Cablegate: Media Reaction: Germany, Iran, Economic, Guantanamo,

DE RUEHRL #1199/01 2711308
R 281308Z SEP 09






E.0. 12958: N/A

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (Germany) Outcome of Bundestag Elections
3. (Iran) New Enrichment Plant
4. (Economic) Aftermath of G-20 Summit
5. (U.S.) Closure of Guantnamo
6. (Honduras) Escalation of the Situation
1. Lead Stories Summary

There is only one story in the press this morning: the outcome of
the Bundestag elections. Editorials also focused on Bundestag
elections but also on the state parliament elections in Brandenburg
and Schleswig-Holstein. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and
ARD-TV's early evening newscast Tagesschau opened with reports on
the results of the Bundestag elections.

2. (Germany) Outcome of Bundestag Elections

The media this morning are dominated by the outcome of the Bundestag
elections. The headline in FAZ is: "CDU/CSU and FDP can Now Govern
Together;" Die Welt headlined: "CDU/CSU/FDP Majority for Angela
Merkel - SPD Reached Worst Result since 1949," and Sueddeutsche
opened with the headline: "Majority for Merkel and Westerwelle - SPD
Suffers Bitter Defeat." According to Tagesspiegel, "FDP Safeguards
Victory for CDU/CSU/FDP Coalition," and Handelsblatt emphasized:
"FDP Saves Chancellor." Commentaries and editorials dealt primarily
with the domestic implications of the elections.

ARD-TV's Tagesthemen (09/27) commented: "The Greens and the SPD
failed spectacularly with the goal of preventing a coalition of the
FDP and the CDU/CSU. But there will likely be several areas where
we can expect a controversy between the two parties: domestic
security, civil rights or healthcare reform. Chancellor Merkel will
certainly be astonished at her new partner. And what about the SPD?
It has been given a chance from the voters: for a personal but also
programmatic renewal."

ZDF-TV's heute journal (9/27) broadcast the following commentary:
"The FDP under Chairman Guido Westerwelle is the clear winner of
these elections. Because the voters knew exactly what he would get.
With respect to the CDU, the voter did not know this because the
chancellor left everything open. The CDU now has to foot the bill
because it reached its second-worst result since 1949.... This is a
warning shot, but also offers the CDU the opportunity to define in a
coalition with the FDP its Christian Democratic profile again. The
voters wanted a stable government, and this is what the country
needs. The CDU/CSU/FDP coalition must now resolve the main problems
(the indebtedness of the state) and be measured against its election
campaign promises, i.e. no tax increases."

According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung (9/28), "During the election
campaign, FDP leader Westerwelle only said what he always said:
'Release the Market Forces,' and 'Reduce Taxes.' Because of the
simplicity of these slogans, he won. The crash of the banks did not
irritate him and he pretended that the economic crisis had nothing
to do with the FDP and its doctrine. Westerwelle simply stuck to
his core statements. Many voters obviously considered this to be
the FDP's expression of sustainability. This election
Sunday...marks a turning point for Guido Westerwelle. As of today,
his airy promises and the FDP's vision of lowering taxes will be
over. To lower taxes when the State is in debt for hundreds of
billions of euros in order to create the conditions for an economic
boom would be to play Russian roulette with Germany's society."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/28) editorialized: "The second Merkel
government will be faced with a leftist phalanx which this country
has not seen for a long time. Will this power succeed in blowing
away the rigidities of the grand coalition and reveal Angela
Merkel's real core? At least, the FDP would not be opposed to

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reforms. And finally the CDU chairwoman can now act the way she
always wanted to act. It will be an exciting question to see which
Angela Merkel will govern this country in the future."

Mass-circulation, right-of-center tabloid Bild-Zeitung of Hamburg
(9/28) argued: "What the politicians did not achieve during this
blurred election campaign is something the voters achieved with
their votes: clarity! This is good for democracy. This is good for
Germany. The grand coalition has been voted out of office, not
because it did a bad job, but because the voters did not want a
second round of bad compromises. With a clear majority for a
CDU/CSU/FDP coalition, the voters showed greater courage than the
politicians entrusted in them. This is a clear mandate for Angela
Merkel and Guido Westerwelle. A mandate FOR resolute action, a
mandate FOR keeping to election campaign promises!"

Frankfurter Rundschau (9/28) observed: "The decline of the
mainstream parties is the headline of these elections. It turned
the SPD into a shadow of itself. Germany's Social Democracy is
faced with essential transformations. It will definitely lose the
status of a mainstream party if it continues itself in a
grand coalition. After eleven years with limited top personnel, the
SPD is faced with a new beginning. With or without SPD chancellor
candidate Steinmeier, the SPD must launch a tactical, programmatic
offensive to win back the confidence of left-leaning voters. It
will have this chance in the opposition; it is its only chance."

Regional daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (9/28) had this to
say: "Several things will now certainly change in the Chancellery.
A new version must be loaded for the theory and practice of Merkel's
governing system: Merkel 09. Then the situation will be less
presidential, but rather normal if not more combative. Merkel's
power has grown but at the same time, it will be easier to assail
her policy. Merkel must adjust to greater criticism in the
Bundestag, in the media, and probably also in the streets. When the
grand coalition announced unpopular measures such as the higher
pension age, the participation of the SPD subdued public anger. In
the future, however, this will be different."

Neue Ruhr/Neue Rhein-Zeitung of Essen (9/28) judged: "Germany voted
for a change. After the monotony of the grand coalition, there will
now be new impulses and a true political competition. Angela
Merkel's winning smile, however, is deceiving. She has lost. In
view of the desolate state of the SPD, she should not have lost any
percentage points.

3. (Iran) New Enrichment Plant

S|ddeutsche (9/28) editorialized: "The infamous clock for an attack
on the nuclear plants is ticking very loud. The Israelis are
beating the drums. Their support for new sanctions only seems to
have a military purpose. The highly cautious U.S. President Obama
wants to know the whole truth about the nuclear program or have
sanctions that hurt. Otherwise there will be a war. However, the
Iranians are standing by their tactic of gambling for time. They
want to show their new plant to IAEA inspectors, but they don't say
when. This kind of delaying tactics will no longer work. On
Thursday, the P5 and Germany will meet with the Iranians in

Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/26) remarked in an editorial: "For years,
the Iranian regime has been deceiving the international community
with its nuclear program. Iran only admitted its secret activities,
which have to be reported to the IAEA, when they became known
elsewhere... The long-term suspicion that Iran was operating
another plant to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons seems to be
true. The explosive news announced by Obama at the beginning of the
G20 will puts Iran on the defensive during the upcoming talks with

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the P5 and Germany. If it again refuses to start serious talks, it
will be easier to punish Iran with effective sanctions."

Tagesspiegel (9/26) noted in an editorial: "It has been a long time
ago since the West was so united, vigorous and definite in its call
on Iran to disclose its nuclear program and allow international
checks. The short statement from Tehran... is a provocation. It is
difficult to believe that Western intelligence services did not know
about the plant, but Iran's admission makes clear that the country
is pursuing a deceptive policy in the face of international
pressure. The tough response by the West lays the groundwork for
the talks of the P5 and Germany with Iran on its nuclear program,
which will be restarted after a pause of half a year. The West
does not believe in quick successes.... However, the dual strategy
of offers and threats will be no longer credible if consequences are
not finally decided."

Die Welt am Sonntag (9/27) remarked that "the existence of a second
Iranian nuclear plant is not a surprise. The West could have known
it for a long time - and should have responded to it.... Even
Barack Obama no longer rules out a military option to prevent the
Iranian bomb. It seems as if he is getting closer to his
predecessor's disillusionment with the Iranian regime."

Frankfurter Rundschau (9/28) opined: "Iran once again deceived the
West. Iran was secretly building a second enrichment plant, while
U.S. President Obama offered talks to Tehran. However, the West
only has the option of diplomacy in the nuclear dispute with Iran.
Obama is therefore warning against the unavoidable confrontation if
Iran does not comply with international regulations. However, he is
also not giving up on the hope that the upcoming talks of the P5 and
Germany with Iran will pave the way for an exit out of the dangerous
nuclear crisis. Iran's secrecy has increased the unity of the West.
Even Russia seems to be ready now to use sanctions to force Iran to

4. (Economic) Aftermath of G-20 Summit

Deutschlandfunk (9/25) radio commented: "The summit in Pittsburgh
made obvious that not much has happened so far to make the
international financial system more stable. The fear of collapsing
giants is enormous.... The governments can still be blackmailed
and no watchdog in the world will be able to oversee the situation.
More moderate bonus payments won't change this... And let's hope
that the next bubble has not been created by the time banks are
forced to have more capital reserves."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (9/26) editorialized on its front page: "The
countries of the G20 are obviously convinced that this format is
important and capable of taking action... The announcement in
Pittsburgh that the G20 will continue to cooperate on international
economic policies does therefore not come as a surprise. We don't
have to call for a global economic government.... However, the
changes in economic balances made this development obvious, if not
even indispensible. The upgrading of the G20 as a forum of the
industrial and threshold countries is particularly an acknowledgment
of Asia's economic rise."

FT Deutschland (9/26) commented: "The leaders of the largest
economic economies have introduced tougher and more binding
regulations for banks than ever before. Whether this will suffice
will depend on the details of the regulations, which again depends
on whether the governments will take the implementation seriously
and resist the pressure of financial lobbyists. The substance of
the agreements means real progress is possible.... The only weak
spot of the agreements is the timetable.... The reasoning of the G20
for the extended timeframe that the banks need time to rebound is
not convincing. Too many of them are already making good profits

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Handelsblatt (9/28) said in an editorial: "The idea of a tax on
financial transactions was taken quickly of the table in Pittsburgh.
However, the debate about the question of who would pay the bill
for the crisis is only getting started. This refers to another
challenge the G20 faces. The topic of climate protection will not
move an inch if the key problem of funding environmental protection
measures is not clarified first. We can bet that the G20 will then
discuss a tax on financial transactions again soon."

5. (U.S.) Closure of Guantnamo

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (9/28) opined under the headline: "America
Unable to Get Rid of its Disgrace," and wrote: "Now four months
before the period expires in which President Obama wanted to close
the Guantnamo prison camp, one thing seems to be clear: America
will have difficulty getting rid of it. First, the government does
not know where to bring the remaining 223 prisoners; and, second,
there is the looming danger that America could again damage its
reputation as a democracy by setting up a new Guantnamo on the
mainland. Opposition politicians in Congress want to prevent Obama
from bringing any prisoners to U.S. territory, irrespective of
whether these are masterminds of 9/11 or poor souls whom the U.S.
courts have proclaimed to be innocent. The populism with which
Obama is confronted is as lousy as it is overpowering.... That is
why he will have to fight. But even if 'Camp Justice' is to close
down, new injustice is looming because Obama's legal advisors want
to keep at least 50 prisoners in custody which are 'highly
dangerous,' but whose files are based on information obtained
through torture. By doing so, the U.S. president would again damage
the United States's image as a country where the rule of law
prevails. Obama knows what he is doing, at least to the same extent
as the general knew who set up the first block in Guantnamo in

6. (Honduras) Escalation of the Situation

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (9/26) editorialized: "If former
Honduran President Zelaya had hoped that his return to Tegucigalpa
would result in an uprising against the so-called putschists, then
the past days taught him better. Not only the oligarchy but also
the majority of Hondurans are still determined not to allow
Venezuelan President Chvez to have a say. Six candidates are
running for the job as president and they cover all political
leanings. It is necessary to vigorously back these presidential
elections and not to delegitimize them from all sides."


© Scoop Media

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