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Cablegate: Egypt Media Trends: August 6, 2006

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHEG #4840 2191141
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 071141Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0383
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS CAIRO 004840

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NEA/PPD FOR ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, ROBIN SMITH AND
DAVID BENZE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL PREL IS LE EG
SUBJECT: EGYPT MEDIA TRENDS: AUGUST 6, 2006


1. Summary. Continuation of fighting in Lebanon
amid reports of a draft resolution sponsored by
the US and France were the main stories in all
papers on Sunday. Pro-government papers
continued what we perceive as efforts to downplay
support for Hezbollah in commentaries, while many
papers continued unfettered criticism of
President Bush and his "rightists." Hugo Chavez
joined Hassan Nasrallah as the hero of the day in
opposition media. End summary.

2. In the headlines. While no singular theme
emerged in the headlines, the following evidenced
the public fatigue over the rising death toll,
and the focus on achieving a ceasefire. Of note,
leading opposition daily, Al-Wafd's banner
headlines were similar to leading pro-government
daily, Al-Ahram's, in the focus on the killing of
Israeli soldiers and the US-France ceasefire
agreement. Centrist, pro-government daily, Al-
Akhbar, bannered Egypt's statement to Washington
regarding "the urgency to stop the aggression
against Lebanon." The accompanying photo of a
Lebanese woman standing amidst ruins looking up,
read, "She is praying to God to exact revenge
against the Zionists." Pro-government daily, Rose
Al-Youssef's banner headline examined Iran's role
by asking the question, "Hassan Nasrallah or the
Party to Bring Victory to Iran?" The two front-
page photos showed a Lebanese woman with a look
of horror and a Lebanese man fleeing the bombing.
Popular daily, Al-Gomhouriya's banner headline
announced the "new Israeli massacre" that killed
40 civilians.

The independent press's headlines focused more on
the US role and its "greater Middle East"
ambitions than did the pro-government papers.
Liberal independent daily, Nahdit Misr's banner
headline decried Washington for "hindering the
ceasefire by insisting that Israel remain in
southern Lebanon." The accompanying photo
portrayed a Lebanese corpse surrounded by people.
Independent daily, Al-Masry Al-Yom, announced its
special report on "An Islamic Middle East Versus
an American One" and, separately, looked at the
"resistance still standing" amidst strong clashes
and Israel's "killing of 35 Palestinians in 48
hours."

3. In the commentaries. In what appears to be an
effort to reflect public opinion while
simultaneously influencing it, the opinion pages
in pro-government papers showed that condemnation
of the US does not exclude condemnation of
Hezbollah on the same day in the same paper. For
example, Al-Gomhouriya's editor-in-chief attacked
Hassan Nasrallah for "criticizing Arab rulers
and his illusions that he will become a hero" and
spoke against the Iranian foreign minister as
"the godfather of Hezbollah aimed at prolonging
the war," while publishing an unsigned editorial
asking the US how it will "deal with the Arab
nation when the mask has fallen off its ugly
face." Similarly, Al-Ahram published an unsigned
editorial criticizing the US for "preventing the
Security Council from issuing an immediate
ceasefire," while publishing the views of a well-
known, young columnist criticizing Nasrallah for
"trying to appear as the Arab hero, but bringing
destruction to his own people." A columnist in
opposition daily, Al-Wafd, used the example of
Venezuela's Hugo Chavez "bringing back the
Venezuelan ambassador in Israel in opposition to
the war" to shame Egypt into "standing up to its
responsibilities."

4. Public sentiment. Over the weekend,
independent and opposition papers carried news of
demonstrations after Friday's noon prayers
"condemning Israeli aggression against Lebanon."
The sermon called upon God to "help Hezbollah
triumph over the Jews." Demonstrators carried
photos of Hassan Nasrallah and chanted slogans
against the Arab governments. The papers
highlighted that similar demonstrations would
take place in a number of provinces.
RICCIARDONE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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