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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03AMMAN1253
2003-03-03 12:15:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION ON THE ARAB SUMMIT AND THE

Tags:   KMDR  JO 
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 AMMAN 001253 SIPDIS STATE FOR NEA/ARN, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, INR/NESA, R/MR, I/GNEA, B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD, NEA/IPA FOR ALTERMAN USAID/ANE/MEA 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 THE ARAB SUMMIT AND THE PRESIDENT'S 02/26 SPEECH Summary -- Lead coverage in all papers March 2-3 is dedicated to the Arab summit meeting in Sharm el-Shaikh. All papers March 2 carry banner headlines highlighting the summit meeting's final communiqu declaring "rejection" of military action against Iraq. All papers also highlight details of King Abdullah's speech to the summit meeting. Majority of editorial commentary March 2 reiterates the King's remarks stressing the need to "use all means to spare this region a war". Other commentaries focus on the success of the summit in achieving a "unified" Arab stand against a war on Iraq. Editorial Commentary on The Arab Summit -- "Serious talks at the Sharm el-Shaikh summit" Columnist Tarek Masarweh writes on the back page of semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai (03/03): "The categorical Arab agreement against the war says something more serious than that. It is saying that the American and British presence on Arab territories is, from a practical viewpoint, an occupation. Since Kuwait, Saudi, Qatar and Bahrain reject the war that the United States and Britain mean to wage against Iraq, then the military build-up on their territories.is an abuse of security treaties, which were approved for the purpose of protecting (these countries) against outside aggression, and not for the purpose of becoming bases and launch-pads for aggression against neighboring countries." -- "The summit's decisions, who will buy them?" Columnist Sultan Hattab writes on the op-ed page of semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai (03/03): "The United States does not want advice on what it needs to do from the Arab summit. It rather wants the Arab summit to help carry out American schemes. Since this did not happen, it is expected that the United States will either respond to the summit's decisions or completely ignore them, and turn its attention to its bilateral contacts and r
elationships with Arab countries and to what has already been achieved in those areas and not stated in the summit's communiqu.. The war is coming and the Arab summit's decisions are powerless and lack action. They have come too late." -- "The summit of fears and contradictions and agreement" Chief Editor Taher Udwan writes on the back page of independent, mass-appeal Arabic daily Al-Arab Al-Yawm (03/03): "The only value of the Sharm el-Shaikh communiqu is that it has shown all the Arabs rejecting the war. Despite the fact that American armies will in reality launch operations from Arab territories, the consensus agreement gives the impression that the United States is abusing its security agreements with the Arab countries to serve its own wars and interests that contradict the interests and desires of the Arabs. Arab leaders had their backs against a wall and they would not have been able to survive the failure of the summit meeting. They had no choice but to agree to the final communiqu. This shows that the Arab countries feel that the war on Iraq carries so much danger for themselves that they have to put aside their conflicts and disagreements. Everyone in Sharm el-Shaikh was realistic, particularly after President Bush's most recent speech where he said that Iraq would be the beginning of change in the Middle East. This means s that America's intervention in the future of Arab regimes will not be limited to Iraq and Palestine but will affect other Arab countries.. The summit can be described as a summit of pressures, worry, fear, conflicts and contradictions, but it did breakthrough towards a unified stand of rejecting the war. This, in itself, is important because it denies Washington legitimacy for its war." Editorial Commentary on President Bush 02/26 Speech -- "Nothing but a promise" Columnist Dr. Musa Keilani writes on the op-ed page of centrist, influential among the elite English daily Jordan Times (03/02): "U.S. President George W. Bush's promise to turn his attention to Palestine after Iraq . reminds us of a similar pledge by his father in 1990 ad of what actually happened since then. Indeed, Bush the father fulfilled half of that pledge by arranging the 1991 Middle East peace conference in Madrid where what was then described as historic peace talks began between the Arabs and Israel. What do we have in our sights today to expect a situation different under Bush the son? We have yet to see a commitment on the part of Bush Jr. to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we see it as unlikely that Washington has new ideas to advance this quest. Bush's promise is not worth much unless accompanied by a clear outline of the process that would lead to the realization of the quartet's `roadmap for peace'. We do appreciate that the ultimate point in that `roadmap' is a Palestinian state. But we have no idea what it would take for the Palestinians to get there. More importantly, we have no assurance that pressure would be applied on Israeli to accept reason, logic, international legitimacy and a desire for peace based on the genuine rights of the Palestinians.. Until and unless we see concrete signs of a paradigm shift in the U.S. approach and Washington's acceptance of the truth that it is its blind backing for Israel that has distorted any sincere and honest search for peace, we are afraid that Bush's promise is nothing but just that - a promise." -- "Bush and the `post-war speech'" Daily columnist Urayb Rintawi writes on the op-ed page of center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour (03/02): "The `post-war speech' delivered by the U.S. President at the American Enterprise Institute sketched the outlines of U.S. strategy in the Middle East and highlighted the principles of `post-Saddam Hussein Iraq'.. A federal, democratic, modern Iraq, serving to bring security and stability to the region, providing the example for political reform for the entire Middle East; an Iraq that will be able to export oil to world markets and add a modern ruling regime to the Middle East. An Iraq of this kind cannot be under occupation and military rule, unless we are talking about a short transitional period. An Iraq that lives under American generals or even civilian rulers could become an agent for the Americans, and then with time turn into the core of instability in the region and a source for a new wave of terrorism. Our problem with the `American vision' of Iraq lies in three aspects: The first is that the advancement of Iraqi democracy will not replace the need for advancement on the Palestinian political track. The second is that U.S. policy in general has always been characterized by pragmatism and a short attention span. It is not unlikely that Washington would renege on all its pledges and promises at the first signs of a crisis or resistance. The third aspect is that U.S. foreign policy is greatly influenced by domestic calculations and considerations that are determined by opportunist pressure groups that have their own interests to serve." GNEHM