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Cablegate: One Iraqi Hopes for War While Jordanians Protest

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS AMMAN 000859

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: PREL IZ JO PHUM SOCI
SUBJECT: ONE IRAQI HOPES FOR WAR WHILE JORDANIANS PROTEST
AGAINST IT

REF: AMMAN 745

The following cable, which describes a recent encounter with
an Iraqi resident in Jordan, was drafted by an Embassy Amman
FSN.

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: During the weekend of January 31, which
saw a large Jordanian anti-war protest (ref), political FSN
spoke at length with a middle aged Iraqi woman, who fumed
about the hypocrisy of her Arab brethren and hoped that war
would soon sweep away Saddam and the misery besetting her
people. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) The Jordanian street's view of potential military
action in Iraq is unquestionably negative. Many see it,
along with the war on terrorism, as part of a broader
campaign against Islam and the Muslim world. Many even
accord Saddam Hussein "esteem" as the only Arab who stands
against "Western Hegemony". Jordanians overwhelmingly
believe that war will be bad for the Iraqi (and Jordanian)
people, and want their Iraqi brethren to know they are "on
their side".

---------------------------
IRAQI IRONY: THE FLIP SIDE
---------------------------

3. (SBU) On January 29, PolFSN spoke to a middle-aged
Iraqi woman resident in Jordan, who recently returned from a
17-day visit to Baghdad. "The Iraqi people are waiting for
this war because they are sick of their lives, sick of
Saddam, and the injustice and fear they live with," she
said. "He (Saddam) has brought us nothing but pain and we
want a change -- even if Sharon comes to rule us it would be
better than Saddam."

4. (SBU) "Iraqis are angry at the rest of the Arab world
for protesting the presumed war" and are especially
indignant toward the Palestinians. They resent the fact
that Saddam gives so much money away to Palestinian martyr
families while leaving his own people starving. "The young
have gray hair from the injustice and fear they live in, no
one can talk because every one man has two intelligence
(men) walking behind him."

5. (SBU) On day-to-day life in Baghdad, she said people
live very simply, with money for only the bare necessities.
The streets are empty, and people sit indoors to listen to
their radios, since everything on TV "is about Saddam."
Most are convinced war is imminent. The Iraqi woman said
that the stores are relatively well stocked, but most Iraqis
can't afford to buy.

6. (SBU) She then described an assortment of
unpleasantness about Iraqi life, e.g. how her niece was
offered a scholarship and how Saddam's people "stole it" and
gave it to their own people, and how this kind of thing
happens all the time. She talked about Saddam's tanks being
situated strategically in front of mosques. She talked
about how lavish Saddam's palaces are, and how the rest of
the population struggles to put food on the table. "Doesn't
the Arab world understand that we are sick of Saddam? Even
if war is bad, people cannot go on as is... something has to
change."

7. (SBU) COMMENT. Our FSN's contact is a former
schoolteacher in Baghdad and is now working as an in-home
manicurist in Amman to make ends meet. We do not know what
percentage of Iraqis share her views, but her opinions were
strong enough to make an impression and merit reporting.
The sentiment she expressed was that while no one wants war,
many Iraqis see this potential war as their only way out of
an intolerable situation.
GNEHM

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