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Cablegate: Oic Conference, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Cheney,

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0458/01 1361103
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161103Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3476
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6803
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4528
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3151
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7672
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1748
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5083
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1289
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7414

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000458

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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: OIC Conference, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Cheney,
Iraq (5/16)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on May 16 reported Foreign Minister
Mouallem's speech at the meeting of the Organization of the Islamic
Conference in Islamabad on May 15. Mouallem said that the only way
to end violence and realize peace in the Middle East is by Israel's
recognition of relevant international resolutions, which guarantee a
comprehensive settlement that ends occupation of Arab territories,
including the Syrian Golan. He noted the negative repercussions of
continued Israeli occupation of Arab territories and its racial
campaigns against holy symbols, including the excavations around the
al-Aqsa Mosque. On Iraq, he referred to the waves of terrorism and
bloodshed of innocents there, confirming that Syria supports the
current political process. He encouraged the Iraqi government to
take necessary steps to achieve national reconciliation. He
reiterated the importance of establishing a national army in Iraq,
withdrawing foreign troops, and preserving Iraq territorial
integrity and Islamic and Arab identity.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Musharaf inaugurates the Organization of Islamic Conference in
Islamabad. Mouallem: Peace can be achieved by making Israel abide
by international resolutions" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/16)

"Gaza is a closed city. 11 Palestinians killed in clashes between
Hamas and security elements of the Palestinian Presidency. Olmert
confers with Jordanian Monarch: We are ready to meet moderate Arabs
without preconditions" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/16)

"Welch in Beirut to discuss the International Tribunal. Welch meets
the governing majority in the US Embassy in Beirut" (Independent
al-Watan, 5/16)

"Killing and injury of 3 US soldiers in Baghdad and al-Anbar.
Scores of Iraqis killed in various explosions in Iraq. Democrats
replace draft resolution on financing war on Iraq with another draft
resolution avoiding presidential veto" (Government-owned Tishreen,
5/16)

"US troops detain Iraqis in search for missing US soldiers"
(Government-owned Syria Times)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

------------------------

"In the Right Direction"

------------------------

Ali Nasrallah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(5/15): "The campaign by Iraqi parliamentarians for a timetable for
American withdrawal from Iraq is a real step in the right direction,
though late.... 144 Iraqi members of parliament have signed a
petition calling for American withdrawal.... This indicates that
more than 50 percent of the Iraqi people reject the occupation and
call for its removal, something that the Iraqi government and the
international community cannot ignore....

"The parliamentarians' step needs to be taken seriously.... Their
colleagues who have not signed the petition must do the same thing
because this would end the cycle of violence and terrorism in
Iraq...."

---------------------------------------

"Effective Palestinian Move to Confront
Israeli Deception"

---------------------------------------

Ibrahim Shuqayr, a commentator in government-owned
Al-Ba'th, wrote (5/16): "There must be effective Palestinian
political action to confront the American-Israeli attempts to
obliterate and circumvent final solution issues through the talk

about security arrangements and the reduction of the Palestinian
question to a number of roadblocks here and there....

"This Palestinian action must also encourage Arab countries to lift
the siege on Palestinians and to reject any compromise with regard
to the Arab peace plan....

"Full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories,
assertion of the right of return, and establishment of a Palestinian
state constitute one package that Israel must either accept or
reject in full...."

--------------------------------------------- --------

"Does Cheney's Tour Mean Loss of Confidence in Rice?"

--------------------------------------------- --------

Khurshid Dalli, a commentator in independent Al-Watan, wrote (5/16):
"US Vice President Dick Cheney's tour of the region followed
shortly after Condoleezza Rice's visit. Does this indicate that the
US Administration has lost confidence in the ability of the
Secretary of State to promote US plans? If this is the case, it

SIPDIS
means that the crisis has reached the head of the US Administration
and its neoconservatives....

"Cheney began his tour with a visit to Iraq.... Does this mean that
it has to do with the fate of Al-Maliki's government in light of the
failure of the Baghdad security plan and the fact that a number of
countries in the region are not happy with Al-Maliki's
performance...?

"Cheney's tour shows a crisis of a US Administration that has begun
to sense a real failure in Iraq and to miss the appropriate
opportunities for dealing with the issues of the region...."

Corbin

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