Cablegate: Public Diplomacy On Iraq: Yemeni Ideas

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





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) I spent two days this week in Aden publicizing U.S.
development and security projects to remind the Yemeni
government and public of their stake in our bilateral
relationship as we move toward conflict in Iraq. One of my
more interesting encounters was with the editors of Al Ayyam
newspaper, an independent with the country's largest

2. (SBU) During my visit, Al Ayyam not only featured U.S.
development and security projects, but also showcased an
interview with me that allowed me to put US-Iraqi policy in
the best possible light. I was surprised to find the
newspaper's leadership strongly supportive of the US
commitment to removing Saddam Hussein and allowing the Iraqi
people to develop a democracy.

3. (SBU) As we discussed the probable conflict, Al Ayyam's
editors had some pointed suggestions for cushioning the
impact on Yemenis and other Arabs. They recalled photos of
American Muslim GI's cleaning a mosque in Afghanistan and
then praying in it. They also recalled a photo of American
Muslim soldiers praying on an aircraft carrier. Both images,
they said, sent strongly positive images to Muslims. They
also welcome President Bush's continuing expressions of
respect for Islam, e.g., visits to Islamic centers, meetings
with American Muslims, messages on Islamic occasions. A
third suggestion they made was to emphasize the positive
effects of previous US military interventions in Kosovo and
in Afghanistan on the daily lives of Muslims in those
countries. Our message: in Iraq, as in Kosovo and
Afghanistan, Muslims can look forward to better lives as a
result of US intervention.

4. (SBU) I very much appreciated an opportunity to meet with
you during the recent NEA Chief of Mission conference and
hope the above thoughts are helpful to you as we explain our
intervention in Iraq.

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