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Cablegate: Syria/Pakistan, Syria/Lebanon, Palestinian Territories,

VZCZCXYZ0006
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0476/01 1401314
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201314Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3499
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6810
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4533
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3158
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7677
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1754
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5088
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1294
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7419

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000476

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: Syria/Pakistan, Syria/Lebanon, Palestinian Territories,
Iraq, Blair (5/18-20)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on May 18 reported President Asad's oral
message to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf about bilateral and
regional developments, particularly in the Palestinian territories
and Iraq. The message was conveyed by Foreign Minister Mouallem
when President Musharraf received him on May 17. President
Mush
arraf expressed keenness to boost and develop ties with Syria in
all domains. FM Mouallem also held talks with Pakistani FM Khurshid
Mehmood Kasouri about developments in the Middle East and Central
Asia, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. A memorandum of understanding
was signed by Mouallem and Kasouri at the end of the official talks.
The memorandum provides for the holding of periodical meetings,
alternately in Damascus and Islamabad, to review bilateral relations
and exchange opinions on regional and international issues.

On Syrian-Lebanese relations, papers reported PM Ottri's meeting on
May 19 with Lebanese Islamic Scholar Fethi Yakan. Talks touched on
the pressures and challenges facing the Arab and Islamic nation.
Papers also reported VP Shara's meeting on May 17 with former
Lebanese Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss about the latest developments
in Lebanon and the region. The two agreed on the importance of
national accord to strengthen civil peace, internal security, and
Arab identity in Lebanon to serve the interests of both countries.
Al-Hoss also met separately on May 17 with PM Ottri and Mahmmoud
al-Abrash, Speaker of the People's Assembly.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"A message from President Asad to President Musharraf"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/18)

"Syrian-Pakistani political talks in Islamabad. FM Mouallem reviews
mutual cooperation and regional developments with Pakistani FM
Kashri" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/19)

"Al-Hoss: I reject endorsement of the International Tribunal at the
Security Council.... America uses Lebanon as a pressure card"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/18)

"Prime Minister Ottri discusses developments in Lebanon and the Arab
and Islamic world with Islamic scholar Fethi Yakan. PM Ottri and
Yakan: The resistance is facing plots of hegemony"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 5/20)

"Eight US soldiers killed in Iraq simultaneously with Blair's
arrival. Missiles shell the Green Zone" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
5/20)

"President of the Palestinian Authority Abbas calls on US Secretary
of Sate Condoleezza Rice to restrain Israel and stop its violations
against Palestinians" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/20)

"Fatah and Hamas reach a new agreement on ceasefire and reiterate
the importance of commitment to their agreement in confronting
Israeli aggression" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/20)

"Israeli tanks penetrate into northern Gaza. 39 Palestinians killed
and injured in the Israeli incursions into Gaza. Factions of
Palestinian resistance threaten to retaliate. Israeli settlers
evacuate Sedrot settlement" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/18)

"Amr Mousa: Olmert's call to meet Arab leaders is unacceptable"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 5/19)

"Iran expects failure of the Arab peace initiative. Saudi Arabia
objects" (Independent al-Watan, 5/20)

"Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sultanov: Ratification of the
international court under Chapter 7 is a problem for Russia"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/20)

"Welch failed to get approval on presidential candidacy. The
Opposition: No secret agreement on the International Tribunal"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 5/19)

"Lahoud: Welch's visit offered a dose of encouragement for the
illegitimate government. The Opposition rejects a neutral
government: The solution starts by reshaping the government
and
foiling foreign custody" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/18)

"Carter: The Bush Administration is the worst in US history...
Blair is bad, subservient and a blind supporter of the war in Iraq"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/20)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"National Unity to Confront a Genocidal War"

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

Isam Dari, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (5/19):
"Israel can use its formidable war machine, including the
American-made air force, in the genocidal war it is launching
against the Palestinian people while still assured that no one will
act to support a people that is being slaughtered in broad
daylight....

"The United Nations has never issued a binding resolution against
Israel under Chapter Seven of the UN Charter even though the entire
world knows that Israel has engaged in blatant aggression against
independent member states of the United Nations, and that there is
occupation of Arab territories, and flagrant violations of the UN
Charter....

"Chapter Seven was not created to be used against Israel; it was
created to be used exclusively against Arabs.... They use this
chapter in their search for the killers of one person, but they
prevent the United Nations from issuing a single resolution, even
without being based on this chapter, condemning Israel and its
practices and crimes, which leave hundreds of victims....

"What is disgusting is the US argument that what Israel is doing is
self-defense against terrorists.... This American position is not
surprising.... Those who annihilated millions of people, from the
days of the Red Indians to this day, and who used atomic bombs to
destroy cities and who used cruise missiles in Afghanistan and Iraq,
do not feel ashamed when they support those who use the same methods
against innocents and peaceful people...."

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

"Action Is Needed"

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

Ahmad Hamadah, a commentator in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (5/18): "The Islamic world is now facing a serious
challenge - that from the American occupation of Iraq and
Afghanistan.... It has grave security consequences for their
collective security....

"The Israeli occupation of Arab territories poses a threat to the
security and peace of the entire Middle East....

"The seed of sectarian and ethnic strife that the West is trying to
sow is another serious challenge the Islamic world is facing. In
light of this, the Islamic nation needs to draw up immediate plans
and act collectively and effectively on more than one level to
safeguard the interests of its peoples, the stability of its
countries, and the security of its regional environment...."

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

"Indications of Blair's Stepping Down from the Political Theater"

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

Ribal al-Ahmar, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(5/18): "It is likely that British Prime Minister Tony Blair's


decision to step down will be a prelude to the fall of Bush and
other leaders of his Republican administration....

"Bush and Blair deceived their own peoples before they tried to
deceive the international will, when they decided to launch their
aggression on Iraq, ignoring millions of voices rejecting their
policies and their barbaric aggression on Iraq....
"Blair's departure will leave Bush alone, because Blair's successor
will try to learn the lessons of the past as much as possible and
avoid Blair's mistakes regarding the relationship with the US
Administration...."

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

"Outcome of Steadfastness"

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

Muhammad al-Khadr, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(5/18): "Syria, which has come under unprecedented American and
European pressure in the past few years, managed the crisis in a way
that not only spared Syria the ramifications of the major political
earthquakes, but also maintained Syria's outstanding regional
position, which Washington, Paris, and some Arabs who move in their
orbit, tried to steal from Syria....

"Under President Asad, Syria in the past seven years passed serious
tests that tried to harm its pan-Arab role, its commitments toward
the Arab-Zionist conflict, its support for the Lebanese resistance,
and its bright rejection of the American occupation of Iraq when
everyone remained silence on that crime....

"Syrians, while renewing the pledge for the president, proceed
behind his banner toward further progress for Syria and the foiling
of all attempts to isolate it...."


Corbin

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