Cablegate: Media Reaction: Afghanistan and Secretary Clinton;
DE RUEHBU #0180/01 0471945
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 161944Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0532
INFO RHMCSUU/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000180
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC, WHA/EPSC, CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KPAO KMDR PREL AR AF
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: AFGHANISTAN AND SECRETARY CLINTON;
2/14-16/10; BUENOS AIRES
1. Argentine newspapers mostly limited coverage of NATO's new
Afghanistan offensive and Secretary Clinton's Middle East trip to
newswires. Secretary Clinton's quote that Iran is heading towards
a "military dictatorship" appeared in all papers covering the
story, usually as the headline. As for Afghanistan, newspapers
focused on the report of twelve civilians being killed on 2/15.
Nonetheless, general coverage of the offensive appeared neutral to
supportive of the NATO effort. End summary.
SECRETARY CLINTON IN SAUDI ARABIA
2. Centrist Critica (2/16) wrote about Secretary Clinton's
meeting with the King of Saudi Arabia and their discussion of Iran
"turning into a military dictatorship." Critica mentioned the
Secretary's position that the U.S. will only negotiate with Iran if
Iran puts its nuclear program under international supervision.
Also noted was the Secretary's request that Saudi Arabia compensate
any disruption in petroleum exports to China if China backs
sanctions against Iran.
3. An AFP newswire, headlined "Iran advancing towards a military
dictatorship," appeared in largest-circulation daily Clarin (2/16).
The newswire focused on Secretary Clinton's Middle East tour "in
search of support for sanctions" and her belief that Iran's
neighbors "have reasons to worry." Second-largest daily La Nacion
and conservative Ambito Financiero both published a very small DPA
newswire about the Secretary's comments regarding Iran and it
becoming a military dictatorship.
NEW NATO OFFENSIVE IN AFGHANISTAN
4. Critica had wide coverage of the NATO offensive in Afghanistan
on 2/14 and 2/15. On 2/14, Critica created an overview of Operation
Moshtarak, citing its location in "one of the principle opium
markets," and saying that despite the Taliban "presenting little
resistance," NATO troops were advancing slowly. The next day
(2/15), Critica focused on NATO's admission that it killed "twelve
civilians by error" and U.S. General McChrystal's apology.
However, on 2/16, Critica only printed a small AFP newswire
highlighting the Afghan government's invitation of national
reconciliation to Taliban rebels, as well as NATO's decision to
stop using heavy artillery to avoid civilian fatalities.
5. On 2/14, Ana Baron, Clarin's Washington correspondent, wrote
about Operation Moshtarak's complexities and its significance for
the Afghan Army. Baron observes that although the U.S. has
"launched operations of this magnitude" before in Afghanistan,
Moshtarak is different that U.S. and Afghan soldiers will be
fighting and planning operations "side by side." In addition,
Baron stresses that the U.S. does not want to repeat its 2004
battle of Falluja, Iraq. Even though the U.S. stopped the Taliban
in Falluja, the U.S. "completely destroyed" the city and "killed
hundreds of innocent civilians."
6. Despite 12 civilian casualties, La Nacion (2/15) headlined its
reprinting of an AP newswire that NATO labeled "the largest
offensive against the Taliban in years" as a "success." The rest
of the newswire largely only gives facts about the operation and
states that NATO "is convinced that it will take control of Marjah"
within a few days.
7. Left-leaning Pagina 12 dedicated their coverage of Afghanistan
to four articles from Britain's The Independent, who, on 2/15,
highlighted the story of the twelve citizens killed while "taking
refuge from combat." The article notes General McChrystal "leaving
rapidly to apologize and order an investigation." In contrast, the
article written on 2/16 focuses on NATO's successes in the region
and the "sense of optimism" among Afghan soldiers. It also
describes Afghan government efforts to split opposition fighters
into locals, "who want to reintegrate" into society, and foreign
fighters, "who want to die."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website