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UNCLAS AMMAN 003403
STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR,
I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD, NEA/IPA FOR ALTERMAN
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'
-- 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
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