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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iraqi Constitution

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 005661

SIPDIS


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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - IRAQI CONSTITUTION
AFGHANISTAN
PARIS - TUESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

1. IRAQI CONSTITUTION
2. AFGHANISTAN

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

FRONT PAGES TODAY ARE DEVOTED TO A NUMBER OF VERY DIVERSE
STORIES RANGING FROM THE U.S. TOUR OF THE ROLLING STONES
(LIBERATION) TO THE AVIAN FLU THREAT (LE FIGARO) AND THE IRAQI
CONSTITUTION. CATHOLIC LA CROIX LEADS WITH: "IRAQ: THE
HEADACHE OF THE CONSTITUTION." THE EDITORIAL REMAINS CAUTIOUS
ABOUT THE PEACEFUL COHABITATION OF THE THREE COMMUNITIES AND
NOTES: "THE ELECTIONS IN JANUARY AND THE CONSTITUTION ARE BUT
PHASES IN A PROCESS THAT REMAINS IMPERFECT." INSIDE A REPORT
TITLED "THE AMERICANS NO LONGER BELIEVE IN VICTORY" REVIEWS
THE RESULTS OF VARIOUS U.S. OPINION POLLS ON THE WAR. PIERRE-
JEAN LUIZARD, A SPECIALIST ON IRAQ FROM THE CNRS (NATIONAL
SCIENCE RESEARCH CENTER) COMMENTS: "IN ANOTHER PLACE AND TIME
THE DEBATES ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION MIGHT BE CONSIDERED A SIGN
OF DEMOCRACY. BUT NOT HERE, BECAUSE THE SITUATION IN IRAQ IS
CATASTROPHIC. THE POLITICAL PROCESS AND THE NATION'S
RECONSTRUCTION ARE UNDERMINED BY THE DIVISIONS AMONG THE
COMMUNITIES, A SITUATION WHICH THE AMERICANS HAVE CHOSEN BY
THE U.S. BY DEFAULT. THE FUTURE OF IRAQ LOOKS COMPLICATED. BUT
THE U.S. IS ALWAYS LEGITIMIZING ITS POLICY WITH PRETENSE, AS
WAS THE CASE WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF IRAQ'S AUTONOMY. THE
DIFFERENCES PITTING THE THREE COMMUNITIES WILL BECOME MORE OF
AN ISSUE IN SIX MONTHS OR A YEAR FROM NOW. AND THE IRAQIS WILL
BE EVEN MORE THE PRISONERS OF THEIR SECTARIANISM."

RENEWED VIOLENCE IN AFGHANISTAN IS THE THEME OF A REPORT IN LE
FIGARO WHICH SUGGESTS THAT THE PERPETRATORS' AIM MAY BE TO
"OPEN A NEW FRONT TO WEAKEN THE AMERICANS EVEN MORE." (SEE
PART C)

POPULAR RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE PARISIEN DEVOTES A DOUBLE PAGE
REPORT TO AL-QAEDA AND THE EFFORTS MADE TO DECIPHER THE
VARIOUS MESSAGES FROM TERRORIST NETWORKS. THE PAPER CARRIES AN
INTERVIEW WITH JEAN-PIERRE MILLELI, AN EXPERT ON ISLAM AND CO-
AUTHOR WITH GILLES KEPEL OF A BOOK ENTITLED: "UNDERSTANDING AL-
QAEDA." "TODAY, IRAQ IS ON THE WAY TO BECOMING WHAT
AFGHANISTAN BECAME FOR THE SOVIETS. IN SPITE OF THE
TERRORISTS' MEDIEVAL DOCTRINES, THEY USE MODERN MEDIA TO
PERFECTION."
IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LE MONDE GILLES KEPEL PENS AN OP-ED ON TONY
BLAIR'S ANTI-TERRORIST MEASURES, `LONDONISTAN' AND THE WIDER
NEED FOR EUROPE TO "DEFINE ITS IDENTITY WITH OUR FRIENDS OF
MUSLIM ORIGIN, AND OTHER RELIGIOUS OR NON-RELIGIOUS GROUPS."
KEPEL WRITES: "THE QUESTION OF MULTI-CULTURALISM GOES BEYOND
THE UK. MULTICULTURALISM MAKES SENSE ONLY IF THE
REPRESENTATIVES AND LEADERS OF THE VARIOUS COMMUNITIES ARE
ABLE TO KEEP THEIR CONSTITUENTS UNDER CONTROL AND IF THEY
TEACH THEM SPECIAL VALUES, WHICH IN THE END, MUST SUBMIT TO
THE GLOBAL PUBLIC ORDER. THIS DEBATE NEEDS TO BE BROACHED ALL
OVER EUROPE. AFTER THE FAILURE OF THE EU CONSTITUTION, IT IS
TIME FOR THE EU TO TAKE ON A CHALLENGE THAT MAY PARTLY DEFINE
ITS FUTURE."

LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION PUBLISHES AN OP-ED BY SALMAN RUSHDIE
CALLING FOR THE REFORM OF ISLAM.

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

IRAQI CONSTITUTION

"THE NEED FOR TIME"
DOMINIQUE QUINIO IN CATHOLIC LA CROIX (08/13): "WHEN A LITTLE
OVER TWO YEARS AGO THE U.S. AND ITS ALLIES DECIDED TO GO TO
WAR IN IRAQ TO ELIMINATE SUPPOSEDLY EXISTING WMD AND A GENUINE
DICTATOR, EVERYONE KNEW THAT ONCE THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED, THE
HARDEST TASK WOULD REMAIN. NOT A DAY GOES BY IN IRAQ WITHOUT
ITS SHARE OF ATTACKS, EXPLOSIONS AND MURDERS. THE LABORIOUS
DRAFTING OF THE CONSTITUTION ILLUSTRATES THE COMPLEXITY OF
IMPLEMENTING A STABLE AND DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENT WHEN THE
INTERESTS OF THE THREE COMMUNITIES ARE IN CONFLICT, WITH NOT
ONE READY TO CUT DOWN ITS DEMANDS. THE JANUARY ELECTIONS, LIKE
THE ADOPTION OF A CONSTITUTION ARE ONLY STEPS. AND IMPERFECT
ONES AT THAT. WHICH CANNOT HIDE THE RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC
CLASHES WHICH SERVE AS A PRETEXT TO VIOLENCE. PRESIDENT BUSH
IS BUSY TRYING TO CONVINCE HIS PEOPLE OF THE SOUNDNESS OF HIS
POLICY. THE FINAL JUSTIFICATION FOR HIS CHOICES WILL DEPEND ON
IRAQ'S ABILITY TO ESTABLISH PEACE BETWEEN THE THREE
COMMUNITIES. SO THAT IRAQ STOPS SERVING AS A HOTBED FOR
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. THE PERSPECTIVE IS FAR IN THE FUTURE.
IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO GET RID OF A DICTATOR TO FREE A PEOPLE.
IRAQ, LIKE AFGHANISTAN, WHERE VIOLENCE PERSISTS IN SPITE OF
THE ERADICATION OF THE TALIBAN, STANDS AS PROOF OF THIS."

AFGHANISTAN

"RENEWED VIOLENCE"
MARIE-FRANCE CALLE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (08/23): "THE
RECORD IS A SOURCE OF WORRY. NEVER SINCE THE END OF `ENDURING
FREEDOM' HAVE THE AMERICANS SUSTAINED SO MANY CASUALTIES AND
IN SUCH A SHORT TIME. THE SCHEDULED LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS IN
SEPTEMBER ARE PROBABLY PARTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS RENEWED
VIOLENCE. BUT THE ELECTORAL CONTEXT DOES NOT EXPLAIN ALL. AND
IN PARTICULAR THE SUDDEN EFFECTIVENESS AND VIRULENCE WITNESSED
IN THAT ATTACKS BY THE ENEMIES OF KARZAI AND THE AMERICANS.
MOST EXPERTS FEEL THE ANSWER LIES ELSEWHERE. WHAT IF THESE
ENEMIES OF THE U.S. AND OF KARZAI HAD OTHER IDEAS, SUCH AS
OPENING A NEW FRONT TO WEAKEN WASHINGTON EVEN MORE THAN IT IS
ALREADY BECAUSE OF THE IRAQI QUAGMIRE? WHAT IF THEY WANTED TO
THROW THE AMERICANS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN, A COUNTRY OF STRATEGIC
IMPORTANCE WHICH STANDS ACROSS FROM IRAN? THIS IS WHAT MANY
OBSERVERS BELIEVE. THEY THINK THAT THE KEY TO ALL THE
QUESTIONS LIES IN THE INCREDIBLE LEVEL OF ORGANIZATION THAT
CAN BE SEEN IN THE RANKS OF AMERICA'S ENEMIES IN AFGHANISTAN."
HOFMANN

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