Classified U.S. diplomatic cables, leaked by the whistleblower site WikiLeaks, contain accounts of Mossad Chief Meir Dagan telling U.S. Congressmen that the EU nuclear dialogue with Iran will fail and that U.S. and Israeli assessments of Iran's intentions are in accord.
Thursday, 17 March 2005, 10:32
1. (S) Summary: Mossad Chief Meir Dagan told CODEL Corzine March 13 that Israeli and U.S. thinking on Iran largely tracks, adding that he believes the EU dialogue with Iran will ultimately fail. Dagan said that Israel has evidence that some foreign fighters have returned home from Iraq, perhaps indicating that the tide may be starting to turn in the U.S. battle against the insurgency there. He worried however, that these militants' countries of origin -- in particular Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria and Sudan -- are ill-equipped to control the returning jihadis, who might then pose a threat to stability in the region and, ultimately, to Israel. End Summary.
2. (C) Senator Jon Corzine, accompanied by Senate staff member Evan Gottesman, the Ambassador, Pol/Res and Poloff (notetaker), met with Mossad Chief Meir Dagan March 13. Acknowledging that there are at times differences in analysis of the facts, Dagan stressed that it is similarities rather than differences that are at the heart of the GOI-U.S. intelligence relationship, particularly on Iran. The facts themselves are not in dispute, Dagan continued, adding that the U.S. and Israeli assessments of Iran's intentions and plans are largely in accord. Iran has decided to go nuclear, Dagan said, and nothing will stop it. Dagan predicted that the EU dialogue with Iran will not succeed and that the issue of Iran's nuclear ambitions would eventually go to the UN Security Council.
Iraq - Foreign Fighters Heading Home?
3. (S) In response to the Senator's question, Dagan said that the tide may be starting to turn in Iraq with regard to foreign militant activity. Dagan said Israel has evidence that foreign fighters originating from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Syria and Yemen have arrived back in their home countries, and he assumes that some had returned to Saudi Arabia as well. Dagan predicted that, as with men who fought in Afghanistan during the 80's and 90's, these returning militants would stay in touch with each other, forming a network based on their common experiences in Iraq.
4. (S) Stressing that Israel has no assets in Iraq other than a friendly relationship with the Kurds, Dagan said that Israel's interest is more in the impact the jihadis from, for example, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, will have once they return to their countries of origin. Although he predicts Egypt and Jordan will "do all right," Dagan said he is less confident that governments in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, and Sudan are sufficiently well-equipped to face down the domestic challenge these returning militants will pose. The combination of their military training and the absence of strong governments willing and able to confront these men could have a devastating impact on Israel by causing chaos in their home countries, he added. Dagan predicted that these jihadis will have less of a direct impact on Palestinians, because Palestinians are already well aware of militant views and opinions via Internet chat rooms. Furthermore, Dagan said he feels that most Palestinians are not searching for "foreign flags," such as al-Qaeda, under which to rally, because those inclined to do so are already being well-mobilized under existing groups in the West Bank and Gaza.
5. (C) Dagan opined that Hizballah will never make the transition to a purely political party in Lebanon, since the organization remains very dependent on its jihadi orientation. Noting that even the recent Hizaballah-sponsored march in Beirut has not deterred the Lebanese from pressing for a full Syrian withdrawal, Dagan advised the U.S. to remain firm in its demand for a complete pullout, and attributed the willingness of the Lebanese people to rise up to U.S. action in Iraq.
Essential to Use All Assets in the Fight Against Terrorism
6. (C) Dagan said it is essential to combine all types of intelligence assets, rather than relying exclusively on human intelligence or signal intercepts, to counter terrorist threats. Terrorist organizations have been seeking to obtain WMD as a matter of course and, unlike countries that wish to acquire these weapons as a deterrent, non-state actors would be more inclined to actually use them, in Dagan's opinion. Asked about the relationship between illicit activities such as narcotic or arms trafficking and terrorism, Dagan confirmed that terrorist organizations try to fund their activities by criminal means, adding that credit card fraud and counterfeiting are also methods favored by these groups. Weapons originating from Yemen and Sudan are smuggled into the territories through Egypt for sale, as well as for use by militants, Dagan said.
7. (U) CODEL Corzine did not have an opportunity to clear this message.