The U.S. diplomatic cables that mattered most this year.

Libya, Sept. 29, 2009:

"Qadhafi appears to rely heavily on XXXXXXXXXXXX and reportedly cannot travel with[out] his senior Ukrainian nurse, Galyna XXXXXXXXXXXX. He also appears to have an intense dislike or fear of staying on upper floors, reportedly prefers not to fly over water, and seems to enjoy horse racing and flamenco dancing. His recent travel may also suggest a diminished dependence on his legendary female guard force, as only one woman bodyguard accompanied him to New York."

Italy, June 9, 2009:

"[Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi] displays an overweening self-confidence born of stable and strong political popularity that has made him deaf to dissenting opinion. The strict control he exercises over his government and party inhibits his staff from giving him unpleasant messages. His unorthodox governing style, coupled with his frequent verbal gaffes and high-profile scandals (including public bickering with his wife about his alleged philandering), have caused many, including some inside the U.S. government, to dismiss him as feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader."

Tunisia, July 17, 2009:

"The problem is clear: Tunisia has been ruled by the same president for 22 years. He has no successor. And, while President Ben Ali deserves credit for continuing many of the progressive policies of President Bourguiba, he and his regime have lost touch with the Tunisian people…. As a consequence, the risks to the regime’s long-term stability are increasing."

Mexico, December 2009:

"[The Mexican navy’s] success puts the army in the difficult position of explaining why it has been reluctant to act on good intelligence and conduct operations against high-level targets. [In the case of the drug lord Arturo Beltrán Levya, the army’s] refusal to move quickly reflected a risk aversion that cost the institution a major counter-narcotics victory."

Pakistan, June 20, 2009:

"While we grant large amount[s] of aid to Pakistan and its military, even with the arrival to office of the well-perceived President Obama, America is viewed with some suspicion by the majority of Pakistan’s people and its institutions…. While the Army remains fixated on India as Pakistan’s mortal enemy, the common man (and most importantly the youth) is just as likely to point to America as the nation which has twisted Pakistan’s collective arm, leaving it weak."

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