DE RUEHBU #1433/01 1771717
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 261717Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5029
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL//SCJ2//
UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 001433
STATE FOR INR/R/MR, I/GWHA, WHA, WHA/PDA, WHA/BSC,
CDR USSOCOM FOR J-2 IAD/LAMA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO OPRC KMDR PREL MEDIA REACTION
SUBJECT: IRAQ; ALLEGED US ESPIONAGE; HUMAN RIGHTS; EVO MORALES;
VENEZUELA; DOHA ROUND; MUSLIM-WESTERN DISPUTES; ARGENTINE JUDICIAL
SECURITY; KIRCHNER TO SPAIN US-SPANISH TIES 06/26/06
1. SUMMARY STATEMENT
Today's key international stories include the alleged preparation
for US troop withdrawal from Iraq; former Iraqi dictator Saddam
Hussein's statement that US President Bush will ask for his help in
fighting the insurgency in Iraq; a new espionage scandal in the US;
the relationship between respect for human rights and US national
security strategies; ties between the US and Bolivia; Venezuela's
candidacy for a UN chair; expectations for the upcoming Doha Round;
the reason for Muslim-Western disputes; and Argentina's judicial
2. OPINION PIECES AND KEY STORIES
- "Iraq - the US prepares its withdrawal in 2008"
Daily-of-record "La Nacion" reports (06/26) "According to the US
media, after more than three years of military occupation, the
Pentagon has drafted a calendar for a drastic reduction of US troops
in Iraq by the end of next year, and it has also planned a
withdrawal of most of its troops by 2008.
"According to The New York Times, which had access to classified
documents, the plan proposed by the US commander in charge of the US
coalition forces, General George Casey, which was submitted during a
secret Pentagon meeting last week, the number of US fighting
brigades in Iraq will be lowered from 14 to five or six in December
2007 if security conditions in Iraq allow it. Some 7,000 soldiers
will be withdrawn in September this year."
- "Saddam says 'Bush will ask for my help against insurgents'"
Conservative "La Prensa" reports (06/26) "On the same day Iraqi PM
al Maliki launched a national reconciliation plan with several
religious and tribal groups, former president Saddam Hussein said he
is convinced that the US will ask for his 'help' to suffocate the
insurgency and execute an orderly withdrawal of troops.
"Through his main legal attorney, Khalil al-Dulaimi, the overthrown
leader said 'those Iraqi puppets the US put in government cannot
protect themselves, they can barely protect the people. This is why
they will ask for my help and that of the Baath Party so that we can
rescue them from their huge dilemma.'"
- "New espionage scandal in the US"
Hugo Alconada Mon, Washington-based correspondent for
daily-of-record "La Nacion," writes (06/24) "According to The New
York Times and The Los Angeles Times, during the last four years,
the Bush administration has monitored and reviewed tens of thousands
of banking operations and financial records of people with alleged
terrorist ties, but without previous judicial authorization.
"The secret program, which was authorized by Bush weeks a few weeks
after the September 11 attacks, is aimed at detecting terrorists and
cutting their finance networks. However, just like the wiretapping
scandal, this has unleashed serious doubts about its legality, even
among banking executives involved, and a controversy due to the
USG's advances into private life."
- "End for human rights enforcement?"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, international analyst of leading "Clarin,"
opines (06/24) "... If the most powerful country in the world
arrests people depriving them of any right to legal process and
defense, if it tortures or hires others to torture in third
countries, if it suspiciously kills in the name of freedom, why
wouldn't other democracies do it with the same 'legitimacy'? Is
this, as suggested some time ago by academician Harvard Michael
Ignatieff, the end of the 'human rights era'? "Curiously enough,
George W. Bush's main reason for these adventures is the defense of
"... The key question is not who is hiding in the Afghan heights or
the Iraqi sand but what the West is doing to generate this intense
hatred. And, above all, what price the West is willing to pay in
decency and human rights for its own security, which as we can see
is weakly guaranteed today by the atrocities of occupying powers in
Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a question that not only calls for the
response of Americans but for that of the global community."
- "Our patience with Evo is running out"
Conservative "La Prensa" (06/26) reports "The US warned 'its
patience is running out' in regards to Bolivian President Evo
Morales because it fears that the call on a Constituting Assembly
can be used to impose 'potentially anti-democratic reforms.' "The
spokesperson of the USG's malaise was Adolfo Franco, head of the
Latin American Department at the US Agency for International
"... The USG official suggested that, as a response to Morales'
advance, Washington should support the opposition in an attempt to
make up 'some counterweight to the control of only one political
party in both judicial affairs and in the independence of the mass
media, in addition to the training of leaders of a strong and
educated civil society.'"
- "Venezuela is heading for the UN"
Conservative "La Prensa" carries an opinion piece by Emilio
Cardenas, former Argentine Ambassador to the UN, who writes (06/25)
"Our country has just announced that it will support Venezuela's
candidacy as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council
during the 2007/08 period. In this way, Argentina preferred
Venezuela over another candidate from the region, Guatemala, a
founding country of the UN.
"... Hugo Chavez's lack of respect for the principle of
non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries is open
and noteworthy... The cases of Venezuelan intervention in Bolivia,
Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru are well-known. But there are
some other cases, which are still 'subterranean' although real.
"I am one of those who believe that, based on caution and a basic
respect for ourselves..., we should not support Venezuela's
candidacy for a UN chair based on the concerning features of
Chavez's personality and also on Venezuela's closeness to (Iran), a
country which is the main exporter of terrorism to the world."
- "Update on family quarrel"
Gwynne Dyer, contributor to liberal, English-language "Buenos Aires
Herald," writes (06/26) "The past year has been one of the worst in
recent history for relations between Muslims and 'the West'...
According to the Pew Global Attitude Project for 2006, an opinion
survey conducted in thirteen mainly Christian or Muslim countries by
the Pew Research Center in Washington, the majorities who saw
relations between the West and Islam as 'generally bad' ranged from
53 percent in Russia and Indonesia to highs of 70 percent in Germany
and 84 percent in Turkey.
"There were purely local causes for some of the extreme reactions,
like resentment among Turks at being seen as problem candidates for
EU membership simply because they are Muslims.
"... Muslim-Western disputes are so emotional precisely because they
are between family members; neither of the estranged twin cultures
brings the same amount of reproach and resentment to its occasional
disputes with peoples who belong to entirely different traditions.
But the fact that they do share so much history and so many values
means that the possibility of reconciliation is also ever present."
- "(Kirchner's) criterion about investment and judicial security"
Fernando Laborda, political columnist of daily-of-record "La
Nacion," writes (06/25) "... The Argentine Government's thesis is
that 'the country's judicial security is that of a country whose
growth has not stopped during the last 44 months.' However,
according to business sources, this view, which is based on the fact
that capital flows to where there are business opportunities
regardless of the risk that rules can change overnight, has
"In recent months, not a few businessmen have complained about the
president's particular view of state intervention, which is not
related to old-fashioned statism but to the government's direct or
indirect pressure to remove heads of strategic economic divisions
that can't easily satisfy governmental requests. This same pressure
has led foreign economic groups to abandon control of privatized
companies and who were compelled to sell their shares to groups that
are more compatible with the Government.
"Behind this interventionist view there is a veiled purpose to
politically control any potential factor of power, whether it be
economic, social, military, religious or press-related."
- "Kirchner returned from Spain with a new reputation of 'moderate'
and ready for the 2007 project"
Centrist newspaper "Perfil" carries an opinion piece by Rosendo
Fraga, prestigious political analyst, who writes (06/25) "President
Kirchner's key in regional policy during the first three years of
his government has been to maintain an intermediate point between
Lula and Chavez... Kirchner combines populism and pragmatism in an
"In this framework, his visit to Spain is one more demonstration of
this kind of policy. It is true that in his address to Spanish
businessmen, he showed more moderation that in previous
opportunities, but it is also true that in political terms he ended
his visit with harsh criticism of the US and a defense of Chavez and
"Perhaps, he did not bear in mind that US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice visited Madrid two days before him, and that she
reached some agreement with her Spanish counterpart, Miguel Angel
Moratinos, regarding the possibility of coordinating more actions of
the two countries in Latin America. Washington is obviously the
regional hegemonic power in the region, and Spain is the EU country
having the largest influence there. The visit meant one more step
toward a better relationship between the two countries."
To see more Buenos Aires reporting, visit our classified website