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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Middle East - Lebanon

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 PARIS 001283

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY (FRANK); BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU;
AF/PA; EUR/WE (DEBORAH MENNUTI)/P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA
(BERBENA); INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE
HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR AND PASS USTR/PA
(ANN LUZZATO); USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA; ROME/PA;
BRUSSELS/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON
U.S. - EU RELATIONS
PARIS - TUESDAY, MARCH 01, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON
U.S. - EU RELATIONS

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

THE ATTACK IN HILLA, WHICH LEFT 114 PEOPLE DEAD, IS A FRONT
PAGE STORY ONLY IN COMMUNIST L'HUMANITE WHICH HEADLINES
"BAGHDAD UNDER SHOCK" AND TITLES ITS INSIDE REPORT "MASSACRE
ON A GRAND SCALE." THE STORY MAKES THE INSIDE PAGES ELSEWHERE
WITH SIMILARLY GRIM HEADLINES: "THE MOST DEADLY ATTACK IN A
YEAR" TITLES POPULAR RIGHT-OF-CENTER FRANCE SOIR, AN OPINION
SHARED BY THIERRY OBERLE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO. "A DAY
OF CARNAGE IN THE HEART OF HILLA" REPORTS LEFT-OF-CENTER
LIBERATION. DOMINIQUE THOMAS, A MIDDLE EAST EXPERT, IS
INTERVIEWED IN FRANCE SOIR: "THIS IS A MESSAGE TO THE
AMERICANS COVERED IN BLOOD. THIS ATTACK IS NO COINCIDENCE.
DURING THE ELECTIONS, SECURITY WAS TOO TIGHT. NOW THE MESSAGE
IS THAT STABILITY WILL NOT BE POSSIBLE UNLESS THE COALITION
LEAVES IRAQ. BUT BY HITTING THE IRAQI FORCES, THE MESSAGE SAYS
ALSO THAT THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT WILL NOT SURVIVE THE DEPARTURE
OF THE AMERICANS."

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TODAY'S NUMBER ONE FRONT-PAGE STORY IS LEBANON AND THE "WIND
OF FREEDOM" (LE FIGARO) SWEEPING THE NATION. LEFT-OF-CENTER
LIBERATION HEADLINES "LEBANON'S PEACEFUL INTIFADA" WHILE FOR
CATHOLIC LA CROIX "BEIRUT STANDS UP TO SYRIA." THE EDITORIAL
IN LIBERATION SUGGESTS THAT "DEMOCRATIZATION IS ON THE MOVE
AFTER IRAQ" AND LA CROIX COMMENTS ON THE "DOMINO EFFECT" WHICH
IS PLAYING IN FAVOR OF DEMOCRACY AND AGAINST DICTATORSHIPS.
(SEE PART C)

THE AFTERMATH OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S TRIP TO EUROPE CONTINUES TO
ELICIT COMMENTARIES. IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER WEEKLY L'EXPRESS
BERNARD GUETTA PENS AN UP-BEAT COMMENTARY TITLED "A TRUE
REUNION" IN WHICH HE EMPHASIZES THAT "BOTH THE U.S. AND THE EU
HAD A PRESSING INTEREST IN EASING THE TENSION." (SEE PART C)
IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO PIERRE ROUSSELIN REPORTS ON THE
CLUB DE MONACO, A MEETING BETWEEN FORMER INTERNATIONAL
DIPLOMATS, TITLED "TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION UNDER DURESS."

THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE CONFERENCE IN LONDON IS ALSO REPORTED.
IN LE FIGARO PATRICK SAINT-PAUL SUGGESTS IT MAY ACHIEVE
"LIMITED GOALS CONSIDERING ISRAEL'S ABSENCE."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON

"A WIND OF FREEDOM"
PATRICK SABATIER IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (03/01): "THERE
IS A TEMPTATION TO SEE LEBANON'S PEACEFUL INTIFADA AS THE
DOMINO EFFECT OF THE `DEMOCRATIC CONTAGION' WHICH IS
TRANSFORMING THE MIDDLE EAST. IS THIS WIND OF FREEDOM TRULY
THE RESULT OF THE SHOCKWAVE INITIATED BY THE U.S. INTERVENTION
IN IRAQ, AS PRESIDENT BUSH SAYS? U.S. DETERMINATION. IS
ENCOURAGING NATIONAL OPPONENTS TO DICTATORSHIPS EVERYWHERE.
DICTATORS ARE MORE HESITANT TO TURN TO REPRESSION. THE
EUROPEANS WILL NOT OPPOSE THE AMERICANS WHEREVER DEMOCRATIC
MOVEMENTS ARISE. THE FRENCH AND THE AMERICANS ARE WORKING HAND
IN HAND IN LEBANON FOR SYRIA'S WITHDRAWAL."

"LEBANON'S VELVET REVOLUTION"
RENAUD GIRARD IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (03/01): "IN
LEBANESE HISTORY YESTERDAY WILL BE REMEMBERED AS A MILESTONE
OF LEBANON'S VELVET REVOLUTION. FREED FROM FEAR, THE PEOPLE IN
THE STREETS AS WELL AS THE POLITICIANS DARED TO OPENLY OPPOSE
LEBANON'S HOUNDED PRO-SYRIAN GOVERNMENT."
U.S. - EU RELATIONS

"A TRUE REUNION"
BERNARD GUETTA IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER WEEKLY L'EXPRESS (03/01):
"LAST WEEK MANY HEADLINES REPORTED ON THE PROFOUND
DISAGREEMENTS BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE U.S. THEY ARE INDEED
NUMEROUS, BUT THIS IS NOT THE ESSENTIAL POINT. WHAT COUNTS IS
THAT IN SPITE OF KYOTO, OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT,
OF THE LIFTING OF THE CHINESE ARMS EMBARGO, OR OF THE LACK OF
U.S. SUPPORT TO PARIS, LONDON AND BERLIN'S EFFORTS WITH IRAN,
AMERICA AND EUROPE HAD A PRESSING INTEREST IN LESSENING
TRANSATLANTIC TENSION. WHAT MADE THIS A TRUE REUNION IS THAT
IT WAS BASED ON REALITY. ON THE ONE HAND THE U.S. NEEDED TO
FIND NEW FRIENDS BECAUSE AMERICA'S LACK OF POPULARITY HAS
NEVER BEEN SO GREAT. AND NOT ONLY IN THE ARAB MUSLIM WORLD.
THE U.S. NEEDED TO ENHANCE ITS IMAGE AND TO STRENGTHEN THE
TRANSATLANTIC ALLIANCE. THIS IS WHY PRESIDENT BUSH COMMITTED
TO THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS, THUS GIVING SATISFACTION TO
THE EUROPEANS. THE EUROPEANS WERE JUST AS KEEN ABOUT THIS
D ENTE. AS FOR CHIRAC, HE HAS MANAGED TO ACHIEVE FRANCE'S
CONSECRATION: AFTER ALL PRESIDENT BUSH'S FIRST RECONCILIATION
WAS WITH FRANCE, BEFORE HIS RECONCILIATION WITH EUROPE. CHIRAC
IS THUS ACHIEVING HIS DREAM FOR FRANCE: TRANSATLANTIC
RELATIONS ON AN EQUAL BASIS, DEVOID OF MASTER-VASSAL TIES,
WITH THE FREEDOM OF AGREEING, BUT NOT NECESSARILY ON
EVERYTHING." LEACH

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