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

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #6662/01 3611549
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 271549Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6341
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 5684
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 3588
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2047
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 6831
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0670
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4183
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0418
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6569

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 006662

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, 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: Syria/Sudan, Lebanon,
Iraq, Palestinian Territories (12/27)


1. Summary: Syrian papers today reported President Asad's
message to Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir conveyed
by Deputy Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem on current Arab
developments, bilateral relations and coordination for the
forthcoming Arab summit scheduled in Khartoum. Mouallem and
Mustafa Othman Ismael, the Political Advisor of Sudanese
President, exchanged opinions on the Sudanese initiatives
for boosting Arab solidarity.

On Lebanon, papers reported current Lebanese contacts to
hold a plenary session at the Lebanese Prime Ministry that
includes ministers of Hizbollah and the Amal Movement, and
featured statements by Lebanese parties rejecting
internationalization and isolating Lebanon from Syria.

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As for developments in the Palestinian territories, papers
reported Sharon's plan to expand settlements around
Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority's intention to
complain to Washington, which it is claimed, has already
calmed Palestinian fears of expanding Israeli settlements.

The tense situation in Iraq continued to be a major theme in
Syrian media, which reported controversy over the results of
Iraqi elections and cited more Iraqi calls for a national
unity government. Headlines featured a statement by General
Peter Pays, US Chief of Staff, as saying that Iraqis want
American and foreign troops to quit Iraq as soon as
possible.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:
"A Message from President Asad to his Sudanese counterpart
Omar Hasan al-Bashir on current Arab developments and the
forthcoming Arab summit in Khartoum. Deputy Foreign Minister
Walid al-Mu'allem discusses in Sudan the importance of
boosting Arab solidarity within the framework of existing
Arab institutions" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 12/27)
"Lebanese parities reiterate rejection of internationalizing
and isolating Lebanon from Syria. Lahoud underscores the
importance of reconciliation and participation of all
parties in the Prime Ministry's meetings" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 12/27)
"Berri [Speaker of Lebanese parliament]: UNSC Resolution
1559 has ignored Israeli occupation and Israeli violations
of Lebanese sovereignty" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 12/27)
"Sharon goes to extremes in ignoring the Palestinian right
of return to gain votes in elections. Sharon expands
settlements around Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority
seeks Washington's help and warns against isolating Gaza"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 12/27)
"Iraqi calls for a national unity government. Demonstrations
in Baghdad rejecting the election results. Three US marines
killed in Baghdad. Ukrainian president contemplates pulling
his troops from Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 12/27)
"General Pays [US Chief of Staff]: Iraqis want us to quit as
soon as possible" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 12/27)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:

"How 2006 Becomes a Really New Year"

Dr. Khalaf al-Jarad, chief editor of government-owned
Tishreen, said (12/27): "Lebanon was hit by a serious
political earthquake in February 2005 through the
assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafiq al-Hariri and the
subsequent developments.... The work of the International
Investigation Commission into the Al-Hariri assassination
was exploited to besiege Syria and torpedo its strong and
natural fraternal relations with Lebanon....

"On the domestic level 2006 might be a quality year if
government performance is based on a critical review of our
performance in 2005 and in all fields.... There must be
clear programs with timetables and accountability within the
comprehensive development and reform process in the
country....


"As the challenges that Syria faced in 2005 were absorbed,
thanks to the spontaneous national cohesion and the will to
confront foreign pressure, it is necessary to reactivate the
elements of steadfastness and domestic dynamism which are
based on socio-economic activity and a political culture
based on dialogue and respect for opposing opinions under
the roof of the homeland with all its sectors, groups, and
individuals...."

"Not only for Syria, but for Protecting the Heart of
Arabism"

Elias Murad, chief editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th,
editorialized (12/27): "The Syrians, who hoisted Syrian
flags and expressed their love for their country and their
readiness to defend it against foreign threats, were doing
so out of their belief that their country is targeted
because of its pan-Arab positions and defense of Arab
causes. In this sense, Syrians were engaged in a national
Arab activity rather than in a narrow Syrian exercise.

"When Syrians express their readiness to make sacrifices for
the sake of their country, they in fact make a loud public
statement that they are ready to continue shouldering the
national responsibility of protecting Arab territory,
safeguarding Arab rights, and defending the just Arab
cause....

"Some Lebanese politicians and writers have been involved,
knowingly or unknowingly, in an effort seeking to deepen the
feelings of hostility and division between Syria and
Lebanon.... Syria will always stick to its pan-Arab
principles and renounce regionalism...."

"God to Bush: Get out of Iraq"

Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, chief editor of government-owned Al-
Thawra, wrote (12/26): "A series of American officials made
statements confessing that mistakes were made concerning the
Iraq war.... Withdrawal from Iraq has effectively begun with
the announcement that the number of American troops there
will be reduced....

"God, who told Bush to go to Iraq to spread democracy, will
soon tell him: Bush, this is enough. You made many mistakes
and you have to sit on the confession chair and say: Sorry,
Iraqis. I made a small mistake: instead of spreading
democracy I spread misery and other things....

"Syria, in its positions, looks at the essence of things,
not at the surface. It always proves to be right and
wise.... It would be wrong to believe that the US
confessions about the mistakes that were committed against
Syria will come in one go, but many voices have begun to
realize that this country is on the right track...."

"Harvest of the Policy of Illusions"

Muhammad Khair al-Jamali, an editorialist in government-
owned Al-Thawra, wrote (12/27): "Why 2005 was a bad year for
President Bush. US policy has failed at home and abroad,
especially in Iraq, and the Middle East in general.

"The United State failed to win international support for
its policies.... The world has become less safe after the
invasion of Iraq.

"Scandals of the American secret prisons in Europe, the big
human losses in Iraq, and the tendency to reduce freedoms at
home... all this made the American people wake up to see the
tragic situation brought about by neoconservative policies,
which surpassed the consequences of the Vietnam war....

"We hope that Bush will learn the lessons from his wrong
policy and will pursue a balanced policy based on dialogue

and respect for the interests of the world...."

Johnson-Casares

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