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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iran, U.S., Afghanistan, U.S.-China,

VZCZCXRO5804
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1487/01 3271207
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231207Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5865
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 1758
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0475
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0994
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2501
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1517
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0687
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 06 BERLIN 001487

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 IR US AF US KGHG EU
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAN, U.S., AFGHANISTAN, U.S.-CHINA,
CLIMATE,
EU;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories
2. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict, Maneuvers
3. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform
4. (Afghanistan) U.S. Arming Local Militias
5. (U.S.-China) Relations
6. (Climate) Copenhagen Conference
7. (EU) Future Leadership

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media had a variety of lead stories ranging from the intention

of the European Parliament to block the nomination of the designated

EU "foreign minister," Catherine Ashton (Sueddeutsche), to an
address
by Chancellor Merkel in which she advocated an increase in child
allowances (FAZ), to the effects the increase of the VAT would have

for hotels (Die Welt). Editorials focused on the debate over
subsidies for Opel and the new leadership of the SPD in Baden-
Wrttemberg. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's
early
evening newscast Tagesschau opened with a story on a deal between
Deutsche Bahn and Qatar to build a railroad network in Qatar worth
17
billion euros.

2. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict, Maneuvers

Sddeutsche (11/21) headlined: "Iran faces new
sanctions-international
community disappointed over Tehran's attitude" and added: "The
chances
of success for President Obama's rapprochement policy are waning."

Frankfurter Allgemeine headlined "Iran given time until December"
and
highlighted: "The P5 and Germany want to come to a final conclusion
in
December whether Iran is prepared to start serious negotiations over

its nuclear program."

Several Saturday papers reported on IAEA chief Baradei's visit to
Berlin, noting that he called on the Iranian leadership to engage
more
creatively in international diplomacy and understand that they have

for the first time the commitment of an American President to start

comprehensive negotiations on the basis of mutual respect and
without
any preconditions. "The outgoing IAEA chief said in Berlin on
Friday
that he does not believe that Iran has already given a definite
response," Frankfurter Allgemeine reported.

Under the headline "Farewell to Ahmadinejad," Sddeutsche (11/21)
editorialized: "Ahmadinejad does not benefit from the helplessness
of
the opposition. He has huge problems in parliament because
conservative opponents are demanding an investigation over billions

that have disappeared from his budget. The powerful Majlis chairman

Ali Larijani is serious about it as salaries are not always paid and

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the prices and discontent are on the rise. The worst result of the

elimination of the opposition is the divide of the society.
Everybody
who can intellectually and economically afford it is turning away
from
the regime. Fantasies over toppling the regime are spreading in
Tehran's taxis-that's something nobody would have said months ago.

The people say that this cannot go on. However, it goes on."

Several papers (11/23) report today on Iran's military maneuvers.
Die
Welt headlined: "Iran is preparing for its defense - Tehran begins a

major maneuver to protect its nuclear sites - a warning to Israel"
and
added in its introduction: "With a military maneuver, the Iranian
revolutionary guards demonstratively warn Israel against an
airstrike
against the Islamic Republic's nuclear plants." FT Deutschland
headlined: "Iran is preparing its defense against military strikes -

IAEA head hopes for a compromise in the nuclear dispute."

3. (U.S.) Healthcare Reform

Many papers (11/23) report that healthcare reform has gotten past a

major obstacle in the U.S. Financial Times Deutschland
sub-headlined;
"Victory on Waystation for Obama - 'Super Majority' of 60 votes
Allows
Debate - But Approval not Guaranteed" and wrote: "The path to a
final
bill is still far away and is to last to the next year."
Frankfurter
Allgemeine headlined: "Senate Allows Debate over Healthcare Draft,"

and reported: "The vote is considered the first test vote for a
future
implementation of the reform In a statement that was released by
the
White House, President Obama expressed his gratitude that the
Senate,
at the beginning of the debate decided to allow the debate.
Majority
leader Reid said that he hoped that a vote on the bill in the Senate

could take place before Christmas." Sueddeutsche Zeitung said under

the headline: "Stage Victory for Obama" that "President Obama's most

ambitious plan has taken another hurdle. The White House welcomed
the
vote as a 'historic vote.'" The headline in Die Welt is: "Obama's
Healthcare Reform Takes First Hurdle in the Senate," and wrote: "The

U.S. Senate decided with a vote of 60 to 39 to put the healthcare
reform bill on the agenda for a formal debate. At the same time, a

second poll revealed that the approval for President Obama's policy

has dropped below the 50 percent level. Obviously the reason is the

ongoing and bitter debate in Congress about healthcare reform and

BERLIN 00001487 003 OF 006


the
economic situation."

In an editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/23) a noted: "If
President
Obama, in the first ten months in office, had cursed the
expectations
he raised during his election campaign, then he has not learned his

lessons. Routinely, the White House again described as 'historic,'

what is no more than a tiny step on the path to healthcare reform.

The Senate is now only willing to deliberate the bill. You can look

at it at from whatever angle you like: there will certainly be tough

discussions over Obama's reform plan before the President can really

enter the history books with a historic reform."

Under the headline: "Better Insight," Sueddeutsche Zeitung (11/23)
editorialized: "In the end, the survival instinct of the Democrats

won. The Republicans are opposed to anything that the president
wants...and this strategy is bearing fruit. The Americans are
getting
the feeling that the President and his Democrats, whom they elected
to
give the country a new direction, are unable to move anything. That

is why it is so important that the Democrats are pushing healthcare

reform. If not, they cannot present anything in the Congressional
elections next year.... But if, in the end, the reform will be
watered
down to such an extent that not too much will be left of this
epoch-
making plan, then they would not only have done a great disservice
to
their party and their president but also to their country."

In a front-page editorial headlined: "Bad Times for Great
Victories,"
Financial Times Deutschland (11/23) opined: "Of course, it is a
success for Barack Obama that, following the House of
Representatives,
the Senate is now also willing to discuss his healthcare reform
bill...but the question is how high the price will be that the
President
has to pay. It is primarily his Democratic camp that Barack Obama
must convince of the benefits of the reform. He still has the
majority in both houses of Congress, but the next elections will
take
place in 2010. Obama is in a dilemma. If he makes too many
concessions to conservative senators he will come under pressure
from
left-wing Democrats, and if he remains tough, he will risk a failure

of the entire reform."

4. (Afghanistan) U.S. Arming Local Militias

There are only two reports in this morning's press that the U.S.
plans
to support locals to fight against the Taliban. Sueddeutsche
Zeitung

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(11/23) reported under the headline: "More Afghan Soldiers" that
"the
Afghan government plans to extend the country's police and militia
force and wants to double its current size. By doing so,
Afghanistan
will meet U.S. and NATO requirements that greater responsibility be

handed to the Afghan security forces. In the fight against the
radical-Islamic Taliban, the governments in Washington and Kabul
want
to intensify cooperation with tribal militia groups. The New York
Times reported on Sunday that in parts of Afghanistan both parties
have already begun to support such militia groups. According to the

Times, the U.S. military in Afghanistan wants to support primarily
existing tribal militia groups of help set up new groups in the
trouble provinces in the South and East of the country. Afghan and
U.S. officials had expressed their hope that with such an approach,

thousands of armed people could be brought together to defend their

villages against the Taliban."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/23) wrote: "In the fight against the
Taliban, U.S. armed forces obviously are supporting local forces
more
openly and more resolutely than in the past. U.S. media reported
this
over the weekend, referring to high-ranking U.S. officers in
Afghanistan. By paying local militia forces, they want to help them

defend themselves and their villages against the still hatred
Taliban
in their strongholds in the South and the East of the country.
Afghan
and U.S. government officials expressed their hope that the anti-
Taliban militia forces could help bridge the gap until sufficient
Afghan security forces are equipped and trained to create security
in
the country."

In an editorial, Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/23) argued: "For how
long
does President Obama plan to put off a decision on what is to be
achieved in Afghanistan and how many soldiers are necessary to
achieve
these goals? And the question is whether the President can remove
the
doubts and questions that are now characterizing the public debate
over the issue with a courageous decision. The fact that the
Americans are now recalling the belligerent tribal culture in
Afghanistan and plan to recruit local militia groups for
'self-defense
purposes' against the Taliban may be obvious at first sight. But
this
approach harbors risks. In 2001, when the Taliban were ousted, the

Americans already pinned their hopes on local war lords. That is
another reason why Osama bin Laden was able to escape."

5. (U.S.-China) Relations

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/22) editorialized on its front-page: "The

U.S. has never before been so dependent on China, as China holds a
large portion of loans to the American government. Economically,
both

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countries are closely linked. Particularly after the economic
crisis,
China with its robust growth is America's and the world's hope. The

obviously proud Chinese government knows how much the American
superpower relies on it and did not think it was necessary to make
any
commitments during Obama's recent four-day visit. There were no
promises to increase the value of the Chinese currency or other
political pledges. Beijing still does not want to agree to
sanctions
on Iran. On North Korea, China officially sticks to the six-party
talks and North Korea's denuclearization, but simultaneously keeps
the
ailing country alive with economic assistance and trade. Concerning

climate policy, there were general promises to cooperate in the
future, but hardly anything specific. Obama looked lonely at the
end
of his visit to the Great Wall.... Beijing reacts with mistrust to

America's offer to resolve the problems of the 21st century
together,
and some strategists even reject this offer. It remains unclear how

China sees its role as a Pacific power. Beijing is also speaking
of
multilateralism, but not a multilateralism defined by America."


6. (Climate) Copenhagen Conference

Under the headline: "65 State Leaders To Attend Climate Summit,"
Financial Times Deutschland (11/23) reported: "State and government

leaders from 65 nations have promised to attend the final stage of
the
Copenhagen climate summit in December. Among them are Chancellor
Merkel, French President Sarkozy, Britain's PM Gordon Brown, and
Brazil's President Lula da Silva. It is still open whether
President
Obama will also come to Copenhagen. With these high level promises
to
attend, the chances for a political agreement on climate protection

are rising. The participation of these state leaders on December 17

and 18 shows that they consider a breakthrough to be possible. They

would not travel to Copenhagen for a failure. According to
Chancellor
Merkel, an agreement in Copenhagen is to lead to the formulation of
an
international agreement. She is striving for a signing in the first

half of 2010, with her as the host, for the next large-scale climate

meeting is scheduled to take place in Bonn in June."

Regional daily DarmstQdter Echo (11/21) judged: "During the
financial
and economic crisis, the international community demonstrated that
it
is able to act quickly and resolutely. But in the climate crisis it

has not yet given evidence of this resolve, even though the
consequences of global warming are much more serious for mankind in

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the long run than the most recent collapse of the global economy."

7. (EU) Future Leadership

Sueddeutsche Zeitung (11/21) opined: "Catherine Ashton's nomination
is
even more worrying than van Rompuy's. To give this post, which also

includes the establishment of a European foreign service, to someone

who has no idea of foreign or security policy, let alone experience
in
the difficult arena of diplomacy, edges on the deliberate impediment

of European foreign policy. Apart from the fact that it is a little

embarrassing that Ashton owes her job to her gender, the EU state
leaders made clear with this election what they really want: someone

who will not meddle in their national go-it-alones around the
world."

Tagesspiegel am Sonntag (11/22) observed under the headline:
"Skeptical about Turkey" that "outside of Belgium people do not know

much of Hermann van Rompuy. Among the things people know about him

outside the EU is that he is a faithful Catholic and at the same
time,
doubts Turkey's chances to accede to the EU. The concern of Turkish

politicians that Turkey's acceptance could now become impossible is

not unfounded because the Belgian will now strengthen the camp of
Turkey skeptics Sarkozy and Merkel. But we need not overestimate
his
power either. If the majority of EU states want Turkey's accession,

then van Rompuy would be unable to prevent it."

MURPHY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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