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Cablegate: Cairo Media Reaction: The Attack in America -

O 191006Z SEP 01
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3991
INFO CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
CNO WASHDC IMMEDIATE
DA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
HQUSAF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
WHITEHOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
WHITEHOUSE NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL
COMSIXTHFLT
ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 CAIRO 005770

STATE FOR NEA/ENA NEA NEA/P INR
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
USCENTCOM FOR POLAD
LONDON ALSO FOR POL - GOLDRICH
PARIS ALSO FOR POL - OFRIEL
NICOSIA FOR ILMG
JERUSALEM ALSO FOR VOA AND ICD
ROME FOR MFO

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: KMDR OPRC KPAO EG
SUBJECT: CAIRO MEDIA REACTION: THE ATTACK IN AMERICA -
SEPTEMBER 19, 2001

-----------
1. SUMMARY:
-----------

THE LEAD STORY IN ALL PRO-GOVERNMENT MEDIA WAS
PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S INTERVIEWS WITH CNN'S LARRY KING
AND THE BBC. ALL PRO-GOVERNMENT HEADLINES EMPHASIZED
MUBARAK'S RENEWAL OF THE CALL FOR AN INTERNATIONAL
CONFERENCE ON FIGHTING TERRORISM; HIS URGING THAT AN
AMERICAN ATTACK ON ANY COUNTRY BECAUSE OF A SINGLE
PERSON MEANS THE KILLING OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS; AND HIS
STATEMENT THAT PRESIDENT BUSH PROMISED FURTHER EFFORTS
TO SETTLE THE MIDDLE EAST ISSUE; THAT THE EGYPTIAN
ISLAMIC JIHAD ORGANIZATION IS CERTAINLY AFFILIATED WITH
BIN LADEN.

HOWEVER, THE BANNER IN OPPOSITION AL AHRAR READ, "WE
WILL NOT FIGHT WITH AMERICA," IN REFERENCE TO PRESIDENT
MUBARAK'S STATEMENT THAT EGYPTIAN TROOPS WILL NOT
PARTICIPATE IN AN AMERICAN ATTACK IN AFGHANISTAN. AL
AHRAR'S FRONT PAGE FURTHER PUBLISHED A STORY THAT
PRESIDENT BUSH "IS TRYING TO SAVE HIS FRAGILE ALLIANCE"
BY MEETING WITH WORLD LEADERS ON THE PLANS TO RESPOND
TO THE ATTACKS IN THE U.S.

PROMINENT REPORTS ON PRESIDENT BUSH'S VISIT TO THE
ISLAMIC CENTER IN WASHINGTON APPEARED IN LEADING PRO-
GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM AND AGGRESSIVE PRO-GOVERNMENT AL
AKHBAR.

-- ON ALL FRONT PAGES, PRESIDENT MUBARAK DISCUSSED THE
AMERICAN SITUATION WITH JORDAN'S KING ABDULLAH, SYRIAN
PRESIDENT ASSAD AND OMAN SULTAN QABOOS.

-- LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM'S FRONT PAGE
PROMINENTLY REPORTED THAT THE UNSC DEMANDED THE TALIBAN
SURRENDER BIN LADEN, WHILE THE U.S. FORMED "A WAR
GOVERNMENT" WHERE PRESIDENT BUSH AND SECRETARY POWELL
ARE CONDUCTING A DIPLOMATIC CAMPAIGN TO FORM AN
INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE AGAINST TERRORISM.

-- LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM QUOTED SECRETARY
POWELL'S PRESS CONFERENCE SAYING THAT THE U.S. DOES NOT
INTEND HARM TO THE AFGHANI PEOPLE, AND BIN LADEN HAS
CELLS IN DOZENS OF COUNTRIES. ALL PAPERS COVERED HIS
STATEMENT TO AL JAZIRA TELEVISION RULING OUT ISRAEL'S
PARTICIPATION IN THE AMERICAN MILITARY RESPONSE AND
THAT THE ARAB WORLD IS NOT A TARGET OF AMERICAN ACTION
TO FIGHT TERRORISM.

-- ALL FRONT PAGES REPORTED ON THE KILLING OF AN
EGYPTIAN COPT IN LOS ANGELES AS A REACTION TO THE
ATTACKS IN THE U.S. COLUMNISTS CONTINUED TO CRITICIZE
THE "HATE CAMPAIGN" AGAINST ARABS AND MOSLEMS
WORLDWIDE.

-- AN EDITORIALIST TACKLED THE ISSUE OF FREEDOM VERSUS
SECURITY AFTER THE ATTACKS. ANOTHER QUESTIONED WESTERN
STANDARDS AND LIKENED THE U.S. CURRENT SITUATION TO
HITLER'S GERMANY AND STALIN'S RUSSIA. WHILE THE
GENERAL EDITORIAL TREND IS TO CALL FOR THE EXERCISE OF
WISDOM AND NOT TO FOLLOW THE PREJUDGMENT AGAINST BIN
LADEN, ONE COLUMNIST ATTACKED THE TALIBAN FOR
PROTECTING BIN LADEN.

-- THE MIDDLE EAST SITUATION, WHILE STILL ON ALL FRONT
PAGES, WAS EMPHASIZED IN PRESIDENT MUBARAK'S INTERVIEWS
WITH CNN AND BBC. END SUMMARY.

-------------------
2. QUOTE OF THE DAY
-------------------

"THESE HAPHAZARD ACCUSATIONS THAT LACK FIRM EVIDENCE
MAKE THE TRAGEDY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE -- WITH WHOM
EVERYONE SYMPATHIZED -- A FARCE WITH WHICH NO ONE
SYMPATHIZES. IS THIS WESTERN DEMOCRACY?.. I REGRET
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AMERICA." LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT
AHRAM'S REGULAR COLUMNIST HAZEM ABDEL RAHMAN

---------------
3. BLOCK QUOTES
---------------

-- "FREEDOM AND SECURITY" LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL
AHRAM'S SENIOR MODERATE COLUMNIST AHMED BAHGAT (9/19):
DICTATORSHIPS DEEPLY DIFFER FROM DEMOCRACIES. UNLIKE
THE CITIZEN IN THE TOTALITARIAN REGIMES, THE CITIZENS
IN DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES ENJOY FREEDOM OF SPEECH,
MOVEMENT AND ALL ASPECTS OF LIFE. THE PERPETRATORS OF
THE ATTACKS IN WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK EXPLOITED THESE
PRIVILEGES.. [HOWEVER,] AMERICANS ARE FEELING THAT
THEIR FREEDOM IS THREATENED BY FIRM SECURITY MEASURES..
AMERICAN ANALYSTS BECAME AWARE OF THIS CRISIS AND
STRESSED THAT THEY SHOULD NOT LOSE THEIR FREEDOM FOR
SECURITY REQUIREMENTS.. WILL AMERICA SUCCEED IN
SOLVING THE EQUATION OF BALANCING FREEDOM WITH
SECURITY?.. THE ADVANTAGE OF DEMOCRATIC COUNTRIES IS
THAT EVERYTHING IS UNDER CONTROL WITHOUT FEELING
SECURITY. WILL THIS IMAGE CHANGE?"

-- "READY MADE ACCUSATION" LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT
AHRAM'S REGULAR COLUMNIST HAZEM ABDEL RAHMAN (9/19):
"THE U.S. WILL NOT LOSE ANYTHING BY HITTING BIN LADEN'S
BASES IN AFGHANISTAN. IT DID IT IN 1998 AFTER THE
EMBASSY BOMBINGS IN NAIROBI AND DAR ESSALAM. THE
PROBLEM IS THAT IT MAY FAIL AGAIN IN CAPTURING HIM.. ON
THE OTHER HAND, WHO SAID THAT HE IS THE SOLE
RESPONSIBLE PARTY IN THE NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON
ATTACKS? HOW CAN THE CIA AND FBI BE TRUSTED SO RAPIDLY
AFTER PROVING THEIR UTTER FAILURE IN DETECTING THE
ATTACK AND REVEALING THE PERPETRATORS?.. AMAZINGLY,
THE U.S., A SOCIETY OF POLITICAL PLURALISM, HAS
SUDDENLY BECOME SIMILAR TO A NAZI SOCIETY IN HITLER'S
TIME, OR A SOVIET SOCIETY IN STALIN'S RULE: EVERYONE IS
MOBILIZED BEHIND THE ONE TREND AND ONE OPINION TO
RETALIATE AGAINST A SPECIFIC PERSON BEFORE THE
INVESTIGATIONS EVEN START. CERTAIN PEOPLE ARE NOW
ACCUSED OF BEING TERRORISTS FOR THE MERE FACT THAT
THEIR NAMES WERE ON THE TRAVEL LISTS BECAUSE THEY ARE
ARABS OR MOSLEMS, OR POSSESSED BOOKS ON HOW TO FLY A
PLANE OR HOW TO BE A MOSLEM. WHERE IS THE SERIOUSNESS
OF THE INVESTIGATIONS? THESE HAPHAZARD ACCUSATIONS
THAT LACK FIRM EVIDENCE MAKE THE TRAGEDY OF THE
AMERICAN PEOPLE -- WITH WHOM EVERYONE SYMPATHIZED -- A
FARCE WITH WHICH NO ONE SYMPATHIZES. IS THIS WESTERN
DEMOCRACY? DOES IT CHANGE, AT THE TIME OF DANGER, TO A
BRAINWASH OPERATION AND AN OPEN FALSIFICATION OF THE
PEOPLE'S CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE MOST MODERN NATION? WHO
SAYS THAT ONLY ARAB MOSLEMS COMMIT SUICIDE? WHERE ARE
THE KAMIKAZE PILOTS OR THE BUDDHISTS MONKS?.. I REGRET
WHAT IS HAPPENING IN AMERICA."

-- "HATE CAMPAIGNS" LEADING PRO-GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM'S
SENIOR INFLUENTIAL COLUMNIST SALAMA AHMED SALAMA
(9/19): "THE HATE CAMPAIGNS AND HARASSMENT OF ARABS AND
MOSLEMS IN AMERICA AND ALL THE WESTERN COUNTRIES IS
RISING DAY AFTER ANOTHER.. THAT IS WHY PRESIDENT BUSH
VISITED THE ISLAMIC CENTER IN WASHINGTON.. OUR FEAR IS
THAT THE STATEMENTS OF OFFICIALS IN AMERICA AND EUROPE
BECOME USELESS WITH THE WESTERN MEDIA CONTINUAL
MOBILIZATION OF FEELINGS AGAINST THE SO-CALLED ISLAMIC
TERRORISM AND THOSE SAVAGE ARABS WHO WANT TO CRUSH
WESTERN CIVILIZATION.. THE QUESTION IS, WHAT IS THE
USE OF ARAB DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS WORLDWIDE? WHY DO THEY
NOT ADOPT A COLLECTIVE PROTEST POSITION AGAINST THESE
ATTACKS? SILENCE WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO
CONTINUE THE MISTREATMENT."

-- "THE ISLAMOPHOBIA AND AMERICAN REVENGE" LEADING PRO-
GOVERNMENT AL AHRAM'S COLUMNIST SALAH EDDIN HAFEZ
(9/19): "WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A TARGET OF ACCUSATIONS
ACCORDING TO THE TRADITIONS OF SUPERPOWER. IT FIRST
AVENGES ITS INJURED PRIDE, AND THEN THINKS ABOUT
INVESTIGATING THE ATTACKS.. THE RAPID EFFORT TO FORM
AN INTERNATIONAL ALLIANCE OR CONFERENCE LED BY THE U.S.
TO FIGHT TERRORISM IS THANKFUL.. HOWEVER, WHERE WERE
THESE EFFORTS WHEN TERRORIST GROUPS KILLED AND BURNED
LAND IN [EGYPT AND ARAB COUNTRIES]? WHERE WERE THESE
FEVERISH EFFORTS WHEN ISRAEL KILLS, BURNS AND DESTROYS
DAILY?.. IT IS GOOD TO SPEAK WITH AMERICA AND EUROPE
ABOUT PEACE, STABILITY, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND
FIGHTING TERRORISM. HOWEVER, THIS MUST BE BASED ON
UNIFIED STANDARDS AND BALANCED GUIDELINES. WE SHOULD
REMEMBER WHEN THE U.S. RUSHED AND PRESSURED EVERYONE TO
HOLD AN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FIGHTING TERRORISM
IN SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT, IN 1996, WHEN IT TURNED OUT
TO BE AN AMERICAN ATTEMPT ONLY TO HELP ISRAEL'S PERES
WIN THE ELECTIONS."

-- "IF I WERE IN TALIBAN'S SHOES" LEADING PRO-
GOVERNMENT AHRAM'S COLUMNIST SALAH MONTASSER (9/19):
"WHEN BIN LADEN WENT TO AFGHANISTAN, HE RAISED THE
BANNER OF `STRUGGLING AGAINST THE INFIDELS;' A CALL
THAT THE U.S. NOURISHED SO THAT IT WOULD BE USED
AGAINST THE SOVIETS INSTEAD OF DIRECT AMERICAN
INTERVENTION.. BIN LADEN WAS TEMPTED BY THE WEALTH HE
INHERITED, THE STRENGTH THAT EMERGED IN TRAINING CAMPS
AND INFLOW OF WEAPONS TO SERVE HIS OWN PURPOSE OF
FORMING THE LARGEST TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.FROM WHICH
EGYPT SUFFERED.. IN SUMMARY, BIN LADEN IS NOT THE
INNOCENT NATIONALIST WHO DESERVES THE PROTECTION OF ANY
COUNTRY. IF I WERE IN TALIBAN'S SHOES I WOULD QUESTION
FIRST BIN LADEN'S SELFISHNESS AND ASK HIM WHETHER HE
ACCEPTS TO SURRENDER HIMSELF TO PROTECT AFGHANISTAN
FROM THE IMPENDING DESTRUCTION OR NOT."


WELCH

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