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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
02AMMAN4258
2002-07-31 12:18:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

IAF PRESS RELEASE RESPONDS TO PRESS CRITICISM OF

Tags:   KMDR  KPAO  KISL  KPAL  JO 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 004258 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR R (CROSS, AKATSOULOS), NEA/PPD (JGAFFNEY,
CBOURGEOIS, MLUSSENHOP), NEA/ARN, NEA (LAROCCO)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR KPAO KISL KPAL JO
SUBJECT: IAF PRESS RELEASE RESPONDS TO PRESS CRITICISM OF
MEETING WITH AMBASSADOR ROSS

Ref: Amman 04236



1. Summary. The July 17 meeting between R Special
Coordinator Ambassador Christopher Ross and the
leadership of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) was not
reported in the IAF's weekly Assabeel but received
considerable attention from other weeklies, including a
scathing editorial by a former leftist parliamentary
deputy against the IAF and its mother organization, the
Muslim Brothers Movement. This prompted the IAF to issue
a press release explaining its reasons for accepting the
meeting with Ambassador Ross and the discussion that took
place. End summary.



--------------------------


IAF weekly overlooked meeting, others did not


--------------------------




2. The July 17 meeting between Ambassador Christopher
Ross and IAF's Head of the Shura Council Abdul Latif
Arabiyat, Secretary-General Sheikh Hamza Mansour, and
Deputy Secretary-General Jamil Abu Bakr (reported
separately) was not reported in Assabeel, the independent
Arabic weekly that reflects the views of the IAF party.
This, however, did not prevent independent weekly Al-
Hadath from reporting on the meeting in its July 22
edition. The report included a quote from Arabiyat that
said: "We outlined to the Ambassador our positions on
the biased American policies, and the reasons for the
enmity that the street in Jordan and other Arab and
Muslim countries feels towards American policies." The
Al-Hadath article also stated that "Arabiyat expressed no
anxiety that such a meeting might give rise to
accusations of any sort against the party. He said: `Our
positions and our principles are clear. Any judgement
should be passed on our statements and our positions in
such meetings, not on the meeting itself because dialoge
is a requirement.'" A similar article also appeared in
the centrist, influential among the elite English daily
Jordan Times in its July 26-27 edition.



--------------------------


Criticism from East-Bank nationalist weekly


--------------------------




3. On July 25, Shihan, a sensationalist East-Bank
nationalist weekly of negligible circulation, criticized
the meeting and described it as coinciding with "the
escalating American campaign against Arab and Muslim
countries under pretext of fighting terrorism." Shihan
also charged that the meeting took place "behind the back
of the Government of Jordan," which "prompted some
political activists to call on the government to ask
embassies to refrain from meeting unofficial
organizations without the knowledge of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs." Mansour also was quoted in Shihan as
saying: "[The Americans] hear weak words from officials,
and we wanted to express to them the conscience of the
Muslim street towards American policies . We stressed to
them that U.S. terrorism is an aggression against Islam
and Muslims, that we are not fooled by Bush's visit to a
mosque because we base our positions on official U.S.
policies and practices."



4. Shihan also included a commentary by Hamadeh
Fara'neh, former parliamentary deputy and former activist
of the Marxist Democratic Front for the Liberation of
Palestine (DFLP). In it Fara'neh charged that the Muslim
Brothers Movement (MB) and its offshoot party the IAF
have a long history of coordination with the U.S. against
Muslim states led by liberation movements, which reached
its peak when the MB mobilized Arab Muslim youth to fight
the Soviets in Afghanistan, thereby distracting them
"away from Palestine and from the battle to defend our
national and religious existence against the Israeli
enemy."



--------------------------


Press release in Arabic dailies


--------------------------




5. On Sunday July 28, all Arabic dailies reported
excerpts from a press release circulated by IAF Secretary-
General Hamza Mansour, in which he stressed that "the
meeting addressed the question posed by Ambassador Ross:
"Why has the U.S. failed to persuade Muslims that its war
is against terror not Islam and Muslims?" It said that
speakers explained: "Muslims' hatred of America springs
from its policy that provides weapons, political cover,
and international support to the Zionist enemy, including
covering up for this enemy's crimes. [They also spring]
from the U.S. aggression against Iraq, its support for
dictatorial corrupt regimes, and its continuous
incitement against Islamist movements, which it describes
as terrorists."
BERRY