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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S., Afghanistan, Iran, Mideast, Iceland,

VZCZCXRO1676
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHRL #0008/01 0061325
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 061325Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BERLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6189
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 1893
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0615
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1132
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 2637
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 1658
RUEHVEN/USMISSION USOSCE 0821
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 05 BERLIN 000008

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"

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E.0. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AF IF XF IC EFIN
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S., AFGHANISTAN, IRAN, MIDEAST, ICELAND,

DEFENSE, ECONOMIC;BERLIN

1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.) Obama - Intelligence Services' Meeting
3. (Afghanistan) London Conference
4. (Iran) Ban to Talk to Foreign Institutions
5. (Mideast) New Peace Efforts
6. (Iceland) Government Won't Repay Debts
7. (Defense) A 400 M
8. (Economic) State of U.S. Economy


1. Lead Stories Summary

The main story in today's print media is the conflict between
Foreign
Minister Westerwelle and the head of the Expellee Organization,
Erika
Steinbach, on her future job as board member of the Foundation
"Flight, Expulsion, Reconciliation." Other stories deal with
Iceland's refusal to repay debts to the UK and the Netherlands
(Handelsblatt, FT Deutschland) and the most recent unemployment
figures (Berliner Zeitung). Editorials focused on the Steinbach-
Westerwelle conflict and on the renewable energies project in the
North Sea. ZDF-TV's early evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early

evening newscast Tagesschau opened with reports on Steinbach.

2. (U.S.) Obama - Intelligence Services' Meeting

Under the headline "Obama acts as counterterrorism President,"
Spiegel
Online led with a story noting: "He wanted to move away from the
warlike politics of his predecessor George W. Bush, but the failed
Detroit attack makes clear: the fight against terrorism is also the

main business for Barack Obama. His speech after the intelligence
meeting shows how much the new role will change his style of
government."

Berliner Zeitung (1/6) noted: "One result was clear already prior to

the security meeting: The dark shadow of terror fears has settled
down
around Obama's presidency. Before the Detroit plot, the topic
hardly
played a role eight years after 9/11... Experts now believe that it

will play a greater role on Obama's agenda this year."

FT Deutschland (1/6) carried a page on America's airport security
policy, highlighting: "America closes down - In fear of new terror

attacks, the U.S. tightens its entry regulations. However, many of

the protectionist measures are ineffective and put off tourists and

businessmen. Israel shows how to create high security standards
with
little use of technology."

Berliner Zeitung (1/6) headlined "Double agent humiliates the CIA,"

and notes in its intro: "Many things that happened last week at the

CIA outpost Forward Operating Base Chapman in the Afghan border
region
are still unclear.... However, it seems to be clear what led to the


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serious setback: the suicide bomber was obviously a double agent
with
connections to al Qaida.... The terror network humiliated the CIA
with
a cat-and-mouse game."

3. (Afghanistan) London Conference

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/6) editorialized on Foreign Minister
Westerwelle's statement that he seeks a "political" solution to the

conflict in Afghanistan: "He believes that this will allow him to
avoid the discussion over an increase of German troops in
Afghanistan.
The reality looks different. Westerwelle and the Americans share
the
same goal, but they differ on the path to get there. 2,500 American

soldiers are supposed to be deployed to Kunduz, which is in the
north
of the country, where the Germans bear the responsibility. Some of

them are supposed to train 4,000 Afghan soldiers; other units will
protect the camp and secure the region.... This makes clear what a

challenge it is to set up Afghan security forces. It will not be
possible without additional foreign assistance, including a military

component."

4. (Iran) Ban to Talk to Foreign Institutions

Under the headline "Iran also focuses on German foundations," Die
Welt
(1/6) reported that "the regime imposed a ban on contacting 60
institutions in the country and abroad.... The prohibition to talk
to
international broadcasters further limits the freedom to move for
opposition leader Musawi and Medhi Karubi." Frankfurter Allgemeine

(1/6) headlined "Regime in Iran Broadens its Censorship," adding
"Given the ongoing protests against the regime, the Iranian
intelligence service tries to isolate 60 domestic and international

institutions."

5. (Mideast) New Peace Efforts

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/6) commented: "The kind of two-state
solution that would be acceptable to Israelis and Palestinians is
not
a secret. It is more difficult to get both conflicting parities to

reach these compromises despite the great political risks. The
current path of building confidence has not worked. President Obama

and his Mideast envoy Mitchell obviously want to try it the other
way
around: they lure both sides into new negotiations by promising that

they will be finished after two years.... Given the many failed
efforts, the new attempt is worthwhile. However, the Israelis and
Palestinians - and their leaders - must be willing themselves to
create peace."

6. (Iceland) Government Won't Repay Debts

Several papers (1/6) reported that the Iceland's President Grimsson


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announced that he would veto the repayment of 3.5 billion euro to
foreign depositors and that he refused to sign a bill from which
primarily British and Dutch savers would have profited. Frankfurter

Allgemeine reported under the headline: "Iceland Blocks
Compensations," while Die Welt headlined: "Iceland's President Uses

His Right to Veto Compensation of Savors" and reported: "It was the

second time in the 65-year history of the country that a president
whose job is primarily to represent the country, used his right to
refuse to approve a bill. According to the Constitution, a
referendum
must decide in such a case. Grimsson's step is likely to intensify

domestic turbulence in the island state, which has been especially
hard hit by the financial crisis.... The unresolved compensation
question is an obstacle to Icelandic efforts to join the EU and to
get
support from the IMF." Tagesspiegel headlined: "Presidential Veto

Plunges Iceland Into Crisis," while Financial Times Deutschland led

with the lead story: "Iceland Risking Accession to the EU."
Handelsblatt carried a lead story under the headline: "Iceland
Risking
Conflict with IMF."

Berliner Zeitung (1/6) analyzed the situation in the country and
wrote: "The nation held its breath, for what usually happens was
declared a vital question this time. More than 60,000 Icelanders -

one quarter of al voters - called upon their president in a petition

to stop the so-called compensation bill. He did it yesterday and
suggested a referendum on it. This bill is more than a technical
formality. It is the key document for the self understanding of the

Icelanders after the collapse of their economy but also for their
country's rapprochement with Europe. However, a referendum could
jeopardize Iceland's quick accession to the EU because it cannot
bypass London and The Hague on its way to Brussels. And both
governments clearly signaled yesterday that, without compensation
for
foreign depositors, there will be no accession and no further [EU]
loans."

In a front-page editorial, Handelsblatt (1/6) argued under the
headline: "Fear of State Bankruptcy," that "Iceland's refusal
clearly
shows that, in 2010, we will have to fight fears that countries do
not
or are incapable of repaying their debt. Cases such as Dubai,
Greece,
Latvia, and Ukraine are nurturing this fear. But Iceland is a
special
case and has good chances to recover.... The country does not have
to
repay external debt by the end of 2011 and will have good chances
with
a high per capita income to be in a better situation soon if it
wants
to get fresh money from investors. Despite the economic misery it
is
at least possible to play a poker game, as the president and the
Icelanders are doing. Other states such as Greece do not have such

possibilities - and we will hear quite a lot from these countries in


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2010."

According to Financial Times Deutschland (1/6), "The Icelandic
government signed a contract in which it gave assurances to pay
compensation. Serious contractors stick to such promises when the
contract has not even entered into force. By withholding his
signature, the Icelandic president is now also questioning Iceland's

membership of the circle of industrialized countries that need to be

taken seriously, let alone its declared goal of joining the EU.
Obviously, neither the protesting people nor the President are aware

of what is at risk. In addition to the country's political
respectability, Iceland's economic prosperity is at risk. Who wants

to invest in the country on whose promises we cannot rely? And who

will save Iceland and its currency during the next crisis if the
Europeans - and this is understandable - have had enough?"

7. (Defense) A 400 M

Frankfurter Allgemeine (1/6) carried a report under the headline:
"Airbus Threatens To Scrap Military Transportation Aircraft," and
wrote: "The tone in the controversy over the financing of the A 400
M
military transportation aircraft is getting sharper. Airbus is now

openly threatening to scrap the program if the governments do no
make
concessions in the talks with the company. Financial Times
Deutschland reported that EADS CEO Thomas Enders only sees a 50:50
chance for a successful agreement. This threat is primarily direct

against the German government, which is taking the toughest position

in the talks. The parliamentary Undersecretary of Defense,
Christian
Schmidt (CSU) explained the German position towards FAZ: 'Cancelling

the contract is not the subject matter of talks.' The negotiating
partner would be EADS, not Airbus, he said, and added: 'For us, the

contract is the basis. Additional demands from EADS are on the
table
and that is the subject matter of talks.'"

According to Die Welt (1/6), "the Europeans are threatened with a
disgrace. When Airbus is threatening to scrap the A 400 M military

transportation aircraft, then this is in reality the last attempt to

save the project. Saber rattling is a well tested tactical game in

difficult negotiations...and a continuation of the project is very
likely. First, the end of the project would also be expensive for

EADS. In addition, EADS's reputation as a reliable supplier would
be
at risk.... And the nations that have ordered the plane will not be

able to avoid additional payments either. They must also be blamed

for an increase in costs. Germany, France, and the other countries

wanted to demonstrate together with EADS that Europe is able to
finance enormous arms projects such as the A 400 M. It would be a
disgrace for the producer and for the ordering nations to display

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the
three prototypes of the aircraft, whose development already cost
billions of euros, in a museum."

8. (Economic) State of U.S. Economy

Under the headline: "U.S. Recovery Lacks Strength," Handelsblatt
(1/6)
editorialized: "The U.S. economy is turning around, profits and
orders
increase and the stock markets are cheering, but the biggest economy

has been put on drugs and these drugs are losing their effect. The

arguments of the optimists, according to which the U.S. economy has

embarked upon a path of growth, are only true for the short term.
The
current upswing is based on the fact that companies have increased
their production after previous historic cuts and are rebuilding
inventories. On paper, this creates a strong increase in
production,
even though the turnover of many companies has hardly recovered from

their plunge. Experience teaches us that such recoveries, which are

only based on a change with respect to inventories, do not last very

long. In addition, the optimists hardly say that the upswing rests

almost exclusively on state doping. This effect is, on a short term

basis, stimulating, but in the long run, dangerous. For a long-term

recovery, the U.S. economy, which is driven by domestic consumption,

needs signs of relaxation from the highly indebted consumers and
profound optimism on the part of the companies to initiate a new
wave
of investments. The optimists can wish for such a development, but

they cannot make it happen."

DELAWIE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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