US embassy cable - 02AMMAN3403

MEDIA REACTION ON AL-QA'EDA AND RADIO `SAWA'

Identifier: 02AMMAN3403
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN3403 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-06-24 12:25:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: KMDR JO
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS AMMAN 003403 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR, 
I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD, NEA/IPA FOR ALTERMAN 
USAID/ANE/MEA 
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH 
PARIS FOR O'FRIEL 
USCINCCENT//CCPA, USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB FL 
STATE PASS TO AID 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
 
TAGS: KMDR JO 
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON AL-QA'EDA AND RADIO `SAWA' 
 
 
                        Summary 
 
-- Lead stories today, June 24, highlight Foreign 
Minister Marwan Muasher's visit to Ramallah and his 
talks with Yaser Arafat.  Reports portray story as 
furthering Jordan's support for the Palestinians and 
their cause.  Another major story highlights the 
findings of a poll conducted by the local Center for 
Strategic Studies on Prime Minister Abul Ragheb and 
his government's performance. 
 
           Editorial Commentary on Al-Qa'eda 
 
-- "Great evil" 
 
Daily columnist Musa Hawamdeh writes on the op-ed page 
of center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour 
906/24):  "If it is true what Suleiman Abu Ghaith, Bin 
Laden's spokesman, said about Al-Qa'eda being 
responsible for the bombing of the synagogue in Tunis, 
then it is a stupid thing to do by all accounts.  Why 
would Al-Qa'eda attack a Jewish synagogue and why 
would it increase its enemies and win, even more, the 
enmity of the world, and moreover, defame Arabs and 
Muslim?  Some may argue that Al-Qa'eda was attacking 
Jews and that it is our right to attack wherever they 
are.  This is completely stupid, because Arabs and 
Muslims have always protected the People of the Book 
[followers of the Bible - Jews and Christians) and 
treated them decently and humanely.  This has always 
been a point in favor of our religion and our 
humanity, at a time when Europe was swamped in 
darkness.  Yet, up to this day, we have failed to 
differentiate between our enmity and complete 
resistance to Israel on the one hand and our position 
vis--vis Jews and Judaism as a religion.  It would 
have been better for us to separate Israel, its 
aggression and our call for its destruction as an 
occupying and racist entity from our own stand vis-- 
vis Judaism as a religion." 
 
         Editorial Commentary on Radio `Sawa' 
 
-- "Sawa won't do it" 
 
Centrist, influential among the elite English daily 
Jordan Times (06/24) editorializes:  "Sawa is working. 
In a few months, the U.S. government-financed radio 
station has claimed a considerable percentage of radio 
listeners across the region.  This new FM radio 
station has succeeded in working out just the right 
mix of Arabic and Western music and fast beat news 
that many find appealing.  The audience is growing by 
the day.  But Radio Sawa is an organ of the United 
d 
States government that seeks to promote American 
policies and counter attempts to spread anti-U.S. 
feelings.  To many, it is a propaganda arm that wants 
to alter Arab peoples' opinions of the U.S. and its 
policies in the region.  This is an enormous task. 
The initial performance of Sawa should not lead to the 
wrong conclusion.  It is easy to win people's 
attention to hit songs and albums.  But changing their 
political beliefs is a whole different story.  Media 
can help.  But it cannot do the job.  Doing the job 
will require a deep assessment of American policy 
towards the Arab world.  It also demands a complete 
reversal of the policies and actions of Israel, the 
U.S.' main ally in the region..  That, unfortunately 
is not happening.  Sawa will succeed in no more than 
getting people to tune in to the sounds it offers. 
But the daily news of t he acts of an occupying power 
will have the biggest role in forming political views 
and attitudes. 
GNEHM 

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