US embassy cable - 01CAIRO5770

CAIRO MEDIA REACTION: THE ATTACK IN AMERICA - SEPTEMBER 19, 2001

Identifier: 01CAIRO5770
Wikileaks: View 01CAIRO5770 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Cairo
Created: 2001-09-19 10:06:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: KMDR OPRC KPAO EG
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 191006Z SEP 01
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3991
INFO CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CNO WASHDC IMMEDIATE
DA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
HQUSAF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
WHITEHOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
WHITEHOUSE NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
COMSIXTHFLT
ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 005770 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ENA NEA NEA/P INR 
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA 
USCENTCOM FOR POLAD 
LONDON ALSO FOR POL - GOLDRICH 
PARIS ALSO FOR POL - OFRIEL 
NICOSIA FOR ILMG 
JERUSALEM ALSO FOR VOA AND ICD 
ROME FOR MFO 
 
E.O. 12958: NA 
TAGS: KMDR, OPRC, KPAO, EG 
SUBJECT: CAIRO MEDIA REACTION: THE ATTACK IN AMERICA - 
SEPTEMBER 19, 2001 
 
 ----------- 
1. SUMMARY: 
----------- 
 
THE LEAD STORY IN ALL PRO-GOVERNMENT MEDIA WAS 
PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S INTERVIEWS WITH CNN'S LARRY KING 
AND THE BBC.  ALL PRO-GOVERNMENT HEADLINES EMPHASIZED 
MUBARAK'S RENEWAL OF THE CALL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL 
CONFERENCE ON FIGHTING TERRORISM; HIS URGING THAT AN 
AMERICAN ATTACK ON ANY COUNTRY BECAUSE OF A SINGLE 
PERSON MEANS THE KILLING OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS; AND HIS 
STATEMENT THAT PRESIDENT BUSH PROMISED FURTHER EFFORTS 
TO SETTLE THE MIDDLE EAST ISSUE; THAT THE EGYPTIAN 
ISLAMIC JIHAD ORGANIZATION IS CERTAINLY AFFILIATED WITH 
BIN LADEN. 
 
HOWEVER, THE BANNER IN OPPOSITION AL AHRAR READ, "WE 
WILL NOT FIGHT WITH AMERICA," IN REFERENCE TO PRESIDENT 
MUBARAK'S STATEMENT THAT EGYPTIAN TROOPS WILL NOT 
PARTICIPATE IN AN AMERICAN ATTACK IN AFGHANISTAN.  AL 
AHRAR'S FRONT PAGE FURTHER PUBLISHED A STORY THAT 
PRESIDENT BUSH "IS TRYING TO SAVE HIS FRAGILE ALLIANCE" 
BY MEETING WITH WORLD LEADERS ON THE PLANS TO RESPOND 
TO THE ATTACKS IN THE U.S. 
 
PROMINENT REPORTS ON PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO THE 
ISLAMIC CENTER IN WASHINGTON APPEARED IN LEADING PRO- 
GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM AND AGGRESSIVE PRO-GOVERNMENT AL 
AKHBAR. 
 
-- ON ALL FRONT PAGES, PRESIDENT MUBARAK DISCUSSED THE 
AMERICAN SITUATION WITH JORDAN'S KING ABDULLAH, SYRIAN 
PRESIDENT ASSAD AND OMAN SULTAN QABOOS. 
 
-- LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM'S FRONT PAGE 
PROMINENTLY REPORTED THAT THE UNSC DEMANDED THE TALIBAN 
SURRENDER BIN LADEN, WHILE THE U.S. FORMED "A WAR 
GOVERNMENT" WHERE PRESIDENT BUSH AND SECRETARY POWELL 
ARE CONDUCTING A DIPLOMATIC CAMPAIGN TO FORM AN 
INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE AGAINST TERRORISM. 
 
-- LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM QUOTED SECRETARY 
POWELL'S PRESS CONFERENCE SAYING THAT THE U.S. DOES NOT 
INTEND HARM TO THE AFGHANI PEOPLE, AND BIN LADEN HAS 
CELLS IN DOZENS OF COUNTRIES.  ALL PAPERS COVERED HIS 
STATEMENT TO AL JAZIRA TELEVISION RULING OUT ISRAEL'S 
PARTICIPATION IN THE AMERICAN MILITARY RESPONSE AND 
THAT THE ARAB WORLD IS NOT A TARGET OF AMERICAN ACTION 
TO FIGHT TERRORISM. 
 
-- ALL FRONT PAGES REPORTED ON THE KILLING OF AN 
EGYPTIAN COPT IN LOS ANGELES AS A REACTION TO THE 
ATTACKS IN THE U.S.  COLUMNISTS CONTINUED TO CRITICIZE 
THE "HATE CAMPAIGN" AGAINST ARABS AND MOSLEMS 
WORLDWIDE. 
 
-- AN EDITORIALIST TACKLED THE ISSUE OF FREEDOM VERSUS 
SECURITY AFTER THE ATTACKS.  ANOTHER QUESTIONED WESTERN 
STANDARDS AND LIKENED THE U.S. CURRENT SITUATION TO 
HITLER'S GERMANY AND STALIN'S RUSSIA.  WHILE THE 
GENERAL EDITORIAL TREND IS TO CALL FOR THE EXERCISE OF 
WISDOM AND NOT TO FOLLOW THE PREJUDGMENT AGAINST BIN 
LADEN, ONE COLUMNIST ATTACKED THE TALIBAN FOR 
PROTECTING BIN LADEN. 
 
-- THE MIDDLE EAST SITUATION, WHILE STILL ON ALL FRONT 
PAGES, WAS EMPHASIZED IN PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S INTERVIEWS 
WITH CNN AND BBC.  END SUMMARY. 
 
------------------- 
2. QUOTE OF THE DAY 
------------------- 
 
"THESE HAPHAZARD ACCUSATIONS THAT LACK FIRM EVIDENCE 
MAKE THE TRAGEDY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- WITH WHOM 
EVERYONE SYMPATHIZED -- A FARCE WITH WHICH NO ONE 
SYMPATHIZES.  IS THIS WESTERN DEMOCRACY?.. I REGRET 
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AMERICA." LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT 
AHRAM'S REGULAR COLUMNIST HAZEM ABDEL RAHMAN 
 
--------------- 
3. BLOCK QUOTES 
--------------- 
 
-- "FREEDOM AND SECURITY" LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL 
AHRAM'S SENIOR MODERATE COLUMNIST AHMED BAHGAT (9/19): 
DICTATORSHIPS DEEPLY DIFFER FROM DEMOCRACIES.  UNLIKE 
THE CITIZEN IN THE TOTALITARIAN REGIMES, THE CITIZENS 
IN DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES ENJOY FREEDOM OF SPEECH, 
MOVEMENT AND ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE.  THE PERPETRATORS OF 
THE ATTACKS IN WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK EXPLOITED THESE 
PRIVILEGES.. [HOWEVER,] AMERICANS ARE FEELING THAT 
THEIR FREEDOM IS THREATENED BY FIRM SECURITY MEASURES.. 
AMERICAN ANALYSTS BECAME AWARE OF THIS CRISIS AND 
STRESSED THAT THEY SHOULD NOT LOSE THEIR FREEDOM FOR 
SECURITY REQUIREMENTS..  WILL AMERICA SUCCEED IN 
SOLVING THE EQUATION OF BALANCING FREEDOM WITH 
SECURITY?.. THE ADVANTAGE OF DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES IS 
THAT EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL WITHOUT FEELING 
SECURITY.  WILL THIS IMAGE CHANGE?" 
 
-- "READY MADE ACCUSATION" LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT 
AHRAM'S REGULAR COLUMNIST HAZEM ABDEL RAHMAN (9/19): 
"THE U.S. WILL NOT LOSE ANYTHING BY HITTING BIN LADEN'S 
BASES IN AFGHANISTAN.  IT DID IT IN 1998 AFTER THE 
EMBASSY BOMBINGS IN NAIROBI AND DAR ESSALAM.  THE 
PROBLEM IS THAT IT MAY FAIL AGAIN IN CAPTURING HIM.. ON 
THE OTHER HAND, WHO SAID THAT HE IS THE SOLE 
RESPONSIBLE PARTY IN THE NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON 
ATTACKS?  HOW CAN THE CIA AND FBI BE TRUSTED SO RAPIDLY 
AFTER PROVING THEIR UTTER FAILURE IN DETECTING THE 
ATTACK AND REVEALING THE PERPETRATORS?..  AMAZINGLY, 
THE U.S., A SOCIETY OF POLITICAL PLURALISM, HAS 
SUDDENLY BECOME SIMILAR TO A NAZI SOCIETY IN HITLER'S 
TIME, OR A SOVIET SOCIETY IN STALIN'S RULE: EVERYONE IS 
MOBILIZED BEHIND THE ONE TREND AND ONE OPINION TO 
RETALIATE AGAINST A SPECIFIC PERSON BEFORE THE 
INVESTIGATIONS EVEN START.  CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE NOW 
ACCUSED OF BEING TERRORISTS FOR THE MERE FACT THAT 
THEIR NAMES WERE ON THE TRAVEL LISTS BECAUSE THEY ARE 
ARABS OR MOSLEMS, OR POSSESSED BOOKS ON HOW TO FLY A 
PLANE OR HOW TO BE A MOSLEM.  WHERE IS THE SERIOUSNESS 
OF THE INVESTIGATIONS?  THESE HAPHAZARD ACCUSATIONS 
THAT LACK FIRM EVIDENCE MAKE THE TRAGEDY OF THE 
AMERICAN PEOPLE -- WITH WHOM EVERYONE SYMPATHIZED -- A 
FARCE WITH WHICH NO ONE SYMPATHIZES.  IS THIS WESTERN 
DEMOCRACY?  DOES IT CHANGE, AT THE TIME OF DANGER, TO A 
BRAINWASH OPERATION AND AN OPEN FALSIFICATION OF THE 
PEOPLE'S CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE MOST MODERN NATION?  WHO 
SAYS THAT ONLY ARAB MOSLEMS COMMIT SUICIDE?  WHERE ARE 
THE KAMIKAZE PILOTS OR THE BUDDHISTS MONKS?..  I REGRET 
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AMERICA." 
 
-- "HATE CAMPAIGNS" LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM'S 
SENIOR INFLUENTIAL COLUMNIST SALAMA AHMED SALAMA 
(9/19): "THE HATE CAMPAIGNS AND HARASSMENT OF ARABS AND 
MOSLEMS IN AMERICA AND ALL THE WESTERN COUNTRIES IS 
RISING DAY AFTER ANOTHER..  THAT IS WHY PRESIDENT BUSH 
VISITED THE ISLAMIC CENTER IN WASHINGTON..  OUR FEAR IS 
THAT THE STATEMENTS OF OFFICIALS IN AMERICA AND EUROPE 
BECOME USELESS WITH THE WESTERN MEDIA CONTINUAL 
MOBILIZATION OF FEELINGS AGAINST THE SO-CALLED ISLAMIC 
TERRORISM AND THOSE SAVAGE ARABS WHO WANT TO CRUSH 
WESTERN CIVILIZATION..  THE QUESTION IS, WHAT IS THE 
USE OF ARAB DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS WORLDWIDE?  WHY DO THEY 
NOT ADOPT A COLLECTIVE PROTEST POSITION AGAINST THESE 
ATTACKS?  SILENCE WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO 
CONTINUE THE MISTREATMENT." 
 
-- "THE ISLAMOPHOBIA AND AMERICAN REVENGE" LEADING PRO- 
GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM'S COLUMNIST SALAH EDDIN HAFEZ 
(9/19): "WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A TARGET OF ACCUSATIONS 
ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONS OF SUPERPOWER. IT FIRST 
AVENGES ITS INJURED PRIDE, AND THEN THINKS ABOUT 
INVESTIGATING THE ATTACKS..  THE RAPID EFFORT TO FORM 
AN INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OR CONFERENCE LED BY THE U.S. 
TO FIGHT TERRORISM IS THANKFUL.. HOWEVER, WHERE WERE 
THESE EFFORTS WHEN TERRORIST GROUPS KILLED AND BURNED 
LAND IN [EGYPT AND ARAB COUNTRIES]?  WHERE WERE THESE 
FEVERISH EFFORTS WHEN ISRAEL KILLS, BURNS AND DESTROYS 
DAILY?..  IT IS GOOD TO SPEAK WITH AMERICA AND EUROPE 
ABOUT PEACE, STABILITY, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND 
FIGHTING TERRORISM.  HOWEVER, THIS MUST BE BASED ON 
UNIFIED STANDARDS AND BALANCED GUIDELINES.  WE SHOULD 
REMEMBER WHEN THE U.S. RUSHED AND PRESSURED EVERYONE TO 
HOLD AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FIGHTING TERRORISM 
IN SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT, IN 1996, WHEN IT TURNED OUT 
TO BE AN AMERICAN ATTEMPT ONLY TO HELP ISRAEL'S PERES 
WIN THE ELECTIONS." 
 
-- "IF I WERE IN TALIBAN'S SHOES" LEADING PRO- 
GOVERNMENT AHRAM'S COLUMNIST SALAH MONTASSER (9/19): 
"WHEN BIN LADEN WENT TO AFGHANISTAN, HE RAISED THE 
BANNER OF `STRUGGLING AGAINST THE INFIDELS;' A CALL 
THAT THE U.S. NOURISHED SO THAT IT WOULD BE USED 
AGAINST THE SOVIETS INSTEAD OF DIRECT AMERICAN 
INTERVENTION..  BIN LADEN WAS TEMPTED BY THE WEALTH HE 
INHERITED, THE STRENGTH THAT EMERGED IN TRAINING CAMPS 
AND INFLOW OF WEAPONS TO SERVE HIS OWN PURPOSE OF 
FORMING THE LARGEST TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.FROM WHICH 
EGYPT SUFFERED..  IN SUMMARY, BIN LADEN IS NOT THE 
INNOCENT NATIONALIST WHO DESERVES THE PROTECTION OF ANY 
COUNTRY.  IF I WERE IN TALIBAN'S SHOES I WOULD QUESTION 
FIRST BIN LADEN'S SELFISHNESS AND ASK HIM WHETHER HE 
ACCEPTS TO SURRENDER HIMSELF TO PROTECT AFGHANISTAN 
FROM THE IMPENDING DESTRUCTION OR NOT." 
 
 
WELCH 

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