWAITED THE 
AMBASSADOR'S ARRIVAL SIGNALED SULTAN'S INTENTION TO USE THIS 
MEETING AS MUCH TO MOLLIFY AN ANGRY POPULACE AS TO PASS A MESSAGE 
TO THE U.S.  INDEED, THE MEETING WAS GIVEN PROMINENT COVERAGE ON 
THE EVENING NEWS AND IN THE FOLLOWING MORNING'S PRESS, WITH AN 
UNUSUAL AMOUNT OF DETAIL.  OPTICS ASIDE, SULTAN'S MESSAGE WAS 
SINCERE AND REFLECTS WHAT WE ARE HEARING FROM A BROAD RANGE OF 
CONTACTS. 
 
 
KATTOUF