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2003-03-30 12:48:00
Embassy Amman
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Tags:   KMDR  JO 
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 001885 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 E.O. 12958: N/A TAGS: KMDR JO SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION ON WAR IN IRAQ Summary -- Lead stories in all papers today, March 30, focus on developments in the war in Iraq. Banner front-page headlines highlight conflicting reports about the suspension of the allied move towards Baghdad. Other major reports also highlight the suicide bombing in Najaf, which killed four American marines. Inside pages highlight, with photos, the anti-Iraq war demonstrations and protests that took place over the weekend in various parts of the Kingdom. Editorial Commentary -- "A call for catching breath" Center-left, influential Arabic daily Al-Dustour (03/30) editorializes: "There are indications that the U.S. and British military operations in Iraq are facing major difficulties, so much so that the military leaderships had to slow down ground operations.. Countries opposing the war have probably found in this an opportunity to reiterate their call for halting military actions and for resuming dialogue in order to resolve the Iraqi issue peacefully.. If there is no chance to stop this evil war, then the international community must create this chance by increasing protests and by addressing the American people directly, to show them how much their reputation has been damaged as a result of this human disaster that befell the innocent Iraqis, and to remind them of their moral responsibility towards changing the stance of their leadership." -- "America, Iraq and Israel" Daily columnist Fahd Fanek writes on the back page of semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai (03/30): "America, in its many wars, used to arm itself with legality and morality, because international legitimacy was always one of its tools. However, this characteristic was abandoned under the current U.S. administration, which opted to depend on absolute force.. Iraq owns the second largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi. We can just imagine the power that America will have if it controls the oil reserves of Saudi, Iraq, Kuwait and the rest of the countries of the Arab Gulf. Iraq manufactured chemical weapons since 1980 with American and European technical help, and used them without any objection or criticism from the West. On the other hand, America itself is the biggest user of chemical weapons. The amount of depleted uranium it left in Iraq and Kuwait after the second Gulf war total 40 tons, which raised the levels of cancer among the Iraq to seven times. As for the economic sanctions imposed by America on Iraq through the Security Council, they have led to the death of 1.5 million Iraqis, including 750 thousand children. Iraq had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks and no connection with Osama Bin Laden or Al-Qa'eda organization. Iraq did not kill any Americans and did not threaten America or its interests. Despite all this, America decided to begin with Iraq, thinking that it would be an easy target. We must remember that Israel did not abide by 65 U.N. decisions, that it owns 400 nuclear weapons, and that it has been occupying other people's land for the past 35 years. Instead of bombing it as it is doing in Iraq, America is drowning it with billions of dollars and the latest weapons. This is not a war on Iraq, but an aggression against the Arab Nation." -- "It is ferocious resistance. What to do?" Daily columnist Sultan Hattab writes on the op-ed page of semi-official, influential Arabic daily Al-Rai (03/30): "It is time to understand the motives for Bush's war on Iraq, and it is an illegitimate war that is not endorsed by the international community. This dirty and haphazard war, which is primarily targeting civilians, deserves condemnation and deserves to have all Arab and international energies recruited to put a stop to it. This war came after long planning that started with the second Gulf war. It targeted the Iraqi people with a siege and with suffering so that the people would start calling for abandoning their leadership and their country. Yet, everything that the U.S. administration has been doing over the past 13 years, of a horrific and killer siege that targeted civilians, to make the Iraqi people surrender, it did not work out, as has been tested.. The situation is very dangerous, and Iraq is not going to give up without a huge price or before the cards are shuffled. Iraq is facing an aggression, an armed robbery in fact, against its resources and its administration. No one in his right mind can ask Iraq not to resist and not to defend its dignity and territory." GNEHM