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Cablegate: Syria/Lebanon, Golan, Asad/Referendum, Palestinian

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0482/01 1411307
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211307Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3507
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6814
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4536
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3163
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7680
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1759
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5092
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1298
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7423

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000482

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/Lebanon, Golan, Asad/Referendum, Palestinian
Territories, Iraq (5/21)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on May 21 reported that clashes erupted
on May 20 in the Lebanese city of Tripoli and in the nearby Nahr
al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp between the Lebanese army and
militants from the Palestinian group Fatah al-Islam. All papers
featured an official statement by the Syrian Interior Ministry that
due to the security situation in northern Lebanon and in order to
protect citizens on the Syrian and Lebanese sides of the border, the
Interior Ministry has decided to close the border points at
Al-Aridah and al-Dabbusiyah until the security situation in northern
Lebanon has been stabilized.

On Syrian-Lebanese relations, papers reported VP Shara's meetings on
May 20 with Fathi Yakan, Chairman of the Islamic Action Front in
Lebanon, with Eli al-Ferzli, former Deputy Chairman of the Lebanese
Parliament, and with Abdelrahim Murad, Chairman of the Lebanese
Unity Party and former Defense Minister. Talks focused on the
situation in Lebanon. In a press statement, Dr. Yakan said, "In
principle, we are with the international tribunal investigating the
assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq al-Hariri, but we oppose
any tribunal that adopts rules on political, aggressive or
revengeful bases." He said the investigation committee's reports
until now lack any evidence identifying the perpetrators of the
crime.

Papers also reported the World Health Organization's resolution
criticizing deteriorating health conditions in the occupied
Palestinian territories and the occupied Syrian Golan due to Israeli
practices.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Armed militias financed by al-Hariri wage aggression against the
state of Lebanon" (Independent al-Watan, 5/21)

"Syrian Interior Ministry decides to close two border crossings, in
al-Arida and al-Dabbousiya, until the situation in north Lebanon
becomes secure. Lebanese denunciations of Fatah al-Islam assaults
in Tripoli" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/21)

"Vice President Shara discusses the latest developments in Lebanon
with Fathi Yakan, Chairman of Islamic Action Front in Lebanon, Eli
al-Ferzli, former Deputy Chairman of the Lebanese Parliament, and
Abdelrahim Murad, Chairman of the Lebanese Unity Party"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/21)

"Foreign Ministry calls on all Syrian citizens abroad to participate
in the referendum on President Asad" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
5/21)

"The World Health Organization endorses resolution on deteriorating
health conditions in the occupied Palestinian territories and the
Syrian Golan due to Israeli occupation practices" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 5/21)

"Israel gives the green light to intensify aggression against the
Gaza Strip. Eight Palestinians martyred in Gaza. The resistance
threatens to retaliate" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/21)

"Seven US soldiers killed in Baghdad and Diwaniyah. First South
Korean soldier killed in Iraq. Several British soldiers injured in
Basra" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/21)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Welch's Visit to Beirut Was Fruitful"

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

Waddah Abd-Rabbu, Chief Editor of independent al-Watan, wrote
(5/21): "In his press conference in Beirut, David Welch received a
question from a Lebanese journalist asking him: What are you
planning for Lebanon this time? After each of your visits to Lebanon

a catastrophe takes place. What is the new catastrophe?

"The Lebanese journalist was right. Yesterday we discovered what
was planed for Lebanon. The real goal of Welch's visit has become
crystal clear to everybody. Yesterday a member of the February 14
team exposed features of the forthcoming stage in Lebanon which the
Lebanese Opposition has already warned about, namely a security
relapse leading to a Lebanese civil war to weaken Lebanon....

"Mobilization of armed extremist groups by Sa'ad al-Hariri and his
allies aims to level more accusations against Hizbollah and Syria
and all nationalist Lebanese factions. The timing of this move was
meant to endorse the International Tribunal at the Security Council
as soon as possible.... This time the February 14 team has chosen
confrontation with the Lebanese army instead of assassination, as
the forthcoming stage requires domestic confrontations to weaken
Hizbollah....

"Will Lebanese nationalists rush to deter those who seek to enflame
sedition in implementation of a US-Israeli agenda...?"

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

"Loyalty to Principles"

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

Ali Nasrallah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(5/21): "Syrians see the referendum on President Asad's nomination
for a new term in office as an important national event in the
history of the homeland, given al-Asad's loyalty to principles and
his belief that protection of national interests is the top
priority....

"Syria's steadfastness in the face of the pressures and campaigns of
the past few years is attributed to President Asad's wise
leadership, that expresses the sentiments of the entire Arab nation,
not only Syria...."

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

"Sound Vision"

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

Ahmad Dawwa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(5/21): "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his team, who were
defeated in the Lebanon war, were expected to evade the calls for
their resignation by perpetrating more massacres against the
Palestinian people, because this bloody method satisfies the
instincts of the Zionist society.

"What was not expected, however, was the world community's silence
on the escalating Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, which
has left scores of martyrs and wounded people.... The Israeli
escalation is a direct Israeli response to the Brussels meeting,
which discussed the Arab peace plan, and a clear message to Europe,
which is still not playing any effective role in the Middle East
conflict....

"But it might be strange to blame the world for its silence on the
new Israeli crimes against Palestinians while Arabs are asleep and
doing nothing, except for some countries, including Syria, which
have never failed to provide assistance to the Palestinian people to
support their steadfastness in the face of attempts to harm their
insistence on the liberation of their land and the restoration of
their usurped rights....

"Arabs, who still hope the Israeli mentality will change, must
reconsider many of their positions and must support Palestinians....


"Syria's support for the Palestinian resistance, as a right
guaranteed by the UN Charter, is a result of the absence of other
options, like Israel's acceptance of the logic of peace. Events
prove every day that Syria's vision and reading of events and

developments is correct, primarily the continuation of support for
the resisting Palestinian people, whom Israel left with no other
alternative for survival."

Corbin

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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