Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Iran, U.S.-Syria, Dubai-Mossad,

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1. Lead Stories Summary
2. (U.S.-China) Relations, Dalai Lama
3. (U.S.-Syria) Washington Sends New Ambassador
4. (Dubai) Killing Of Hamas Arms Dealer
5. (Ukraine) Aftermath of Elections
6. (U.S.) New Nuclear Power Plants
7. (EU-Greece) Euro

1. Lead Stories Summary

Print media carried a variety of lead stories this morning. While
Sueddeutsche Zeitung centered on the upcoming strike of Lufthansa
pilots, FAZ led with a report on the traditional Ash Wednesday
speeches by political party leaders. Berliner Zeitung and
Tagesspiegel led with reports on poverty in Germany, and Die Welt
with an opinion poll on the reputation of politicians. Editorials
focused on the upcoming strike of Lufthansa pilots and the Ash
Wednesday speeches of leading German politicians. ZDF-TV's early
evening newscast heute and ARD-TV's early evening newscast
Tagesschau also led with reports on the Ash Wednesday speeches by
Chancellor Merkel and Foreign Minister Westerwelle.

2. (U.S.-China) Relations, Dalai Lama

Weekly Die Zeit (2/18) carried a full-page report on U.S.-Chinese
relations under the headline: "Rivalry - To the Extreme?" and wrote:
"Unlike the Soviet Union, China has built its rise not on its
military but on its economic power. That is why the United States
and China live in a kind of symbiotic relationship that history has
never seen before: exporter and importer, creditor and debtor, and
that is why both sides would lose in a conflict. Nevertheless,
there is one possible trouble spot for which detailed U.S. and
Chinese war games exist: Taiwan. In Taiwan, China could see its
interests threatened; or in North Korea, or in Pakistan; a U.S. act
of despair out of fear of being thrown from the global throne is
also thinkable. But China and the United States are nuclear powers.
This makes, according to previous experience, a war between them
unlikely. Never before have two nuclear states fought full power
against each other. We can also hope for this last fuse, the fear
of the last great disaster, in U.S.-Chinese relations. But all
possible rivalries give each conflict and each crisis between those
two powers a dangerous undertone."

Under the headline: "A Special Relationship, Frankfurter Allgemeine
Zeitung (2/18) argued on its front page: "Following his visit to
China, the U.S. President realized that [U.S.-Chinese] relations
must change but not in China's interest: Obama's gestures of
friendliness and Obama doing without any appeals to respect human
rights has been interpreted by the Chinese as a sign of weakness.
The leadership in Beijing did not see any reason to change its
extreme policies. Obama did not get anything in return for his
advances but he was also humiliated. That is one more reason why he
came to the conclusion to receive the Dalai Lama. The U.S.
government has now finally left the phase of idealism towards China.
According to Henry Kissinger, U.S.-Chinese relations are the most
important ones in the 21st century. The old superpower is meeting
the new emerging major power. No one can be interested in this
meeting turning into a clash. But it is naQve to cheer at China's
rise and link it solely to the hope that China will now assume
greater international responsibility. China's relationship with the
United Stats is complex and will remain complex: cooperation here, a
divergence of interests, rivalry, even confrontation there. If
China demands respect, then this is also true vice versa. Obama
should receive the Dalai Lama - not to provoke China but because it
is an expression of his own convictions."

Under the headline: "Transpacific Expert - Barack Obama's Policy is

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a Mixture of Standstill and Progress," Tagesspiegel (2/18) argued:
"President Obama does not dodge the conflict with China. Taiwan
will receive military hardware worth 6.4 billion dollars. He
supports Google's threat to withdraw from China if Beijing does not
stop its censorship efforts. At the same time, he is seeking
Beijing's support for sanctions against Iran and in the nuclear
talks with North Korea. The White House is also watching the talks
between China and the envoys of the Dalai Lama about Tibet's future.
And it is by no means clear whether Obama's policy towards China is
the expression of a lasting shift of power, or whether we owe it to
the current global situation and U.S. policy in general will become
more self confident again as soon as it has overcome the financial
and economic crisis and no longer feels internationally dependent."

3. (U.S.-Syria) Washington Sends New Ambassador

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/18) editorialized: "Despite Special Envoy
Mitchell's diligent efforts, nothing is moving forward between the
Israelis and the Palestinians. It might therefore be more promising
to go to Syria after five years of diplomatic silence between
Washington and Syria. Washington is about to send Robert Stephen
Ford as Ambassador to the Syrian capital. Undersecretary Burns'
recent talks with President Assad made clear that both sides want to
resume their relations, which were broken up under George W. Bush.
Syria is playing a key role in the Mideast process and in Lebanon.
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri approves of America's
rapprochement with Damascus, although Syrians probably masterminded
the assassination of his father Rafik. Syria, as a strategic (not
ideological) ally of Iran might also be helpful in the conflict over
Islamic Republic's nuclear armament.

Sddeutsche (2/18) headlined: "U.S. sends Ambassador to Syrian
again," and reported: "This step had been in the air since the
middle of last year.... For President Obama, Ford's appointment is
another step towards rapprochement with the former enemy. His
predecessor George W. Bush recalled Ambassador Scobey in February
2005 to protest against Syria's alleged involvement in the
assassination of former Lebanese PM Hariri. In addition, Bush
wanted to exert pressure on Damascus to get Syria to renounce its
connections with Iran and the Shiite Hezbollah militia. This policy
has failed. Obama showed great determination when he extended the
sanctions against Damascus in May 2009. However, he has now pursued
a symbolic change - and quickly met with criticism. Given that his
efforts to reach to Iran and to resume Israeli-Palestinian peace
talks have been unsuccessful, Republicans now see the opportunity to
accuse him of failure in the region."

Tagesspiegel's (2/18) intro noted: "President Obama wants to
overcome the political ice age in relations with Syria and appointed
career diplomat Robert Ford as new ambassador to Damascus.... The
German government said it is pleased with the prospect of a
diplomatic rapprochement between Washington and Damascus."

4. (Dubai) Killing Of Hamas Arms Dealer

Under the headline: "The Handwriting of Mossad," Tagesspiegel (2/18)
reported: "Apart from the hard facts, a maze of rumors, mysteries
and suspicions of the origin the attack and the real identities of
the assailants is going rampant. The professionalism of the attack
has focused suspicion among international experts...on Mossad. Of
course, Jerusalem is silent about the suspicions, but Israeli media
in their majority tend to make Mossad responsible for the killing of
Mahmud al-Mabhuh, one of the most important commanders of the
military wing of the radical Hamas movement.... German security
agencies also consider it likely that Mossad was responsible for the
attack, but unnamed sources said that there is no certainty because
Israel has thus far not answered German requests. But it is clear
that the Americans would have nothing to do with the operation,

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these sources said. They added that it is very likely that Mossad
planned the operation on its own and that at best 'subordinated
logistical support from another intelligence service,' for instance,
from Jordan would be thinkable.... In the case of the alleged
perpetrator with a German passport, the man is in reality an
orthodox American Jew...who attends a religious school in a suburb
of Tel Aviv."

Frankfurter Allgemeine (2/18) noted under the headline: "Odd
Careers As Agent," that: "There are growing concerns that Israel's
reputation could now be damaged as a consequence of the use of
passports from friendly nations Similar developments happened in
the past and burdened Israel's relations with states such as Canada
and New Zealand." Die Welt (2/18) carried a similar report,
headlined: "All Trails Lead to Israel."

In an editorial Die Welt (2/18) judged under the headline; "Mossad's
Trail," that "when somewhere in the world, an arch enemy of the
Jewish state falls victim to an assassination attempt, Israeli
politicians are silent.... That is why it is all the more
surprising that Foreign Minister Liebermann said that it would be
unfair to make Israel responsible for the killing of Mahmoud
al-Mabhuh; former Mossad agents gave assurances that the Israeli
intelligence service would never do such a botched-up job and that a
foreign intelligence service wanted to make Israel responsible. But
apart from the fact that Mossad carried out some past operations in
a botched-up way, it cannot be ruled out that Mossad is responsible.
Nevertheless, one reason for the sudden denial seems to be that too
many trails lead to Israel. It is one matter to eliminate a
dangerous terrorist, but it is a different matter to use falsified
passports of friendly nations, thus jeopardizing diplomatic

Berliner Zeitung (2/18) commented: "Mossad is in the news, which
would be very difficult for any intelligence service. If the
Israeli Mossad indeed killed the senior Hamas official by a hit
squad in Dubai, it will face outrage at home and abroad. Anyway,
the incident in Dubai would not be the first state-run assassination
Mossad has pursued against militant Palestinians. Mossad has killed
many times before and without any respect for state borders. Let
there be no doubt: some of those killed had the blood of Israelis in
their hands. However, like any other country, Israel must respect
international rules. Suspects must be taken to court and sentenced
before they can be punished. Mossad apparently did not just work in
Dubai but was allegedly involved in a mysterious incident in Syria,
where a bus with Iranian officials and Hamas members exploded.
There was also speculation that Mossad was involved in an attack on
Hezbollah and Hamas in southern Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah are
seen as allies of Iran. Experts therefore assume that Israel is
already fighting a small war against Tehran by killing officials of
organizations that are linked to Iran."

5. (Ukraine) Aftermath of Elections

"Deferment in Kiev," was the headline of an editorial in
Sueddeutsche Zeitung (2/18) which opined: "At first inspection, the
decision by Ukraine's supreme administrative court means a success
for Prime Minister Tymochenko...but at second inspection, it is a
mere formality. That is why it is very likely that Yanukovich will
take over his office as soon as the judges rule that the
irregularities were not decisive for the elections. It is not very
audacious to assume that Tymochenko's fight against the recognition
of the election results will not likely succeed. For her, it would
not be tragic because it is currently everything but a pleasure to
take over Ukraine's highest position. With a 15-percent decline in
economic output, Ukraine is the European country worst hit by the
financial crisis."

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6. (U.S.) New Nuclear Power Plants

German media have been reporting for days on President Obama's plans
to build nuclear power plants to develop green energy. Frankfurter
Allgemeine (2/18) headlined a report: "America is planning a nuclear
renaissance" and highlighted: "Obama wants to allow the building of
nuclear plants again. They are supposed to make American energy
supplies greener." Die Welt (2/15) opined: "President Obama's
government guarantees to resolve the energy question can be called
pragmatism or a deal with the devil. He believes he does not have a
choice." die tageszeitung (2/18) editorialized: "Even if the U.S.
starts to build new plants, it would not mean that market economies
are about to see a nuclear boom... To make nuclear plants
profitable, the kilowatt hour would have to be sold for eight cents.
For this price, wind turbines and solar plants will be able to
produce energy. Nuclear energy might be shortly reanimated by being
on the government's drip."

Sddeutsche (2/18) editorialized: "Has he broken a taboo? Speaking
to unionists, Obama announced government guarantees for building a
nuclear plant in Georgia.... It would be the first new nuclear
plant in the U.S. after the moratorium 30 years ago.... Is the U.S.
now starting a renaissance of nuclear power? Will this lead to a
new victory of nuclear energy around the globe? Nobody should now
be too agitated over America's apparent folly because this is only
about the building of one plant.... Twenty-eight plants are
registered as new projects; half of them are behind schedule and are
confronting an explosion of costs. There are only 13 applications
for construction permits. This is far below the rate that would be
necessary to keep America's nuclear energy at a level of 20
percent... The U.S. is therefore far away from a renaissance of
nuclear energy.... Obama has never experienced the anti-nuclear
energy movement like many left-wing politicians of his generation in
Europe. He believes the emission-free production of energy by
nuclear plants is a possible way to lower U.S. carbon dioxide
emissions. He believes the risks are manageable. Like many of
Obama's decisions, his engagement in favor of nuclear energy is
domestic reasons. For years, Republicans have advocated a return to
nuclear energy... By reaching out to them on nuclear energy, the
President hopes they will make concessions on his climate protection
bill. However, this will not work. Like in the health reform,
Obama has been hesitating for too long.... There will be no climate
protection law with a European model of trading emissions in the
U.S. However, there might be more nuclear plants in ten years

7. (EU-Greece) Euro

Under the headline: "Greek Tragedy," weekly Die Zeit (2/18) had this
to say: "The Greek debt crisis is more than an economic policy
accident. What we are witnessing right now goes beyond mere crisis
management. Basically all governments of the euro zone, including
the German, are faced with a similar challenge to rescuing the banks
in the fall of 2008. Those who want to save Greece now and prevent
the next state bankruptcy must change the basic rules of the
Monetary Union. Europe is forced to re-invent itself. In the long
run, a monetary union can only function if its members pursue a
policy of cooperation. A Monetary Union requires competition for
the best industrial sites but also a closely coordinated spending,
tax and labor market policy. Those who give such different
countries as Greece, Germany, Portugal and France a common currency,
should not set up political barriers between them. And this is the
economic decision before all euro-zone governments right now: they
either sacrifice part of their national policies to keep the euro,
or they sacrifice the euro and reduce the currency zone to the five
or six nations which are economically similar. The first would be
painful, the latter a disaster. The 27 countries talked for seven
years before the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, but the 16 euro

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countries will not have so much time to adopt new rules. It is
likely that they won't even have seven months."

Regional daily Die Tagespost of Wrzburg (2/18) had this to say:
"Despite the understanding of the decade-long mismanagement and the
cheating of the Greeks coming to an end now, the things the EU
finance ministers under the leadership of Jean-Claude Juncker are
now presenting are strikingly reminding us of the crook who wants to
distract attention from his own offenses by loudly calling 'stop the
thief.' In the ten years since the introduction of the euro, Greece
has never abided by the criteria of the Stability Pact, and the EU
has never done a single thing about it. Why not? And why now of all

Handelsblatt (2/18) dealt with the possible accession of a few
eastern European states to the euro-zone and argued: "The accession
of Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, and Bulgaria to the euro
zone would strengthen the uniform European currency. In the
meantime, even German government officials consider the neighbors in
the East less a risk for the euro because they would strengthen the
market economy forces in the euro zone--which is becoming
increasingly significant. These countries in the East have directed
their economic policies much more to economic growth and budgetary
discipline than Europe's southern states. It must be a basic
condition that any new countries fully meet the euro criteria. But
one thing is also clear: the potential euro countries should not pay
the fine for Greek or Spanish sins."


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