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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03AMMAN1800 2003-03-25 16:12:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

TFIZO1: AMMAN SITREP 11 (3/25 1800 LOCAL)

Tags:   AEMR AMGT ASEC CASC CVIS IZ JO 
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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 001800 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2013
TAGS: AEMR AMGT ASEC CASC CVIS IZ JO
SUBJECT: TFIZO1: AMMAN SITREP 11 (3/25 1800 LOCAL)

REF: FBIS GMP20030324000166

Classified By: Acting DCM Doug Silliman. Reason 1.5 (b,d).

----------------
General Overview
----------------



1. (SBU) The Embassy continues on a normal schedule March 25,
with Consular services open. The Peace Corps office opened
briefly to allow access to Jordanian staff, but activity at
the American Language Center remains suspended.



2. (C) The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Jordan
confirmed that the Bank had ordered commercial banks to
freeze Iraqi government assets in Jordanian banks. Other
Iraqi deposits are being closely monitored by the CBJ. The
CBJ is in daily contact with banks on this issue.



3. (C) The local owner of the Pizza Hut and Popeye's
restaurant franchises informed the Embassy of an anonymous
text message circulating on cell phones calling for a march
to American restaurants today, March 25, in order to "break
them." The message specifically mentioned McDonald's, Burger
King, Pizza Hut, Popeye's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. The
owner further stated that he contacted the police, who would
provide extra security. Embassy RSO confirmed that PSD was
notified and requested to provide additional resources at the
named franchises. The local owner added that although
business had been down 55% over the last week, he had heard
no directs calls for a boycott but feared it would not be
long in the coming.



4. (C) Royal Jordanian is operating to all destinations
except Baghdad. On March 25, CEO Samer Majali expressed an
interest in "helping the US" get Iraqi Airways flying
quickly. He said RJ is ready to operate flights on behalf of
Iraqi airways out of Baghdad, even repainting planes if
necessary. He stressed RJ's long familiarity with Iraq.



5. (C) With the international airport and seaport and the
border crossings to Israel remaining open, there has been no
interruption of imports or exports. Insurance companies have
not designated Jordanian air or seaports as high risk/war
risk areas, although some exporters say shipping rates have
increased due to higher fuel costs. QIZ companies report no
problems. They are continuing to meet deadlines and fill
orders that were booked before hostilities began. Target
Corporation told us they recently booked new orders with
Jordanian factories, and a QIZ company reported that investor
interest continues.



6. (U) A FBIS report cited a previously-unknown internet
source as saying that two relatives of Saddam Hussein had
defected to Amman, including Hisham Hasan al-Majid, brother
of "Chemical Ali" al-Majid, and the son of the Iraqi
president's sister Siham. The source also states that it is
believed that "Chemical Ali", Uday Hussein, and Izzat Ibrahim
al-Duri were killed in the raid by US bombers on Thursday
morning. There are media reports of "hundreds" of Iraqis
returning to Iraq via the Jordanian border in order to "fight
for Iraq's honor."



7. (SBU) The Amman Stock Exchange index, which had increased
1.25% and 0.96% during the first two trading following the
start of hostilities, declined by 0.75% on Monday and by
0.25% Tuesday. Traders attributed this more to Monday's
global stock market drop than to increased domestic jitters.



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


Consular Issues


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





8. (C) No new issues. Inquiries remain below normal, but
could be due to inclement weather in addition to the
political situation.



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


GOJ Actions/Statements


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





9. (C) Nothing new to report.



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


Security


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





10. (U) A demonstration and march organized by opposition
parties was scheduled for this afternoon in a commercial area
of western Amman, evidently approved by PSD. Demonstrations
also continue at some universities but have been confined to
the campuses and have not involved any violence. Current
snowstorms will likely limit the participation in these
demonstrations.



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


Refugee/Humanitarian Issues


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




11. (C) The Jordan-Iraq border remains open and the flow of
TCNs remains at a trickle. There is still no sign of any
Iraqi refugees/asylum seekers. 46 TCNs crossed into Jordan
over the last 24 hours, bringing the total population of the
transit camp to 169 -- Somalis, Sudanese, Malians, Eritreans
and 1 Djibouti national. IOM repatriated seven Egyptians
this morning via the Aqaba ferry. UNHCR Sr. Logistics
Officer reports that the Jordan Red Crescent is doing a very
poor job of managing the transit camp, noting that their food
supplier provided food for the first time yesterday, March
24, and that most likely the JRCS would be unable to handle
more than the trickle of TCNs currently entering the camp.



12. (C) On March 24, GOJ Minister of Interior Majali
personally reviewed the cases of 23 people with document
problems being held at the border. UNHCR reported that the
one Iraqi national who was trying to transit Jordan en route
to Yemen was "persuaded" to return to Iraq. UNHCR did not
believe the return was involuntary. 22 Palestinians will be
reviewed by UNRWA officials today. If they are found to have
UNRWA status, they will be admitted to the transit camp until
a more permanent accommodation is identified for them. UNHCR
also reports that a handful of vehicles is entering Iraq from
Jordan this morning, including a family of Iraqis laden down
with household possessions who said they're returning home to
Baghdad.



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


Press


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





13. (C) Despite repeated PA denials, Embassy Information
Officer continues to receive inquiries from local journalists
asking about rumors that the daughter of VP Cheney is en
route to Baghdad to act as a "human shield." The Foreign
Minister and the Israeli press officer called the Embassy to
confirm that this story is untrue.
GNEHM