Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - U.S. Foreign Policy - Iraq -
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TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - U.S. Foreign Policy - Iraq -
Afghanistan - Somalia -Globalization Middle East - Olmert in Paris -
Hamas Iran - Regional Strategy
PARIS - Thursday, June 15, 2006
(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:
U.S. Foreign Policy - Iraq - Afghanistan - Somalia -Globalization
Middle East - Olmert in Paris - Hamas
Iran - Regional Strategy
B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:
Domestic stories dominate this morning, with the turbulence
experienced by EADS, the parent company of Airbus, a major story.
Its stock fell sharply - by 30% - yesterday as delays for the A380
were announced. Liberation headlines "A Deadly Series on the Tarmac"
as it reports on the EADS "industrial catastrophe" and revisits the
Clearstream scandal, which has ramifications with EADS. Another
economic story in today's lead is the government's plans to merge
the government owned Gaz de France (GDF - gas utility company) with
the private company Suez. Le Figaro reports on its front page: "PM
Villepin could be forced to abandon his plan" because of opposition
from his own party in the required privatization of GDF before the
La Croix stands apart with a front page devoted to: "Afghan Women
Who Are Not Resigned." The lead story includes a report on elected
Afghan women visiting France, its Parliament and a number of
associations. They will be meeting Bernadette Chirac today. The
editorial, entitled "Afghan Fronts," by Dominique Quinio reminds
everyone that "the border with Pakistan remains an area of
instability: for the U.S. and NATO, this new awakening of the Afghan
front means increased insecurity." (See Part C) Inside, Francois
d'Alancon reports on the reinforcement of French forces.
PM Olmert's visit to France is reported: "Chirac Asks Olmert to
Negotiate with the Palestinians." (Le Figaro) In Liberation, an
op-ed by Theo Klein is entitled, "Dear Ehud Olmert..." in which the
Franco-Israeli lawyer begs the Israeli PM to "renew the dialogue
with the Palestinians." In Le Figaro, the weekly column by Alexandre
Adler is entitled: "What to Do With Hamas?" Adler invites the
international community to "ensure the economic survival of the
awakening Palestinian State..." (See Part C)
Iraq and U.S. foreign policy elicit an analysis from essayist Andre
Glucksmann in Le Figaro entitled "America, the Iraq War and
'Somalization' of the Planet." "Somalia is the in vitro laboratory
where the abomination to end all abominations is at work: the war
against civilians..." Liberation reports on "The Islamic Conquest of
Somalia" while in Le Figaro Tanguy Berthemet describes how "Islamic
law is taking over in Somalia." (See Part C)
Le Figaro's lead international page is devoted to Iran, its role in
the "(G8) counter-summit in Shangai" (See Part C) and to how Russia
is positioning its pawns in Central Asia."
Les Echos announces on its front page: "Disamericanization of the
World" referring to an inside column entitled "Globalization
Continues, But America Is No Longer Leading It." (See Part C)
Liberation carries an article entitled "America's International
Image in A Downward Spiral" noting the Pew Center's findings on
America's image abroad. "In France, the number of Americanophiles
went from 43% to 39% during the course of the year, while it was at
over 62% before 2002... Anti-Americanism in France is truly absurd,
especially when one notes that the French have a better opinion of a
totalitarian country like China (60%) than of a friendly democracy
like the U.S. (39%)."
A separate report in Liberation, "Bush Thinking About Closing
Guantanamo" drafted from dispatches quotes President Bush during his
press conference: "Guantanamo does present a pretext for those who
want to say that the U.S. does not respect the values it defends"
and comments: "The Bush administration is indeed trying to find ways
to empty the camp..."
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:
Dominique Quinio in Catholic La Croix 06/15): "While the world's
attention is focused on the Iraqi powder keg and the Middle East,
Afghanistan is gripped by new convulsions... Coalition forces
launched a new offensive in the south. The end of the Taliban and
the changes which followed, including democratic elections, have not
pacified the country. While the Taliban continue to destabilize
Afghanistan, its population is not enjoying the benefits of
democracy or of international aid... Karzai has asked his Iranian
and Pakistani neighbors to help him contain the poppy and drug
industry, which he cannot control alone. For the U.S. and the
coalition, the Afghan awakening means increased insecurity,
increased costs and the need to send more troops... This is a major
challenge for NATO as it takes over command in July... The other
battle is that of Afghan women: 30 of their elected members are
visiting Paris to explain the difficulties they face in their daily
"America, the Iraq War and 'Somalization' of the Planet"
Andre Glucksmann in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/15): "... In
Afghanistan, the disbanded Taliban are once again causing havoc...
in Somalia the fanatics have taken over and forbidden the
broadcasting of the 'satanic' Word Cup Soccer championship. Iraq
weeps for its dead on a daily basis... But Iraq is not Vietnam and
Zarqawi is not Ho Chi Minh. Iraq is coming out of thirty years of
the worst and bloodiest of dictatorships... The threat hovering over
Iraq is not a 'Vietnamization' but rather 'Somalization...' Today,
Somalia has been taken over by armed groups that go by the name
'Islamic Tribunals...' and who are financed by CIA secret funds: a
new Afghan of the Taliban may well develop in the Horn of Africa...
The world's war zones have different leaders - in East Timor it is
the UN, in Afghanistan it is NATO, in Iraq the Pentagon - but the
scenarios are similar. The Somali model is spreading... with
civilians used as pawns... Would it have been better not to topple
Saddam...? The Iraqis have voted three times, each time their
numbers increased despite the threats. They do not regret the fall
of Saddam... Is it time for the GIs and their allies to leave Iraq,
as they did Somalia? Even the most anti-American of governments, the
most obsessed, like France, are crossing their fingers hoping this
will not happen. The fight to keep the world from the Somali model
has just begun... Either we accept a general Somalization as we try
to find refuge in a Euro-Asian fortress, or we rekindle a most
needed democratic, military euro-Atlantic alliance."
"Globalization Continues, but America No Longer Leads"
Jean-Marc Vittori in right-of-center Les Echos (06/15): "If the
American empire remains strong, new national or regional powers are
emerging alongside it. After having been piloted by the United
States, the upsurge in exchanges is now orchestrated by giant
businesses around the world. This major change could well threaten
globalization itself. First, because the Americans feel that the
movement is escaping them and they are getting edgy -- hence the
irritation of the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, whenever she
hears the world 'multipolar,' or Washington's growing protectionist
temptation. Finally, and above all, because there is no longer an
uncontested leadership, an organizing divide or a common willingness
to openness. This explains the difficulty in advancing the
commercial negotiations of the Doha Round."
Middle East - Olmert in Paris - Hamas
"Improved Relations Between Israel and France"
Christophe Ayad in left-of-center Liberation (06/15): "After the
U.S., Europe. Since his election, Olmert has been traveling to sell
his plan for the Wes Bank... Olmert underscored the fact that
President Chirac has qualified the conditions set by the Quartet as
'non negotiable,' ... But on the ground, it is the end of the truce
between Hamas and Fatah... The worsening humanitarian situation is
triggering growing concern among French diplomats, who, in private,
vent their criticism of an 'absurd policy whose sole results is to
throw the Palestinians into the arms of Hamas...'"
"Chirac Asks Olmert to Talk with the Palestinians"
Thierry Oberle in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/15): "Olmert did not
get the support he was looking for. Chirac made it clear that the
existence of two separate states required 'renewed negotiations
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority...' For Paris, there
should be no new borders drawn unilaterally. While Olmert agrees, he
reiterated the three conditions, which Hamas continues to reject...
And so while Olmert was not able to get the support he received from
Washington and London, he at least got an attentive French ear."
"Dear Ehud Olmert..."
Theo Klein in left-of-center Liberation (06/15): "You are, like me,
a lawyer. You have been trained, as far as I can see, more to
establish contracts than engage in combats. This is good, because
there are many of us who are concerned about the lack of dialogue
with the Palestinians. A dialogue is needed: it must be implemented
with those who come to us. We cannot choose our interlocutors... Is
it not in Israel's best interest to see the quick implementation of
a Palestinian state? We must accept this reality... It is with the
Palestinians, and the Jordanians that we must initiate this
dialogue. And why not call for an international conference under the
aegis of the UN... and lead this initiative with the support of the
Quartet and Egypt?..."
"What to Do With Hamas?"
Alexandre Adler in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/15): "I will
explain, as I try to separate feelings and intellect, why we must do
everything to preserve the Hamas government, at least for the time
being... Abbas's intentions are honorable... It is also clear that
his referendum has been suggested by Egypt, more so than by
Israel... Supposing that it were ratified by the Palestinians ...
the text remains unacceptable for Israel... But Hamas remains
Israel's best trump card because Hamas cannot afford to lead its
people to self-destruction... (with the help of Iran...) For the
time being, Israel has grounds for not talking with fake Palestinian
interlocutors who cannot legitimately make concessions... If on the
other hand the complete evacuation of the territories goes hand in
hand with improved living conditions for the Palestinians, then
Hamas will have no reason to continue fomenting violence. We must
therefore help Hamas to save face and guarantee the economic
survival of the awakening Palestinian state... And so I plead in
favor of this necessary albeit unpleasant solution."
Iran - Regional Strategy
"Iran Imposes Itself on the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization)
Jean-Jacques Mevel in right-of-center Le Figaro (06/15): "With
little concern for the G8 that will be held in Saint Petersburg in a
month, China has decided to hold its own summit, bringing together
the Chinese president Hu Jintao, Vladimir Putin, Pakistan's Pervez
Musharraf... and another president who may steal the show, Iran's
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... In Shanghai he will have the chance to meet
with some of the heads of state who are the least inclined to vote
in favor of sanctions against Iran... International attention will
be riveted on China and Russia and their display of enthusiasm for
reasoning with Iran... This will be difficult. Putin, for his part,
is unhappy with NATO's inroads in the Ukraine and in central Asia
and may be tempted to look at the Iran issue as a way to get back at
the U.S. Meanwhile, Hu Jintao is adopting a less antagonistic