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04DJIBOUTI1154 2004-08-30 04:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Djibouti
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L DJIBOUTI 001154 


E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/29/2009

Classified By: CDA: REGribbin for reasons 1.5 b&d

1. (C) Summary. While most elements of the global war on
terrorism are functioning well in the Horn of Africa, a key
ingredient - the message in the Somali language to the people
of the region - is missing. It is time to think again how to
add this component to the mix. Post suggests Somali language
broadcasts from the new IBB transmitting facility in
Djibouti. End summary.

2. (C) As addressees are aware much effort is going into
learning about and containing the bad guys in this part of
the world. Those charged with that responsibility are doing
well. Additionally, programs included in the East Africa
Counter Terrorism Initiative (EACTI) are doing their part to
improve the counter-terrorism capabilities of HOA nations.
Finally under both State/USAID and military aegis,
development, grass roots and humanitarian projects are
winning the hearts and minds of local communities. What is
missing, however, is a wider communications effort designed
to bring the message of friendship, non-confrontation with
Islam and peace to the masses, especially Somali speakers who
are the hosts, the recruits and the supporters of inimicable
elements. Secondly, we judge that as the politics of Somalia
and Somaliland mature, it behooves us to be better placed to
foster the evolution of the sort of governments and polices
conducive to global norms. Accomplishment of this will be
difficult without a better means of communication to decision

3. (C) Despite the excellent public relations products
produced by regional embassies and CJTF-HOA, we doubt if much
American generated information gets through to Somali
speakers, who are found in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia's Ogaden
and Djibouti. Although Radio Sawa in Arabic now broadcasts
from Djibouti, its transmissions are oriented towards the
Arab world and, even though in the language of the mosques,
they are largely unheard and poorly understood in the Horn of
Africa. What we need is equivalent programming in the Somali
language as well as the ability to tailor messages
specifically to the circumstances in the Horn. We used to
have some of this in VOA's Somali service. Now is the time to
resurrect it if we are to have a solid chance to form
attitudes in the region in a positive direction. Right now,
America's absence from the radio airways concedes influence
to the radicals, especially in regions where the USG has no
community relations work on the ground. Let there be no doubt
that our opponents capitalize on this advantage.

4. (C) We have thought about several means to rectify the
situation. First, we would not be adverse to offering
government controlled Radio Djibouti an hour or so per day of
U.S. produced programming. Radio Djibouti can be heard in
Djibouti, the Ogaden and Somaliland. We would caution that
this service and the GODj would likely be reluctant to use
programming that seemed to them to be too political. We
cannot judge much in advance where they would draw the line,
but would have a better feel for it after discussions - were
we authorized to do so.

5. (C) An alternative would be to re-invigorate a daily
Somali hour or two on VOA broadcasts to the region.

6. (C) A third option would be to add a Somalia aimed
transmitter to the new Djibouti broadcasting facility built
for Radio Sawa by IBB and from that beam programming into the
Horn. This would probably require an amendment to our
agreement with the GODj, but we believe that is doable.
Programming for such a station would all be Washington
generated and merely rebroadcast from here.

7. (C) Comment: Apparently, this crucial element of the GWOT
in the Horn of Africa slipped off the screens, but with the
new installation of the IBB facility in Djibouti it is time
to revisit it to see what might be done to rectify the
situation. Please advise.