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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05PARIS2619 2005-04-18 12:03:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Paris
Cable title:  

MEDIA REACTION REPORT - MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON AND

Tags:   OPRC KMDR FR 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PARIS 002619 

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR INR/R/MR; IIP/RW; IIP/RNY; BBG/VOA; IIP/WEU; AF/PA;
EUR/WE /P/SP; D/C (MCCOO); EUR/PA; INR/P; INR/EUC; PM; OSC ISA
FOR ILN; NEA; WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC/WEUROPE; DOC FOR ITA/EUR/FR
AND PASS USTR/PA; USINCEUR FOR PAO; NATO/PA; MOSCOW/PA;
ROME/PA; BRUSSELS/PA; USVIENNA FOR USDEL OSCE.

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR FR
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION REPORT - MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON AND
ARAB SPRING G7 MEETING
PARIS - MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005


(A) SUBJECTS COVERED IN TODAY'S REPORT:



1. MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON AND ARAB SPRING


2. G7 MEETING

B) SUMMARY OF COVERAGE:

THE PAPAL CONCLAVE AND THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL DEBATE ON THE EU
CONSTITUTION REFERENDUM MAKE UP THE MAJORITY OF TODAY'S
COVERAGE. FRONT PAGES AND MOST EDITORIALS CONTINUE TO BE
DEVOTED TO THE AFTERMATH OF PRESIDENT CHIRAC'S DISAPPOINTING
PERFORMANCE LAST THURSDAY ON CONVINCING THE FRENCH TO VOTE
`YES.' IN FACT THE LATEST POLL IN LE JOURNAL DU DIMANCHE SHOWS
THAT ONLY 39 PERCENT FOUND THE PRESIDENT TO BE "CONVINCING."
TWO SEPARATE POLLS FOR LE PARISIEN AND PARIS MATCH SHOW THAT
THE `NO' VOTE IS UP TO 56 PERCENT. A SIMILAR POLL IN
LIBERATION SHOWS THAT 53 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE POLLED REMAIN
OPPOSED TO THE REFERENDUM, DOWN ONE PERCENT SINCE THE APRIL
ONE POLL. COMMENTATORS IN GENERAL AGREE THAT PRESIDENT CHIRAC
DID NOT MANAGE TO SHIFT PUBLIC OPINION, WITH LIBERATION
CONTENDING THAT HE WAS "UNABLE TO UNDERSTAND" AND THEREFORE TO
ANSWER THE QUESTIONS PUT TO HIM BY THE STUDENTS. LE FIGARO,
COMMENTING ON THESE VARIOUS POLLS REPORTS: "THE `YES' IN AN
INCREASINGLY SHAKY POSITION."

THE G7 FINANCE MINISTERS' MEETING IN WASHINGTON AND THE
TENSION BETWEEN CHINA AND JAPAN ARE TODAY'S MAJOR
INTERNATIONAL STORIES. RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO DEVOTES ITS
EDITORIAL TO THIS WEEKEND'S G7, AND WONDERS ABOUT THE
"EFFECTIVENESS OF SUCH MEETINGS." (SEE PART C)

THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN LEBANON SERVES AS THE BACKDROP FOR
AN OP-ED BY RAN HALEVI, DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AT THE CNRS, ON
THE "FRAGILE ARAB SPRING." (SEE PART C)

ECONOMIC RIGHT-OF-CENTER LES ECHOS AND LE FIGARO ECONOMIE
REPORT ON A STUDY COMMISSIONED BY BOEING ON THE A380 AND
PUBLISHED IN YESTERDAY'S SUNDAY TIMES WHICH ALLEGES THAT
AIRBUS WILL HAVE AN 8 BILLION DOLLAR NEGATIVE CASH FLOW FOR
THE PERIOD 2006-2025 AND THAT IT WILL BE UNABLE TO REIMBURSE
THE LOANS GRANTED BY EU GOVERNMENTS, ESTIMATED AT 2.2 MILLION
EUROS PER AIRCRAFT SOLD BETWEEN NOW AND 2017. IN LE FIGARO
ECONOMIE DELPHINE DENUIT WRITES: "THE HATCHET IS OUT AGAIN
BETWEEN BOEING AND AIRBUS. THE VERY DETAILED STUDY
COMMISSIONED BY BOEING LOOKS VERY MUCH LIKE AN OUTRIGHT ATTACK
ON THE A380 AND THE PROJECT'S LACK OF FINANCIAL FEASIBILITY."

(C) SUPPORTING TEXT/BLOCK QUOTES:

MIDDLE EAST - LEBANON AND ARAB SPRING

"THE FRAGILE ARAB SPRING"
RESEARCHER RAN HALEVI IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (04/18):
"THE CRISIS IN LEBANON DOES NOT MARK THE BIRTH OF A NEW MIDDLE
EAST, BUT IT HELPS TO BURY THE OLD. THE PERVERSE BUT
COMFORTABLE EQUATION THAT EXISTED IN LEBANON WAS SHATTERED BY
HARIRI'S ASSASSINATION. SYRIA IS LEAVING, NOT ONLY BECAUSE THE
LEBANESE HAVE TAKEN TO THE STREETS. AND BECAUSE OF THE FRANCO-
AMERICAN UN RESOLUTION, BUT BECAUSE THE SYRIAN REGIME CAN NO
LONGER SERVE AS THE FORMER SHIELD IT WAS. BUT MUST WE SEE IN
THIS LEBANESE SPRING A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE `DEMOCRATIC
REVOLUTION' OF A `NEW MIDDLE EAST?' HARIRI'S ASSASSINATION
SERVED AS THE DETONATOR TO A SITUATION THAT WAS ALREADY RIPE
FOR CHANGE. EVEN IF IT SEEMS IMPROBABLE THAT THE LEBANESE
WOULD HAVE TAKEN THE RISK OF A POPULAR REVOLUTION WITHOUT THE
WAR IN IRAQ AND THE SHOCKWAVE IT TRIGGERED THROUGHOUT THE
MIDDLE EAST. ONE CAN SPEAK AT LENGTH ABOUT PRESIDENT BUSH'S
STRATEGY OR THE VERY DEBATABLE ARGUMENTS USED BY WASHINGTON TO
JUSTIFY THE ELIMINATION OF IRAQ'S DICTATOR. THESE QUESTIONS,
ALTHOUGH LEGITIMATE AS WELL AS NECESSARY, DO NOT TAKE AWAY
FROM A STATEMENT OF FACT: WHILE THE LONG TERM ADVANTAGES OF
THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS REMAIN UNCERTAIN, WE AT LEAST KNOW WHO
ARE THE LOSERS: THEY ARE THE AUTOCRATIC REGIMES OF THE MIDDLE
EAST, ESPECIALLY IN THE EYES OF THEIR OWN POPULATIONS. IS THIS
THEN A VICTORY OF THE SPREADING OF DEMOCRACY? WHAT REMAINS
PROBLEMATIC IS THAT THOSE WHO PROMOTE THIS DOCTRINE ALSO TEND
TO CONFUSE TWO DISTINCT PHENOMENA: THEY ASSIMILATE THE TASTE
FOR FREEDOM. WHICH IS PART OF HUMAN NATURE, TO THE ABILITY TO
CREATE DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT TAKES
TIME. HENCE THE CHARACTERISTIC OF THIS ARAB SPRING, WHICH IS
BOTH PROMISING BUT ALSO FRAGILE. WHEN IT COMES TO A NEW MIDDLE
EAST, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WOULD BE WELL ADVISED TO TONE
DOWN ITS RHETORIC OF CONQUEST."

G7 MEETING

"THE G7 AND CHINA"
NICOLAS BARRE IN RIGHT-OF-CENTER LE FIGARO (04/18): "THE G7
JUST DECLARED THAT THE WORLD ECONOMY IS DOING WELL AND
IMMEDIATELY WENT ON TO SAY ALL THAT IS GOING WRONG WITH IT.
FROM ONE G7 TO THE NEXT THE WORDING REMAINS PRACTICALLY THE
SAME, WHICH LED PAUL O'NEIL TO ONCE SAY THAT THESE MEETINGS
WERE USELESS. IN ANSWER TO CHINA'S CURRENCY POLICY, WHAT DID
THE G7 DO? THE STRICT MINIMUM. THE CYNICS WILL SAY THAT THE
U.S. HAS MORE TO LOSE IF IT PUSHED CHINA TO RE-EVALUATE THE
YUAN. BUT AS LONG AS THIS ISSUE IS SIDESTEPPED BY THE WORLD'S
MONEY EXPERTS, THE FAMOUS IMBALANCE ABOUT WHICH THE G7 KEEPS
TALKING WILL NOT BE MADE RIGHT. IF WORDS ARE NOT FOLLOWED BY
ACTION, THIS G7 WILL ONCE AGAIN HAVE BEEN USELESS." WOLFF