Cablegate: Syria/Russia, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Iran
DE RUEHDM #0200/01 0601442
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011442Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3044
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6607
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4374
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2986
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7541
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1600
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4938
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1150
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7277
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000200
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA MDAVIDSON
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria/Russia, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Iran
1. Summary: Syrian papers on Mar. 1 quoted an official source from
the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs , confirming, on Feb. 28,
that Syria will attend the Iraq Neighboring Countries conference
that will be held in Baghdad on March 10. Answering a question by
the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) about American participation in
the meeting along with Security Council permanent member states, the
MFA source said: "Discussions with the United States over Iraq
constitute a partial step in the right direction, which is
represented by dialogue over all the problems of the region because
they are interlinked and affect each other negatively or
Papers also cited a SANA interview on Feb. 28 with Russian Foreign
Minister Sergey Lavrov, in which he confirmed Syria's positive role
in resolving the issues of the Middle East, whether the Arab-Israeli
conflict, Iraq or Lebanon, and expressed Russia's willingness to
continue political dialogue with Syria in order to find solutions to
these problems. On regional issues, Lavrov stressed the need for
Palestinians and Israelis to overcome the state of distrust between
them and hold negotiations based on the Roadmap, the international
Quartet's decisions, the Arab peace initiative, the Madrid
principles, and relevant UN resolutions.
On Lebanon, papers reported that General Security in Lebanon has
uncovered a spy network that works for a European state spying on
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Syria confirms participation in the Baghdad meeting: Discussions
with the United States over Iraq constitute a partial step in the
right direction" (Government-owned Tisrheen, 3/1)
"Conflicting parties will attend the Baghdad meeting. All parties
will attend, but optimists are few" (Independent al-Wattan, 3/1)
"Killing of two US marines, one British soldier and scores of Iraqis
after two weeks of enforcing the new security plan in Baghdad"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 3/1)
"In a private dialogue with Russian FM Lavrov: Syria assumes an
important role; our relations with Syria are witnessing gradual
development" (Government-owned Tishreen, 3/1)
"The Lebanese opposition warns against Israeli sabotage . A spy
network working for a European state spying on Hizbollah was
unveiled in Lebanon. Jeajea will stand trial in two weeks on
charges of cooperation with the Zionist enemy" (Government-owned
"Seizure of Israeli arms dispatched to Junblatt and Jeajea"
(Independent Al-Wattan, 3/1)
"The Opposition: The governing team is begging America to partition
Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 3/1)
"Three Palestinians martyred in an expanded Israeli incursion into
Nablus" (Government-owned Tishreen, 3/1)
"Mashaal refuses to acknowledge Israel, so he was not received by
Putin" (Independent al-Wattan, 3/1)
"Tehran accuses the West of supporting Kurdish rebels and Washington
accuses Tehran of training Iraqi rebels" (Independent Al-Wattan,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"The Lowly Principle"
Abd-al-Fattah Awad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (3/1): "Until recently, and prior to the arrival of the Bush
administration, Arab discourse spoke about Israel, behind which the
United States stands. Now, however, we may have to be more precise,
and it won't be unusual if the talk becomes the United States,
behind which Israel stands!
"It was Israel that raided the Iraqi reactor while the United States
stood in support behind it. Today, Israel wants 'permission' to
carry out its dirty mission, but this time in Iran.
"We have to think hard, as Arabs, when we discuss the Iranian
subject. Israel is not outside the picture, and any hint otherwise
will no doubt be misleading.
"The worst thing about the Bush administration is that it chooses
absolutely the worst of several options....
"It chose the worst method for fighting terrorism, that increased
rather than reduced it. It chose the principle of preemptive war
and turned the world into a minority of killers and a majority of
victims, whether in the figurative or real sense.
"It chose the occupation of Iraq and it drowned itself and damaged
and divided Iraq. It chose to support the less popular governments
in the region, as it came for the sake of false 'democracy.'
"It chose to make the White House the place where it receives the
dirtiest persons, especially from Lebanon and other states....
"It chose the language of threats and excluded dialogue and mutual
cooperation and understanding.
"There has always been its worse choice, which is its full bias
toward Israel's aggressiveness and its alliance with it.
"If the hot issue now concerns Iran, we need to think with a cool
"As usual, the United States' choice will be setting the region on
fire even more than it already is.
"The 'lowly principle' that encourages preemptive war gives you an
idea about the method of managing crises in the US manner.
"Therefore, we should not be surprised if the United States wages
several conflicts in the world, some of which are crystal clear, and
many of which are covered, sometimes by diplomacy and sometimes by
"On the basis of this US record in tackling issues, we must not be
too optimistic, especially since the language in which the region's
crises are discussed contains a lot of Hebrew sentiment, and we know
very well how much that sentiment cherishes and benefits from
causing wars, conflicts, and sedition."
"We Lose, So They Win"
Khalid al-Ashhab, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawrah,
wrote (3/1): "There are signs that the US Administration might
commit its third folly and fatal adventure by attacking Iran....
"The United States might win or lose a war against Iran, which is
not important so long as the battlefield is thousands of kilometers
away from its borders and national security. But Arabs who are
encouraging the United States, from under the table, to attack Iran
because of the Iranian nuclear program will definitely lose, whether
Americans win or lose....
"They will lose money and wealth under the banner of financing the
game of war. They will lose sovereignty and independent
decision-making under the banner of protection. If they win
anything, it will be only the fire of sedition and the war of sects
and groups, and above that the element of time, that will drive them
back to their era of ignorance."
"Where Is the European Role?"
Omar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(3/1): "Europeans are not translating into action their calls to
lift the siege on Palestinians after the Mecca Accord....
"It is surprising that the European role remains hostage to the
American approach, which is illogical and far from the spirit of
international resolutions and conventions....
"Europeans must take practical measures to help end the Israeli
occupation and to call Israel to account for its violations of and
challenges to UN resolutions....
"Peace in the region is in the interest of Europe, not only in the
interest of the countries of the region...."
"From Instinctive Reaction to Rational Dynamism"
Nasr Shamali, an op-ed writer in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(3/1): "The Israeli army has carried out extensive maneuvers in
occupied Golan. The aim of these maneuvers is to implement the
lessons learned from the latest war against Lebanon.... These are
being carried out at a time when Israelis and Americans are unable
to control the course, size, duration, and outcome of combat
operations. This is drastically different from their situation in
previous stages, during which they were always certain of
"We, however, must pay attention to the fact that this stage of the
open war against our nation and country has not only made the
conditions of the aggressors more difficult and their losses
greater, but it has also obviously made our conditions more
difficult and our sacrifices greater....
"It is very clear today that the Zionist-US enemy is dying to
restore the situation to what it was before: inequality and
imbalance on the battlefield and the lack of rational dynamism and
prevalence of instinctive reaction by the party suffering the
aggression. That is why we can see it mobilizing all its
infiltrations into our society to portray the issue of war from
regional, ethnic, sectarian, and other perspectives...."