Cablegate: Events in Northern Lebanon, Mouallem/Ki-Moon,
DE RUEHDM #0491/01 1431155
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 231155Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3519
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000491
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: Events in Northern Lebanon, Mouallem/Ki-Moon,
Mouallem/Mashaal, Jumblatt, Attar, Asad/Referendum, Palestinian
Territories, Iraq (5/23)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on May 23 reported that
FM Mouallem received a phone call on May 22 from UN SecGen Ki-Moon
about events in the Nahr al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in north
Lebanon. Mouallem expressed regret over the events, saying, "the
leaders of Fatah al-Islam are wanted by the Syrian security
apparatus," and adding, "their activities won't serve the
Palestinian cause." Mouallem expressed Syria's deep concern about
the deteriorating human conditions in the camp. The UN Chief hailed
Syria's efforts and contacts to end the deteriorating situation in
Papers also reported FM Mouallem's meeting on May 22 with Khaled
Mashaal, Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, about the latest
developments in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly
the Israeli aggression against Gaza, and the recent developments in
northern Lebanon. Mouallem reiterated the importance of maintaining
Palestinian unity in light of the Mecca Accord, and the need to
implement a ceasefire between Fateh and Hamas in order to confront
the continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in
Gaza, calling on the international community to press Israel to stop
the aggression and lift the siege on Palestinians.
Papers also reported that Syrian Vice President Najah Attar arrived
in Moscow May 22 to participate in the international conference on
civilizations dialogue to be held in St. Petersburg.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Foreign Minister Mouallem receives a telephone call from UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the latest developments in the Nahr
al-Bared Palestinian refugee camp in northern Lebanon. Mouallem
holds talks with Khaled Mashaal, Chairman of Hamas Political Bureau:
Leaders of Fateh al-Islam are wanted by the Syrian security
apparatus.... their activities do not serve the Palestinian cause"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/23)
"Cautious calm prevails in Naher el-Bared refugee camp. Thousands
of Palestinians flee the camp. Tension dominates the other
Palestinian camps. A UN humanitarian aid convoy enters the camp.
Lahoud warns against weakening the army by internationalizing
security in Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/23)
"Lebanese powers reiterate the importance of a national unity
government and call for a committee to investigate the bloody events
in northern Lebanon: Exhausting the army is a rancorous conspiracy
to hit stability in Lebanon.... The campaign to settle Palestinian
refugees has already started by internationalizing the status of
refugee camps" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/23)
"Clashes continue in the neighborhood of Naher el-Bared refugee
camp. Al-Saniora requests military aid from the US" (Independent
"In a press conference in Beirut Jumblatt retracts his testimony to
the International Investigation Committee on the al-Hariri
assassination, confessing that he provided fake witnesses to
incriminate Syria" (Independent al-Watan, 5/23)
"China calls for caution in establishing International Tribunal on
the al-Hariri assassination" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 5/23)
"Israel continues assaults in Gaza, reinstating its threats to
assassinate leaders of Palestinian factions" (Government-owned
"Palestinian diplomatic moves to stop Israeli military aggression
against Gaza. Israel uses internationally prohibited weapons"
(Independent al-Watan, 5/23)
"Killing of a British soldier in Basra. Scores of Iraqis killed in
car-bomb explosions in Baghdad" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 5/23)
"Vice President Dr. Najah al-Attar in Moscow to participate in
dialogue of civilizations conference" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Lebanese Black Comedy"
Ibrahim Darraji, an editorialist in independent al-Watan,
commented (5/23): "What is happening in Lebanon since the
assassination of late PM Hariri? Whose interests do the continuing
violence and tension in Lebanon serve?
"We have to contemplate this issue objectively and without the
over-simplification and deception used by some politicians of the
February 14 team in Lebanon, who have grown accustomed to accusing
Syria on every occasion without resorting to reason and logic. We
notice that since the al-Hariri assassination it has become a rule
for the governing team in Lebanon that whenever they want to settle
a controversial issue, a security outbreak or a political
assassination takes place for which Syria is blamed, in order to
settle the issue in an atmosphere of tension....
"And now with the dispatch of al-Saniora's memorandum to the UNSC to
endorse the International Tribunal under Chapter 7, regardless of
the positions of the majority of Lebanese political powers and their
legislative reservations, it is natural to see a new security
outbreak to cover up the governing team's position; and that is
what has happened from Tripoli to Beirut....
"Therefore, we must understand the scenario of endorsing the
International Tribunal under Chapter 7 within this context....
"What is happening in Lebanon is a political farce with comedians
and lots of extras. But unfortunately it is a gloomy and black
farce that makes us worry a great deal about Lebanon and pray for
"Blair, His Successor and Iraq"
Turki Saqr, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(5/23): "With Tony Blair's departure from power next month, the
gang of the Iraq invasion will have collapsed from around Bush and
the Iraq curse will have hit all the hotheads who supported and
backed Bush's decision to occupy and destroy Iraq and commit the
greatest crime of the age....
"What worries Bush is that Blair's successor in Downing Street,
unlike Blair, is not ready to dispatch British forces to Iraq on
orders from the White House to support Bush's preemptive wars....
"The British Prime Minister offered himself as an accomplice to Bush
in this crime, which continues to shake the world and to torpedo the
security of the Middle East every day...."
"Day of Allegiance"
Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(5/23): "The popular rallies and festivities that are being held
throughout Syria to express support for President Asad and joy over
his nomination for a new term in office show the national unity that
Syria is experiencing and reflect Syrians' commitment to offer
everything needed to help strengthen the homeland's pride,
consolidate its steadfastness, and uphold its national and pan-Arab
"President Asad has emerged as a national and Arab leader who knows
how to deal with challenges wisely and in a civilized conduct....
"On the day of the referendum, Syrians will express loyalty to their
president, commitment to his policy, and pride in the dignified
positions that he has adopted in all domains...."