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Cablegate: Media Reaction U.S. Policy On Iraq; Harare

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 HARARE 002133

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA
NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR NEARY
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION U.S. POLICY ON IRAQ; HARARE


1. U.S. policy toward Iraq was the favored topic of
Zimbabwean op-ed writers over the Sept 21-22 weekend.
While none of the writers defended Saddam Hussein,
they were unanimously opposed to U.S. unilateral
action in Iraq. Excerpts follow:

2. Under headline "Bush, Blair playing games with
Saddam" the independent daily "The Daily News" (09/23)
carried the following op-ed by Tajudeen Abdul Raheem:

"President George W. Bush of the U.S. addressed
the United Nations General Assembly 10 days ago.
For a President infamous for mixing his tenses
and mauling the English grammar. . .the speech
was in clear English and delivered with a clear
intention of leaving no one in any doubt: The UN
must act decisively on Iraq or the U.S. will do
it for the UN, whether the UN likes it or not. .
. For hawks. . .in his. . .administration and
his small band of cheerleaders internationally
(principally Tony Blair of Britain and Ariel
Sharon of Israel), it was the kind of no-
nonsense speech that they wanted. . . Now that
Saddam Hussein seems to have swallowed his fat
ego and agreed that the weapons inspectors can
return to Iraq unconditionally Bush and his
British poodle, Blair, are unsure how to react.

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". . .The U.S. and the British have reacted to
Iraq's offer with incredulity, insisting that
Iraq is merely playing games and setting a trap
for the UN that would give it room to wriggle
out in the future after short-circuiting the
momentum for military action. If anybody is
playing games it is Bush and Blair. . . Bush
did not go to the UN for approval. He went
there to inform them. Not sure of the response
he would get, he made sure (like a good cowboy)
he held guns to their heads. However, finding
the UN amenable to its demands on the weapons
inspectors, the Bush administration has been
shifting the goal posts since the UN triumph.
And whatever Saddam does, even if he opens his
bedroom and bunker to the inspectors, Bush will
still attack the country. . . ."

3. Under headline "First Afghanistan, now Iraq, then
who?" the independent weekly "The Standard" (09/22)
comments:

".We hold no brief for Saddam Hussein. True,
Iraq, has been defying a host of UN resolution
dating back to the 1991 Gulf War, particularly
those regarding weapons of mass destruction.
But this defiance does not merit the fundamental
evil of regime change. Why only Iraq when it is
common knowledge that Israel gets away literally
with murder!

".In the eyes of the world, there could be yet
another dangerous precedent. First Afghanistan,
now Iraq. Which country next? Where will it
all end? Domino theory - knock them all down
one by one! The U.S. must not see the world
from its selfish and parochial point of view.
The U.S. must stop trying to deceive the world
by claiming that getting rid of Saddam would be
in the interest of the Iraqi people and their
neighbors. It is a load of crap.

". . .The world was not found wanting when
people watched in horror and disbelief as the
World Trade Center fell to a vicious terrorist
attack. Joseph Sullivan, U.S. ambassador to
Zimbabwe, said people understood that although
the attacks took place in the U.S., they were an
assault against the world. Given this kind of
cooperation and collective memory, the U.S. must
not now act outside that world regarding the
Iraq problem."

4. Under headline "Bush's Iraq war all about oil"
the September 22 edition of the independent weekly
"The Standard" carried the following opinion piece by
Ken Mafuka under his column "American Notes":

". . .Saddam Hussein is guilty of the most
barbarous crimes against humanity. He used
chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980 war
and later against the Kurds. He is amassing
weapons of mass destruction. . . He invaded
Kuwait and committed atrocities even against
babies there. All this is true but the juicy
part is that he was encouraged by the U.S. and
was given `material help' against Iran. Some of
the chemical weapons he used were devices made
from that material help he received. . . It is
a sad story of being used for other people's
interests."

5. Under headline "Assault on Iraq stinks of `global
evil' the government-controlled weekly "The Sunday
Mail" (09/22) carried the following opinion piece by
Tafataona Mahoso:

"In a cynical retreat from the agenda and values
of the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, the G-7
powers have gone back to their World Economic
Forum in Germany and the Bush-Blair
administrations have gone back to their efforts
to hide their dismal failure in Afghanistan by
claiming that the terrorism they went to
eliminate in Afghanistan has suddenly
transferred to Iraq. . . Another war over oil
in the Middle East will be so devastating to
human life, marine life and weather that no kind
of reparations would begin to redress the
damage, even if they were offered. The damage
would be so colossal that no one would know
where to start the restitution or
reconstruction. . ."

6. Under headline "When will sanity prevail?" the
government-controlled weekly "The Sunday News" (09/22)
comments:

"As Western hawks circle over Iraq, there is a
growing worry that sole-superpower triumphalism
will finally prevail over the civilized tenets
of international law. The bellicose cowboy from
Texas and his faithful sidekick from London have
pointed their guns at the people of Iraq, and no
one, it seems, is able to stop them. There are
occasions in history when the use of force is
both right and sensible. Our conscience tells
us that this is not one of them. Make no
mistake, American and British troops will invade
Iraq before December. Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair
will neither give dialogue a chance nor ask the
UN to send weapons inspectors to the Persian
Gulf state. But if Iraq really has weapons of
mass destruction, why would the Bush Government
risk diplomatic suicide by going it alone
instead of presenting the evidence to the UN
Security Council?."

SULLIVAN

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