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Cablegate: Media Reaction; the Gaza Strip; Usg Asking the Argentine

VZCZCXYZ0020
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1192/01 1701721
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191721Z JUN 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8441
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001192

SIPDIS

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

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; THE GAZA STRIP; USG ASKING THE ARGENTINE
GOVERNMENT TO PASS ANTI-TIP LEGISLATION; US DEFENSE EXPENDITURES;
06/19/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Weekend international opinion pieces and editorials cover the state
of affairs in the Gaza Strip as well as the next steps to be taken
by the Bush and Olmert administrations; the USG praises the
Argentine Government for its approval of an anti-terrorist draft
bill and requests for the passage of anti-T.I.P. legislation; and
the record US defense expenditures.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "The Palestinian territories - a civil war in a country that was
not able to become a State"

Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin,"
writes (06/16) "There could be much more to be sorry about in the
incipient Palestinian civil war, which has been focused on the Gaza
Strip so far... than the more than one hundred casualties during the
latest five days of clashes between Hamas and Al Fatah.

"... Under these circumstances, Gaza is no more than a humanitarian
crisis on the verge of explosion, for which the international
community does not seem better prepared than for, let's say, the
Rwanda crisis by the mid-'90s.

"... There is almost content in Washington and Jerusalem circles
about how things have turned out so far. The Bush and Olmert
administrations have almost applauded the way the Palestinian
president and his military commanders managed to flee the Gaza Strip
to take refuge in the Western Bank in an attempt to save face as a
government. Hamas has less military capability in the West Bank than
in Gaza.

"However, more important than this is the fact that Abbas finally
made the decision to fire his PM Ismail Hamiya, a Hamas supporter,
which finally seems to remove the unacceptable election triumph
obtained by Hamas.

"Olmert and Bush are scheduled to meet in a few days in Washington
and, according to some versions, the Israeli PM could bring a plan
to definitely dismantle the Gaza Strip by isolating it with troops
and walls, which are the central elements of the current Israeli
policy on the Palestinian issue.

"The mastermind of this scheme seems to be Avigdor Lieberman,
minister for Strategic Affairs, considered a true extremist, whose
political party put forward the expulsion of Israeli citizens of
Arab origin. According to the latest issue of 'The Jerusalem
Report,' Lieberman wants to lay siege to Gaza, cut its electric
energy and water supply, thereby separating the Gaza Strip not only
from Israel, but also from the rest of the Palestinian National
Authority. Then, they would hold negotiations with Abbas and forget
about the Gaza Strip...

"... The Gaza Strip issue promises to be more than Washington's
stubbornness to create more and more terrorists. It is not a remote
dilemma for Argentina, whose legislators have just passed an alleged
antiterrorist draft bill that was conceived of by the US Republican
Government, which is not necessarily related to the needs of the
country and which keeps in store execrable potentialities for
Argentines' liberties."

- "Washington gives praise to and makes demands on the Argentine
Government"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (06/16) "Argentina's approval
of a draft bill repressing terrorist activities and financing was
'welcomed' yesterday by this city, which has long pleaded for the
hemispheric coordination of security policies. However, its approval
also fed the US interest over a draft bill against TIP.

"According to two USG officials, the US State and Homeland Security
Departments avoided making public statements over the approval of
said legislation, in part to avoid getting involved in the election
debate in Buenos Aires.

"According to one USG official, 'We applaud the passing of the draft
bill. It is positive for the Government, the country and the
region.' The other emphasized that it also removed risks to the
local financial system.

"Referring to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the source
pointed out that 'It is good for the Argentine banks not to face the
possibilities of FATF sanctions.' The US interest is now focused on
the approval of a draft bill against TIP.

"... The struggle against terrorism is one of the points that most
unite and separate the US and Argentina.

"US Assistant Secretary for the Western Hemisphere Thomas Shannon
often praises the country for its 'hemispheric leading role' in
avoiding nuclear proliferation and coordinating 'anti-terror
efforts.'

"Nonetheless, several reports of the US Department of State, the
Senate, the Lower House and the Treasury Department repeatedly warn
about the existence of terrorist groups or, at least, terrorist
financing of clandestine networks on the Triple Border. This tension
is also reflected in the US mass media."

- "Record armament expenditures"

Leading "Clarin" carries an editorial (06/16) "The hope of the
so-called 'peace dividends,' which was fed by the end of the Cold
War era of nuclear terror and arms race, seems to be darkened in
face of the record increase in armament expenditures registered in
the first years of the 21st century.

"... The US leads this armament expenditure by concentrating almost
half of the global expenditure... The US military expenditure, which
had grown since the end of last decade, had a marked increase since
George W. Bush took office, and, particularly, since the September
11 attacks and the war in Iraq.

"... Far from providing more international security, this increase
in defense expenditure has been accompanied by an increasing number
of clashes and violent episodes. In this way, the lack of a global
confrontation beween superpowers has led the way to an unrestrained
increase in the arms race in the framework of greater instability
and imbalance. It is hard to put a brake on this global insecurity
spiral."

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

WAYNE

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