Viewing cable 03ABUJA300
Title: NIGERIA: REACTION TO SECRETARY'S SPEECH

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
03ABUJA3002003-02-13 10:38:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Abuja
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 000300 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
SENSITIVE 
 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PARM NI IZ UNSC
SUBJECT: NIGERIA:  REACTION TO SECRETARY'S SPEECH 
 
REF: STATE 34072 
 
 
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- PLEASE PROTECT ACCORDINGLY. 
 
 
¶1.  (U) Reaction to the Secretary's speech on Iraqi 
violations 
has been muted.  Local media covered the event with 
straightforward accounts of the Secretary's presentation. 
Until 
today (February 10), Embassy has seen no official comments 
from 
the GON and little discussion of the speech's merits in the 
media.  "This Day," an influential daily that late last year 
ran 
into trouble with many Muslims over an ill-advised reference 
to 
the Prophet Mohammed, courageously editorialized what it 
hoped 
Muslims would want to hear.  While reporting snippets of the 
Secretary's speech, the editors countered the Secretary's 
 
SIPDIS 
call 
for a firm stand by the UN:  "We believe that on the 
contrary, 
it is America that is by her arrogant posture, rendering the 
United Nations irrelevant."  The editors went on to question 
U.S. motivations and to contend that the U.S. was not 
"showing 
the same zeal in resolving the long-drawn Israeli-Palestinian 
conflict in favor of peace and justice."  Sentiment against a 
U.S. attack, especially one without the cover of a further 
Security Council Resolution, has been growing slowly but 
steadily in Nigeria for the past two months. 
 
 
¶2.  (SBU)  Many of the Embassy's interlocutors have given 
kudos 
to the Secretary for the presentation, some commenting that 
"the 
same message from any other source would not have been 
credible."  Even so, the overall sentiment appears to be that: 
a) there is not enough reason to unilaterally attack Iraq, 
b) the U.S. appears to be using different standards to 
develop 
and implement policy toward, respectively, Iraq, the DPRK and 
Israel, and 
c) it seems that President Bush has decided to wage war no 
matter what Iraq does (or does not). 
 
 
¶3.  (SBU) On the Nigerian street, tensions continue to rise 
in 
anticipation of the expected U.S.-led was on Iraq.  Many of 
Nigeria's approximately 60 million Muslims confront serious 
economic difficulties and perceive no near-term prospect for 
improvement.  Many also view Nigeria's incumbent President as 
biased toward mostly-Christian southern Nigeria and fear that 
he 
will be re-elected despite their antipathy.  Objecting to the 
likelihood of a "U.S.-led war on our fellow Muslims" offers 
them 
a sense of purpose and belonging.  Thus far, these objections 
have taken the form of a street demonstration only once, and 
then in Ibadan (rather than Abuja or Lagos).  There have been 
reports of efforts to organize additional demonstrations, but 
a 
heavy GON security presence appears to date to have 
discouraged 
those contemplating action.  In the weeks ahead, ongoing 
efforts 
to disarm Iraq will combine with electoral passions to 
increase 
chances for demonstrations, peaceful and otherwise. 
JETER