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05DJIBOUTI337 2005-04-07 13:35:00 SECRET Embassy Djibouti
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071335Z Apr 05
					S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 DJIBOUTI 000337 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/05/2015

REF: STATE 60775

Classified by: Ambassador Marguerita D. Ragsdale for reasons 1.4 (b)
and (d).

1. (S) A successful effort to prosecute the global anti-terrorism war,
especially in countries that already harbor extremists, must proceed on
two levels. On one level, the U.S. must create a strategy for framing,
implementing, marketing and obtaining support for national political
preferences. On a second, it should continue to focus on country-
specific plans of action tailored to the needs and characteristics of
individual states particularly vulnerable to ideologies and ideas that
contravene our own. Working both levels simultaneously would deprive
extremism of the destitute, the disenfranchised and the disaffected
whom it seeks to use to advance its cause.

2. (S) On both levels, several actions would appear critical:
- Match our actions with our rhetoric;
- Harmonize policies and goals across disparate agencies;
- Clearly articulate our expectations and consistently hold ourselves,
our allies and other nations to those expectations;
- Continue the capacity-building dimension of our economic assistance
programs and act at the same time to augment projects that provide
direct, quick, and visible impact in changing the daily lives of the
vulnerable individuals in poor societies;
- Use direct engagement and the popular quest and desire for education
as a path to economic prosperity, to reach out to youth in order to
encourage stability and promote alternatives to extremism.


National Preferences Clarified


3. (S) The way America is perceived by foreign populations is arguably
the most important factor in the global war on terrorism and an
indicator of our success or failure to date. Here the focus is image.
International perceptions of us rest increasingly on international
perceptions of our policies writ large. Our convictions of the
rightness of our policies should be backed by a capacity to explain
those policies in the most basic terms, both in Washington and abroad.
The policies we convey must make sense to those tasked to convey them
before they can make sense to those who must hear and understand them.
In a world of high-tech communication and literacy capacities that are
often weak, clarity is more and more key to making our position heard
and understood in an increasingly skeptical world.

4. (S) Yet the appearance of balance in our policies is important for
our image as well. If we are to persuade others of our credibility,
then we must use our political and economic clout to advance fair and
equitable outcomes for international questions in which we are engaged.
We are not expected to provide less than that. Problems arise when the
content of our policies is seen as inconsistent with actions taken. A
resulting sentiment among those we want most to influence would be that
the United States only stands up for a cause when the cause is self-
serving. This is often prime fuel for competing ideologies and ideals.
Those of us in the field cannot be persuasive on a defined policy point
if the actions of our nation contradict -- subtly or not -- the very
message we are asked to put forward. For our message to be heard and
embraced, we must hold other nations, and ourselves, to the standards
we set. Similarly, we must hold countries -- whether friend or foe --
accountable for the actions they take. We also must hold ourselves
accountable publicly, as we did in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse cases,
when circumstances warrant.

5. (S) Our external policies must also be consistent, without
appearance of bias specifically on ethnic, racial, or religious lines.
These three sensitive areas will continue to pose the greatest
challenge in the image wars for the United States among developing
nations. This is due in part to no lack of hesitation by those who
oppose us to seek themes that might resonate with the economically
disadvantaged. We can effectively challenge these themes through
delivery of quick, visible and direct assistance to the most vulnerable
populations. Capacity-building and long-term training, while desirable,
can only go so far to win American influence if the population does not
clearly perceive a tangible and direct benefit of assistance provided.
China, for example, has been especially successful in Africa in this
regard. In addition, quick impact and direct assistance have become
most successful tools for our extremist detractors. For the volume of
U.S. assistance given worldwide, approaching some $ x billion annually,
we should demand far greater return of good will from our sizeable
investment than we appear to have been able to garner post-September


6. (S) The way we showcase American democratic values is also vital to
our success in the global war on terrorism. Our values, which are clear
and indisputable, must be seen in our actions on a daily basis and in
the choices we make as a nation. The values cannot be perceived as
shifting when a course of events is not to our liking. In a similar
vein, we must be consistent in our definition of terrorism and of
terrorist acts. If the U.S. decries, for example, one action as
"terrorism" because it does not suit our purposes, yet tacitly condones
a similar action that might be characterized as "terrorism" because it
does, our commitments are called into question, especially by our
partners and allies. Those who perceive U.S. actions in such a scenario
as self-serving, and not for the greater good, are unwilling to commit
for the long haul to aid the fight against terror and tyranny.
Individuals in a poor or conflict-ridden country must be able to know
the value of democracy firsthand. Our assistance to these countries may
be the best way to start development of a nation's economy and
democratic spirit.

7. (S) For greater outreach specifically in the troubled Islamic world,
the U.S. along with its Russian and EU partners, must also use all
possible economic and political leverage with the Palestinian Authority
and with Israel to bring about on an urgent basis a fair and equitable
solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. This conflict, more than
others in the Middle East, has simmered too long and has become an
easy, and unfortunately, resonant target for those detractors who
portray the U.S. as complicit in the human suffering there. "Fair and
equitable" are key words. It appears that a solution would not be
considered "fair and equitable" in the Islamic world if it encompassed,
for example, a cantoned or disjointed Palestinian entity. In making
every effort to assist the Palestinians and Israelis resolve their
differences without appearing -- and appearance is primary -- to favor
one party or the other, we would swiftly eliminate a major "cause
celebre" among some of our fiercest critics in this volatile region of
the world. The U.S. image in the Middle East, and in the larger Islamic
world, is unlikely to improve over time without our committed
engagement to seek a solution that takes into account these concerns.

8. (S) Increasingly important, as pressure on U.S. government resources
rises, is the need to translate our democratic ideals into policies at
the national level that have been well-coordinated among all agencies
in the USG. Without inter-agency coordination, policy standardization
cannot be achieved and policy implementation will be haphazard at best.
This state of affairs will do little to convey consistency of message
across cultural lines.


Country-Specific Tactics Applied Locally


9. (C) Our country team believes person-to-person engagement and
popular education are superb approaches to winning the GWOT in
Djibouti. The demographics and politics of Djibouti necessitate youth
engagement. We believe that programs and activities that involve a
high-school/young adult audience are more likely to build a sense of
community responsibility and favor democracy than those aimed at
established professionals. If we can engage a young Djiboutian in a
program that promotes community involvement and social consciousness
and at the same time exposes him or her to personal interaction with
Americans, we believe that person will more likely develop into an
adult who will shoulder seriously his civic responsibilities. The
development of a socially conscious youth can contain extremist
ideology and serve economic development.

10. (C) We can also engage the country's youth by focusing on training
of teachers. The teacher community is a natural bridge to the larger
student body. The youth of Djibouti are avid learners, eager to take on
new languages and challenges. We must exploit the opportunity presented
by this eagerness. It is our expectation that teachers of English, and
other subjects, properly trained and motivated, will be able to pass
the message of our democratic values to their students.

11. (C) Interagency programming cooperation is also a key aspect of our
successes in Djibouti. In working together as a country team to combine
resources for programs that might otherwise overlap, we maximize the
resources of each agency. Public Diplomacy outreach, combined with
USAID education efforts, and Department of Defense civil affairs
projects, through CJTF-HOA, have been the Embassy's best tools at our
disposal in countering the negative aspects of poverty. CJTF-HOA's
particular outreach success in quick impact projects such as well
digging, school refurbishment, and clinic reparations has created
enormous goodwill for the U.S. in this country. We would like to see
these kinds of activities by CJTF-HOA increased. In addition, USAID's
cooperation with the Government of Djibouti's Education Ministry in its
efforts to nationalize curricula in both private and public schools,
including the many Islamic education institutes, is a necessary step
toward reaching our target audience. Education programs can address
Djibouti's long-term skills needs for both academically educated and
vocationally trained youth. As it is often difficult to initiate
cooperation with the Islamic schools directly, we believe the best
approach to reaching these children and youth is through community
activities. We have had success with small-scale programs such as
hosting soccer tournaments and Embassy-sponsored essay contests. To
have the greatest impact with these small programs, it would be prudent
to expand cooperation among agencies and to increase the volume of
American individual involvement at a popular level.

12. (C) Skills training will also play an important role in how
successful we are in the global war on terrorism. A lack of skilled
workers in Djibouti results in poor quality products and a high rate of
unemployment. These conditions are a breeding ground for discontent and
are easily exploited by those with more narrow agendas. By encouraging
economic growth, our aim would be to increase the stake an individual
has in his country, thus making it far more difficult for extremist
ideology to gain a foothold.