Viewing cable 07VILNIUS791
Title: LITHUANIAN IRAQ DEPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07VILNIUS7912007-11-02 15:39:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius
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DE RUEHVL #0791 3061539
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 021539Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1748
INFO RUEHRA/AMEMBASSY RIGA PRIORITY 3356
RUEHTL/AMEMBASSY TALLINN PRIORITY 6980
RUEHWR/AMEMBASSY WARSAW PRIORITY 3683
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000791 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/29/2017 
TAGS: MARR MOPS PREL IZ LH
SUBJECT: LITHUANIAN IRAQ DEPLOYMENT REQUIREMENTS 
 
REF: A) STATE 150164 B) VILNIUS 759 C) VILNIUS 121 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN CLOUD FOR REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary.  We have conducted an assessment of the legal 
and political challenges posed to Lithuania by the expiration 
of a UN Chapter VII mandate per ref A.  We conclude that the 
GOL will not raise any legal concerns, but we believe the 
political opponents of participation in Iraq will use this 
situation and other political considerations as weapons to 
attack deployment supporters in the government and to prevent 
future deployments.  End summary. 
 
¶2. (C) Lithuania currently has international troop 
deployments in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.  These 
deployments fall under the Lithuanian Parliament,s blanket 
authorization for up to 420 troops in international missions, 
valid until 2010, based on the decision of the Minister of 
Defense.  The next Lithuanian troop deployment to Iraq will 
be under U.S. command (ref B), and we do not foresee any 
legal difficulties if a SOFA or mandate covering forces under 
U.S. command were to be used to cover Lithuanian troops.  We 
believe that, of the scenarios presented in ref A, the GOL 
would most likely prefer scenario A whereby Lithuania would 
become a party to an agreement concluded between GOI and USG 
after being a participant in negotiation.  This would give 
Lithuania the benefit of using the clout of the USG to ensure 
a favorable agreement while giving the GOL at least the 
visible status as a fellow negotiator that didn't just take a 
deal, but helped to create it.  The GOL's initial decision to 
enter Iraq was made with eyes wide open, and was 
characterized both publicly and privately as a coalition of 
the willing.  We do not believe that operating without the 
umbrella of a United Nations Chapter VII mandate will be a 
significant legal issue for the GOL. 
 
¶3. (C) We do, however, see political considerations causing 
trouble for any deployments beyond the next one, and loss of 
Chapter VII cover will not help in this regard.  Recently, 
several members of the parliament publicly complained about 
not having being consulted on the most recent decision for 
Lithuanian troop deployment in Iraq (ref C).  Some MPs who 
have not voiced their concerns publicly have privately 
expressed the sentiment that, while not required by law, 
DefMin Olekas should have discussed the deployment with 
parliament as a courtesy.  While we do not face the kind of 
constant, public calls for Lithuania to pull out of Iraq as 
do some of our European colleagues, the most recent Gallup 
poll of public opinion in Lithuania found 83 percent of 
respondents were opposed to the war in Iraq and 68 percent 
opposed the presence of Lithuanian troops in Iraq. 
 
¶4. (C) In addition, some members of the GOL -- including 
Defense Minister Olekas -- have previously tried to prevent 
continued deployments to Iraq (ref B).  Significant 
diplomatic effort was required to reach agreement on the 
upcoming deployment (ref C).  Olekas is now publicly 
committed to at least one more six-month deployment, but has 
been careful with his language, for example stating that 
Lithuania will consider additional rotations, but has no 
plans for a follow-on deployment at this time.  Other factors 
would also make future deployments difficult.  Any troop 
withdrawal by Poland will create an even more difficult 
political environment in Lithuania for supporting continued 
deployments.  In addition, we expect it would be hard for the 
GOL to sustain a deployment if any casualties are suffered by 
Lithuanian troops in Iraq.  Finally, parliamentary elections 
are scheduled for mid-October of 2008 and we predict that 
many MPs will come out against future deployments for the 
reasons mentioned above.  Any additional hurdles, including 
the loss of a Chapter VII mandate, will only give them more 
"reasons" to point to for withdrawal. 
 
¶5. (C) Even without the failure to renew the Chapter VII 
mandate, we will have our work cut out for us to sustain the 
Lithuanian contribution in Iraq.  The GOL generally views its 
contributions in Afghanistan as its number one priority. 
Lithuania runs the PRT in Ghor province, and gets constant 
positive feedback on this contribution at NATO meetings.  To 
the GOL, Iraq and Afghanistan commitments compete with each 
other.  If we hope to keep Lithuania engaged in both, we must 
be careful not to send conflicting messages about where our 
priorities lie. 
CLOUD