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Cablegate: Media Reaction; Amia Case; Middle East; Venezuelan

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #1465/01 2111803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301803Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8772
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
RULGPUA/USCOMSOLANT

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001465

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
WHA/EPSC
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION; AMIA CASE; MIDDLE EAST; VENEZUELAN
PRESIDENT CHAVEZ; 07/30/07


1. SUMMARY STATEMENT

Weekend international stories cover the USG praise for Argentina's
cooperation in the AMIA terrorist bombing investigation; US policy
in the Middle East; and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's
"perpetual presidency," along the lines of that of Argentine former
President Juan Domingo Peron.

2. OPINION PIECES AND EDITORIALS

- "The US praises (Argentina's) cooperation in the AMIA case"

Daily-of-record "La Nacion's" Washington-based correspondent, Hugo
Alconada Mon, writes (07/28) "Except for a last-minute change, the
US House of Representatives will make public its support for the
progress made in the investigation of the AMIA bombing case, will
congratulate the Argentine Government for 'having accelerated the
rhythm of the investigation' and for having passed the new
antiterrorist legislation.

"The support will be made public through a unanimous resolution that
will also include a request to Interpol and the rest of the
international community to support Argentina by 'detaining and
extraditing any Iranian government official or former government
official, Hezbollah agents or Islamic militants' through
international warrants for their capture.

"Draft resolution 188/07 was promoted by the head of the Republican
Party in the Foreign Relations Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and
it was later supported by the head of the Committee, Democratic Tom
Lantos.

"... The AMIA bombing case is one of the central issues that raise
most interest in Washington about Argentina, both for its direct
ties to the Jewish community in the country and the alleged
responsibility of Hezbollah and other enemies of the US."

- "The real story"

Marcelo Cantelmi, international editor of leading "Clarin," opines
(07/29) "As everyone knows, Islam has two huge branches - Sunnis and
Shiites. Since the Shiites have influence in Lebanon, make a
majority in Iraq, rule Iran and gained importance as never before
due to the (Persian) Gulf war disaster, Washington has now decided
that the road is arming Sunnis to destroy the others - period...

"The most serious danger posed by this measure is that it will add
tons of fuel to the civil war in Iraq...

"Today, the terrorist enemy has multiplied itself hand in hand with
a demolishing anti-US feeling in the Arab world. In this way, the
assessment of the situation is doubly negative. It is clear that
there is not such a thing as an Al Qaeda network to fight. Instead,
a number of fascist ultra-Islamic groups have increased since the
invasion (of Iraq) and the terminal crisis in the Palestinian
territories. What Washington still has not noticed is that the West
has common enemies with Arabs and Persians in those territories.
When the anti-terrorist struggle is seriously carried out (which has
not happened until now), an alliance with those borders will be
inevitable."

- "The perpetual presidency"

Natalio R. Botana, contributor to daily-of-record "La Nacion,"
opines (07/29) "... The modern republic has always meant...
sovereignty of the people and power limitation. However, this did
not mean that the president could not be reelected as many times as
necessary... Nonetheless, during the Second World War, Franklin D.
Roosevelt obtained a third and fourth term in office. This is why
later on re-election in the US was limited to only one consecutive
term.

"In the Southern Cone this system was implemented with the variant
of re-election following an intermediate period or by adding two
terms in office with the possibility of attempting to get reelected
after an intermediate period. In any event, what these constitutions
seek is avoiding the trap of perpetual re-election...

"...With Chavez in Venezuela a phenomenon is taking place that is
similar to that in Argentina with Peron - far from reducing popular
support, the exercise of presidency increases it...

"... Could perhaps perpetual presidency evolve towards a competitive
presidency in the framework of a neutral State and a pluralist
regime? It is difficult to dismiss this riddle, although its
resolution largely depends on the stability of the region and the
existence of bridges of dialogue between two concepts of democracy -

hegemonic and Republican democracy.

"The tradition of perpetual presidency has strong roots and is hard
to defeat. It does not appear by chance - it is the daughter of our
history and is always lurking in some countries (ours among them)
more than in others. On a regional level, this issue calls for
diplomatic caution and intelligence."

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:
http://www.state.sqov.gov/p/wha/buenosaires

WAYNE

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