NOTE: The following memo released as Mubarek on orders from the US sets up Omar Sulayman for influence in the new government of Egypt should be widely circulated as it documents, “his overarching regional goal was combating radicalism, especially in Gaza, Iran, and Sudan.” He stressed his support for undermining Hamas control of Gaza and the restoration of the Palestinian Authority, which has worked closely with both the US and Israel.“ Egyptians must tear down the old and begin anew... inshaAllah they will see through the plots of the planners. Power sharing between the old party and Baradei's secularism will not alter course in Egypt.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 CAIRO 000746NOFORN SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2019
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL MULLEN'S MEETING WITH EGIS CHIEF SOLIMAN
Classified By: Ambassador Margaret Scobey per 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. Key Points:
- (S/NF) During an April 21 meeting with Chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Egyptian
General Intelligence Service Chief Omar Soliman explained
that his overarching regional goal was combating radicalism,
especially in Gaza, Iran, and Sudan.
- (S/NF) On Gaza, Soliman said Egypt must "confront" Iranian
attempts to smuggle arms to Gaza and "stop" arms smuggling
through Egyptian territory.
- (S/NF) Soliman shared his vision on Palestinian
reconciliation and bringing the Palestinian Authority back to
Gaza, saying "a Gaza in the hands of radicals will never be
- (S/NF) On Iran, Soliman said Egypt was "succeeding" in
preventing Iran from funneling financial support to Hamas
through Egypt. Soliman hoped that the U.S. could encourage
Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions and stop interfering in
regional affairs, but cautioned that Iran "must pay a price"
for its actions.
- (S/NF) Egypt is "very concerned" with stability in Sudan,
Soliman said, and was focusing efforts on convincing the
Chadean and Sudanese presidents to stop supporting each
others' insurgencies, supporting negotiations between
factions in Darfur, and implementing the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement (CPA). "Egypt does not want a divided Sudan,"
¶2. (S/NF) Soliman said radicalism was the "backbone" of
regional security threats, adding that radicalism in Gaza
posed a particularly serious threat to Egyptian national
security. Soliman said Egypt must "confront" Iranian
attempts to smuggle arms to Gaza and stop arms smuggling
through Egyptian territory. "Egypt is circled by
radicalism," he continued, expressing concern over
instability in Sudan and Somalia as well. Egypt's own
successful campaign against radicalism in the 1990s provided
a useful lesson in how to counteract extremist groups by
reducing their ability to operate and raise funds, in
additional to educating people on the dangers of extremism.
Soliman noted that only the Muslim Brotherhood remained and
the Egyptian government continued to "make it difficult" for
them to operate.
¶3. (S/NF) "We do not want incidents like Gaza to inflame
public anger," Soliman said, adding that the Gaza conflict
put "moderate (Arab) regimes" in a corner. To prevent
another outbreak of violence, Egypt is focusing on
Palestinian reconciliation and a durable cease-fire between
Hamas and Israel. On reconciliation, Soliman explained, the
ultimate goal was to return the Palestinian Authority to
Gaza, as "Gaza in the hands of radicals will never be calm."
The problem, however, is that the PA cannot return to Gaza
without Hamas' acquiescence. Soliman said the PA must return
before the January 2010 Palestinian elections, or else Gazans
would be afraid to vote for moderates.
¶4. (S/NF) Stability in Gaza also depends on giving people a
more "normal" life, Soliman continued, saying Israel must be
convinced to regularly open the border crossings for
legitimate commercial activity. The current system - where
Egypt informs Israel of a humanitarian shipment and Israel
waits two days before accepting or rejecting the shipment for
transfer to Gaza - does not adequately meet people's needs.
¶5. (S/NF) On Palestinian reconciliation, Soliman said he
expected the factions to return to Egypt on April 26 to
discuss his proposal on establishing a high committee
comprised of the various factions. The committee would be
responsible for preparing for the January 2010 elections,
monitoring reconstruction, and reforming the security
services in Gaza. On reconstruction, the committee would
issue licenses for companies eligible to participate on
projects, but the PA would decide who receives the money for
private and government contracts. Arab governments would
assist with reforming the security services and could base
security assistance out of Egypt. Soliman doubted that Hamas
would agree to the high committee, but said it was important
CAIRO 00000746 002 OF 002
to keep Hamas and Fatah talking, so they would not resort to
Iran, Counter Smuggling
¶6. (S/NF) Iran is "very active in Egypt," Soliman said.
Iranian financial support to Hamas amounted to $25 million a
month, but he said Egypt was "succeeding" in preventing
financial support from entering Gaza through Egypt. Iran has
tried several times to pay the salaries for the al-Qassam
Battalions, but Egypt had succeeded in preventing the money
from reaching Gaza. Soliman said the Egyptian government had
arrested a "big Hezbollah cell," which was Hezbollah's first
attempt to stand up a cell within Egypt. Iran was also
trying to recruit support from the Sinai Bedouins, he
claimed, in order to facilitate arms smuggling to Gaza. So
far, he continued, Egypt had successfully stopped Hamas from
rearming. Soliman noted that in six months, MOD will have
completed the construction of a subterranean steel wall along
the Egypt-Gaza border to prevent smuggling. He warned,
however, that people will find an alternative to the tunnels
to smuggle arms, goods, people, and money. Admiral Mullen
expressed appreciation for Egypt's efforts to combat
smuggling, adding that he hoped Egypt felt comfortable enough
to ask for additional border security assistance at any time.
¶7. (S/NF) Egypt has "started a confrontation with Hezbollah
and Iran," Soliman stressed, and "we will not allow Iran to
operate in Egypt." Soliman said Egypt had sent a clear
message to Iran that if they interfere in Egypt, Egypt will
interfere in Iran, adding that EGIS had already begun
recruiting agents in Iraq and Syria. Soliman hoped the U.S.
would "not walk the same track as the Europeans" in regards
to negotiating with Iran and warned against only focusing on
one issue at time, like Iran's nuclear weapons program. Iran
must "pay the price" for its actions and not be allowed to
interfere in regional affairs. "If you want Egypt to
cooperate with you on Iran, we will," Soliman added, "it
would take a big burden off our shoulders."
¶8. (S/NF) Egypt is very concerned with stability in Sudan,
Soliman said, but asked for the U.S. to be "patient" with the
Sudanese government and give Egypt time to help the Sudanese
government deal with its problems. He applauded the
appointment of Special Envoy Gration and recent U.S.
statements on Sudan. Soliman said Egypt was focused on three
areas for promoting stability in Sudan: 1) repairing the
relationship between Chadean President Deby and Sudanese
President Bashir and stopping their support for each others'
insurgencies 2) supporting negotiations between the various
factions in Darfur, and 3) implementing the CPA. Soliman
encouraged a larger role for French President Sarkozy in
mediating between Chad and Sudan. He said that Southern
Sudan "feels no benefits from unity," and Egypt is trying to
bridge the "physiological gap" between north and south itself
by providing humanitarian assistance. "Egypt does not want a
divided Sudan," he stressed. Admiral Mullen replied that
Egypt's leadership on Sudan was critical and looked forward
to increased cooperation between Egypt and Special Envoy
Piracy and Somalia
¶9. (S/NF) Admiral Mullen stressed that piracy was an
international crime that needed an international solution,
especially on support for trying captured pirates. The U.S.
did not want Somalia to become the next safe haven for
al-Qaeda after Pakistan, he stressed. Soliman replied that
there were not enough ships in the region to provide adequate
security against pirate attacks and recommended that the
international community, through the UN Security Council,
focus counter piracy efforts on the Somali shore.
¶10. (U) Admiral Mullen did not have the opportunity to clear
before his departure.