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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03AMMAN2070
2003-04-06 14:39:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

TFIZ01: JORDANIAN FSNS AND THE WAR NEXT DOOR

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  AMGT  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 002070 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/02/2013
TAGS: PGOV PREL AMGT JO
SUBJECT: TFIZ01: JORDANIAN FSNS AND THE WAR NEXT DOOR

REF: SANAA 607

Classified By: AMBASSADOR EDWARD W. GNEHM, REASONS 1.5 B AND D



1. (C) Summary: As in Sanaa (reftel), the FSNs at the
U.S. Mission in Amman are experiencing societal pressures
and some personal doubts about working for the USG as a
result of the war with Iraq. A recent news article
implying that some FSNs effectively are spying on
demonstrators for the Embassy was particularly disturbing
to them. The Post FSN committee has expressed FSN worries
about life-insurance restrictions should they be
killed in a war-related or terrorist incident and has
asked about establishing a "danger pay" for FSNs working
at the Embassy. Meanwhile, rising anti-American
sentiments have resulted in some vendors and landlords
refusing to work with the Embassy now. Even some
professional-level contacts are shying away from
association with the Embassy. The Regional Medical Officer
recently was advised by close Jordanian medical colleagues
to stay away from the hospital principally used by the
Embassy because they feared for his personal safety. As
the war in Iraq and the Intifada go on, pressures on our
FSN employees to disassociate themselves from the Embassy
are likely to grow. End summary.



2. (C) The referenced telegram from Sanaa struck a chord
with us here in Amman where our FSNs are experiencing
similar pressures and concerns now that the battle has
been joined in Iraq. Many FSNs have expressed the
increasing discomfort they feel due to their association
with the Embassy. This includes hearing disparaging remarks
from friends and family members, some of whom have
encouraged them to quit working for the Americans. Some
have noted that they feel very uncomfortable calling
Jordanian contacts and requesting meetings or information.
One pointed to a small news article published in the most
recent edition of As-Sabeel -- the mouthpiece of the
Islamic Action Front -- which reported that "some members
of the American Embassy staff" are gathering information
on demonstrations, protests, and other political activity
that is being used by the USG. The unstated but clear
implication (in the view of some FSNs) is that those FSNs
are acting as "spies" for the Americans against their
Arab brethren. Obviously, the type of information we are
talking about is the bread and butter of Embassy
reporting. However, it is being painted in the most
negative of terms, terms which make our FSNs feel very
uncomfortable.



3. (C) The degree to which FSNs are feeling societal
pressures due to their employment with the Embassy varies.
FSNs working in the Political section -- who are often
called on to explain U.S. policy and act as
intermediaries -- are feeling particularly vulnerable and
have expressed their growing reservations about working

for the USG at this time. On the other hand, Consular FSNs,
although upset by U.S. policies and actions in the region,
are able to focus their energies on processing visas, which
they see as providing services to Jordanians. However,
one Consular FSN told the acting Consul that she is unable
to sleep because she is constantly watching the news and
worrying about the war. FSNs in USAID report similar
pressures and anxieties. The pictures of civilian
casualties of the war on Arab television are particularly
disturbing to FSN employees.



4. (C) During recent bi-weekly meetings with the
Management Counselor, Post FSN Committee members discussed
FSN employee concerns about safety and security. Of
particular concern to them was the fact that the post's
FSN life insurance program would provide no benefits to
their families in the event that they were killed as a
result of war or a terrorist attack. (Post has addressed
this by purchasing war-risk supplemental insurance for
FSNs.) They pointed also to the fact that Americans at
post are receiving danger pay while FSNs are uncompensated
for the risks they take in working for the Embassy. They
worry about being watched and possibly targeted as they
enter and leave the Embassy compound, as well as about
possible attacks away from the office. Post management
views these concerns as valid and is exploring the
possibility of obtaining a "Unique Conditions of Work"
allowance to provide the FSNs with some financial
compensation for those risks.



5. (C) Meanwhile, we are beginning to experience the
effects of anti-American sentiments on a professional level
outside of the Embassy. During a recent visit to the Arab
Medical Center, the principal hospital used by the Embassy,
the RMO was pulled aside by concerned Jordanian medical
colleagues and advised that he should stay away from the
hospital for his own safety. On the other hand, another
Embassy officer recently went on a condolence call
with some trepidation, only to find himself received
with typically warm Jordanian hospitality.


6. (C) Some vendors and landlords are beginning to
balk at doing business with the Embassy. We no longer
tell potential landlords that we are from the US Embassy
when looking at properties and we are sometimes rejected
by landlords when they see the lease and realize they are
dealing with the USG. In one case, an ironwork vendor who
has done grill work for the Embassy for years is refusing
to work with us now.



7. (C) Comment: While the recent political climate change
for Americans in Jordan is largely due to the war with
Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains at the fore-
front of Jordanian concerns. To date we have experienced
no degradation in either the quality of FSN performance
or their willingness to continue working for the USG.
However, the familial and societal pressures on our FSN
staff to disassociate themselves from the Embassy will
increase as the conflict in Iraq -- and the Intifada --
go on. End comment.



GNEHM