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Cable de EE UU que repasa a la estrecha relación militar entre Washington y El Cairo

Estados Unidos da a Egipto casi mil millones de euros y, a cambio, obtiene el mantenimiento de la paz con Israel, la autorización para sobrevuelos militares y la seguridad para los barcos de guerra que cruzan el canal de Suez

ID: 199866
Date: 2009-03-31 14:44:00
Origin: 09CAIRO549
Source: Embassy Cairo
Classification: SECRET
Dunno:
Destination: O 311444Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2058
INFO HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

S E C R E T CAIRO 000549


E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/29/2019
TAGS: PREL, MASS, PARM, MOPS, KPAL, IS, EG
SUBJECT: SCENESETTER FOR GENERAL SCHWARTZ

Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey per 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. Key Points

-- (SBU) U.S.- Egypt military relationship is strong, but
should change to reflect new regional and transnational
threats.

-- (SBU) More focus is needed on combating emerging threats,
including border security, counter terrorism, civil defense,
and peacekeeping.

-- (S/NF) Egypt continues to improve efforts to combat arms
smuggling into Gaza, but a decision by Field Marshal Tantawi
to delay a counter tunneling project threatens progress.

2. (S/NF) SUMMARY: General Schwartz, welcome to Egypt.
Since our Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program began
almost 30 years ago, our strong military relationship has
supported peace between Egypt and Israel and ensured critical
Suez Canal and overflight access for U.S. military
operations. The relationship, however, should now change to
reflect new regional and transnational security threats. In
FY2009, Congress removed conditions on U.S. assistance to
Egypt. We and the GOE will be able to make the best case for
continuing a robust FMF program by targeting funding for
shared priorities like peacekeeping and border security, and
must take more action on emerging regional security threats
such as piracy.

3. (SBU) Summary continued. Your visit comes as Egypt
continues its efforts to mediate a permanent cease-fire
between Israel and Hamas, to facilitate intra-Palestinian
negotiations to form a new, interim government, and to stop
the smuggling of arms into Gaza. Many Egyptians see the new
U.S. administration as a cause for cautious optimism in both
the bilateral relationship and in U.S. engagement with the
region. Special Envoy for the Middle East Senator George
Mitchell has visited Egypt and the region twice and will
likely return to Cairo in April. Your visit will fall on the
anniversary of the April 6, 2008 nation-wide strike
protesting political and economic conditions. At least one
opposition group has called for another April 6 strike this
year. We have requested meetings for you with Chief of Staff
Lieutenant General Sami Anan and Air Marshal Reda. End
summary.

-----------------------------------------
Mil-Mil Cooperation: Ready for Next Level
-----------------------------------------

4. (S/NF) President Mubarak and military leaders view our
military assistance program as the cornerstone of our mil-mil
relationship and consider the USD 1.3 billion in annual FMF
as "untouchable compensation" for making and maintaining
peace with Israel. The tangible benefits to our mil-mil
relationship are clear: Egypt remains at peace with Israel,
and the U.S. military enjoys priority access to the Suez
Canal and Egyptian airspace. We believe, however, that our
relationship can accomplish much more. Over the last year, we
have engaged MOD leaders on developing shared strategic
objectives to address current and emerging threats, including
border security, counter terrorism, civil defense, and
peacekeeping. Our efforts thus far have met with limited
success.

5. (S/NF) Decision-making within MOD rests almost solely with
Minister of Defense Field Marshal Tantawi. In office since
1991, he consistently resists change to the level and
direction of FMF funding and is therefore one of the chief
impediments to transforming our security relationship. During
his tenure, the tactical and operational readiness of the
Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) has degraded. But he retains
President Mubarak's support, and so he and the top brass will
most likely stay in position until Mubarak leaves the scene.
COS Anan will welcome the lack of conditions on Egyptian
assistance in FY 2009 funding and will seek support in
convincing Congress of Egypt's strategic importance. Anan
should be reassured that Egypt remains a key U.S. ally, but
stress that given the current economic downturn, Egypt should
do more to justify continuing value by demonstrating through
action its support for our shared regional security goals

6. (S/NF) One way to demonstrate Egypt's continued strategic
importance is through shifting more FMF funding to address
asymmetric threats like terrorism and improving border
security along its long and porous borders. We should also
stress that our mil-mil relationship is much greater than the
yearly flow of military assistance. Egypt could play a more
active and influential role in regional security issues,
including supporting and training the Iraqi military,
deploying more peacekeeping troops to Sudan, joining
neighbors in combating piracy, and stemming the flow of
illegal migration. Another concrete display of a
forward-looking security strategy would be to support
CENTCOM's efforts to re-invent Bright Star. Anan may lament
the loss of large-scale Bright Stars. We should stress that
Bright Star continues to be an important strategic statement
for the U.S. and its regional allies, and solicit his input
for ways to make Bright Star more relevant.

7. (S/NF) Both Anan and Reda will express concern over
releasability issues and frustration with Egypt's inability
to procure restricted weapons systems. Some systems are not
releasable because of Egyptian refusal to sign the necessary
agreement (CISMOA) providing end-use assurances and ensuring
proper protection of certain U.S. origin technology.
Releasability is of special concern to the EAF as they
prepare to purchase 24 F-16 aircraft that will require a
costly retrofit with less-advanced weapons systems. Since
2006, the Department of State has notified Congress of six
potential end-use violations by the Egyptian military. We
are currently investigating two additional cases, one
involving the visit of a Chinese military official to an F-16
facility on an Egyptian Air Force base. Other systems are
either not releasable to any country or denied for political
reasons, mainly due to concerns regarding Israel's
Qualitative Military Edge (QME). We should stress that
decisions to release advanced weapons system are made on a
country-by-country basis, but signing a CISMOA and expanding
cooperation on current regional threats would be welcomed
steps to our dialogue on releasability.

-----------------------------------
Israel-Palestine, Counter Smuggling
-----------------------------------

8. (SBU) The election of President Obama generated much
optimism in Egypt and hopes that the new administration would
quickly focus on problems in the Middle East. In particular,
the Egyptian leadership wants the U.S. to urgently address
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and Senator Mitchell has
assured them that the Administration will press hard for
progress. The Egyptians have traditionally served as an
intermediary between us, the Israelis, and the Palestinians.
Since the January 2008 Hamas breach of the Egypt-Gaza border,
the Egyptian role has shifted to focus on intra-Palestinian
reconciliation and the establishment of a lasting
Hamas-Israel cease-fire. EGIS Chief Soliman has worked to
cement a Israeli-Hamas cease-fire but believes he was badly
undercut by the Israeli introduction of the release of IDF
Corporal Gilad Shalit as a new pre-condition for the
cease-fire. For the moment, rocket strikes from Gaza are
relatively low in frequency.

9. (S/NF) Egyptian security forces continue to improve
counter-smuggling efforts along the Gaza border and further
afield, through increasing their security presence in
northern Sinai and giving greater focus to preventing weapons
from entering the Sinai. Egyptian officials claim to have
identified and sealed over 100 tunnels since the beginning of
the year, with new discoveries occurring daily. The Egyptian
General Intelligence Service (EGIS) requested U.S. assistance
to purchase 16 X-ray screening systems to monitor vehicular
traffic into the Sinai for weapons and explosives, and we are
currently exploring ways to provide the requested assistance.
A recent decision by Tantawi to delay a FMF-funded counter
smuggling project, however, threatens progress. In February,
Tantawi insisted that the Army Corps of Engineers sever the
satellite link necessary to calibrate seismic-acoustic
sensors being installed along the Egypt-Gaza border to detect
tunneling activity. He also insisted that the ACE disable
GPS technology needed to accurately pinpoint tunneling
activity. This decision will result in a four to five month
delay to develop and implement a technical alternative. USG
efforts to encourage Tantawi to reconsider, including from
CENTCOM Commander General Petraeus, have been unsuccessful.

---------------
Regional Issues
---------------

10. (SBU) Egypt has shown increasing confidence that Iraq has
turned the corner, although concerns remain that the
Shi'a-led government is prone to Iranian influence. On Iran,
Egypt is concerned by rising Iranian influence in the region,
has supported UN sanctions, and is increasingly active on
countering Iran, e.g. in Gaza and to some extent in Lebanon,
working with Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to support
Lebanese political and territorial sovereignty. Egypt has
deployed peacekeeping troops to the UN Mission in Darfur,
just agreed to send troops to the UN Mission in Congo and is
taking a greater role within the African Union on regional
security and political issues.

-------------------------------
Internal Politics and Economics
-------------------------------

11. (SBU) We continue to promote democratic reform in Egypt,
including the expansion of political freedom and pluralism,
and respect for human rights. Egyptian democracy and human
rights efforts, however, are being stymied, and the GoE
remains skeptical of our role in democracy promotion,
complaining that any efforts to open up will result in
empowering the Muslim Brotherhood, which currently holds 86
seats in Egypt's 454-seat parliament. Economic reform is
ongoing although Egypt still suffers from widespread poverty
affecting 35-40% of the population. Egyptian-U.S. trade has
more than doubled in the last four years, reaching almost $9
billion in 2008. The U.S. exports to Egypt about twice as
much as it imports. Egyptian banks operate very
conservatively and have been spared involvement in risky
financial products, but the effects of the global economic
crisis on Egypt are beginning to be felt. As the global
credit crunch worsens, Egypt remains vulnerable as exports,
Suez Canal revenues, tourism, and remittances -- its largest
sources of revenue -- are all down and likely to continue to
fall.



SCOBEY