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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Switzerland,

VZCZCXRO2705
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #1512/01 3341202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301202Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5913
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 1775
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0493
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1013
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2518
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1538
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0703
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 001512

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 AF IR RS SZ ZP CH GM
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, RUSSIA, SWITZERLAND,
DUBAI, CHINA, GERMANY;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories
2. (Afghanistan) Upcoming Presidential Speech
3. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict
4. (Russia) Train Derailment
5. (Switzerland) Ban to Build New Minarets
6. (Dubai) Financial Crisis
7. (China) Monetary Policy
8. (Germany) Demjanjuk Trial

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media opened with reports on the outcome of a Swiss referendum

banning the construction of minarets near mosques. Editorials
focused on the conflict between the German states and the federal
government on tax cuts and on the outcome of the Swiss referendum.

ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening
newscast Tagesschau opened with the surprising outcome of the
referendum in Switzerland.

2. (Afghanistan) Upcoming Presidential Speech

Under the headline: "President Obama Feels Increasingly Isolated,"
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (11/30) opined that "important decisions make
leaders increasingly isolated. President Obama will have this
experience twice in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, he will reveal
to
the American people that he wants to escalate the war in
Afghanistan,
and one week later, he will demand of the America people that they
break with the American way of life. During the Copenhagen climate

summit, Obama will promise that the United States will turn away
from
a style of living which, on a global scale, is considered a synonym

for ignorant waste and the self-destruction of the planet. More war

and improved climate protection, with both decisions Obama will
stretch America's forces to the limits. The military rearmament in

Afghanistan but also the ecological changes at home - both missions

could determine the fate of this president. He can become a great
president - or fail."

3. (Iran) Nuclear Conflict

FT Deutschland (11/30) headlined "Iran provokes by new nuclear
plants," and reported that "the decision is a harsh provocation and

destroys the hope for a compromise in the nuclear conflict.
Tehran's
announcement is directed particularly against the UN nuclear
watchdog
IAEA and the so-called group of six." Sddeutsche (11/28)
editorialized: "The group of six that negotiates with Iran in the
nuclear dispute is united. Also Moscow and Beijing, which have been

protecting Iran in the past, are losing their patience, although it
is
not clear at all whether they would support sanctions that impress
Iran.... The signs are indicating a confrontation.... A way out of
the
escalating circle is only possible if Iran's leader Ali Khamenei

BERLIN 00001512 002 OF 006


accepts the American hand. Unfortunately, nothing indicates that
that he will take that hand."

4. (Russia) Train Derailment

All papers carried news reports on the derailment. Sueddeutsche
(11/30) reported that "two days after the attack on the a train
between Moscow and St. Petersburg traffic on this train route has
normalized but the mood in the country continues to be tense
President Medvedev called upon Russian to keep calm and added that
there should be no chaos. On Sunday, Prime Minister Putin planned
to
set up a fact-finding commission to investigate the accident."

Tagesspiegel (11/30) headlined: "No Information on Perpetrators,"
and
reported that "police is using all its means to seek the
perpetrators," while Die Welt headlined: "Terror Attack in Russia,"

and Frankfurter Allgemeine reported under the headline: "A country
in
Shock," and wrote that "following the attack, Russia was shocked
and
one reason was that there was no clear suspicion of who could have
been responsible for the attack On Saturday another shock followed

because a second bomb went off near the site of the explosion."

"Attack on Russia's Longing," headlined Sueddeutsche Zeitung (11/30)

and judged: "Those who are responsible for the derailment of the
Newskij Express train aimed at the mobile, technically versed,
active
top performers, in other words at the 'new Russia' that President
Medvedev has lauded for months. This attack is now hitting the
president himself. Now a small, extremely violent group has
attacked
Russia where it is at its most vulnerable - in its longing for
stability."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/30) judged: "Russian security agencies
are
reserved when it comes to suspicions of who could be responsible for

the attack on the express train. One reason could be that two
versions of who could be blamed are uncomfortable for the Russian
leadership. One was the rumor that Russian right-wing extremists
could be responsible while the other one centered on about Muslim
extremists from northern Caucasus. The first version would be
further
evidence of the previous failure of Russia's policy in Chechnya and

its neighboring republics. The other one would make it appear
extremely odd that the Russian security forces always used toughness

and violence against peacefully demonstrating democrats, while they

minimized as 'hooliganism' the violence of right-wing extremists
despite dozens of killings each year."

"Right-Wing Terror in Russia is Thriving," headlined Berliner
Zeitung
(11/30), which editorialized: "Terror in Northern Caucasus has not
declined but it has even expanded to Dagestan and Ingushetia. In
the
meantime, terrorist activities in Russia have increased in profile.

Right-wing crimes in Russia are on the rise and for a long time

BERLIN 00001512 003 OF 006


[Russian authorities] shied away from calling the mob by name. But

the Russian security authorities only reluctantly followed tip-offs

for nationalist agitators and criminals. One reason might have been

that the reference to national unity in the fight against an
external
enemy would have resulted in even greater support for right-wing
extremist groups. But this ugly right-wing face is primarily
detrimental to Russia's reputation."

5. (Switzerland) Ban to Build New Minarets

All German media carried prominent reports and many papers had front

page editorials on the "surprising" outcome of the Swiss referendum

that bans the building of minarets. ARD-TV's late night newscast
Tagesthemen noted that "Switzerland, which is proud of its
tolerance,
will carry a mark as of today that it will not get rid of for a long

time. A surprisingly clear majority of 58 percent voted against
building new minarets in Switzerland in the future... The Swiss
government now faces the sad result." Berliner Zeitung headlined:
"The right wing is excited, Muslims are shocked."

Frankfurter Allgemeine wrote in a front-page editorial: "Democratic
as
you can get, open-minded and tolerant-that's the way the Swiss have

always liked to see themselves. The vote in favor of banning
building
new minarets reveals other sides: narrow-mindedness, timidness and a

willingness to cut itself off. The self-proclaimed homeland
protectors of the national conservative Swiss People's Party
achieved
a success that will be a burden for the country in the future. The

guessing game on what has led to the change of mind is only getting

started... The result should also be a warning to those in Germany
who
try to minimize the populist factor of referendums."

Sddeutsche editorialized: "The referendum is a catastrophe for
Switzerland. You would not find such a building ban anywhere else
in
Europe. The six words 'the building of minarets is prohibited'
violate not just the freedom of religion and the non-discrimination

principle but also the European human rights convention.... The
result
also causes huge damage to direct democracy.... A storm of outrage
will
now follow in Muslim world. The worst mistake would be if the Swiss

take an even tougher approach now because the heart of the country
is
open-minded and liberal."

Die Welt highlighted that the "Swiss lapse back into a time before
the
Enlightenment," saying in a front-page editorial: "The Swiss
decision
to ban the building of minarets is the wrong response to the right

BERLIN 00001512 004 OF 006


question. The questions that move all European societies is how to

deal with the growing Muslim minority and their sometimes backward
customs, and how we can isolate the small number of Islamic
extremists. The response of the referendum is far too simple. The

ban of building minarets is not a ban on building mosques, but it
throws back Switzerland into a time before the Enlightenment and
tolerance, which Europe had worked hard for in the past and which
had
made the multiethnic Switzerland such a model of success.... The
outright ban is a slap into the face of all Muslims in Switzerland.

The referendum shows how deeply rooted the fear of Islam is in
Europe
and that political elites, not just in Switzerland, have not taken
the
matter seriously enough."

Mass tabloid Bild opined: "Have intolerance and xenophobia
prevailed?
This was rather the concern that minarets could one day outnumber
church steeples. You could probably expect a similar result in
Germany if the people were asked in a referendum because the minaret

is not just a symbol of a religion, but that of a whole different
culture. Large parts of the Islamic world do not share our
European
values; the legacy of the Enlightenment, equal rights for men and
women, the separation between church and state, rule of law
independent from the Bible and Quran... There is another reason
for
the outcome: nowhere in the world is it so difficult for Christians

to live as in Islamic countries. Those who are intolerant themselves

must not expect unqualified tolerance."

Spiegel Online remarked in an editorial: "This is a shockingly clear

success of far-right politicians... The initiators managed to
interpret
the controversy over minarets as a symbolic referendum on the
influence of Islam. They talked little about minarets and much
about
the Sharia, burka and the oppression of women in the Islamic
world....
This was a virtual debate that had little to do with the Swiss
reality
because the country with 22 percent foreigners has little problems
with the integration of 400,000 Muslims."

6. (Dubai) Financial Crisis

"Returns From Arabian Nights," headlined Sueddeutsche Zeitung
(11/28)
argued: "Dubai's Collapse Shows that the Financial Crisis is not yet

over." The paper added: "There is no reason to panic. Dubai's
neighbors have more oil and their strategies are less risky, and
they
are able to support their weak brother. The current problems are
not
monstrous enough to cause a conflagration la Lehman Bros. That is

why the recovery from the global economy is likely to continue. But

Dubai's repayment problems are a formidable warning sign that the

BERLIN 00001512 005 OF 006


financial crisis is by no means over - and what is threatening the
global recovery. In Dubai, too much money was available which was
invested in risky projects. To a similar extent, other investments
or
other speculation from the years of the crisis will come to the
fore,
create damage and delay the return to economic growth. But the
disaster in the Gulf will draw attention to the dangers that are
looming on a global scale. Now it will become clear what the
announcements of the most powerful politicians on earth are worth:
to
act before the next finance disaster follows. There have not been
warnings of smaller and bigger mistakes of various countries. The
industrialized nations must quickly implement the ideas that were
developed in Pittsburgh and intensify their controls of the
financial
markets and they should criticize governments which ignore these
problems. There is no longer a national economic policy that does
not
affect other nations. It is human to dream of a paradise in the
desert, but it is stupid to stumble from one crisis to the next."

7. (China) Monetary Policy

Under the headline: "Against the Wall," Frankfurter Allgemeine
(11/30)
argued: "First, the People's Republic of China allowed the U.S.
president to run into the wall and now it is [doing the same with]
Europe's leadership. Beijing is unwilling to revalue the
artificially
low Yuan, which makes it more difficult to export goods and to
recover
from the crisis, while China is winding out of the worst
consequences
of the crisis. But in the medium-term, there will be no way
around
it: China will have to revaluate its currency. On the one hand,
increasing import prices for raw material will increase inflation.
On
the other hand, China is not interested in postponing the upswing in

Europe, and, third, a weak Yuan will make it more difficult to
reduce
those imbalances that led to the crisis. The Europeans are right: a

revaluation is also in China's interest and can be handled during an

upswing."

According to Sueddeutsche (11/30), "China will not give in so easily

in the conflict about foreign exchange. The Chinese are again
giving
evidence of their delaying tactics when it comes to the demanded
revaluation of their currency. For Europeans and Americans, the
waiting for the reform of the Chinese foreign exchange policy has
turned into a play of patience. They can only wait and see what
will
happen because they do not have the means to exert pressure on China

to take action. And in the near future, they will have to continue
to
play this role. The Communist Party has hardly an interest in a
strong Renminbi because this would inevitably result in weaker
exports
and bankruptcies. The foundation on which China's economic growth
is
based is shaky. And before this does not change, China will be

BERLIN 00001512 006 OF 006


unwilling to eliminate the pegging to the dollar and to leave it to

the laws of the market"

8. (Germany) Demjanjuk Trial

Under the headline "The old man and the truth," Frankfurter
Rundschau
(11/30) reported on the trial against the suspected war criminal
Demjanjuk, which is supposed to begin today. "Demjanjuk sees
himself
as a victim, who has been a prisoner of war. This trial will be a
cat
and mouse game with delaying tactics and legal subtleties. This is

part of the rule of law, and even suspected Nazi criminals can enjoy

this right. However, it is undignified." Die Welt editorialized:

"In the trial against Demjanjuk, an autonomous society is passing
judgment on a person who knew nothing else but a collective murder
policy. First, there was Stalin's starvation policy on Ukraine, and

then there was Hitler's terror. The judges want to assess the
individual guilt of the accused person in a fair trial. This is not

an easy job."

MURPHY

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