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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03AMMAN2233
2003-04-13 14:53:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

TFIZO1: AMMAN SITREP 35 (4/13 1745 LOCAL)

Tags:   AEMR  AMGT  PREL  ASEC  CASC  CVIS  EFIN  ETRD  IZ  JO 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 002233 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/13/2013
TAGS: AEMR AMGT PREL ASEC CASC CVIS EFIN ETRD IZ JO
SUBJECT: TFIZO1: AMMAN SITREP 35 (4/13 1745 LOCAL)

Classified By: DCM Gregory L. Berry for reasons 1.5 (B)(D).

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



1. (C) Amman was calm throughout the weekend. We did not
hear reports of significant demonstrations or protests
anywhere in the country.



2. (SBU) The Embassy opened April 13 for normal business.
Activities at the American Language Center and the Peace
Corps offices remain suspended. Movements of American
personnel remain restricted. The investigation continues
into the April 8 shooting incident involving an Embassy TDYer.



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


Consular Issues


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





3. (C) One purported Amcit currently is being held at
no-man's land at the Trebil border crossing after he was
refused entry by Jordanian authorities. The Amcit told UNHCR
and GOJ authorities that he would voluntarily return to Iraq
but wanted to wait until other members of his traveling party
arrived at the border. He refused to show his passport to
UNHCR officials. This purported Amcit is traveling with a
large group of Iranians suspected by the GOJ of being members
of Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK). We presume that the purported
Amcit is of Iranian origin as well. Conoff will attempt to
get identity of Amcit from GOJ authorities. If successful,
we will provide the identity immediately to the task force.



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


GOJ Actions/Statements


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





4. (U) Local press gave prominent coverage April 13 to King
Abdullah's and Queen Rania's April 12 blood donation for
Iraqi war casualties. The official Petra News Service stated
"Their Majesties donated their blood for the Iraqi wounded to
consecrate their support for the Iraqi people and reflect the
bonds of blood and brotherly ties between Jordan and Iraq."



5. (U) The Petra News Service also quoted Jordan Armed Forces
(JAF) General Mohammad Majed al-Eitan, Director of the
national Crisis Management Center, as saying that Jordan
would set up a field hospital in Iraq as early as next week
to provide medical services: "Consultations are currently
underway with members of the Iraqi Embassy in Amman and
coalition forces in Baghdad to send the field hospital that
will be able to carry out general surgery as well as provide
emergency medical services."



6. (U) Minister of Information Mohammad al-Adwan called April
12 for coalition forces in Iraq to put an end to civil unrest
in Iraq. Al-Adwan stated "We express our concern over the
anarchy, looting and vandalism under way in Baghdad and other
regions of Iraq. Maintaining security and stability must be
the priority in Iraq, as well as providing immediate

assistance to the brethren Iraqi people."



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


Security


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



7 (U) No new issues.



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


Economic and Trade Developments


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





8. (u) First quarter export figures released by the Irbid
Chamber of Industry show a 45% increase over exports from Q1
of 2002. QIZ garment exports continue to represent over 90%
of all exports from the Al Hassan Industrial Estate in Irbid,
registering 44% growth in Q1 compared to Q1 of last year and
topping $74.5 million for the quarter.



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


Refugee/Humanitarian Issues


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





9. (C) On April 12, 96 Iranians arrived at the Jordanian
side of the Trebil border crossing, seeking temporary UNHCR
protection until they can be returned to the countries in
which they allegedly hold refugee status. The GOJ is
currently holding the group in no-man's land at the border
but has already told UNHCR that some members of the group,
including a purported US citizen (see para 2), would not be
allowed to enter. The GOJ reportedly believes that this
group is part of the Mujahadin-e-Khalq (MEK), a US-designated
foreign terrorist organization. The Iranians told UNHCR that
another 28-30 members of their "group" are expected to reach
the Jordanian-Iraqi border later today, April 13. UNHCR is
digging more latrines and erecting more tents to accommodate
this group but will not be able to accommodate more than 150
persons at no-man's land.



10. (C) UNHCR is skeptical of the group's bona fides. The
first groups to arrive were all unmarried men in their early
40s, followed by a group of single women also in their early
40s. They claim not to know each other but quickly organized
themselves to tidy up the tents and assign sleeping quarters.
UNHCR reports that the group in general seems to be very
uncomfortable dealing with UNHCR officials. All 96 Iranians
who arrived April 12 are carrying European or North American
travel documents, many of which are UNHCR convention travel
documents issued in the late 1980s or early 1990s and
presumably expired. Some are carrying what appear to be
fraudulent French cartes de sejour. The Iranians claim that
they returned to Iraq just a few weeks ago for the Nowruz
holiday but their travel documents indicate they have been
out of their respective countries of asylum for much longer.
UNHCR is compiling a list of the Iranians and their alleged
travel documents and will approach each relevant embassy in
Amman to verify their bona fides. UNHCR also will demarche
Jordanian authorities to allow these Iranian entry and most
likely will raise this case (but not the possible MEK
connection) at the UN's April 13 press briefing. Jordanian
authorities are unlikely to agree to this request.



11. (C) UNHCR also reports that a group of 200 former Syrian
Ba'ath party and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood officials, all
long-term residents of Iraq who were granted asylum by
Saddam's regime, are headed to the Jordanian border at
Trebil. The group reportedly was denied entry by the Syrian
government.



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


Press


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





12. (U) Situation in Iraq: Jordanian dailies varied in their
coverage of the situation in Iraq. While Al-Rai reported a
drop in looting and that 1200 American policemen would arrive
in Iraq soon, Al-Dustour highlighted the battles around one
of the presidential palaces and the two "martyrdom" (suicide)
attacks against U.S. forces. Al-Rai called them "commando
operations."



13. (U) Looting: Jordanian dailies all held the U.S.
responsible for the looting. Al-Rai interviewed Iraqis in
Jordan who said that the U.S. forces protected the oil wells
and oil ministry, but not Iraqi citizens and property.

14.(U) Editorial Commentary: Bater Wardam in Al-Dustour says
that the American "occupation army" is instigating and
helping with the looting because they want to give
"legitimacy" to their presence in Iraq, and to say that they
are the only ones capable of bringing order to Iraq. Wardam
concludes his article by hoping that the Iraqis will wake up
and will not allow the Americans to "steal" Iraq. Urayb
Rintawi in Al-Dustour defends the Iraqi people's actions
after the fall of the Iraqi regime and strongly criticizes
all those who blamed the Iraqi people for not fighting. He
says that an "oppressed, deprived and degraded people cannot
make a fighting nation."

GNEHM