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Cablegate: Media Reaction Report - Israel-Hezbollah Conflict - Iran's

Published: Tue 1 Aug 2006 10:53 AM
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Lucia A Keegan 08/02/2006 03:08:23 PM From DB/Inbox: Lucia A Keegan
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - Israel-Hezbollah Conflict - Iran's
Involvement - Israel's Isolation - U.S. - France Diplomacy Efforts
PARIS - Tuesday, August 01, 2006
(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:
Israel-Hezbollah Conflict - Iran's Involvement - Israel's Isolation
- U.S. - France Diplomacy Efforts
B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:
Diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire in Lebanon dominate today
news. Le Figaro's front page, "Diplomatic Efforts During the Lull in
Lebanon," introduces several stories including the headline,
"Condoleezza Rice Believes in a Ceasefire." La Croix's headline
reads: "Israel Under Pressure from the Americans" and Liberation
headlines, "Israel Under Pressure." In Le Parisien FM Douste-Blazy,
who was in Beirut, says: "We must move very fast..." He is again
quoted as saying: "If France had been heard in Rome, the Cana
tragedy would not have happened..." Le Figaro reporting on FM
Douste-Blazy's visit to Beirut notes his meeting with Iran's FM and
quotes him: "Iran plays a stabilizing role" ..."and is an important
actor in the Middle East." Le Parisien's cover story looks at Iran's
formal entry onto the Israeli-Lebanese scene with Iranian FM
Manouchehr Mottaki's arrival in Beirut yesterday. According to Le
Parisien, "The Iranian regime has established for the first
time-explicitly-a link between the war in Lebanon and its desire to
possess the bomb." Iran's role in the conflict is also analyzed in
an op-ed by defense researcher Louis Chagnon in Le Figaro, in which
suggests that the way out is "to topple the Islamic regime in Iran."
(See Part C)
The editorials in Le Figaro and Liberation emphasize Israel's
growing isolation after the Cana tragedy, but Le Figaro's Luc de
Barochez warns against "rejoicing over Israel's weakening" in the
face of Iran's role in the conflict. (See Part C)
Separately, Le Figaro runs an AFP report on the UN's passage
yesterday of a Security Council Resolution giving Iran until August
31 to suspend all uranium enrichment activity subject to IAEA
verification.
La Croix's cover story focuses on the U.S. role in the
Israeli-Lebanese conflict under the headline "Israel under American
Pressure." La Croix attributes Israel's 48-hour suspension of
hostilities to pressure from Secretary of State Rice. But a report
in Liberation comments on "the U.S. double game at the UN." "Rice's
stance in favor of a ceasefire and a peace plan... is an optimistic
signal, considering the growing tension at the UN... There is a
difference between France's call for 'an immediate halt to the
hostilities' and America's call for 'an urgent' but not an immediate
ceasefire..." A La Croix article is entitled "French Diplomacy Seeks
a Solution in Beirut." "For French officials, an immediate
cease-fire and a political accord are the prerequisites of any
international stabilization force-under the auspices of the UN-in
which France would participate. Meanwhile, London and Washington
want unconditionally to send an international force through NATO."
La Croix quotes PM Villepin as saying an international force would
risk becoming "inoperable" and seeing "extremely dangerous terrain"
in the absence of a political accord.
Le Figaro interviews Zbigniew Brzezinski about Secretary Rice's
visit to the Middle East: "America's doings in this crisis have
unfortunately contributed to the loss of life and to
anti-Americanism... Secretary Rice must go to Damascus... The Bush
and Rice policy of ostracizing Syria may be a big success for them,
but it is a disaster for the U.S.... It is unfortunate, but Europe
does not exist as a political entity..." On Iraq he says: "we are
close to a civil war here... America's presence is increasingly
destroying Iraq as a state... But unfortunately, because President
Bush lives in his own world cut off from reality, American troops
will probably stay in Iraq..."
(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:
Israel-Hezbollah Conflict - Iran's Involvement - Israel's Isolation
- U.S. - France Diplomacy Efforts
"Israel's Reversal"
Luc de Barochez in right-of-center Le Figaro (08/01): "Israel has an
historic image as a winner of wars. But although it is normal to
destroy Hezbollah's engines of death, it is totally inadmissible to
kill children... even if, as Israel well knows, Hezbollah has a
habit of using women and children as human shields... Iran supports
Hezbollah, as part of its confrontation with the West in general and
the U.S. in particular... But there is no reason to rejoice in
Israel's isolation and weakening in the face of Iran...
Franco-American rivalries must not impede the finding of a
solution... Lebanon was wrong to have cancelled Secretary Rice's
visit, for only the U.S. is in a position to impose its views in the
Middle East... Diplomacy needs to show it can be imaginative if it
wants to transform a military campaign into a political victory."
"Isolation"
Antoine de Gaudemar in left-of-center Liberation (08/01): "Israel is
growing more isolated on the international scene. After the Cana
tragedy, indignation has reached two of its staunchest allies, the
U.S. and Great Britain... But Israel, which can rely on
international disagreement, does not want to give Hezbollah the
illusion of a victory. Israel knows that Hezbollah is Iran's tool in
its anti-Semitic diatribes... But Israel, because of its
intransigence, could be taking the risk of further isolation... And
although Hezbollah has been striking civilians in Israel, it has won
the war of images, those images of dead children in Cana."
"Toppling Iran's Islamic Regime Is Only Durable Solution"
Louis Chagnon, Defense Specialist, in right-of-center Le Figaro
(08/01: "Iran wants the bomb, and it will get it... And Hezbollah is
Iran's tool to threaten Israel... For the time being, Iran does not
have the means to directly threaten Israel... Iran arms and finances
Hezbollah... And while the world looks towards Lebanon, Iran
continues on the path of the nuclear bomb. It is also widening its
regional influence in places like Turkmenistan and Tajikistan...
Iran wants to be and is becoming a power that cannot be disregarded.
This would be a perfectly legitimate position if Iran were not
governed by fundamentalist Islamic terrorists, who by playing with
fire, could trigger a very wide ranging war. Meanwhile, the present
conflict, like all conflicts in the region, plays into Iran's
financial hands... because of Iran's position as an oil nation... In
short, the Mullahs' regime, which feeds on the war, has every
advantage to seeing the Lebanese-Israeli conflict last. Sending a UN
peacekeeping force is simply unrealistic. The only durable solution
is to topple Iran's Islamic regime and for the West to support
Iran's democratic opposition. Syria, which does not possess Iran's
financial oil means, would then be isolated and its bellicose stance
would be greatly contained." STAPLETON
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