|Wikileaks:||View 03AMMAN1744 at Wikileaks.org|
|Tags:||AEMR AMGT CASC CVIS EAIR ECON EWWT IZ 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.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 001744 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2013 TAGS: AEMR, AMGT, CASC, CVIS, EAIR, ECON, EWWT, IZ, JO SUBJECT: TFIZO1: AMMAN SITREP 8 (3/23 1600 LOCAL) REF: FBIS GMP20030322000228 Classified By: Acting DCM Doug Silliman. Reason 1.5 (b,d). ---------------- General Overview ---------------- 1. (C) The GOJ this afternoon publicly announced (confirmed by the Foreign Minister to the Ambassador) the expulsion of five Iraqi diplomats "for security reasons and for performing actions that contradict the nature of their work as diplomats". The Minister said they would be asked to leave the country. 2. (C) The Embassy resumed many public services today, although activities at ancillary facilities (the American Language Center, Peace Corps office) remain suspended. American personnel were encouraged to stagger their arrival and departure to/from work and, although standfast has been lifted, are limited to essential movements. 3. (C) The vast majority of Jordanians remain angry, frustrated and completely unconvinced by the U.S. rationale for war. Although the GOJ continues to keep a tight lid on public displays of opposition to the war (allowing some demonstrations but always with a large security presence), private conversations with Jordanians reveal an unprecedented level of anger with both the U.S. and with Arab leaders who are seen as abetting a new "colonization of Arab lands." Many contacts described the King's 3/21 speech to the nation (and his subsequent comments on 3/22 (see below)), in largely negative, dismissive and derogatory terms. 4. (C) As of 1200 noon local time, PSD reports that a number of student demonstrations are currently ongoing at several Jordanian universities. These include 3,000 at Jordan University for Science and Technology in Irbid, 1,000 at al-Yarmouk University in Irbid, and several hundred each at universities in Ma'an and on the outskirts of Amman. PSD personnel are present at all these sites and report that the gatherings have been peaceful. Intermittent demonstrations by groups of youths at the Baqa'a refugee camp continue today as well. 5. (U) The Jordanian press reported today on the return of the body of the Jordanian taxi driver allegedly killed on the road from Baghdad near Ramadi by a coalition missile. The press also reported today that four Jordanians were killed in a car accident near Mosul, although rumors abound (particularly via mobile phone text messages and a story on al-Jazeera TV) that they too were hit by U.S. ordnance. The MFA confirmed that four Jordanians had died near Mosul, but did not have specific information on the circumstances of the incident. 6. (C) Financial markets continue to take events in stride. The Amman Stock Exchange recorded a 1 percent gain Sunday. Queen Alia International Airport continues to operate normally. Alitalia resumed its Amman service, joining Air France, which restored its service yesterday. Other European carriers are assessing security and market conditions before they restore service to Amman. KLM has indicated it will not resume operations before April 14. 7. (C) Port of Aqaba authorities said "business as usual" continues at the port. Officials said that none of the big shipping lines have indicated reductions or cancellations in calls or loads. However, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and shipping associations are working with international insurance companies to ensure that Aqaba is not designated as part of the war zone. Inclusion in the war zone could translate into additional insurance costs of up to USD 4000 per ship and up to USD 150-250 per container. --------------- Consular Issues --------------- 8. (U) No new issues. Consular inquiries remain light. ---------------------- GOJ Actions/Statements ---------------------- 9. (U) Petra news service reported that, in a March 22 cabinet meeting, King Abdullah stressed the importance of maintaining domestic security and stability in the current crisis. He added that any expressions of anger should be non-violent. Also in the cabinet meeting, PM Abul Ragheb said the government had taken measures to mitigate the impact of the war on sensitive economic sectors including tourism, transport and exports. Abul Ragheb noted Jordan's monetary situation is stable, with foreign currency reserves remaining high. -------- Security -------- 10. (U) No new issues. GOJ protection of the chancery compound remains at a heightened state. --------------------------- Refugee/Humanitarian Issues --------------------------- 11. (SBU) As of 1200 noon, IOM reports that a total of 651 TCNs have crossed into Jordan from Iraq since the beginning of hostilities (51 overnight). IOM continues to evacuate TCNs. All Sudanese who had previously said that they wanted to claim asylum have now agreed to return to Sudan. IOM continues to organize their departure via charter and commercial flights. Currently 291 TCNs remain in the Ruweished transit camp. No Iraqi asylum seekers have yet tried to enter Jordan. 12. (C) CNN reporters who were expelled by the Iraqi authorities and arrived at Ruweished on 3/22 told UNHCR that the Iraqi side of the border is open, the road from Baghdad to the Jordanian border remains clear, they did not see anything that could prevent Iraqis from leaving the country, and that they did not come across any population movements along the road. TCNs, however, report rumors of missile strikes on vehicles attempting to transit the Baghdad-Amman highway. However, a group of South Africans who made the journey late on 3/22 corroborated the account of the CNN team that they saw no evidence of injured civilians or blockages along the road. 13. (C) UNHCR also reports that the GOJ has restricted access to all points east of Safawiye and had turned back UN officials who lacked proper documentation. UNHCR reports also that a zone 5 KM from the Iraqi-Jordanian border is now officially off-limits to journalists. ----- Press ----- 14. (U) Local Arabic press coverage continues to focus on the bravery and resistance of Iraqi troops, along with pictures of civilian casualties, rather than the speed and might of the U.S. military. Cartoonists depict scenes such as President Bush tossing a bomb out of a plane and saying "Here, have a little more Democracy." The Arabic daily Al-Dustour ran a gruesome above-the-fold front page color photo of an Iraqi child allegedly killed by coalition bombing. Editorialists vary between articles hailing King Abdullah's determination to end the war as soon as possible and protect Jordan's interests, and a mantra that the war is being waged by the Zionist lobby and oil interests. GNEHM
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