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06CAIRO5011 2006-08-14 11:42:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Cairo
Cable title:  

EGYPT MEDIA TRENDS AUGUST 13, 2006

Tags:   KPAO PREL IS LE EG 
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1. Summary. The day's headlines largely focused on the UNSC
resolution, its potential for implementation on Monday, and Israel's
planning of large military campaigns in anticipation. In breaking
news, during their afternoon press conference following a meeting
with President Mubarak, Iranian Foreign Minister Mottaki and
Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul-Gheit did not publicly divulge their
discussions about Hezbollah, but did address a ceasefire in Lebanon
and Iran's nuclear program. Government-controlled daily Rose
Al-Youssef announced over the weekend that a Lebanese journalist
known to speak against Hezbollah will become a regular contributor.
In the commentaries, writers reacted against President Bush's use of
the term, "Islamic Fascists". End Summary.



2. In the headlines and front pages. The potential for a ceasefire
and Israel's continuing operations dominated the banner headlines.
For example, in leading government-controlled daily Al-Ahram, with
similar words in government-controlled daily Al-Akhbar, "Israel is
Defying International Legitimacy by Expanding its Brutal Attacks on
Lebanon." Sub-headlines explained that Israel is "heading toward
acceptance" of the resolution while, at the same time, it "assembles
30,000 soldiers for land attacks." Small circulation opposition
papers sensationalized Israel's position with headlines such as
Al-Wafd's "Israel Surrenders: The Enemy Loses the War after Thirty
Days," and Al-Ahrar's "Israel Refuses to End the War." Also,
Egypt's call for Israel to "...commit to an Immediate Ceasefire" was
highlighted in government-controlled dailies, Al-Akhbar and
Al-Gomhouriya, while independent dailies, Al-Masry Al-Yom and Nahdet
Masr provided Foreign Minister Aboul-Gheit's demands for "full
withdrawal" and "investigations into massacres" as "conditions for
political settlement." Foreign Minister Aboul-Gheit's statement to
the Middle East News Agency is available on opensource.gov.



3. Breaking News. Iranian Foreign Minister Mottaki and Egyptian
Foreign Minister Aboul-Gheit gave an afternoon press conference
following Minister Mottaki's meeting with President Mubarak. As
reported by the Middle East News Agency, both sides agreed that
there should be an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon, an Israeli
withdrawal from occupied territories and swift deployment of UNIFIL
forces. Minister Mottaki said that Iran would respect any decision
of the Government of Lebanon and the will of the Lebanese people.
As for the nuclear issue, he said that "the U.S. accusations toward
Iran are natural as the U.S. believes only it can have nuclear
weapons. The people of the region will not accept this nor will they
accept being told what to do. The U.S. has learned this lesson."
Minister Aboul-Gheit said that Egypt is "not taking any mediation
role" in this matter and its position "in favor of
non-proliferation" is widely known. He also said, "People have the
right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes." According to
Minister Aboul-Gheit, "The Iranian Foreign Minister listened to
President Mubarak's vision about how to get out of the Lebanese
crisis. I believe the Iranian Foreign Minister understood this
vision and analysis of the regional situation." Finally, Minister
Mottaki said they did not discuss Iranian influence on the stability
of the Middle East.



4. In the commentaries. While many of the commentaries focused on
the UNSC resolution and provided recycled criticisms of Israel and
the U.S. for perceived aggression and planning of the conflict, some
commentators wrote about their reaction to the use of the term
"Islamic fascism." One senior columnist in opposition daily Al-Wafd
criticized President Bush's use of the term, predicting it "will
cause more wars." As for the pro-government dailies, a columnist
for Al-Akhbar argued that "fascism was never related to any religion
... and President Bush has shown discrimination and hostility toward
Islam and Muslims." A columnist in government-controlled daily Rose
al-Youssef criticized "President Bush's use of the term 'crusades'
and now 'Islamic fascism.'" He likened "the American administration"
to "Muslim extremists who seek to ignite strife with the west and
Christians." However, in the same paper, another columnist blamed
"instigating speeches of some religious and leftist powers who
exploit the Israeli aggression and American support to nourish
extremism." He concluded with a call for "an explanation of the
objectives of the American and Israeli wars to the Egyptian
public."



5. New developments. As announced over the weekend in Rose Al
Youssef, Khayrallah Khayrallah, a Lebanese journalist for "Innahar"
newspaper as well as former chief editor and founder of regional
daily Al-Hayat, will regularly contribute articles to Rose
al-Youssef. Mr. Khayrallah has spoken out publicly against
Hezbollah. As reported in reftel, Mr. Khayrallah appeared on Egypt
Television's popular evening talk-show, El Beit Beitak (Your Home)
on August 6, during which he spoke against any need for Hezbollah to
be armed and denied claims of Hezbollah's popularity among
Lebanese.
RICCIARDONE