INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Dasd Huddleston and Admiral Moeller Discuss

Published: Fri 6 Nov 2009 03:25 PM
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DE RUEHRB #0899/01 3101525
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADD3CC70 MSI8942 641)
P 061525Z NOV 09 ZDS
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0810
INFO RUEWMFD/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCNMGH/MAGHREB COLLECTIVE
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 4761
UNCLAS RABAT 000899
SENSITIVE
C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (ADDED SENSITIVE CAPTION)
SIPDIS
STATE FOR S/CT, PM, NEA/RA AND AF/W
DEFENSE FOR OSD - DASD FOR AFRICA HUDDLESTON
JCS FOR J-5 GENERAL SMITH
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR PREL PTER MASS MO
SUBJECT: DASD HUDDLESTON AND ADMIRAL MOELLER DISCUSS
COOPERATION WITH KEY MOROCCAN OFFICIALS
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Africa Huddleston, Africa Command Deputy Commander Vice
Admiral Moeller, and Brigadier General Jefforey Smith from
the Joint Staff met with senior Moroccan military and
civilian officials on October 16 to discuss the challenges
facing Africa and USG efforts to address those challenges.
Transnational threats, especially from Al Qaeda in the Lands
of the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa and the Sahel, figured
prominently in the dialogue, but Moroccan leaders placed
great emphasis on the importance of development and
partnership with African countries. They warned that
military might alone cannot defeat transnational threats.
During the visit, the GOM provided a new text of the
long-awaited Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement
(ACSA), and we appear even closer to being able to sign this.
Finally, Moroccans highlighted interoperability with the
U.S. and NATO. END SUMMARY.
2. (SBU) Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa in the Office
of the Secretary of Defense (DASD) Ambassador Vicki J.
Huddleston visited post October 15 ) 17, 2009, meeting with
the Ambassador and members of the country team, as well as
senior officials from the Kingdom of Morocco (KoM). These
included the Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces
(CHOD) Lieutenant General Abdelaziz Bennani; Minister
Delegate in the Office of the Prime Minister in Charge of
National Defense Administration Mr. Abderrahmane Sbai; and
the Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and
Cooperation Ambassador Youssef Amrani. She was accompanied
by Vice Admiral Robert T. Moeller, Deputy Commander for
Military Operations, U.S. Africa Command, and Brigadier
General Jefforey Smith, Deputy Director, Political-Military
Affairs, Middle East Division, Joint Staff J-5. She
highlighted U.S. government (USG) goals for Africa, presented
Department of Defense (DoD) objectives and efforts in support
of those goals, and received input from the country team and
KoM officials on the same.
3. (SBU) At every stop DASD Huddleston underscored USG
goals, as expressed in President Obama,s speeches in Cairo
and Accra, as supporting democracy and the rule of law. She
outlined DoD objectives and actions in support of those
goals. These include:
a. The maturation of Africa Command, a single combatant
command dedicated to the support of U.S. defense policy and
efforts on the continent of Africa.
b. Africa Command,s efforts to build African nations
capacity to defend against transnational threats, to include
terrorism as manifested by Al Qaeda in the Lands of the
Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Al Shabab, and Boko Haram in Nigeria.
c. Bolstering civilian authority to combat threats to
stability in Somalia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC), and Darfur, Sudan. She complimented the clear
authority and stability represented by the King of Morocco.
d. Support to regional peacekeeping activities in the DRC
and Liberia.
e. Efforts to combat illegal activities, especially law
enforcement and prison reform initiatives.
f. Protection of natural resources.
4. (SBU) DASD Huddleston, fresh from a visit to France,
advanced the French perception of AQIM as the principal
terrorist threat to France, as well as their philosophy of
from the side8 in engagement activity in
Mauritania and Mali in an effort to empower the Governments
of Mauritania and Mali to protect themselves. While she
solicited Moroccan views and interest in incorporating the
two countries into mutual defense of their borders, she did
not receive a direct answer.
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LTG BENNANI
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5. (SBU) The DASD,s meeting with LTG Bennani was cordial
and high level, serving to introduce the senior members of
the American and Moroccan defense delegation to each other in
advance of the December 1-3, 2009 Defense Consultative
Committee in Washington, D.C. However, Bennani refused to
answer questions directly, deferring to the king,s authority
as Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces. Nonetheless, he
touched on several themes:
a. He favorably acknowledged the creation and role of Africa
Command, and noted that while it was still young its
strategic vision is rational.
b. He favorably acknowledged President Obama,s vision and
understanding of geo-politics, and posited that while the USG
confronts many issues on the African continent, the strategic
importance of Morocco will help yield positive results.
c. He spoke favorably of the future of the Acquisition and
Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA), and the potential
acquisition of the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank, equating it
to the recent acquisition of the Chaparral III anti-aircraft
system.
d. He stated that Morocco wants to be viewed as a strategic
partner to the U.S. and that, while it is not Morocco,s way
to exhaust the partnership by continually asking for more
resources, the understanding of a friend will go a long way
to sustaining current acquisitions, such as properly bedding
down the F-16 when it arrives in 2011.
e. He stated that the Royal Armed Forces seek greater
integration and interoperability with U.S. armed forces,
noting the Moroccan role alongside U.S. and coalition forces
in Desert Storm and the Balkans, and positing that they could
have been used to greater advantage in Somalia if they had
been able to more closely integrate with U.S. forces. And
f. He reinforced the mission of the Royal Armed Forces as
protection of the borders, and likened the border of Morocco
with Mauritania to the border of the U.S. with Mexico.
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MINISTER-DELEGATE SBAI
----------------------
6. (SBU) DASD Huddleston,s meeting with Minister-Delegate
Sbai was upbeat, with the Minister touching on a wide variety
of topics. Among them:
a. The Royal Armed Forces enjoy excellent relations with
their American counterparts, to include training, exercising,
and equipping.
b. He appreciates the distinction, and the prestige, of the
decision to afford a Defense Consultative Committee to
Morocco.
c. He repeated the Royal Armed Forces, mission was
protecting Morocco from external threats, and that the King
has charged him to assure that the forces have the capacity
to defend the Kingdom. He put the acquisition and
development of that capacity into context, however, as being
balanced with reforms and development in other spheres of
life: religious, political, economic and social. He noted
that these activities all have to proceed apace but that
priority will always be given by the King to the human
dimension, that Morocco will not be a beggar, and that the
King understands that broad development will ultimately be
the best guarantor of peace. And
d. He underscored the role of women in protecting broadly
against extremism, noting that the King had formally
introduced the concept of women as preachers, and positing
that women were generally the more trustworthy and stalwart
pillars of Islamic society.
e. In the context of discussing regional cooperation, he
noted that Morocco had provided training to a number of
African countries.
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FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND COOPERATION
-------------------------------
7. (SBU) DASD Huddleston concluded her meetings with a visit
to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, where she
met Ambassador Amrani, Chief of Staff Ambassador Nasser
Bourita and Director of African Affairs Abdellatif Bendahane.
The trio acknowledged the reinvigorated relationship of the
U.S. with the Arab and African world and presented a positive
image of a Morocco on the move, leading effort in the region
and the continent. Ambassador Amrani declared,
security is our security.8 Other key points included:
a. Work with the U.S. in the United Nations, in combating
terror, and in conducting free trade.
b. The difficulties of working in Africa, especially
respecting the sovereignty and sensibilities of every
country, and the challenges of illegal immigration, piracy,
and drug use.
c. The ineffectiveness of the Arab Maghreb Union, and the
need for member countries to work together to make it
effective.
d. A Moroccan vision for Africa that is optimistic (vice the
traditional western view of the continent as troubled);
multi-dimensional to include human rights and peace; and
action-oriented, noting the Kingdom,s accomplishments in
establishing bilateral agreements under the current King, the
national airline,s expansion of service, the Kingdom,s
support to Francophone Africa in the form of educational
scholarships, agriculture, medicine, telecommunications, the
environmental initiatives. They further underscored the
Kingdom,s direct contributions to security in the form of
combating terrorism, narcotics/contraband/human trafficking,
and peacekeeping, noting that the UN is increasingly
returning to countries where they have been before. Morocco
is cooperating with 22 African countries on counternarcotics,
disarmament, migration, piracy, and conflict resolution.
Morocco,s European partners are overly focused on migration.
e. Combating AQIM requires a multidimensional approach. One
must work in both the political and religious spheres, said
Amrani. Middle East peace is an essential part of the
equation, and Morocco,s moderate, modern Islam could provide
a valuable model in contrast to Shi,ism. And
f. The desire to expand the relationship with NATO.
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COMMENT
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8. (SBU) In sum, DASD Huddleston,s visit reinforced the
excellent relationship between the two nations, defense
establishments and governments. She was able to repeat the
USG,s message of engagement with the Arab and African
worlds, assure a stable and long-term partner in the region
of America,s continued commitment to its security and
prosperity, and solicit feedback and listen to KoM views on
America,s role in the region and the kingdom,s ability to
work with the USG. The visit created excellent momentum for
the DCC in December, which should serve to facilitate
productiveness between the two nations over the next 18
months. END COMMENT.
9. (U) DASD Huddleston has cleared this message.
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Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;
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Kaplan
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