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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Iraq, Syria/Us, Lebanon,

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAMASCUS 006072

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT
VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, DBENZE AND AFERNANDEZ,
IIP/G/NEA-SA RWINCHESTER
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Iraq, Syria/US, Lebanon,
Palestinian Territories (11/21)


1. Summary: Syrian papers led with reports on Iraq,
featuring a statement by the Commander of US airborne troops
in the Central Command in Iraq that the US does not possess
any evidence against Syria on the issue of infiltrations
through the Syrian border, and a statement by President Bush
ruling out withdraw of US troops from Iraq during his term
in office.

Papers continued to report on demonstrations and sit-ins in
Damascus denouncing US pressure and threats against Syria.
Government-owned Al-Thawra headlined statements by Russian
circles saying that "false accusations against Syria reflect
a continuing US policy of hegemony"

On Lebanon, papers cited a statement by Nabih Berri, Speaker
of the Lebanese Parliament, denying that Lebanon will be a
passageway for targeting Syria, and a statement by Adnan
Arkaji, a former Lebanese MP, who called for interrogating
the government about the presence of Mossad elements in
Lebanon, as reported by US Financial Times.

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End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Killing and injury of five British soldiers in Basra. Bush:
I will not withdraw US forces as long as I'm the president"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/21)

"Commander of US airborne troops in the Central Command in
Iraq: We do not possess any evidence against Syria on the
issue of infiltrations through the Syrian border"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/21)

"A Huge popular sit-in in Al-Rawda square in Damascus
denouncing US pressure and threats to Syria. Arab students
demonstrate in Damascus calling on Annan to take the side of
righteousness" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/21)

"Berri denies that Lebanon is a passageway for targeting
Syria. Adnan Arkaji [former Lebanese MP] calls for
interrogating the government about the presence of Mossad
elements in Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/21)

"A letter of solidarity with Syria from the Yemeni
parliament. Arab intellectuals and authors denounce the anti-
Syria campaign. Russian circles: False accusations against
Syria reflect continuing US policy of hegemony" (Government-
owned Al-Thawra, 11/21)

"The expanded Iraqi national reconciliation conference will
be held at the end of February in Baghdad. Withdrawal of
foreign troops is linked to rebuilding of the Iraqi army"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/21)

"Occupation forces attack Jenin. Ministers of the Israeli
Labor Party resign today. A plan to seize arms in
Palestinian territories is in effect. The Palestinian
Authority denies postponement of elections. An urgent
European mission to run the Rafah border crossing"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/21)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

"A Storm in Washington"

Ali Nasrallah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-
Thawra, wrote (11/21): "Some might think that the storm
caused by Representative John Murtha in the Congress has
ended with a vote against the draft resolution calling for
immediate withdrawal from Iraq. But an observer who follows
closely the current dispute between Democrats and
Republicans in Washington will find that there is a fire
still ablaze under the ashes, indicating that a more
dangerous storm is approaching.

"Representative Murtha warned that Iraq will not be free
without an end to the US occupation and that the so-called
political victory in Iraq cannot be achieved because the US
presence has become the incentive for violence.

"President Bush rejected the idea of withdrawal, accusing
Democrats of surrender and confirming that he will proceed
with his policy of fighting so-called terrorism. The
Democrats' vision that this strategy will lead to inevitable
failure is more realistic because it reflects the opinion of
the majority in the US, according to the latest opinion
polls.

"The current disputes within the US Congress reflect the
reality of the US impasse which the Bush Administration is
suffering from because of its aggressive war and rejected
occupation and due to its erroneous policies that jeopardize
world peace and stability, heralding what is more grave on
the domestic and the international levels....

"If President Bush does not find this issue catastrophic,
then the catastrophe which he is talking about would be the
beginning of the collapse of his second term in office and
the failure of the aggressive scheme of his administration
in the region. This will open the door for questioning and
accountability by the American people and their
constitutional courts under the charge of damaging US
interests....

"The US storm, caused by Representative Murtha, is apt to
become a destructive hurricane for the US Administration,
that has not learned the lessons of the experiences of
Afghanistan and Iraq and that is trying to create new
hotbeds of tension in the region serving the interests of
Israel and its expansionist schemes, and protecting its
security, stability and hegemony at the expense of the
American people's interests, security and stability."

"Marketing Illusions to Create Justifications"

Mohieddin Al-Mohamed, an op-ed writer in government-owned
Tishreen, commented (11/21): "Despite the attempt of the US
media to portray Bush as a hero fighting terrorism, this
characterization has started to be laid bare to Americans
and world public opinion after the invasion of Iraq and
exposure of the false claims on Iraqi WMD. The NY Times
described the Bush Administration as catastrophic.... A
recent opinion poll showed that 63% of Americans do not
approve President Bush's policies in Iraq and that Bush's
polarity has declined to 34%. This means that the teams of
deception in the Pentagon, which were created to market US
Administration policies in Iraq and the world, have failed
to mislead a huge percentage of Americans....

"The misleading by US media and Arab-speaking media which
aim to distort the image of peace-loving Syria, which
rejects terrorism and hegemony and cooperates with
international legitimacy, will not deceive all the people
all the time. The popular and official moves by neighboring
and peace-loving countries to express solidarity with Syria
and to reject US pressure confirm that pretexts pertaining
to the assassination of PM Al-Hariri and infiltration of
terrorists through Syrian borders, etc, are merely illusions
marketed by suspicious media, similar to the illusion of the
Iraqi WMD that were not found in Iraq."

Seche

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