137711 1/17/2008 15:07 08BUCHAREST41 Embassy Bucharest SECRET 07BUCHAREST1244|07BUCHAREST517|07BUCHAREST876|08STATE2310 VZCZCXRO5050 PP RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK DE RUEHBM #0041/01 0171507 ZNY SSSSS ZZH P 171507Z JAN 08 FM AMEMBASSY BUCHAREST TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7782 INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 BUCHAREST 000041
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/16/2018 TAGS: PINR, EAID, EUN, KDEM, MARR, NATO, PREL, RO SUBJECT: ROMANIAN PLANS IN IRAQ FOR 2008 AND BEYOND (C-RE8-00009)
REF: A. 08 STATE 02310 B. 07 BUCHAREST 1244 C. 07 BUCHAREST 0876 D. 07 BUCHAREST 0517
Classified By: Ambassador Nicholas F. Taubman for reasons 1.4(b) and (d )
1. (C) This message responds to Ref. A request regarding EU member states' plans for their forces and other efforts in Iraq. Responses are keyed to questions posed in Ref. A. More detail can be gleaned from reftels B-D.
2. (S) Begin responses:
Q. (S) WHAT ARE EUROPEAN LEADERS' LONG-TERM (I.E., BEYOND 2008) PLANS FOR THEIR FORCES AND OTHER EFFORTS IN IRAQ? AND WHICH, IF ANY, EUROPEAN PARTNERS PLAN ON HAVING FORCES IN IRAQ DURING 2008 AND BEYOND?
(C) Answer: The GOR is committed to maintain its current troop levels in Iraq through 2008. The Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) this summer will authorize 2009 troop levels, probably by the end of June. Depending on the extent of Romania's consultations with coalition partners, there are elements in the GOR who could press the MOD to begin planning for drawing down its forces beginning in 2009. Any consideration of the timing for a complete withdrawal would be dependent somewhat upon both those coalition consultations and the course development of the "DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES FOR A LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP OF COOPERATION AND FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN THE REPUBLIC OF IRAQ AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." Romanian MFA Middle East Director has said the Romania is committed to expanding its relationships with Iraq, including intensifying diplomatic and cultural exchanges even if the U.S.-led coalition dissolves. He said that if Iraq requests Romania to stay, then Romania will stay. This was not a commitment for providing or offering troops, per se, but rather a desire for a more normal bilateral relationship between Romania and Iraq.
Q. (S) WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTIVE FORCE SIZES, AND WHAT ROLE DO THEY PLAN TO PLAY IN-COUNTRY, TO INCLUDE COMBAT OPERATIONS, BASE PROTECTION, TRAINING, AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE?
(C) Answer: Romania currently has 495 combat troops deployed in Iraq (493 OIF and 2 NTMI). Romania will be joining the UK, U.S. and Austria in the first "QUAD" consultations over MND-S, but is unlikely to offer up an increase in troop levels. Romania will soon be the third largest contingent among the coalition partners, following Poland's drawdown, and probably will need to redeploy its forces more appropriately under the reorganization of MND-S. Romania will continue to support training for Iraqi forces.
Q. (S) WHAT NON-MILITARY CONTRIBUTIONS, SUCH AS ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE, DO THE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES PLAN TO UNDERTAKE IN 2008 AND BEYOND?
(C) Answer: Romania is developing government-to-government exchange programs and looking to expand commercial ties with Iraq. Some funds will be set aside from Romania's minuscule development assistance programs to assist education development and cultural programming in Iraq.
Q. (S) WHAT ARE THE LEGAL AUTHORITIES THAT THESE COUNTRIES NEED IN ORDER TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE IN IRAQ?
(C) Answer: The Supreme Council for National Defense (CSAT) chaired by the President, and with the prime minister and other ministers representing Defense, Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior, and the intelligence service chiefs, inter alia, is the consensus body that sets troop deployment authorization levels and conditions. The CSAT operates under constitutional authority and parliamentary law, and reports to and subject to parliamentary consent. There currently is general agreement of principle among the major political parties regarding all of Romania's international deployments.
Q. (S) HOW MIGHT DOMESTIC ELECTIONS HELD BY SOME OF THE EUROPEAN PARTNERS IN 2008 AFFECT THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS IN IRAQ?
(C) Answer: 2008 is an election year for Romania and probably will generate additional pressure for Romania to withdraw from Iraq. Public opinion polling consistently shows a majority of Romanians against its troop deployments in Iraq
BUCHAREST 00000041 002 OF 003
(52 percent according to the Institute for Public Policy). A plurality (38 percent) believes the Iraqi deployment was "to please the United States." On the other hand, 49 percent support Romania's participation with troops in international missions; clear majorities within that group support everything generically from humanitarian missions to peace support operations short of forcibly removing a dictator from power. Since the deployment of Romanian troops in Iraq is relatively unpopular, some political actors might see the issue as a potential vote-getter. The unknown in this political mix will be the extent to which President Basescu, the most popular official in Romania, would fight to keep Romania's commitment to the Iraqi coalition unchanged. He could be tempted to consider how a Romanian withdraw would play domestically, especially following Poland-a country that Romania both intentionally and unintentionally tends to emulate-having announced an intention to pull out of Iraq. Romania does seek greater maneuvering room in the Middle East, and Iraqi military engagement could be seen domestically as a liability for Romania's broader national (read "economic) interests now that it is firmly established in the European and Atlantic institutions.
Q. (S) ARE ANY EUROPEAN COUNTRIES LOOKING FOR WAYS TO BECOME MORE INVOLVED ON IRAQ? IF SO, WHAT WAYS ARE THEY CONSIDERING AND WHY? IF NOT, WHY?
(C) Answer: As noted above, not militarily.
Q. (S) WHAT DO EUROPEAN LEADERS VIEW AS THEIR INTERESTS AT STAKE IN IRAQ?
(C) Answer: Coalition solidarity and prospects for broadening ties in Iraq are important but the MOD at least sees Iraqi deployments as an accelerant to their military modernization and transformation programs to improve Romania's military capabilities, including interoperability with key allies.
Q. (S) WHAT INVESTMENT OR CONTRACT OPPORTUNITIES ARE EUROPEAN LEADERS LOOKING FOR IN IRAQ?
(C) Answer: Full spectrum.
Q. (S) WHAT DO EUROPEAN LEADERS VIEW AS CONSTRAINTS TO THEIR GREATER INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ?
(C) Answer: The security environment is not yet fully permissive.
Q. (S) HOW DO THE EUROPEANS VIEW THE SECURITY SITUATION IN IRAQ? DO THEY BELIEVE IT IS GETTING BETTER, WORSE, OR STAYING THE SAME? IF BETTER, HOW LONG DO THEY BELIEVE THE IMPROVED SITUATION WILL LAST?
(C) Answer: MOD and MFA officials recognize that the security situation -- following the surge and the stronger focus on counter-insurgency operations -- has significantly improved the situation in Iraq. They are committed to maintaining a robust training schedule with the INA and police, to help build a sustainable capacity for security operations. This commitment is consistent with the time frame that is implied within the U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles.
Q. (S) HOW MIGHT EUROPEAN THREAT ASSESSMENT AFFECT CALCULATIONS ABOUT GREATER ENGAGEMENT?
(C) Answer: The Romanian point of view is not related to a "threat assessment."
Q. (S) DO THE CURRENT EUROPEAN PARTNERS VIEW A BETTER SECURITY SITUATION AS A REASON TO PULL OUT OF IRAQ?
(C) Answer: Yes for Romania.
Q. (S) PLEASE PROVIDE INSIGHT INTO WHAT WILL BE THE FUTURE LEVELS OF ECONOMIC/HUMANITARIAN AID FROM EUROPEAN CAPITALS TO IRAQ? WILL IT BE INCREASING, DECREASING, OR STAYING CONSTANT?
(C) Answer: Romania, a country of 22 million people, has a GDP that represents about one half of one percent of the total EU GDP, less than one-third of the average EU GDP, and roughly forty percent of the per capita GDP of Poland. There is marginal funding for foreign assistance, mainly for supporting cultural exchanges and travel. Romania's contribution to European humanitarian assistance has largely taken the form of technical expertise and personnel. Romania
BUCHAREST 00000041 003 OF 003
was among the first non-Paris Club countries to forgive Iraqi debt under Paris Club terms. Iraqi bilateral debt to Romania amounts to USD 2.5 billion, of which 80 percent will be forgiven if all the terms of the Paris Club agreement are met.
Q. (S) WHAT UPCOMING EUROPEAN MEETINGS INDICATE POSSIBLE INCREASED INVOLVEMENT IN IRAQ?
(C) Answer: None.
Q. (S) WHAT ARE EUROPEAN GOVERNMENT REACTIONS TO CURRENT PUBLIC SENTIMENTS REGARDING IRAQ?
(C) Answer: noted above.
Q. (S) ARE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES LOOKING FOR A COHESIVE EUROPEAN IRAQ POLICY OR IS IRAQ A BILATERAL ISSUE SUBJECT TO INTERNAL PRIORITIES?
(C) Answer: Within the framework of the European Union, Romania will make a modest contribution to any Iraq policy developments. TAUBMAN