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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan

VZCZCXRO4582
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1310/01 2931225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201225Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5533
INFO RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 1654
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0363
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0879
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2395
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1404
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0587
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFE RAMSTEIN AB GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE//J5 DIRECTORATE (MC)//
RHMFISS/CDRUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE
RUKAAKC/UDITDUSAREUR HEIDELBERG GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BERLIN 001310

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, EUR/PAPD, EUR/PPA, EUR/CE, INR/EUC, INR/P,
SECDEF FOR USDP/ISA/DSAA, DIA FOR DC-4A

VIENNA FOR CSBM, CSCE, PAA

"PERISHABLE INFORMATION -- DO NOT SERVICE"

SIPDIS

E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO GM IR AF SU
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAN, AFGHANISTAN, SUDAN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. Iranian Talks in Vienna
3. Afghanistan Election Fraud
4. New U.S. Policy on Sudan

1. Lead Stories Summary

ZDF-TV's primetime newscast Heute opened with a story on the
criticism
of the H1N1 vaccine and ARD-TV's primetime Tagesschau opened with a

story on the government's plans to cut taxes. Most newspapers led
with stories on the government's plans to reduce taxes.
Sueddeutsche
headlined: "Karzai snubs the West" by opposing a runoff. FAZ led
with
a story on EU subsidies for farmers. Tagesspiegel and Bild focused
on
the debate over H1N1. Editorials focused on the coalition talks,

H1N1, and food security.

2. Iranian Talks in Vienna

Many newspapers carried factual reports on the talks on the Iranian

nuclear program in Vienna. Frankfurter Allgemeine headlines
"Constructive Nuclear Talks," referring to a statement by IAEA
Director El Baradei who described the meetings as "quite
constructive." Sueddeutsche headlined: "Tehran snubs Paris in
nuclear dispute," noting in the intro: "Serious problems seem to
have
arisen in the talks between Iran, the U.S., Russia, France and the
IAEA over the potential delivery of nuclear fuel rods for the
research
plant in Teheran. The Iranian TV network PressTV reported that Iran

took Paris off the list of potential suppliers." Several newspapers

also continued to focus on the recent bomb attack in Iran that
killed
42 people. Sueddeutsche headlined: "Iran threatens U.S. and Britain

with retaliation."

3. Afghanistan Election Fraud

Die Welt headlined "Election Commission presents devastating
analysis," and reported: "Sources say Karzai is outraged about the
prospect of a second round of elections." Sueddeutsche headlined
"Karzai snubs the West" by opposing a runoff," while Spiegel Online

headlined: "U.S. pushes Karzai to runoff," asking: "Will Hamid
Karzai
give into American pressure? Given the massive election fraud last

summer, the Afghan president is supposed to run once again against
his
rival Abdullah. According to the latest agency reports, he seems to

be willing to reach a compromise."

In a front page editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine highlighted: "The

elections in Afghanistan have brought the country into a hopeless
situation. Only the Taliban will benefit from it." The editorial
elucidates: "Through involuntary cooperation with the former darling

Karzai, the international community has managed to maneuver the

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country into an absolutely hopeless situation.... If it comes down
to
it, a runoff will not lead to more legitimacy simply because there
will be low voter turnout. Neither would the option of cooperation

between Karzai and Abdullah be promising. Voters will feel deceived

if Karzai and Abdullah agree to cooperate. Given the inherent
centrifugal forces of a national unity government, such a situation

would soon result in new elections anyway. The Taliban are watching

maliciously. They could not make a better fool out of the
international community and the Karzai government than if they were

doing this themselves."

Sueddeutsche editorialized: "Karzai faces two unpleasant options: if

he gives in to international pressure and allows a runoff, he would

again be more popular in the West. However, he would also lose
respect among his Pashtu voters, from whose point of view, there can

be no doubt that one of them has to run the country.... The second

option is that Karzai ignores the evidence of massive election fraud

and rejects the runoff that he is offered as a means to regain his
legitimacy. He would then make any cooperation with the 42 nations

rebuilding his country impossible."

Tagesspiegel commented: "It can be debated whether a runoff is
necessary or whether the will of the people would be legitimately
expressed if Karzai and Abdullah share the power. Together, they
received some 70 percent of the votes. However, the blackmailing
must
be stopped. The West cannot create the elite it needs there, but it

is also true that those who need help must credibly earn it through

their own efforts. Stabilization efforts will not succeed if the
Afghans don't help themselves. If the goal is unreachable, the
sacrifices would no longer make sense."

FT Deutschland remarked: "Two months after the presidential
elections
in Afghanistan, things are becoming clearer. This is the good news.

However, on the other hand, the UN commission's results have plunged

NATO allies into a serious dilemma with no good way out. The camp
of
President Karzai, which the West supported, did not just massively
manipulate the elections, but also failed to get the absolute
majority
despite the use of fraud. This does not mean that any of his
opponents would have won the elections. All sides tried to
manipulate
the outcome. However, given these facts, one thing no longer
works:
the fraud can no longer be played down as insignificant, suggesting

that Karzai would have won anyway. The democratic legitimacy of the

president is no more. However, it is completely unclear what the
West's response should be. A runoff would be the only option under


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normal circumstances.... However, Afghan circumstances are anything

else but normal, particularly because of the extremely tense
security
situation in the country. "

4. New U.S. Policy on Sudan

Die Welt headlined: "Obama no longer wants to isolate Sudan," and
added: "The U.S. government has presented a new strategy on Sudan-
Darfur conflict is no longer the focus but instead the stabilization

of the whole region." Under the headline "And nobody is interested
in
Hillary Clinton-America's foreign policy is not defined by its
appropriate secretary," Frankfurter Allgemeine reported: "On Monday,

Secretary Clinton announced Washington's new strategy to create
peace
in Sudan. Hardly anybody in the country took notice of her
presentation and the change of American policy on Sudan. Special
Envoy Scott Gration had already discussed in the press the basics of

the new approach... All that was left to the official head of the
State
Department was to officially announce the change," the paper notes.

Under the headline "Obama the cold-blooded realist," Sueddeutsche
editorialized that "the pragmatic course towards Sudan's murderous
regime shows the President's view.... There was a time when Barack

Obama simply viewed Sudan as hell.... As a candidate for the most
powerful office in the world, he promised in the election campaign
to
deploy international troops and exert more pressure on Khartoum by
imposing sanctions. After nine months in office, the President
takes
a different view on the world and seeks a qualified dialogue with
Sudan's regime. The dictator Bashir, formerly outlawed as the
devil,
can now hope for some American respect. America's new strategy on
Sudan means a change indeed-not just in the sense of the promises
the
prophet of change and hope made, but particularly compared with the

saber-rattling policy of the Bush administration. America now tries

to take a different route. In the style of classic diplomacy,
Washington now offers many carrots and not many sticks."

Under the headline "Policy on the verge of an illusion," Die Welt
opined: "The discrepancy between word and action must be highlighted

concerning Obama's new strategy on Sudan. The difference might not
be
larger than that of other politicians but it does reduce the
unrealistic redemptive expectations that we saw during the
inauguration of the 44th President. The wheel has been invented
before."

MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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