Viewing cable 04MUSCAT2078
Title: MUSCAT MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ, POWELL, SYRIA, SHARM AL-

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
04MUSCAT20782004-11-30 13:18:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Muscat
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MUSCAT 002078 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR NEA/ARP (TROBERTS), NEA/PPD (CWHITTLESEY), NEA/P 
(FFINVER), INR/R/MR 
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH 
PARIS FOR ZEYA 
USCENTCOM FOR PLUSH 
FOREIGN PRESS CENTER/ASILAS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO KMDR OIIP MU
SUBJECT: MUSCAT MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ, POWELL, SYRIA, SHARM AL- 
SHAIKH, U.S. ELECTIONS 
 
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Electing To Move Forward 
------------------------ 
 
¶1. The lead editorial in the government-owned Arabic daily "Oman" 
on November 29 was entitled "The Iraqi Elections": 
 
"The election in Iraq can be seen as a bottleneck, beyond which 
the country may be able to rebuild itself under the sheltering 
umbrella of a permanent constitution and representative 
government.  Iraq's interests are of paramount concern, and the 
difficult aspects of the election must not be neglected.  There 
should be a reasoned analysis of the issues, free from special 
interests or personal desires.  Seventeen political parties and 
civil organizations requested the postponement of the election; 
this request should be seriously considered, because it remains 
such a vital event for Iraqis.  The election should be a step 
toward peace, stability, and national unity.  A successful 
election will pave the way for Iraq to return to the 
international community, and regain its position as a vital 
player in the region and in the world as a whole." 
 
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Hawks and Doves 
--------------- 
 
¶2. Essa bin Mohammed Al-Zadjali, owner and editor-in-chief of the 
English daily "Times of Oman" and Arabic daily "Al-Shabiba," 
wrote an editorial that appeared in both newspapers on November 
28 entitled, "Colin Powell: The Last Of The Moderates": 
 
"The resignation of Secretary of State Colin Powell has met with 
conflicting reactions both inside the U.S. and in the world at 
large.  Powell stood tall in the administration because he chose 
a moderate style in running U.S. foreign policy over the last 
four years.  Obviously, this moderate stance created many 
confrontations between Powell and some of the hawks on the Bush 
team.  His policy of dialogue was often obstructed and countered 
by such senior officials as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and 
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.  Powell was the last 
moderate in the Bush administration.  He outlined a complete map 
for U.S. foreign policy that gained wide acceptance throughout 
the world.  U.S. foreign policy during the second term of the 
Bush presidency will remain an area of concern for U.S. allies 
abroad." 
 
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Farsighted? 
----------- 
 
¶3. Another editorial appeared in "Oman" on November 26 entitled 
"Syria's Vision": 
 
"After meeting with President Bashar al-Asad, United Nations 
Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen confirmed that Syria is ready 
to negotiate with Israel without preconditions.  This surely 
indicates the vision and foresight of the Syrian leadership, for 
Syria has been trying to redefine its relationships with other 
countries, particularly Lebanon.  Syria's willingness to talk 
would appear to remove any pretexts for the Israelis to refuse to 
sit at the negotiating table.  However, the Israelis immediately 
belittled the announcement, saying it was merely an effort to 
curry favor with the United States." 
 
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Failed Conference 
----------------- 
 
¶4. Privately-owned Arabic daily "Al-Watan" carried an editorial 
on November 24 entitled "The Sharm Al-Shaykh Conference": 
 
"The participants in the Sharm Al-Shaykh conference failed to 
address two important issues: how to deal with the superpower 
that invaded Iraq, and how to agree upon a legitimate plan to 
secure that superpower's withdrawal from the country.  Because of 
this failure, the Americans will once again get their way.  The 
participants in the conference appeared intent on avoiding any 
mention of the invasion, as if there were no occupying forces in 
Iraq." 
 
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Democracy In Action 
------------------- 
 
¶5. An Egyptian writer, Dr. Abdul Aziz Hamooda, contributed an op- 
ed piece to "Oman" on November 23 under the headline "America The 
Beautiful": 
"Let me assure you that I am not so blinded that I cannot detect 
the weak points of the American democratic system.  However, I 
refuse to reject the American model as a whole, since its 
stability has lasted for more than 100 years and has made America 
into an economic, political, and cultural superpower.  Despite 
all the negative aspects of the American model of democracy, the 
entire world witnessed a happy American election on November 2. 
U.S. presidents do not receive 90%, 80%, or even 60% of the vote; 
President Bush received 51% and his opponent 48%.  Millions of 
people in the third world saw American voters heading to the 
polls without fear.  I have personally witnessed a father and son 
voting for one candidate, and a mother and daughter voting for 
another candidate, without threatening the unity of the family." 
 
BALTIMORE