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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Iran; Meeting Between Bush and Lula;

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DE RUEHBU #0624/01 0931807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031807Z APR 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7713
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000624

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STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; IRAN; MEETING BETWEEN BUSH AND LULA;
04/03/07

1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Weekend international stories include the impact of the capture of
15 British soldiers on the status of the war against Iran; and the
implications of the meeting between US President George W. Bush and
Brazilian President Lula da Silva for Brazil's strategic interests.


2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "A swap plan"

Jorge Elias, daily-of-record "La Nacion's" international columnist,
opines (04/01) "... Bush and Blair are wondering how to win the war
without declaring war... And they are wondering how to react to the
EU's unsympathetic reaction to the tragedy of 14 men and one woman
captured in the delicate red line between a boiling war (Iraq) and a
probable war (Iran).

"Iran is harassing the international community - the foreign crisis
has strengthened its domestic front and since it focused attention
on urgent issues, it allowed mitigating suspicion on alleged support
for Iraqi insurgents, which are close to Al Qaeda, and armed
political parties, which are considered terrorists, in the hottest
areas of the Middle East.

"The prevailing tension is in (Iran's) favor, as well as timing and
increasing oil prices. According to Plan A, if (Iran) is not bombed,
it will eventually have the bomb, and once it has it, other
countries will want to have their own bombs. As per Plan B, if Iran
is bombed], Iran will not have the bomb, but other countries will
use the possibility of having the bomb for blackmailing purposes. In
one case or the other, the world will look increasingly unsafe. So
much so that one and the others will only have one choice left -
Plan C (tradeoff/swap plan)."

- "Iran - Another Harvest for Western 'Hawks'"

Leading "Clarin" carries an op-ed piece by Marcelo Cantelmi, its
international editor, who writes (04/03) "... The entire military
campaign against Iraq underlying that blurry 'anti-terrorist' war
concept has had a business backdrop and it has been an attempt to
extend the imperial arm and create a land aircraft carrier in the
Middle East so that the US becomes a current player in the
conflict... It is not hard to notice the depth of the losses
suffered and what this defeat expresses...

"... The capture of the 15 British soldiers could well end up with
an Iranian victory. This should not be surprising. 'The Economist'
magazine has warned that finally Iran 'has been the big winner of
Bush's war,' something which, it is worth recalling, 'Clarin' has
sustained in solitude for the last four years."

- "An Encounter that Prioritizes Strategic Interests"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," (04/01) writes "George W. Bush is
radioactive. Both Democrats and Republicans alike run away from him
when they think of running in the 2008 presidential elections. He
has a very bad image in the US and outside of it for many reasons...
Lula does not like him either. However, he decided to prioritize
Brazil's permanent and strategic interests over his personal taste.

"... It is good to remember that Bush is more than only Bush. Today
and until January 2009, he epitomizes the presidency of the only
military and economic superpower in the world. Lula understands this
clearly and he is willing to work with him.

"Academic Luis Bitencourt, from the Wilson Center Brazilian
Institute, said 'prospects for a deal on ethanol are the key issue
in all this...'

"In spite of his obvious political weakness, Bush can still make the
lives of his interlocutors easy or difficult. He could negotiate a
deal on bio-fuels. He can open or close US markets a little bit
further by granting or limiting preferential tariffs... He could
influence the IMF and, in the Argentine case, he could facilitate
(or not) negotiations with the Paris Club.

"... Brazil wants much more than an alliance for bio-fuels. It wants
to become the only 'leader of the region,' such as India, China,
South Africa or Australia in other geopolitical areas ... and, a
permanent seat at the UN Security Council. It will take years, and
perhaps it will never attain it, but it is a long-term Brazilian
strategic goal.

"... Bush feels the need for showing results. In Latin America, this

will have an impact for tangible benefits for anyone who knows how
to sniff out that weakness and woo the White House. Peruvian Alan
Garcia and Uruguayan Tabare Vazquez are walking this road. And Lula
is leading the march."

- "The US Wants Brazil to 'Put a Brake on the Disobedient'"

Eleonora Gosman, Sao Paulo-based correspondent for leading "Clarin,"
penned (04/01) "... (US President) George W. Bush again confirmed
for Lula that Brazil is a key piece in the US foreign strategy due
to the 'enormous influence of this nation' ... However, Bush did not
want to publicly and explicitly support Brazil's entry into the UN
Security Council.

"... Nevertheless, the lack of major announcements do not cloud the
US decision to make Brazil a 'privileged interlocutor' in Latin
America. Mexico distanced itself from the region and Colombia does
not have enough weight for the mission. That is why Bush 'trusts'
that Lula will play a moderating role vis-`-vis regional processes
like those led by Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Rafael Correa and to
a lesser extent by Nestor Kirchner. In this framework the US is
working to consolidate a 'very strong alliance' with Brazil that
will serve as a counterweight to the axis of the 'disobedient.'"

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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