US embassy cable - 03AMMAN1744


Identifier: 03AMMAN1744
Wikileaks: View 03AMMAN1744 at
Origin: Embassy Amman
Created: 2003-03-23 12:57:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
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 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/23/2013 
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 
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 
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 
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. 
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. 

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