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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Bahrain, Lebanon,

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




E.O.12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Bahrain, Lebanon,
Syria/US, Iraq, Israel (11/22)

1. Summary: Syrian papers reported the visit of the Bahraini
FM to Damascus carrying a message from the King of Bahrain
to President Asad on Syria's coordination with the
International Investigation Commission.

On Lebanon, papers featured President Asad's message to
President Lahoud congratulating him on Lebanon's National
Day, and reported on the tension in south Lebanon in the
wake of clashes between Israeli forces and Hizbollah in the
Shebaa Farms.

All papers reported a press conference held at the "Nation
Tent" in al-Rawda Square in Damascus by former US
Congressman David Duke expressing solidarity with Syria in
the face of pressure and threats and criticizing the neo-
conservatives support of Israel against Arabs, calling on
Americans "to know the reality of Israeli terrorism."

As for Iraq, papers reported that the preliminary meeting of
the Iraqi Reconciliation conference in Cairo has called for
scheduling the withdrawal of occupation forces, and cited a
statement by Iraqi President Talbani rejecting anti-Syria
statements by some Iraqi officials.

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End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:
"President Assad receives a letter from King of Bahrain
Hamad bin Issa Al-Khalifa on the current situation in the
region and bilateral relations, and congratulates President
Lahoud on Lebanon's National Day, emphasizing that Syria is
keen on fraternal relations between the two countries"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/22)
"Syrian journalists stage a sit-in at the 'Nation Tent' in
al-Rawda Square in Damascus protesting pressure and
campaigns of deception targeting Syria and its Arab and
international civilized role. Former US Congressman David
Duke expresses solidarity with Syria in the face of pressure
and threats" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/22)
"Former US Congressman David Duke: Every liberal person must
support Syria. Americans must know the reality of Israeli
terrorism" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/22)
"Officers of Israeli boycott inaugurate their regional
conference in Damascus. Conferees discuss means of resisting
Israeli infiltration into the region" (Government-owned Al-
Thawra, 11/22)
"Lebanese national resistance repels an Israeli aggression,
killing and injuring 11 Israeli soldiers, and demolishes two
Israeli tanks and two occupation sites" (Government-owned Al-
Thawra, 11/22)
"The preliminary meeting of the Iraqi Reconciliation
conference calls for scheduling withdrawal of occupation
forces. US forces kill 5 Iraqis from the same family in
Baquba" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/22)
"Iraqi President Talabani rejects anti-Syria statements by
some Iraqi officials" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/22)
"Sharon quits the Likud. The Knesset dissolves itself. The
political map turns upside down" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:

"Vicious Goals"

Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (11/22): "The converging US and Israeli statements
on Syria confirm, without any doubt, that targeting Syria
serves the premeditated scheme prepared against Syria even
before the Al-Hariri assassination and before UNSC
resolution 1559 was issued....

"What confirms the US-Israeli coordination in this regard is
Mofaz' statement yesterday that Israel should work backstage
so as not to affect the effectiveness of US moves against
Syria. Therefore, the situation that Syria is going through
has great benefits for Israel.

"Condaleeza Rice stated a few days ago that there is a
chance to make Israel a partner in the US initiative for
enhancing democracy and human rights in the Great Middle

"The US Administration does not take into consideration the
Arab countries' anger, nor does it care to recognize the
credibility of the Syrian position, which is based on UNSC
resolutions. The main concern of the US at the moment is to
merge its schemes with the Israel project, to blow the
trumpet of hostility against Syria and to mobilize others
against it.
"Syria hopes that the international community and the UN
will not resort to escalation and that they will solve
controversial issues on the basis of international law, not
according to moods, premeditated positions and cooked-up
schemes. Therefore, the Al-Hariri assassination must not be
exploited for political issues and to enforce the logic of

"The US cannot be an enemy and a referee at the same time.
It is not entitled to prejudge Syria...."

"An Inverted Vote"

Ahmad Hamada, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
commented (11/22): "The vote that took place in the
Congress on a draft resolution calling for an immediate
withdrawal of US forces from Iraq is a new indication that
the US Administration persists in its strategy towards Iraq,
indifferent to its huge losses and the tremendous
destruction it is causing to the Iraqi people....

"What is noticeable is the conformity of US Congressmen with
their administration and their support of its policy of
occupation.... The high percentage of support for occupation
is a dangerous indication that the political mood is still
governing the US policy....

"After the vote, President Bush hastened to confirm his
policy in Iraq and that he will continue fighting until
victory is achieved....

"Bush's war on Iraq was waged under the allegation of Iraqi
WMD, but no WMD were found in Iraq. The war was marketed as
an effort to save the Iraqi people from dictatorship and to
achieve democracy, but democracy has not triumphed. So what
victory is President Bush talking about? Is the fight that
he will pursue to be directed against an obvious enemy or
against the Iraqi people themselves, who are the main losers
in this catastrophic war?"


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