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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Iran Lebanon - Unifil - Israel -

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Lucia A Keegan 08/25/2006 10:35:49 AM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan

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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - Iran Lebanon - UNIFIL - Israel -
Iran
PARIS - Thursday, August 24, 2006

(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:

UNIFIL
Israel
Iran

(B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

The situation in Lebanon and the domestic criticism in Israel of the
military and political failures during the war are relegated to the
inside pages of most of the national dailies with the exception of
Catholic La Croix that headlines: "Europe is Counting its Troops"
and left-of-center Liberation's lead: "Israel: The Bitter Post-War."
Iran's response to the call for it to stop its nuclear program,
while not front-page news, elicits some commentary namely concerning
the fragile unity of the international community on the issue.

Popular right-of-center Le Parisien qualifies Israeli FM Tzipi
Livni's remarks yesterday as a "cry of alarm" concerning "the
slowness of the international community to apply Resolution 1701."
Livni's trip to Paris and Rome is a "veritable charm offensive
designed to explain the reasons for the war in Lebanon and to
justify, after the fact, an operation that is being seriously
criticized even in Israel." For state-run France 2 television,
yesterday was "a decisive day for diplomacy." Every network covered
the visit with an emphasis on the Israeli FM's main message which
was: "there is urgency today... the international community must
react quickly." For state-run France 3 the Israeli FM is "firm and
knows what she wants."

On France 2's evening newscast, General Pelegrini was shown
describing the situation in southern Lebanon as: "very tense, very
dangerous and volatile." On France 3's program 'Soir 3,' Middle East
expert Antoine Sfeir said that "the deployment of the Lebanese army
is a wonderful opportunity to affirm the government's sovereignty."


Catholic La Croix's lead story examines the constitution of the
UNIFIL under the headline "Europe Counts Its Troops." In Europe
there is consensus "neither as to the composition of the
international force... nor on its mandate." La Croix notes "no
significant advances" among EU ministers in Brussels yesterday (See
Part C). The article enumerates the "different objectives sought by
the principal regional and international actors": "Paris demands a
clear mandate"; "The United States is disposed to a clarification";
"Israel calls for rapid deployment"; "Syria is hostile to an
international force"; and "Lebanon wants to regain its sovereignty."
La Croix further mentions President Bush's desire to create a
"security buffer" in southern Lebanon, as well as the U.S.'s wider
role. "The Americans have no intention of sending troops, but they
are pressing France to do so."

Left-of-center Le Monde's editorial: "Crisis in Israel" says that a
majority of Israelis see the military intervention in Lebanon as a
"political and military fiasco." (See Part C)

On Iran, left-of-center Le Monde underscores that "the consensus
reached by the great powers on the issue of Iran is weakened by the
conflict in Lebanon... and the notion that the Iranian issue and the
sudden escalation of violence in Lebanon in July are related is
popular in Washington." Right-of-center Le Figaro also reports that
the "Iranian response has divided the great powers," and
left-of-center Liberation, based on an Agence France Presse wire
story, reports that while the Europeans "were trying to avoid being
too blunt concerning Iran's response... The Americans were extremely
clear saying that the response does not fulfill the conditions set
out by the UN to avoid sanctions." (See Part C)

Mouna Naim in an analysis in left-of-center Le Monde explains that
"Lebanon has always counted on foreign support... Today, the
opposition accuses the government of relying too heavily on France
and the United States... The specificity of Hezbollah is that it was
created after Iran's model and the influence of Iran is now
obvious... Today Hezbollah seems to be divided between extremists
and the moderates, with Nasrallah counting as a 'moderate' who wants
to maintain the Lebanese specificity of Hezbollah." For Mouna Naim,
Iran appears pleased with the turn of events in Lebanon...Hezbollah
has in effect proved to both Israel and the United States what Iran
can do if attacked.

In an article entitled: Desperately Seeking Fresh Troops," Philippe
Gangereau in left-of-center Liberation mentions the Pentagon's
announcement on Tuesday that it intends to call in reserves to serve
in Iraq. "The war in Iraq needs soldiers... but despite financial
incentives and active recruiting...the drop in the number of
volunteers is constant since 2004... Recruitment criteria have
become suppler and today the military will take on soldiers who have
police records or minor physical handicaps... The percentage of
these 'grade B' recruits has steadily increased since 2001... This
laxity is not without consequences. The military authorities are
currently investigating charges that five soldiers in Iraq raped and
killed a young Iraqi girl in March."


(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

UNIFIL

"Time to Get Involved"
Frangois Ernenwein's editorial in Catholic La Croix (08/24): "It
obviously becoming urgent to send UN troops to Lebanon... Because
the great powers (with the U.S. and France in the lead) dragged
their feet for so long to stop the war, it is justified now to
expect them to hasten the pace for peace... A well defined mandate
and clear rules of engagement are necessary but not sufficient...
Peace is a political process, but the international community
carries the stigmata of years of discredit and negligence with
regard to conflicts in the Middle East... The fact that Europe's
position on the Middle East is less shadowy than the U.S.'s is no
excuse... Today the EU will have to meditate on its past
procrastination when forced to send troops to promote peace."

"The 25 Condemned to Seeking Consensus on the UNIFIL"
In economic right-of-center Les Echos Catherine Chatignoux writes
(08/24): "Once again Europe is waking up late and risks paying a
high cost for its powerlessness... Throughout the conflict all of
the European countries played solo... without the slightest hint of
an exchange of views or the smallest meeting to discuss the
situation... Europe gives the impression that it is making it up as
it goes along... And the absence of consultation and a common
foreign policy explains that Europe, which is far from weighing in
on world matters, is sentenced today to playing a dangerous role in
a region where it has little influence."

Israel

"Crisis in Israel"
The unsigned editorial in left-of-center Le Monde (08/24): "The
revolt of the Israeli reservists is merely the most visible display
of the broader demands of a population that has been 'shocked' by
the military, political and social failures of its government...
Nonetheless, this crisis has served to prove the extent to which
democracy is established in Israel."

"Great Void"
Pierre Haski's editorial in left-of-center Liberation (08/24):
"Israel is facing three painful facts: this time it takes no pride,
as is usually the case, in its military prowess... because Tsahal's
missiles did not attain their objective and because Iran is brazenly
showing off its power, Israel has been deprived of its strategic
certainties... Israel lacks credible leadership at a time in history
when the threats and challenges are shifting... This great
conceptual void is of particular concern and the promise of
unilateral withdrawal that got Ehoud Olmert elected is
compromised... In this context the temptation for revenge,
militarily, would be the worst response to Israel's post-war blues."

Iran

"The Iranian Response Divides The Great Powers"
Alain Barluet in right-of-center Le Figaro (08/24): "The ambiguity
of the Iranian response introduces an element of division within the
international community. Iran's sinuosity may destroy the
international community's principal asset which is the fragile unity
that was forged with great effort by the French, American, British,
Russian Chinese and German diplomats... With the added tensions
created by the war in the Middle East, the divisions are in danger
of becoming even deeper. Re-establishing a sense of unity will be
further hindered by fact that Hizbullah's 'psychological victory'
enables Teheran to use the threat of its capacity to do harm as a
sort of scarecrow... The turn of events in southern Lebanon has also
served to convince the Europeans that military solutions are not
adapted to settling regional crises." ROSENBALTT

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