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Cablegate: Media Reaction 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 000494

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR INR/R/MR AND AF/PDPA DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS
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 IRAQ; HARARE

1. The standoff with Iraq remains fodder for opinion
articles being carried in the mainstream newspapers.
Excerpts follow:

2. Under headline "Imminent war against Iraq: The ironies
and contradictions" the pro-government weekly "The Sunday
Mirror" (03/09) dedicated its ghost column "The Scrutator"
to warning that "the conflict over Iraq will spill over the
entire Middle East and constitute a conflagration so
frightening as to distort the current balance of forces in
the world, with both unforeseen and immeasurable
consequences for humanity." Excerpts:

"The ironies and contradictions attendant to the
current campaign for war against Iraq are becoming
increasingly compelling. Even before the U. S. and
Britain declare formal hostilities against Iraq, the
leaders of the two countries are finding it
difficult to deal with a public opinion, at home and
abroad, which is blowing holes in the argument that
Iraq is a threat to peace. Therefore, one of the
glaring ironies is that the U. S. A. and Britain are
now being projected as the real war-mongers,
determined to defy public opinion that has grown so
loud in its anti-war campaign throughout the western
world and beyond, and ignoring the obvious
devastation that war will bring to both the people
of Iraq and the Middle East as a whole.
Accordingly, gaining currency is the conclusion that
the underlying motivation for war against Iraq on
the part of the U. S. A. and Britain is oil and
Israel. . .In the final analysis, the Iraq question
will see many other political casualties in the
western hemisphere, including the leadership in such
countries as Spain and Italy. It will provoke and
exacerbate internal conflicts in a number of
countries in the Islamic world; not least those
viewed to be close to the U. S. A., namely, Egypt,
Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. As I have already
stated, the conflict over Iraq will spill over the
entire Middle East and constitute a conflagration so
frightening as to distort the current balance of
forces in the world, with both unforeseen and
immeasurable consequences for humanity. Quite
characteristic of imperialism per se, there is the
usual overestimation of one's power and a
corresponding underestimation of unforeseen
consequences. Bush's U. S. A. may have bitten more
than it can chew."

3. Under headline "U. S. unilateralism cause of
terrorism" the government-controlled weekly "The Sunday
Mail" (03/09) carried an opinion piece by Tafataona Mahoso
under his weekly column "African Focus," in which he
accused the United States and Britain for "white-mailing
the world by claiming that their threatened unilateral and
illegal war on Iraq is the best way to fight terrorism."
Excerpts:

". . .The global dominance of the media of the North
Atlantic states, combined with the African
preoccupation with Western ties, made Africans
forget that Russia had suffered horrific acts to
terrorism long before the September 11 attack on New
York, Washington and Pentagon. In fact, the people
and movement accused of perpetrating the September
11 attacks in the U. S. had been groomed as an anti-
communist force against Russia and the former Soviet
Union by the very same United States which on
September 11, 2001 allegedly fell victim to its own
supposed `freedom fighters' against communism. .
.From the point of view of the Russian Federation .
. .unilateralism is, in fact, one of the biggest
causes of international terrorism. . .The worst
example of this tendency is the U. S.-U. K. position
on Iraq. These two countries are white-mailing the
world by claiming that their threatened unilateral
and illegal war on Iraq is the best way to fight
terrorism. They are also claiming that they have
proof that Al-Qaeda has relations with Iraq. This
claim is a lie and it has the effect of actually
taking the rest of the world away from dealing with
real terrorism and its causes. . .The horrors of
September 11 did succeed in shifting the Western
view and appreciation of terrorism, but any gains
made since then in seeking a collective global
position on the problem were going to be destroyed
if the U. S. and UK succeeded in using the cover of
combating terrorism to justify a genocidal war
against Iraq. . . ."

4. Under headline "U. S. not providing enough resources
to schools" the government-controlled daily "The Herald"
(03/10) carried the following op-ed by Bob Herbert in which
he attacked the United States of wanting "to spend hundreds
of billions of dollars on the war against Iraq" at the
expense of the provision of adequate resources for children
in public schools in the United States. Excerpts:

"Here's something surreal about the fact that the
United States of America - the richest, most
powerful nation in history - can't provide a basic
public school education for all its children.
Actually, that's wrong. Strike the word `can't.'
The correct word is more damning, more reflective of
the motives of the people in power. The correct
word is `won't.' Without giving the costs much
thought, we'll spend hundreds of billions of dollars
on an oil-powered misadventure in the Middle East.
But we won't scrape together the money for
sufficient textbooks and teachers, or even, in some
cases, to keep the doors open at public schools in
struggling districts from Boston on the East Coast
to Portland on the West. . .It's everyone's
obligation to educate the next generation of
Americans. It's an insane society that can
contemplate devastating and then rebuilding Iraq,
but can't bring itself to provide schooling for all
of its young people here at home."

SULLIVAN

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