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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: South Lebanon, Syria/Iran,

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O 131241Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0329
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6095
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 3941
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2476
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7140
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1130
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4514
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0736
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6875

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 003453

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: South Lebanon, Syria/Iran,
Syria/Russia, Palestinian Territories, Iraq (7/10-13)


1. Summary: Syrian papers reported the deteriorating situation
in south Lebanon in the wake of the Hizbollah capture of two
Israeli soldiers. Headlines featured President Asad's
consultations on the situation in Lebanon and the Palestinian
territories with President Mubarak, UN SecGen Kofi Annan, Saudi
Monarch Abdullah, Ali Larijani, Secretary of the Supreme Council
of National Security in Iran, and King Hamad Bin Issa Al-Khalifa
of Bahrain.

Papers also reported Vice President Shara's and FM Mouallem's
meetings with Dr. Ali Larijani, Head of Iran's Supreme National
Security Council, who briefed Syrian officials on his
consultations with Europeans on the Iranian nuclear dossier. Mr.
Shara reiterated Syria's stance regarding the right of all
countries to possess nuclear technology for peaceful purposes,
adding that concern must focus on turning the Middle East into a
zone free of weapons of mass destruction, especially the Israeli
nuclear arsenal, and abandoning the double-standards policy in
dealing with issues of the region. On developments in Iraq, the
two sides pointed out the identity of their views regarding the
importance of redoubling efforts to maintain Iraq's territorial
integrity and unity, achieving security and stability and foiling
all attempts to spread sedition among Iraqi parties. On the
escalations in South Lebanon and Palestine, the Vice President
asserted that "the final decision is up to the resistance in
Palestine and South Lebanon, as they are the parties who
certainly decide what to do and why."

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On Syrian-Palestinian relations, papers reported the visit to
Damascus by Abullah al-Hourani, Member of the Executive Committee
of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, who hailed the
significance of the role played by Syria in the Arab- Palestinian
struggle. In a statement after meeting with Vice President Farouq
al-Shara, Hourani said that the delegation briefed the Vice
President on the situation inside the Palestinian territories and
the suffering of the Palestinian people due to the nonstop
Israeli offensive and the siege imposed on them. He noted that
talks have dealt with "how to end the Palestinian people's
suffering and how to handle the situation via the national accord
document that was agreed upon by all the Palestinian forces."

On Syrian-Russian relations, papers reported the visit to Moscow
of Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, which was within the
framework of Russian mediation aiming to find a solution for the
aggravated situation in the Palestinian territories as a result
of the latest Israeli aggression and the kidnapping of the
Israeli soldier.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"The Lebanese national resistance carries out a distinguished
operation and captures two Israeli soldiers, killing 8 and
injuring 29. SecGen of Hizbollah Nasrallah: We are ready for cool-
down or confrontation.... Releasing prisoners is through swap
operations. Lebanon calls for an extraordinary session of the UN
Security Council. Israel expands its aggression" (Government-
owned Al-Thawra, 7/13)

"Secretary Rice calls on Syria to utilize its influence"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/13)

"President Asad discusses developments in the region in telephone
conversations with UN Secretary General Annan and Egyptian
President Mubarak, and exchanges messages with King of Bahrain"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/13)

"FM al-Mouallem conveys a message from President Asad to Saudi
King Abdullah on the situation in Iraq and the Palestinian
territories. President Asad reviews developments in the region
and Syria's pivotal role in supporting security and stability in
the region with Papandreou, leader of the PASOK party in Greece"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/12)

"Vice-President Shara discusses with Larijani, Head of Iran's

Supreme National Security Council, the latest developments in the
region and the outcome of Iranian-European discussions. Shara:
Occupation is the cause of escalation; the decision is up to the
resistance in Lebanon and Palestine" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
7/13)
"VP Shara and FM al-Mouallem receive a Palestinian delegation:
National unity in the face of Israeli offensive" (Government-
owned Al-Thawra, 7/13)

"Israel uses banned missiles against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan: Israel's excessive use of force
complicates the crisis of the captured Israeli soldier"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/12)

"Deputy FM Miqdad discusses the catastrophic situation in the
Palestinian territories with Russian FM Lavrov: Syria hopes for
suitable international measures" (Government-owned Tishreen,
7/12)

"Deputy Foreign Minister Miqdad holds discussions with Russian
Deputy FM Sulatanov on enhancement of Syrian-Russian relations
and coordination in the face of challenges" (Government-owned Al-
Thawra, 7/13)

"Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Habib discusses with the Russian
military delegation means of promoting technical military
cooperation between the Syrian and Russian armies" (Government-
owned Al-Ba'th, 7/13)


3. Editorial Block Quotes:

----------------------

"This Is the Equation"

----------------------

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned
Tishreen, commented (7/10): "Israel is using the capture of the
Israeli soldier to justify the preplanned Israeli killing plan
and to hinder the work of the Palestinian government, which has
managed to overcome the obstacles of the siege and the shortage
of funds....

"The release of the captured soldier is the last thing in the
mind of Olmert's government.... The Olmert government wants to
kill, destroy, tighten the siege on Palestinians, and prevent
their democratically elected government from carrying out its
missions. It seeks to impose the argument that it has no
Palestinian negotiating partner and that it has no choice but to
continue with its unilateral plans for the West Bank, the
settlements, and Jerusalem....

"In order to realize this objective, Israel does not mind using
all forms of terrorism against the Palestinians.... Whether it
likes it or not, the US Administration is sponsoring Israeli
terrorism, directly participating in the killing of Palestinian
children, and preventing the application of international
legitimacy. This is what history will record about President
Bush and his secretaries, particularly Rumsfeld and Rice.

"Israel is committing war crimes in the occupied territories
while the world is doing nothing because of US tyranny, which is
devoted to support of Israeli aggression. The Palestinian people
are determined not to give up their national rights, no matter
what the ordeals. As for the captured Israeli soldier, he has no
priority in the programs of the Olmert government. This is the
equation now in the occupied territories."

------------------------

"Hawkers of Frustration"

------------------------

Abdul Fattah Awad, chief editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/11): "Some have volunteered to make and spread
statements of frustration. Instead of supporting the Palestinian
people, which is the least we should be doing, some people have
participated in an organized frustration process. They have even
described the Palestinian people's suffering as the result of the
actions of the resistance....

"The frustration process will not succeed in frustrating the Arab
and Palestinian streets.... The Arab street has always proven
that it is more aware and clever than the regimes of fear....

"The Arab street is aware of what is going on in Iraq and
believes that the atrocities committed in Baghdad and Gaza are
committed with the same weapon and with the aim of achieving a
common goal... The Syrian people's support of the Palestinian
people is in line with Syrian policy, which chose to adopt the
people's position...

"It is very clear that the Israeli escalation against
Palestinians, and the 'Summer Rains,' cannot be discussed in
isolation from the failure that has characterized the US-Israeli
project in all the countries surrounding us.... The US and Israel
have failed in their attempt to save this project.... The
Palestinian people's steadfastness will now guarantee that the US
and Israel will fail...."

--------------------------------------------

"Acknowledgement of Failure Is Insufficient"

--------------------------------------------

Ali Qasim, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/11): "Israeli war minister Amir Peretz's acknowledgement
of failure of the military operations against the Gaza Strip was
not surprising. It was inevitable, because Palestinians have
proven that they are capable of remaining steadfast during long
years of occupation, have managed to find alternatives to
confront all forms of Israeli aggression, and have shown that
they are fully aware of the objectives of this aggression....

"The Israeli acknowledgement of failure might open the door for
other steps that need to be taken to put things back in order,
namely, the need to stop the Israeli aggression.... Israel must
be held accountable for the crimes it has committed.... Israeli
officials must be brought before an international court and tried
for the crimes they have committed against Palestinians...."

-------------------

"The Syrian Vision"

-------------------

Omar Jaftli, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (7/11): "The meeting of Iraq's neighboring countries
asserted once again that all neighboring countries are keen to
preserve Iraq's territorial integrity and security and the
success of the political process, which led to the formation of
a national assembly and a new government and the announcement of
a national reconciliation plan. What has been achieved is
identical to the Syrian vision presented by Walid al-Mouallem on
how to help Iraq achieve security and stability and support the
elected government's efforts in this regard.... Al-Mouallem
asserted Syria's readiness to cooperate fully with the Iraqi
government in all fields, including the security field....

"It is obvious to everyone that Iraq is at a crucial stage,
especially since the US occupation's policy has failed in all
respects in Iraq.... Therefore all parties in Iraq should
recognize their mistakes in order not to lead the country to an
unknown future, and in order to make the national reconciliation
plan a success, to enhance relations with the neighboring
countries, which understand Iraq's suffering, and to let the

elected government run the country's affairs...."


SECHE

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