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Cablegate: "The End of the Myth." Egypt Media Trends: August 14, 2006

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DE RUEHEG #5030 2261406
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R 141406Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY CAIRO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0567
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS CAIRO 005030

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SIPDIS

NEA/PPD FOR ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, ROBIN SMITH AND DAVID BENZE
R/PPR FOR GRETCHEN WELCH

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL IS LE EG
SUBJECT: "THE END OF THE MYTH." EGYPT MEDIA TRENDS: AUGUST 14, 2006

1. Summary. For the second consecutive day, headlines in
opposition and independent papers, responded to the ceasefire
agreement between Israel and Hezbollah by highlighting Israel's
"last minute massacres" and portraying Israel as "failed."
Government-controlled dailies focused on President Mubarak's meeting
with the Iranian foreign minister, and Egypt's assistance to
Lebanon. Commentaries in opposition and independent papers showed
strong reactions against the U.S. and some claimed new Arab pride
thanks to Hezbollah. Egyptian Television hosted a prominent
Lebanese writer who decried Hezbollah. End Summary.

2. In the headlines and front pages. In the first day of the
implementation of a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah,
opposition and independent headlines pronounced, "Tel Aviv
Surrenders" (Nahdet Misr), "Victory for Hezbollah" (Al-Ahrar), "The
End of the Myth" (Al-Wafd), and "Huge Losses for Israel" (Al-Masry
Al-Yom). In many papers, these pronouncements were supported by
large photos of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert appearing unhappy,
with his hand on his head, and fatigued Israeli soldiers. Headlines
in the government-controlled dailies portrayed "Israel's great
losses" (Al-Akhbar), "Israel's defeat" and inability to "provide
food and water for our soldiers" (Rose Al-Youssef), and "an Israeli
massacre before cessation of hostilities" (Al-Gomhouriya), while
also focusing on Hezbollah's ability to "repel armored attacks"
(Al-Ahram). All government-controlled dailies provided prominent
coverage of President Mubarak's meeting yesterday with Iranian
Foreign Minister, Motaki, stressing "Egypt and Iran agree on a
ceasefire" (Al-Akhbar), and "ties with Tehran are stable... we share
common views on many issues" (Al-Gomhouriya).

3. In the commentaries. Commentaries in opposition and independent
papers, as well as government-controlled Rose Al-Youssef, showed a
high concentration of anti-American, pro-Hezbollah opinions, and in
a number of commentaries, writers predicted a new era of "Arab
pride" due to Hezbollah's actions. Al-Wafd editorials propounded,
"...revenge will remain in the heart of Lebanese", "Hezbollah's
steadfastness will encourage the repetition of war", "President Bush
is good at the art of hatred", and "this is a 'Nazi American' war
led by President Bush against Islam and Muslims." One senior writer
predicted that "Iran may lead the Islamic world after it possesses
nuclear arms ... since Arab countries refrained in order not to
anger the US.... Lebanon reaped a new Middle East different from
Condi's project which will be made by heroic jihadists and martyrs."
A columnist in independent daily, Al-Masry Al-Yom argued in favor of
"supporting Hezbollah as the only resistance group that has regained
pride for Arabs."

4. While most relevant commentaries in government-controlled
dailies focused largely on Israel's "failure" and debated the
benefits of the new UNSC resolution, two columns in Rose Al-Youssef
were strongly negative toward the U.S. One writer claimed that "the
Bush Administration has achieved unprecedented success in convincing
the Arab public opinion of its destructive intentions... and in
destroying the American dream in the hearts of the world." He
accused the administration of, "partiality, flagrant bias, racism
... using the past six years to spread fascist thinking, hate and
wars among nations." Another columnist expressed "no surprise at
the use of the term Islamic fascists" as "President Bush is leading
a crusade against Muslims...."

5. In the airwaves. Egyptian TV's main news program at 9:00 pm
hosted Dr. Chibili Mallat, a Lebanese Lawyer and writer who
described Hezbollah's actions as an "adventure" and called upon
Nassrallah to disarm and engage in Lebanese political life. While
discrediting Hezbollah, he also acknowledged Hezbollah's role in
pushing Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000.
RICCIARDONE

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