Cablegate: Media Reaction; Argentine New Administration; Iran;


DE RUEHBU #2318/01 3450746
O 110746Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A
COLOMBIA; 12/10/07


Weekend international stories include US expectations over
Argentina's new administration; the National Intelligence Estimate
pointing out that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003;
and Colombian President Uribe's decision to grant a "meeting zone"
with the FARC.


- "Inflation and energy - Wall Street and its doubts about the new
(Argentine) Government"

Ana Baron, leading "Clarin's" Washington-based correspondent, writes
(12/10) "When taking office, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will
inherit the great economic recovery her husband obtained following
the profound meltdown the country went through. However, there is
much uncertainty in Wall Street about what could happen from now on.
The center of mistrust is the problem of INDEC.

"Cristina is the first one in acknowledge that if Argentina wants to
achieve sustainable economic growth, it will have to get more
investment, but will she take the necessary steps to woo investors?

"Wall Street and international investors with interests in Argentina
are closely following Argentina's attempts to start negotiations
over its Paris Club debt without an IMF agreement. They consider it
crucial for Argentina to start re-inserting itself in international
markets. This will require by necessity a negotiation with holdout
bondholders. However, the most important concerns for them are
short-term issues, such as inflation and INDEC."

- "Washington expects Cristina to promote the country's opening to
the world"

Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," comments (12/10) "The US expects and
wishes changes when Cristina Fernandez takes over, although it does
not expect too many changes compared to the latest four and a half
years during which Nestor Kirchner led the country. It is not by
chance that they have been husband and wife and political partners
for more than 30 years. Official and Democratic sources consulted
buy 'La Nacion' agree that we will have to wait and see.

"The US-Argentine bilateral relationship has had ups and downs since
2003, and even though Buenos Aires sources say that the ex senator
will encourage a more internationalist and open view, Washington
prefers to test it in practice.

"A member of the Bush administration told 'La Nacion': 'With
Argentina one should always make progress step by step. We were
'sold' a more open image of Argentina to the world and particularly
towards the US, but we will have to wait. We do not know how much
the (bilateral) relationship will change under the Cristina

"Within the USG, there are different views on Argentina. US
Ambassador to Argentina Earl Anthony Wayne represents the group that
highlights the progress made by the Kirchners on poverty alleviation
and unemployment reduction and the years of steady growth.

"... The US Treasury staff shows a more reticent posture, just like
the National Security Council and several lawmakers from both
political parties. They consider that Argentina should put its
economy on a sound track and solve its foreign troubles (Paris Club
debt and holdouts) if it wants to capture new investment and foreign

- "Iran - erroneous perceptions of the enemy"

Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin,"
writes (12/08) "16 US intelligence agencies seem to be determined to
reverse their own reputation of hurried and political manipulation
of sensitive peace- and war-related issues. At least, this seems to
be the primary intention of the latest National Intelligence
Assessment joint report, which informs that Iran halted its nuclear
weapons program in 2003.

"Any action in this direction deserves to be welcomed because much
depends on these institutions in terms of contributing to the
decision-making process of the world military hegemonic power to
preserve international peace. There is too much evidence about the
clumsiness and hurriedness that served to trigger disasters such as
the invasion of Iraq, which could have been avoided through politics
and diplomacy...

"Interestingly enough, we should note two pieces of information.

First, that Iran halted its nuclear program the same year the US-UK
led coalition entered Iraq... We should bear in mind a warning from
Ray Takeyh (a Yale academic expert in the region), who wrote an
extremely interesting book called 'Hidden Iran - Paradox and Power
in the Islamic Republic', in which he explains that 'getting the
enemy wrong' lies at the root of the arm-wrestling between the West
and Iran. Takeyh calls for a new, fresh and impartial assessment of
the Iranian phenomenon to find new formulae for solutions.

"The second piece of information we should not overlook is that Bush
decided to rouse the specter of a new 'Third World War' last
October, only two months after the intelligence agency directors
presented the content of the new NIE report. This confirms that the
use of intelligence produced by his administration depends on
whether or not the assessment supports his positions. Otherwise, it
is of no use.

"What does this mean? In principle, that this new report is not
issued to change Washington's official aggressive posture on Iran.
And also that Bush has found it increasingly difficult to make
peace- and war-related decisions after the Iraqi fiasco... We should
also bear in mind that those who are part of the US political game
are generating conditions to reduce the Republican's remaining

- "The image that engendered the change"

Leandro Uria, international columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacion," writes (12/10) "Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's
announcement that he would set up a 'meeting zone' where the FARC
could make a humanitarian exchange seems inconsistent with his
inflexible image toward guerrillas...

"How can one explain such a change? First and foremost, due to the
tremendous international pressure put on Uribe after the video with
Colombian-French citizen Ingrid Betancourt was made public...

"... In the event Uribe, who no longer has a mediator, did not make
a conclusive gesture to approach the guerrillas, he ran the risk of
missing the best opportunity for a humanitarian exchange he has had
in recent years. And, based on what everyone could see from the
image of the kidnapped Betancourt, the risk seems to be high...

"... According to some rumors these days, Uribe's reticence about
the demilitarized zone was related more to the protection of his
political support... rather than to a real military risk.

"As a matter of fact, Uribe is now offering to set up a much smaller
area than in 1998, which he can easily recover if needed. Everything
points towards a favorable time for successful negotiations. The
cost of a failure would be hard to take for both parties in the

To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our
classified website at:


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