Cablegate: Media Play: Iraq
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS COLOMBO 000629
DEPT FOR INR/R/MR, I/RW, I/REC; PA
SA/INS (FOR JWALLER); SA/PD (LJIRWIN, LSCENSNY,
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR OIIP CE
SUBJECT: MEDIA PLAY: IRAQ
1. Sri Lankan front-page readers woke up to headlines
describing the Iraqi regime's collapse and to photographs
of coalition forces and Iraqi civilians enjoying each
other's company. English front pages ran headlines such as
"Saddam's rule collapses in chaos," "Saddam's rule
crumbles," and "U.S. forces welcomed in Baghdad." The
vernacular dailies mostly followed suit with "Saddam regime
likely to collapse," "Iraqi people warmly greets American
forces," and "No news of Saddam." The stories were
accompanied by pix of an "Iraqi civilian embracing an
American soldier," "Iraqi man put flowers on the head of a
U.S. marine," "Iraqis loot the house of a Baath party
official," and, of course, the ubiquitous pix of the Saddam
statue wrenched from its pedestal in Baghdad." Only one of
Sri Lanka's dozen dailies told a different story: DIVAINA
(an opposition Sinhala daily) reported "Horrible street
fights between two forces even yesterday," while running a
pix of three U.S. helicopters surveilling a palatial
building in Baghdad.
2. Although editorials continued to focus on other issues,
an independent Sinhala daily, LAKBIMA, did comment on the
"racket of rebuilding war torn Iraq." Excerpts:
"The U.S.'s attitude toward the UN Security Council is no
secret. America won't work very hard to get Security
Council approval for a scheme to reconstruct Iraq....
"Is a retired American General going to take over in
Saddam-less Iraq? They say that he will be entrusted with
the oil and responsible for humanitarian aid.... Many
diplomats are skeptical ... and Arabs don't like it either.
However, America has already appointed him...."