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Cablegate: Lebanon: Media Reaction - December 15, 2008

O 151141Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIRUT
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3784
NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY
USMISSION USNATO PRIORITY
CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA PRIORITY

UNCLAS BEIRUT 001755


STATE FOR NEA/ELA - IRWIN, NEA/ELA - LAWSON, NEA/PPD, R,
INR/R/MR, INR-PARENT,
NSC - ABRAMS/RAMCHAND/YERGER/MCDERMOTT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREF PREL KMDR OPRC KPAO KISL KPAL LE
SUBJECT: Lebanon: Media Reaction - December 15, 2008

Atmospherics:
-------------

Several local issues preoccupied the press,particularly what was
described as the "first collision" over the next parliamentary
electionsduring the Council of Ministers meeting . Local issues,
however, did not eclipse the "shoe-throwing" incident in Iraq. All
newspapers highlighted the incident with many noting that "President
Bush got what he deserved."

Selected Headlines
-------------------

"A Double Shoe Strike Almost Hit Bush in the Face: This is the
Farewell Kiss from the Iraqis Dog" Arab nationalist As-Safir

"A Flying Journalist's Shoe Surprises Bush in Baghdad and He
Responds: This is the Price of Freedom" pan-Arab Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat

"An Iraqi Shells Bush with his Shoe" Centrist Al-Anwar

"The Farewell Kiss for Bush in Baghdad: A Shoe and an Insult"
pro-opposition Al-Akhbar

Block Quotes:
-------------

"American Consensus over Lebanon!" an editorial by Sateh Noureddine
in Arab nationalist As-Safir (12/15):

"Among all the speeches that were delivered on U.S.-Lebanese
relations...the speech that was delivered by the advisor of the new
Secretary of State, Martin Indyk, during the Lebanese-American
conference that ...was held last Friday was the most important and
the most accurate. Also, it was probably the closest to the
position that the new American Administration will take on Lebanon.
In all previous speeches...there were two contradictory
expectations: the first expects the Obama Administration to keep
Lebanon on its priority list...the second expects the Obama
Administration to make a deal at Lebanon's expense. Ambassador
Indyk, however, confirmed publicly and frankly that Lebanon is not
important strategically for the United States ...He described the
U.S. commitment to Lebanon following the Hariri assassination as
'ethical,' but (this commitment) does not remove fears of Lebanon
turning into a failed state if the Lebanese do not take their
destiny into their own hands, or allow Hizballah to dominate the
country as a result of the next elections. ...Indyk...also seemed
to say clearly that if Lebanon does negotiate with Israel, it will
become the sacrifice...Such a clear American threat confirms that
Lebanon has no value in U.S. eyes unless it becomes involved in
negotiations with Israel and reaches a peace treaty with it. ...Let
us hope that all will realize that the dangers of not negotiating
with Israel are much less than sitting with an Israeli negotiator,
even if a Syrian negotiator attends."

"Lebanese Comics and Arab Miracles...!" an editorial by Talal Salman
in Arab nationalist As-Safir (12/15):

"...As for Iraq in which we witnessed a suitable farewell for the
head of the American Administration that took a decision to occupy
Iraq, ...the Iraqi journalist stopped President Bush from
celebrating his victory. Bush's picture showing him ducking to
avoid the shoe will be the best briefing for his term and his great
achievements! This Iraqi journalist summarized the Iraqi people's
position on the U.S. occupation. The Americans will stop for a very
long time before this eternal picture which indicated the Iraqi's
opinion of this security pact between their country and[Kz'z...There is
nothing better than this Iraqi shoe for describing the
Iraqi people's opinion of Bush's policies..."

Sison

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