Cablegate: Lebanon, Syria/Uk, Syrian-North Korea, Syria/Israel, Peace
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O 201354Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
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DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ELA, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR: JPAUNESCU AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND DFOLEY,
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Lebanon, Syria/UK, Syrian-North Korea, Syria/Israel, Peace
Conference, Palestinian Territories, Iraq (9/19-20)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on September 20 featured a statement by
a Syrian media source on September 19 strongly condemning the blast
in Sin al-Feil, east of Beirut that claimed the lives of Lebanese MP
Antoine Ghanem and other Lebanese citizens. "This criminal act
targets efforts and endeavors exerted by Syria and others to achieve
national accord in Lebanon," the source said confirming Syria's
s about security, stability and unity in Lebanon.
Papers also reported President Asad's meeting on September 19 with a
British parliamentary delegation from the British conservatives
Party, headed by honorary chairman of the Middle East Council at the
Conservatives Party, Crispin Blant, the participant chairman of the
Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CASBU).
President Asad answered questions by members of the delegation with
regard to the course of the political events in the region and
Syria's vision of the Middle East peace process. The president
reiterated Syria's firm position toward the peace process and the
necessity for the involved parties to be serious with regard to the
aspired peace, stressing that "the peace process cannot be invested
to achieve aims other than peace."
Papers also cited a statement delivered by Ibrahim Othamn, Director
General of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission, at the General
conference of IAEA in Vienna reiterating Syria's keenness to free
the region from nuclear weapons, reminding of Syria's initiative in
this regard. Othman demanded to subjugate Israeli nuclear facilities
to IAEA's monitoring, criticizing the silence of some international
sides regarding Israel's disregard for international resolutions in
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Lebanon again in the cycle of violence; MP Antoine Ghanen
assassinated. The assassination sabotages Berri's initiative and
the positive atmospheres. Junblatt's group predicted the
assassination two days ago. A Syrian media source: The crime
targets Syrian's efforts on national Lebanese reconciliation"
(Independent al-Watan, 9/20)
"President Asad reiterates the importance of seriousness to achieve
peace. Rice: The US will not pose obstacles to peace talks between
Syria and Israel" (Independent al-Watan, 9/20)
"President Asad receives a message from King Mohammed VI of Morocco
and confers with a British parliamentary delegation: The peace
process cannot be invested" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/20)
"VP Shara and Parliament Speaker al-Abrash meet a British
parliamentary delegation. Head of the delegation Blunt: President
Bush doesn't have a clear vision for his upcoming peace
conference... PM Olmert is weak and looking for a political
achievement" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/19)
"Rice: The peace conference will tackle critical issues. America
and Israel declare Gaza 'an
Enemy entity'" (Independent al-Watan, 9/20)
"The Gulf Cooperation Council: No for a peace conference aiming to
help Washington get out of its impasse in Iraq" (Government-owned
"Syria Calls for subjugating Israeli nuclear facilitates to
International surveillance" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/20)
"UN SecGen Ki-Moon avoids adopting a position on Israel's violation
of Syrian airspace for 'lack of information on the incident'. UN
sources: Israel did not provide any clarification" (Independent
"Pyongyang: The US allegations on nuclear aid to Syria are
unfounded" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/19)
"Four US soldiers killed in Diyala and Ninawa. Iraqi death toll
reaches 3787. Two thirds of Americans oppose Bush's performance:
America is on the wrong route" (Government-owned Tishreen, 9/19)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Creators of Chaos"
Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, chief editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
commented (9/20): "We do not need much effort to read in an open
book the names of those who assassinated MP Antoine Ghanem.
Extremely clearly: They are those who do not want to render Berri's
initiative successful and who are afraid of it; those who do not
want the Lebanese to reach a consensus or even get close to it....
"What happened is in fact a new reshuffling of cards after Berri's
initiative became part of the serious dialogue in Lebanon, which
received the support of most of the countries that love to see a
"Those who assassinated Ghanem are the same ones who committed the
previous assassinations and benefited from them just as they are
hoping to benefit from the blood of Ghanem.... Let us expect that
those who benefited from the assassination operation will tomorrow,
if not today, invest it in the political auction, in which they are
accustomed to trading at the expense of Lebanon.
"Those who assassinated the Lebanese deputy are the creators of
chaos in the region and their tools, whether inside or outside
Lebanon. And those are known through their speeches, proposals, and
"The Game of Preconditions"
Isam Dari, chief editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (9/19):
"Israel, while refusing to talk about the piracy its warplanes
committed by violating the Syrian airspace, is -- in the words of
its Prime Minister Ehud Olmert -- talking about peace with Syria
"What is new in Olmert's statement is the politeness that suddenly
dawned on him by announcing his respect for Syria and its policies.
Except for that, what he said was nothing but a repeat of an earlier
talk aimed both at deception and procrastination."
"If Israel indeed had a desire for peace, this peace would have been
achieved more than 10 years ago.... It is Olmert and the Tel Aviv
leaders who set preconditions, and the expression they use -- that
is, without preconditions -- is in itself a precondition, which
exposes the Israeli game that aims to deceive the Israeli and world
public opinion and send the ball away from the Israeli court into
the courts of others.... If Israel is honest about its announcement,
then the road to peace is to return to the table of negotiations
from where they left off...."
"A New Innovation"
Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(9/18): "The US Administration is currently busy promoting on
behalf of Israel's allegations that the Israeli aircraft conducted a
reconnaissance flight over Syria and filmed images of possible
nuclear installations supplied by North Korea....
"Of course, none of the US officials said that the air piracy Israel
committed was illegal... because they ignore provisions of the
international law whenever they like when the matter is related to
"This reminds us of the false allegations Americans and British
marketed about Iraq's nuclear programs.... Israel was certainly not
away from this political and media deception and was at the center
of the prejudiced campaign against Iraq to justify its invasion....
"It is strange that Americans are speaking on behalf of Israel,
offering it excuses, and inventing for it new false innovations by
talking about a possible Syrian nuclear activity, while completely
turning a blind eye to an existing Israeli nuclear danger.
"We remind the US Administration that Syria was among the countries
that were first to call for or a Middle East free of WMD and that
and that its [the US Administration's] blatant bias toward Israel in
such a manner harmed and continues to harm the image of the United
States and its role...."