Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wikileaks [3]: "Assad...Hezbollah ... Hariri....The legal ground is already in place .."

Thursday, 26 July 2007, 13:52
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 TEL AVIV 002280 
EO 12958 DECL: 07/13/2017 
Classified By: Charge d'affaires Gene A. Cretz for reasons 1.4 (B/D).

1. (S) SUMMARY: Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (AFHSC), met Mossad Director Meir Dagan on July 12 for a general discussion of regional security threats. On the Iranian nuclear program, Dagan proved surprisingly optimistic about the effects of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and their impact on Iranian elites. On most other fronts, however, Dagan expressed deep skepticism regarding any near-term solutions. Dagan believes that the Syrians were emboldened by the Second Lebanon War, and argued for a concerted international effort to enforce UNSC resolutions in Lebanon as a means of removing Syria from Iranian influence. In Dagan's personal opinion, present attempts to prop up the government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will fail, and "an entirely new approach" with the Palestinians is required. Dagan and Townsend surveyed political developments in North Africa, Turkey, and the Gulf, and shared concerns about Pakistan's ability to withstand the challenge of Islamic radicals. END SUMMARY.
Gulf States Await Action (From Others) on Iran
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4. (S) According to Dagan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States all fear Iran, but want someone else "to do the job for them." Townsend and Dagan discussed the current state of affairs in the Saudi royal court, where the Mossad Chief accused Foreign Minister Saud bin Faysal of playing a "very negative role." He also pointed to the recent visit of the Saudi King Abdullah to Jordan as a historical first and turning point for relations between the two countries. Townsend agreed, and said that the Saudi king has a sense of urgency on the political front.Dagan characterized Qatar as "a real problem," and accused Sheikh Hamad of "annoying everyone." In his view, Qatar is trying to play all sides -- Syria, Iran, Hamas -- in an effort to achieve security and some degree of independence. "I think you should remove your bases from there...seriously," said Dagan. "They have confidence only because of the U.S. presence." Dagan predicted, with some humor, that al-Jazeera would be the next cause of war in the Middle East as some Arab leaders (specifically Saudi Arabia) are willing to take drastic steps to shut down the channel, and hold Sheikh Hamid personally responsible for its provocations.
Syria Taking Dangerous Risks
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5. (S) Dagan echoed other reports that Syria expects an Israeli attack this summer, and has raised its level of readiness. Despite the fact that Israel has no intention of attacking, said Dagan, the Syrians are likely to retaliate over even the smallest incident, which could lead to quick escalation. Dagan believes that Syria's strategic alliance with Iran and Hizballah has not changed, and that Assad views these policies as both "successful and just." There is a tendency to assume that Syria can be separated from Iran, said Dagan, and that this offers the key to weakening Hizballah. Dagan argued that the opposite is true: by enforcing UN resolutions on Lebanon and increasing efforts to disarm Hizballah, the international community can remove the glue that binds Iran and Syria. Enforcing the resolutions would put additional pressure on Assad, who fears being tried for the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri above all else. The advantage of such an approach, continued Dagan, is that the legal ground is already in place for action by the UNSC. This credible threat could sufficiently frighten Syria away from Iran and towards more natural allies in the Arab League.....
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