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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 005797

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
PARIS - MONDAY, AUGUST 29, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

IRAQI CONSTITUTION

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

DOMESTIC POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES DOMINATE TODAY'S FRONT
PAGES AND MOST EDITORIALS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF LEFT-OF-
CENTER LIBERATION WHICH FRONTS: "IRAQ TRIPS BUSH." INSIDE, A
THREE-PAGE REPORT IS ENTITLED: "TIRED OF THE WAR, PUBLIC
OPINION REJECTS BUSH." IN HIS ARTICLE PASCAL RICHE EXPLAINS
WHY A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS "DISAPPROVE OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S
IRAQI POLICY" CONCLUDING THAT THE PRESIDENT IS FACING "A
HISTORIC PRESIDENTIAL LACK OF POPULARITY." THE ARTICLE ALSO
MENTIONS SENATOR CHUCK HAGEL'S CRITICISM OF THE WAR: "THE
LONGER THE U.S. STAY IN IRAQ, THE MORE THE MIDDLE EAST IS
DESTABILIZED." A SEPARATE ARTICLE AND EDITORIAL ARE DEVOTED TO
THE IRAQI CONSTITUTION WHILE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE JOURNAL DU
DIMANCHE COMMENTATOR GILLES DELAFON TITLES HIS ANALYSIS: "IRAQ
ON THE BRINK OF BREAKING." (SEE PART C)

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AS PRESIDENT CHIRAC PREPARES TO MEET THE ASSEMBLED CORPS OF
FRENCH AMBASSADORS THIS MORNING, LE FIGARO GIVES A HINT OF THE
ISSUES HE WILL BE COVERING IN HIS REMARKS: "GIVING NEW
MOMENTUM TO EUROPE, ACTING AGAINST THE THREATS TO COLLECTIVE
SECURITY AND OPPOSING MULTILATERALISM TO THE EXCESSES OF
GLOBALIZATION: THESE ARE THE THREE DIRECTIONS CHIRAC WILL GIVE
TO HIS AMBASSADORS. CHIRAC WILL SPEAK IN FAVOR OF A STRONGER
EUROPE, USEFUL TO THE TRANSATLANTIC RELATIONSHIP, AS HE
RECALLS THE COMMUNITY OF VALUES BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE U.S. .
CHIRAC IS AWAITED ON HIS POSITION ON THE GEOGRAPHICAL
EXPANSION OF THE EU. ABOUT TURKEY IN PARTICULAR, HE IS
EXPECTED TO DEFINE THE EU-25'S DETERMINATION TO ASK ANKARA TO
CLARIFY ITS POSITION ON CYPRUS. HE WILL RECALL DEMOCRATIC
VALUES IN FIGHTING AGAINST TERRORISM. AND INVITE IRAN BACK TO
THE NEGOTIATING TABLE. SHORT OF WHICH FRANCE AND ITS PARTNERS
WILL HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO GO BEFORE THE UNSC. FRANCE'S
EMISSARIES WILL ALSO BE EXPECTED TO ENCOURAGE REFORMS IN THE
MIDDLE EAST."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

IRAQI CONSTITUTION

"FAILURES"
GERARD DUPUY IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (08/29): "WITHOUT
THE ALLIED ARMIES, NAMELY THE AMERICAN ARMY, NEVER WOULD THE
IRAQIS HAVE BEEN SO CLOSE TO HAVING A CONSTITUTION SO WELL
TAILORED TO THEIR MULTIPLE NEEDS. A LITTLE ISLAM, A LITTLE
HUMAN RIGHTS. THIS INTRICATE DISTRIBUTION IS ALSO THE ONLY
CHANCE FOR THE TEXT TO BE ADOPTED BY THE IRAQIS. THE SUNNIS,
WHO HAVE VIOLENTLY REJECTED THE U.S. PRESENCE. COULD LEAD THE
PROJECT TO FAIL. A PROJECT WHICH IS ALSO THE ONLY TRUMP CARD
BUSH HAS IN HIS HAND TO BRING BACK HIS TROOPS. WITH `THE BOYS'
IN MIND, BUSH PUSHED HARD FOR THE CONSTITUTION. BUT IF IT
FAILS, PRESIDENT BUSH WILL GET THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE WANTED.
WHILE TRYING TO GAIN TIME, HE COULD END UP HAVING LOST TIME.
BECAUSE THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE COUNT DOWN HAS BEGUN IN THE
MINDS OF THOSE SURROUNDING THE PRESIDENT. HIS PUBLIC OPINION
IS AGAINST HIM, AND THE RUMORS OF TROOP DISENGAGEMENT ARE A
RESULT OF THE PRESIDENT'S MOUNTING UNPOPULARITY. AS THE GAME
PLAY BECOMES MORE DIFFICULT, IT SEEMS THE PRESIDENT HAS LESS
AND LESS TIME. ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE, THE PRO-SADDAM INSURGENTS
POSSESS A DEADLY WEAPON: TO PROLONG THE SITUATION."

"FOR THE IRAQIS, A CONSTITUTION, BUT PROBLEMS REMAIN"
PIERRE PRIER IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (08/29): "IF ONE IS
TO BELIEVE IRAQI PRESIDENT JALAL TALABANI, IRAQ HAS BEEN SAVED
FROM THE RISKS OF A CIVIL WAR. BUT IF ONE LOOK CLOSELY AT THE
CONSTITUTIONAL TEXT, NOTHING SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN PERMANENTLY
RESOLVED. THE MAIN CONCERN OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE VARIOUS
FACTIONS SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN TO GAIN TIME AND GIVE IN TO
PRESSURES FROM WASHINGTON, WHICH IS EAGER TO SEE A POSITIVE
OUTCOME AND BEGIN MILITARY DISENGAGEMENT PROCEEDINGS. BUT IN
REALITY, THE SAME PROBLEMS APPEAR UNRESOLVED. IN BAGHDAD, THE
U.S. AMBASSADOR SHOWED LESS ENTHUSIASM THAN PRESIDENT BUSH,
ACKNOWLEDGING THAT A REJECTION BY THE SUNNIS ON OCTOBER 15
WOULD CREATE `A PROBLEM.'"

"A HIGH RISK CONSTITUTION"
CHRISTIAN BOLTANSKI IN LEFT-OF-CENTER LIBERATION (08/29): "AT
THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT, VICE-PRESIDENT HUSSEIN CHAHRISTANI
REJOICED IN THE `GIFT' OFFERED TO `THE IRAQI PEOPLE.' BUT THE
TEXT COULD WELL TURN OUT TO BE A POISONED GIFT. THE IRAQIS
HAVE NEVER SPOKEN SO MUCH OF THE RISKS OF `A CIVIL WAR' SINCE
THEY STARTED DISCUSSING THE CONSTITUTIONAL TEXT."

"IRAQ ON THE BRINK OF BREAKING"
GILLES DELAFON IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE JOURNAL DU DIMANCHE
(08/29): "IT IS WASHINGTON'S WHOLE STRATEGY OF RECONCILIATION
WHICH IS AT STAKE AND COULD FAIL. PRESIDENT BUSH'S WORRIES ARE
SUCH THAT HE EVEN CALLED THE SHIITE LEADER EL-HAKIM ASKING FOR
MORE FLEXIBILITY. THE DEMOCRATIC SOLUTION THAT WILL BE COMING
OUT OF THE BALLOTS DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE A GUARANTEE FOR
PACIFYING IRAQ. AND THE NEW VICTIM OF IRAQ'S PARADOXES IS
PRESIDENT BUSH HIMSELF: NOT ONLY HAS HE HAD TO COURT EL-HAKIM,
IRAQ'S PRO-IRAN FIGURE, TO ALLOW MORE ROOM TO FORMER PRO-
SADDAM PROPONENTS, HE IS ALSO BEING THREATENED BY AMERICAN
EVANGELISTS WHO SAY THEY WILL WITHDRAW THEIR SUPPORT IF THE
IRAQIS ADOPT A CONSTITUTION WHICH GIVES TOO MUCH IMPORTANCE TO
ISLAM." STAPLETON

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