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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Middle East; Iraq;

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 OTTAWA 002235

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAN, WHA/PDA
WHITE HOUSE PASS NSC/WEUROPE; NSC/WHA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO KMDR OPRC CA OIIP
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: MIDDLE EAST; IRAQ;
AFGHANISTAN; TERRORISM

MIDDLE EAST
1. "Stumbling block on road to peace"
The liberal Toronto Star opined (8/5): "...Bush has
been pressing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to
divert the path of the barrier so it consumes less West
Bank territory. But Sharon last week dismissed Bush's
request to dismantle or move the fence.... Israel has
every right to build a security fence, or wall, along
its borders. Many countries have such barriers. The
U.S. has built high-tech fences, complete with barbed
wire, along much of its border with Mexico. Washington
even flirted with the idea of a similar security fence
along parts of its border with Canada after the World
Trade Center terrorist attack. But it is a mistake to
build the fence on land that might become part of a
separate Palestinian state, or be controlled by
Palestinians, if the current Mideast peace process is
successful. Sharon
knows the fence won't stop terrorists determined to
attack Israel.... However, Bush must continue to
pressure Sharon to dismantle the fence. At the least,
the U.S. president must demand it follow the Green
Line. Sharon needs to be told firmly that he cannot
indirectly annex parts of the West Bank. To do so will
damage this oh-so-fragile peace process."

IRAQ
2. "U.S. wants Saddam, but dead - not alive"
Contributing foreign editor Eric Margolis wrote in the
conservative tabloid Ottawa Sun (8/3): "...Chances are
Saddam, like his sons, will be killed in a Bonnie and
Clyde-style shootout. He is unlikely to be captured,
unless incapacitated. The Bush administration will be
delighted not to put Saddam on public trial. Dead
dictators tell no tales.... Saddam should be handed
over by the U.S. to the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The
Hague that is trying Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic and
other accused Balkan war criminals. After all, it was
Washington that engineered Milosevic's delivery to The
Hague, an act for which the U.S. deserves high praise.
What applies to Milosevic applies equally to Saddam
Hussein. In fact, it would be better for the Iraqi
leader to stand trial at the newly constituted
International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. But the
Bush administration, in one of its most
shameful acts, has refused to join this tribunal or co-
operate with it. Should Saddam be gunned down, like his
two sons, there will be glee among many Americans and
rejoicing in the White House. But Saddam Hussein is not
John Dillinger or a prize elk. However odious, he was
the leader of a sovereign nation and a government
recognized by the U.S. Killing foreign
heads of state violates international law and the
directives made by three American presidents....
America, the world's greatest democracy, has no
business murdering foreign leaders. Such behaviour is
criminal, immoral, undemocratic and reeks of the law of
the jungle. Past U.S. attempts to murder foreign
leaders have proved self-defeating.... George Bush may
yearn to drape the body of Saddam over his Jeep and
show it off to the folks around Crawford, Texas, but he
should be forcefully reminded that the president
represents the laws of the land. Bad enough the White
House waged a totally unnecessary, unprovoked,
undeclared war on Iraq based on spurious charges. This
egregious offence should not be compounded by cold-
blooded murder, no matter how odious the intended
victim."

AFGHANISTAN
3. "The Afghan trenches"
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le
Devoir (8/4): "The UN report on Afghanistan says the
present climate of danger is seriously threatening the
peace process.... [Afghanistan] is a general state of
chaos accompanied by an increase in violence.... The
vast and essential demining program has been suspended
in more than ten provinces.... The burka is now almost
as visible as in the days of the Taliban. Women in fear
of men remain basically prisoners in their own
homes.... This general degradation is due to two
political factors: The first is that the foreign
countries involves, mainly the U.S. and Europe hesitate
to order additional deployment of troops.... The
other...is Iraq. Several American analysts have stated
that the preparation of the war in Iraq guaranteed that
the Afghan file would be relegated to the background by
the Bush administration."

TERRORISM
4. "Bush's Cassandras"
Editorialist Serge Truffaut wrote in the liberal Le
Devoir (8/5): "President Bush does not want to
declassify that famous chapter the senators wrote on
Saudi Arabia despite the demands of these senators and
the Saudi Government itself. According to information
revealed by elected officials who worked on the report,
Saudi agents informed their government about the
intentions of the perpetrators of September 11. If the
Saudi government is so intent on having the chapter
concerning itself made public, why is Bush refusing? Is
it to protect the CIA and the FBI. Is it not to hurt
some Saudi sensitivities.... While we wait for an end
to this confusion...we can only observe that the war
against Iraq has indeed slowed down the war on
terrorism on its most delicate front: the reform of the
intelligence services."

5. "U.S. must take hard look at Saudi alliance"
The conservative Montreal Gazette opined (8/6): "The
American reluctance to confront its relationship with
this quaintly pathological kingdom is perhaps
understandable. Through the vicissitudes of Mideast
power politics, the Saudis have been one of the few
constants, a reliable if eccentric ally and a
dependable source of crude oil. But the time has come
for the U.S. to start at least questioning its links to
the world's most medieval monarchy. Releasing those 28
pages would make a good start."

CELLUCCI

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