Viewing cable 03ABUDHABI1744
Title: MEDIA REACTION: CHAOS IN BAGHDAD LOOTING IN IRAQ

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUDHABI17442003-04-12 10:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Abu Dhabi
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Diana T Fritz  05/24/2007 04:33:30 PM  From  DB/Inbox:  Search Results

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UNCLASSIFIED

SIPDIS
TELEGRAM                                           April 12, 2003


To:       No Action Addressee                                    

Action:   Unknown                                                

From:     AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI (ABU DHABI 1744 - UNKNOWN)         

TAGS:     OIIP, KMDR                                             

Captions: None                                                   

Subject:  MEDIA REACTION:  CHAOS IN BAGHDAD LOOTING IN IRAQ      
          SYRIA'S NEXT                                           

Ref:      None                                                   
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UNCLAS        ABU DHABI 01744

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CXABU:
    ACTION: PAO 
    INFO:   ECON POL AMB DCM 
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    ACTION: PAO 

DISSEMINATION: PAO
CHARGE: PROG

APPROVED: PAO:KVANDEVATE
DRAFTED: PAO:AHOSHAN
CLEARED: PAO:TPONCE

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FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9364
RUENAAA/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZM/GCC COLLECTIVE
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0636
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0692
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RUCJACC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
RUCQSOC/USCINCSOC MACDILL AFB FL//PA//
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ABU DHABI 001744 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP; NEA/PPD; NEA/RA; INR/R/MR; PA; 
INR/NESA; INR/B; IIP/G/NEA-SA 
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE; NSC 
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA 
USCINCCENT FOR POLAD 
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH; PARIS FOR O'FRIEL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OIIP KMDR TC
SUBJECT:  MEDIA REACTION:  CHAOS IN BAGHDAD LOOTING IN IRAQ 
SYRIA'S NEXT 
 
 
¶1.  SUMMARY:  THE FALL OF BAGHDAD TO COALITION FORCES AND LOOTING 
IN IRAQI CITIES DOMINATED COVERAGE IN UAE MEDIA.  PRESIDENT 
BUSH'S AND PRIME MINISTER BLAIR'S STATEMENTS TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE 
RECEIVED POSITIVE COVERAGE IN BOTH PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA. 
UAE MEDIA DEVOTED EXTENSIVE COMMENTARY TO THE ROLE OF COALITION 
FORCES IN POST-WAR IRAQ BUT ALLEGED SYRIA IS THE NEXT U.S. 
TARGET.  AN "AL KHALEEJ" EDITORIAL DESCRIBED THE IMAGES OF 
LOOTING IS A DELIBERATE "DISTORTION OF THE IMAGE OF IRAQ AND ITS 
PEOPLE."  AN "AL BAYAN" EDITORIAL CRITICIZED U.S. TROOPS FOR 
THEIR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SECURITY IN BAGHDAD.  IN "AL BAYAN," UAE 
COLUMNIST AYSHA SULTAN CONDEMNED COALITION FORCES FOR THEIR 
LACKADAISICAL ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE ANARCHY IN BAGHDAD.  IN A RARE 
EDITORIAL, ABDUL HAMID AHMAD, GULF NEWS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, LAMENTS 
THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH IRAQIS HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES.  END 
SUMMARY. 
 
¶2.  DESCRIBING THE SITUATION IN IRAQ AS A DELIBERATE "DISTORTION 
OF THE IMAGE OF IRAQ AND ITS PEOPLE," SHARJAH-BASED PAN-ARAB 
DAILY "AL-KHALEEJ" EDITORIALIZED 4/12: 
 
"... THE HAPPINESS REGARDING THE DOWNFALL OF THE REGIME IS ONE 
THING, BUT THE LOOTING OF THE GOVERNMENT INSTITUTES, MINISTRIES, 
HOSPITALS, AND EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS SUCH AS UNIVERSITIES IS 
SOMETHING ELSE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND WHICH HAS A VERY 
DANGEROUS CONSEQUENCE FOR THE FUTURE OF IRAQ, PARALLEL TO THE 
DANGERS OF ITS OCCUPATION.  THERE IS DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF THE 
IMAGE OF IRAQ AND ITS PEOPLE ...  WHAT IRAQ IS FACING NOW, THE 
CHAOS AND LOOTING, SERVES ONLY AMERICAN INTERESTS, INCLUDING THE 
INTERESTS OF THE ZIONIST ENTITY ..." 
 
¶3.  UNDER THE HEADLINE "WHO WILL SAVE BAGHDAD?," DUBAI-BASED 
BUSINESS-ORIENTED ARABIC DAILY "AL-BAYAN" EDITORIALIZED 4/12: 
 
"... WHAT WE ARE SEEING IN BAGHDAD AND ELSEWHERE IN IRAQI CITIES 
MAKES OUR HEARTS BLEED.  THE FOREIGN TROOPS ALONE BEAR 
RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT IS HAPPENING, AND IT IS AS IF THEY WANT 
TO DESTROY EVERYTHING AND TO DISPLAY THE ARAB PEOPLE IN IRAQ IN A 
DISTORTED PICTURE.  AND THE ARABS (SORRY TO SAY) ARE STILL 
WATCHING BAGHDAD.  ISN'T IT TIME TO DO SOMETHING TO SAVE THEIR 
OWN IMAGES?" 
 
¶4.  CRITICIZING THE ATTITUDE OF THE COALITION FORCES IN IRAQ, UAE 
COLUMNIST AYSHA SULTAN WROTE IN "AL BAYAN" ON 4/12: 
 
"... WHAT IS OCCURRING IS CRUEL AND BRUTAL ON THE SOUL AND THE 
EYES AND REPRESENTS AN EPISODE IN THE SERIES OF INVASIONS.  EVEN 
WHEN THE MONGOLS INVADED BAGHDAD, THEY THEMSELVES LOOTED, RAPED, 
MASSACRED, DESTROYED GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, AND WENT INTO MOSQUES, 
HOUSES, AND LIBRARIES THAT WERE EMPTIED OF ALL THEIR BOOKS AND 
THROWN IN THE RIVERS OF IRAQ!  TODAY, AMERICANS ARE NOT DOING 
THAT WITH THEIR OWN HANDS, SO THEY WON'T BE ACCUSED OF BEING 
THIEVES, SINCE THEY CAME AS 'PROPHETS' TO THIS REGION IN ORDER TO 
SAVE IT FROM THE DARKNESS OF DICTATORS AND TAKE IT INTO THE LIGHT 
OF DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM.  THE AMERICANS LEFT THE POOR AND HUNGRY 
TO DESTROY THE ENTIRE COUNTRY'S INFRASTRUCTURE, ITS CIVILIZATION, 
AND THE IMAGE OF ITS GREAT PEOPLE, WHILE THEY OBSERVE AND LEAVE 
THE WORLD TO WATCH THIS CRISIS!" 
 
¶5.  COMMENTING ON THE LOOTING IN IRAQ, COLUMNIST ABU KHALDOUN 
WROTE IN "AL KHALEEJ" ON 4/12: 
 
"... I DON'T THINK PRESIDENT BUSH SHOULD BE HAPPY WHEN HE WATCHES 
A FEW IRAQIS CELEBRATE THE INVASION OF U.S. FORCES, SINCE THESE 
ARE ONLY A COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE AND ARE A GROUP OF THIEVES.  THE 
PERSON WHO LOOTS HIS NEIGHBOR OR GOVERNMENT CAN'T HELP BUT ACT 
LIKE THIS, AS HE CELEBRATES THE HIGHWAY ROBBERS WHO GAVE HIM AN 
OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL.  AS FOR THE DISCRETE IRAQI PERSON, HE JUST 
CLOSED HIS HOUSE DOOR SO HE WOULDN'T SEE THE INVADERS IN HIS 
LAND." 
 
¶6.  CLAIMING THAT IRAQ IS ONLY FIRST U.S. TARGET IN THE REGION, 
"AL KHALEEJ" EDITORIALIZED 4/11: 
 
"... WHEN THE U.S. THREW ITS FIRST BOMB UNDER ITS MOTTO FOR THE 
'LIBERATION' OF IRAQ, IT WAS A NEW ERA OF OCCUPATION.  IT WAS THE 
FIRST BOMB AGAINST ALL ARABS AND THEIR RIGHTS AND IT WON'T BE THE 
LAST.  BAGHDAD IS ONLY THE FIRST PIECE IN AN CHAIN OF ARAB 
COUNTRIES THAT WILL FALL.  CHOOSING IRAQ AS THE FIRST TARGET WAS 
NOT A RANDOM STEP SINCE IT IS THE BIGGEST, RICHEST, AND MOST 
POWERFUL COUNTRY IN THE MIDDLE EAST ..." 
 
¶7.  IN A RARE FRONT-PAGE EDITORIAL UNDER THE HEADLINE "IRAQ FOR 
IRAQIS," GULF NEWS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ABDUL HAMID AHMAD WROTE ON 
4/10: 
 
"THIS IS A HEART-BREAKING MOMENT FOR ANY ARAB SEEING MARINES 
ROAMING THE STREETS OF BAGHDAD, THE CAPITAL OF CALIPH AL RASHID 
...  AS MUCH AS AN ARAB IS PLEASED TO SEE HIS IRAQI BROTHERS FREE 
FROM THE YOKE OF DICTATORSHIP WHICH HUMILIATED AND TORTURED THEM 
FOR MORE THAN 20 YEARS, HIS HEART BREAKS FROM DEPRESSION AND PAIN 
SEEING THIS SAD END TO BAGHDAD, THE CAPITAL OF IRAQ, COLLAPSING 
UNDER THE CHAINS OF MARINES' TANKS.  THIS IS A TOUGH, SAD AND 
PAINFUL MOMENT WITH OUR FEELINGS LEAVING US SPEECHLESS ... WE 
WISHED THAT THIS END WOULD HAVE COME AT THE HANDS OF HIS OWN 
PEOPLE, NOT AT THE HANDS OF THE MARINES.  TODAY HE (SADDAM) 
BROUGHT THEM TO THE CAPITAL OF IRAQ, BAGHDAD OF AL RASHID AND AL 
MUTANABBI.  WE HAVE NO RELIEF BUT IN SEEING IRAQIS REGAIN THEIR 
FREEDOM AND RISING TO BUILD THEIR COUNTRY AND GOVERN THEMSELVES, 
COOPERATING WITH ARABS IN PEACE AND JUST-LOVING PEOPLES TO FIGHT 
TYRANNY, ILLNESS, HUNGER, AND IGNORANCE AND OTHER FOES OF 
HUMANKIND. 
 
WAHBA