US embassy cable - 01CAIRO5603

TFUSO1: EGYPT RESPONDS TO U.S. DISASTER

Identifier: 01CAIRO5603
Wikileaks: View 01CAIRO5603 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Created: 2001-09-12 16:01:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PREL PTER EG IS
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 121601Z SEP 01
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3813
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS CAIRO 005603 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, PTER, EG, IS 
SUBJECT: TFUSO1: EGYPT RESPONDS TO U.S. DISASTER 
 
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OFFICIAL CONTACTS 
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1.  THE EGYPTIAN GOVERNMENT REACTED QUICKLY TO THE HORRIFIC 
EVENTS IN THE UNITED STATES ON SEPTEMBER 11.  A CLEARLY 
DISTRAUGHT PRESIDENT MUBARAK APPEARED ON TELEVISION, 
EXPRESSING SORROW AND SADNESS AT THE EVENTS.  HE LATER CALLED 
A CABINET MEETING, DIRECTING THAT ALL FORMS OF ASSISTANCE BE 
OFFERED TO THE EMBASSY.  DEFENSE MINISTER TANTAWI, AS WELL AS 
FOREIGN MINISTER MAHER, WERE IN CONTACT WITH THE AMBASSADOR 
DURING THE EVENING TO INSURE THAT U.S. NEEDS WERE MET.  ARAB 
LEAGUE SECRETARY-GENERAL AMR MOUSSA PHONED THE AMBASSADOR TO 
EXPRESS CONDOLENCES, AND IN HIS PUBLIC STATEMENTS EXPRESSED 
THE SAME SENTIMENTS.  AFTERNOON OF SEPTEMBER 12, SHEIKH 
TANTAWI OF AL-AZHAR TOLD "WAFD" REPORTER THAT HE WAS PAINED 
BY THIS ACT AND OFFERED CONDOLENCES TO THE VICTIMS AND THEIR 
FAMILIES. AT THE SAME TIME, HE CONDEMNED ACTS COMMITTED BY 
ISRAEL AND ASKED THAT THE U.S. NOT JUMP TO QUICK CONCLUSIONS 
AS TO THE PERPETRATORS. 
 
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THE MEDIA 
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2.  MOST PAPERS FRONT-PAGED MUBARAK'S STATEMENTS OF SYMPATHY, 
CONDOLENCES, AND DENUNCIATION OF TERRORIST ATTACKS "UNDER ANY 
CIRCUMSTANCES." PAPERS ALSO QUOTED PRESIDENT BUSH ON HOW 
THOSE RESPONSIBLE WOULD BE IDENTIFIED AND PUNISHED.  MOST 
PAPERS REPORTED THE CLOSURE OF THE EMBASSY. 
 
3.  POPULAR TV MORNING CURRENT AFFAIRS PROGRAM "SUBAH 
AL-KHAYR" INTERVIEWED AN EGYPTIAN GENERAL WHO SAID THE 
ATTACKS REVEAL THE WEAKNESS OF AMERICAN SECURITY AND THE 
ABSENCE OF A CAPABLE INTELLIGENCE SERVICE.  ANOTHER EGYPTIAN 
MILITARY EXPERT WAS SHOWN ON T.V. SAYING, THAT GLOBALIZATION, 
THE GULF WAR, AND THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT WERE 
PROBABLE MOTIVES FOR THE ATTACK, ADDING THAT THE OPERATION 
WAS BEYOND THE CAPABILITIES OF ANY NON-STATE ENTITY. 
EDITORIAL COMMENT PREDICTABLY RUNS THE GAMUT FROM SOLE 
CONDOLENCE AND CONDEMNATION TO A MIXED MESSAGE COMBINING THE 
ABOVE BUT LINKING THE ATTACKS TO ALLEGED U.S. SUPPORT FOR 
ISRAELI "TERRORISM." 
 
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OTHERS 
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4.  THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD (MB) ISSUED A STATEMENT OF SHOCK, 
EXPRESSING REGRET AT THIS ATTCK AGAINST ALL HUMAN VALUES. 
THE MB ALSO DENOUNCED "ALL AGGRESSION AGAINST HUMAN VALUES 
THROUGHOUT THE GLOBE." 
 
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ON THE SECURITY SIDE 
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5.  CONTACTS REPORT THAT SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS (NFI) WERE 
ARRESTED IN HOMES AND COFFEEHOUSES BY POLICE AND HAULED OFF 
IN SECURITY VANS IN THE PYRAMIDS-KERDASSA AREA LAST NIGHT. 
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF CAIRO WILL STAY CLOSED THROUGH 
SEPTEMBER 12.  AIRPORT SECURITY IS REPORTEDLY EXTREMELY TIGHT. 
 
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FROM THE STREET 
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6.  AS EXPECTED, PUBLIC OPINION RAN THE GAMUT FROM COMPLETE 
SYMPATHY TO DOWNRIGHT SATISFACTION.  WE AND OUR FSN STAFF 
CANVASSED REACTION OF INDIVIDUALS FROM DIFFERENT SOCIAL, 
ECONOMIC, AND POLITICAL GROUPS.  THOSE FROM POLITICAL 
PARTIES, NGOS, HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS STRONGLY CONDEMNED THE 
KILLING OF CIVILIANS, WITH MANY ADDING THAT THE ATTACKS, 
UNFORTUNATELY REFLECTED THE PROBLEMS WITH U.S. POLICY IN THE 
REGION.  A MINORITY EXPRESSED SYMPATHY FOR THE VICTIMS BUT 
HAD NO VIEW ONE WAY OR ANOTHER ON THE POLITICS OF THE 
ATTACKS.  FINALLY, NEWS VENDORS, SERVANTS, CAB DRIVERS, AND 
COFFEEHOUSE PATRONS GENERALLY EXPRESSED SATISFACTION WITH THE 
ATTACKS, SAYING THAT PALESTINIANS HAD EXPERIENCED THIS FOR 
MANY YEARS, NOW, FINALLY, IT WAS AMERICA'S TURN. 
INTERESTINGLY, A LEFT-LEANING CONTACT AND OWNER OF A 
COFFEESHOP TOLD US THAT AFTER THE FIRST REPORTS OF A 
TERRORIST ATTACK OCCURRED IN THE U.S., THERE WAS A GENERAL 
SENSE AMONG THE SEVERAL PATRONS THAT THE U.S. WOULD KNOW NOW 
"HOW IT FELT." HOWEVER, AFTER THE MAGNITUDE OF THE 
DESTRUCTION BEGAN TO BE TELEVISED, OUR CONTACT REPORTED THAT 
SILENCE FELL OVER THE SHOP AND FURTHER TALK OF APPROVAL 
COMPLETELY CEASED. 
 
WELCH 

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