US embassy cable - 02AMMAN3861

JORDAN: SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION ON IRAQ

Identifier: 02AMMAN3861
Wikileaks: View 02AMMAN3861 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2002-07-15 12:27:00
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 SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 003861 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR, 
I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD 
USAID/ANE/MEA 
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH 
PARIS FOR O'FRIEL 
USCINCCENT/CCPA, USCENTCOM REAR MACDILL AFB FL 
NICOSIA FOR ILMG 
STATE PASS TO AID 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
 
TAGS: KMDR JO 
SUBJECT: JORDAN: SPECIAL MEDIA REACTION ON IRAQ 
 
 
SUMMARY 
 
FOR FOUR DAYS (FRIDAY -MONDAY JULY 12-15) JORDANIAN 
DAILIES WERE DOMINATED BY OFFICIAL DENIALS (BY THE 
PRIME MINISTER AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS) OF 
MEDIA REPORTS THAT JORDAN WOULD ALLOW THE U.S. TO USE 
ITS TERRITORY TO LAUNCH AN ATTACK AGAINST IRAQ. ON 
SUNDAY JULY 14, THE MAIN STORY WAS THE JORDANIAN 
GOVERNMENT'S STATEMENT ON FORMER CROWN PRINCE HASSAN'S 
PARTICIPATION IN THE MEETING OF IRAQI DISSIDENT 
OFFICERS, WHICH DESCRIBED THE PRINCE'S MOVE AS A 
PERSONAL ACT THAT DOES NOT REFLECT JORDAN'S POINT OF 
VIEW, AND OF WHICH NEITHER THE LEADERSHIP NOR THE 
GOVERNMENT HAD PRIOR KNOWLEDGE. 
 
MANY EDITORIAL WRITERS DEVOTED THEIR COLUMNS TO 
SUPPORTING JORDAN'S OFFICIAL POSITION AND ATTACKING THE 
MEDIA REPORTS OF JORDAN'S PARTICIPATION IN AN ATTACK ON 
IRAQ, WHICH THEY DESCRIBED AS A "VICIOUS MEDIA CAMPAIGN 
AGAINST JORDAN" ORIGINATING IN THE U.S. ACCORDING TO 
SOME WRITERS. 
 
 
NEWS REPORTS 
 
ON FRIDAY JULY 12, ALL JORDANIAN DAILIES LED WITH 
REPORTS ON THE PRIME MINISTER'S PRESS CONFERENCE, WHICH 
HE CALLED FOR EXPRESSLY TO DENY MEDIA REPORTS THAT 
JORDAN WOULD BE USED AS A BASE FOR AN ATTACK ON IRAQ. 
ABUL RAGHEB STRESSED THAT THERE ARE NO U.S. TROOPS IN 
JORDAN, AND THAT THERE IS NO UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN 
JORDAN AND THE U.S. TO USE JORDANIAN TERRITORY OR 
AIRSPACE FOR AN ATTACK ON IRAQ NOW OR IN THE FUTURE. 
THE PRIME MINISTER ALSO INVITED JOURNALISTS TO VISIT 
ANY JORDANIAN MILITARY BASES TO PROVE TO THEM THAT 
THERE ARE NO U.S. TROOPS THERE.  DAILIES ON THE SAME 
DAY REPORTED THE SAME MESSAGE BEING GIVEN BY MINISTER 
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MARWAN MU'ASHER IN A SPEECH BEFORE 
THE JORDANIAN MEDIA FORUM, A PRIVATE MEDIA 
ORGANIZATION. 
 
ON SATURDAY JULY 13, DAILIES REPORTED THE ASSERTION 
THAT JORDAN WOULD NOT BE USED AS A BASE TO STRIKE IRAQ 
NEITHER NOW NOR IN THE FUTURE, THIS TIME FROM THE 
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MU'ASHER WHO WAS IN CAIRO 
ATTENDING THE ARAB COORDINATION MEETING.  DAILIES ALSO 
REPORTED THE LONDON MEETING OF IRAQI DISSIDENT 
OFFICERS, BUT FAILED TO MENTION THE PARTICIPATION OF 
FORMER CROWN PRINCE HASSAN IN THAT MEETING. 
 
ON SUNDAY JULY 14, THE MAIN NEWS ITEM WAS THE MINISTER 
OF INFORMATION'S STATEMENT THAT PRINCE HASSAN'S 
PARTICIPATION IN THE LONDON MEETING OF IRAQI DISSIDENT 
OFFICERS "WAS A PERSONAL ACT THAT DOES NOT REFLECT 
JORDAN'S POINT OF VIEW."  THE MINISTER ALSO EXPRESSED 
"SURPRISE" AT THE PRINCE'S BEHAVIOR, AND ASSERTED THAT 
"NEITHER THE LEADERSHIP NOT THE GOVERNMENT HAD PRIOR 
KNOWLEDGE OF IT."  ON THE SAME SUBJECT, INDEPENDENT, 
MASS-APPEAL ARABIC DAILY AL-ARAB AL-YAWM QUOTED PRINCE 
HASSAN AS SAYING THAT "I HAVE COME IN MY PERSONAL 
CAPACITY AND I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL OF THE JORDANIAN 
GOVERNMENT." 
 
ON MONDAY JULY 15 THE PRIME MINISTER AVAILED HIMSELF OF 
HIS MEETING WITH ARAB LEAGUE SECRETARY-GENERAL AMRE 
MUSSA TO REAFFIRM THAT: "JORDAN REJECTS MILITARY ACTION 
AGAINST IRAQ," AND THAT "THERE ARE NO AMERICAN BASES IN 
JORDAN." 
 
 
EDITORIAL COMMENTARIES 
 
-- JORDAN IS NOT THE LAUNCHING GROUND OF THE ATTACK 
PROMINENT DAILY COLUMNIST FAHED AL-FANEK WROTE IN SEMI- 
OFFICIAL INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JULY 12: 
"JORDAN IS PROUD TO HAVE POLITICAL PLURALISM THAT 
ENCOMPASSES AND ALLOWS FREE EXPRESSION TO MANY 
POLITICAL POINTS OF VIEW.  HOWEVER, THERE IS TOTAL 
UNANIMITY OVER JORDAN'S REJECTION OF MILITARY 
AGGRESSION AGAINST IRAQ.  HOW CAN THE U.S., WHICH 
CLAIMS TO ADVISE US ON WAYS TO DEVELOP DEMOCRACY IN 
JORDAN, ASK THE GOVERNMENT TO GO AGAINST THIS POPULAR 
CONSENSUS AND TAKE PART IN ITS AGGRESSION AGAINST OUR 
BROTHERS?" 
 
-- THE MAGIC TURNED AGAINST THE MAGICIAN 
PROMINENT DAILY COLUMNIST FAHED AL-FANEK WROTE IN SEMI- 
OFFICIAL INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-RAI ON JULY 13: 
"THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THOSE WHO BEAT THE DRUMS OF WAR 
IN THE PENTAGON WOULD LOVE FOR JORDAN TO TAKE PART IN 
THE AGGRESSION AGAINST IRAQ; BUT THEY WANTED TO KNOW 
JORDAN'S ANSWER BEFORE POSING THE QUESTION, SO THEY 
GAVE LEAKS TO THE NEWSPAPERS.  THIS TRIAL BALLOON, 
HOWEVER, BURST BEFORE TAKING OFF.  WE WONDER IF THESE 
MENDACIOUS AND MALIGNANT LEAKS WERE THE WORK OF THE 
PENTAGON'S OFFICE OF STRATEGIC MISINFORMATION." 
 
-- THE MEDIA CAMPAIGN AGAINST JORDAN...DIMENSIONS AND 
OBJECTIVE 
DAILY COLUMNIST RAKAN MAJALI WROTE IN CENTER-LEFT, 
INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR ON SATURDAY JULY 
13: "MODERATE VOICES IN THE WEST WARN AGAINST THE 
MILITARIZATION OF POLITICS AND THE MEDIA IN THE U.S. AS 
IN A NEW ROME OR NAZISM IN MODERN GUISE.  GOBLES 
FOUNDED THE THEORY THAT SAID: `KEEP REPEATING THE LIE 
UNTIL FINALLY PEOPLE BELIEVE IT.'  BUT THE INDUSTRY OF 
LIES AND FABRICATED STORIES IN TODAY'S MEDIA 
IMPERIALISM HAS BECOME A REFINED ART.  DURING THE PAST 
FEW DAYS JORDAN FACED A VIRULENT MEDIA CAMPAIGN FULL OF 
MENDACIOUS ALLEGATIONS THAT JORDAN WOULD BE A PARTNER 
IN THE AGGRESSION AGAINST IRAQ WITH WHICH THE U.S. HAS 
THREATENED SINCE THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATION REACHED 
POWER.  THE PROGRAMMED MEDIA PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE 
JORDANIAN CATEGORICAL DENIALS, NOR DO THEY PAY ANY 
ATTENTION TO THE TRUTH.  INSTEAD THEY CONTINUE TO 
REPEAT THEIR LIES WITH OBVIOUS ILL INTENT." 
 
-- IRAQI OPPOSITION AND THE AMERICAN ALTERNATIVE 
DAILY COLUMNIST YASSER ZA'ATREH WROTE IN CENTER-LEFT, 
INFLUENTIAL ARABIC DAILY AL-DUSTOUR ON JULY 15: "THE 
STORY IS NOT ABOUT SADDAM HUSSEIN AND HIS REGIME, AND 
THE AMERICANS ARE NOT CONCERNED WITH THE SUFFERING OF 
THE IRAQI PEOPLE. WASHINGTON NEEDS A VICTORY TO MAKE UP 
FOR ITS FAILED WAR AGAINST WHAT IT CALLS TERRORISM, AND 
IT NEEDS TO PLEASE THE ZIONIST LOBBY AND THE CHRISTIAN 
REPUBLICANS.  NOTHING WOULD PLEASE THESE TWO MORE THAT 
STRIKING IRAQ. THE DANGER IS NOT LIMITED TO IRAQ.  IT 
THREATENS THE WHOLE REGION.  BUT THE LEADERS OF IRAQI 
OPPOSITION NEED URGENTLY TO RECONSIDER THEIR PRESENT 
POLICIES BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ASSISTING A WAR AGAINST 
SADDAM HUSSEIN, BUT AGAINST THEIR NATION."  GNEHM 

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