Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Israeli Operation in Lebanon,
DE RUEHDM #3573/01 2011252
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201252Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0470
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1150
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4536
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0756
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6895
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 003573
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: Israeli Operation in Lebanon,
Palestinian Territories, Iraq (7/20)
1. Summary: Syrian papers continued to focus on the Israeli
military action in Lebanon. Headlines featured President Asad's
phone call with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan,
which dealt with "the continuing Israeli aggression against
Lebanon and Palestine."
Papers also reported that the Regional Command of the Syrian
Baath Party decided to form a higher popular committee to boost
the steadfastness of the Lebanese people. The committee will set
plans to mobilize popular capabilities and hold national
campaigns to collect financial donations and contributions for
the Lebanese people.
Papers also reported that Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem and
Alexander Sultanov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, discussed
the dangerous situation in Lebanon, and Palestine and ways to
reach a ceasefire. In a meeting in Damascus the two sides
exchanged views on the situation in the region, including the
support of the political process in Iraq. The Russian and Syrian
diplomats reiterated the importance of ending bloodshed and
violence in the Middle East through a political and diplomatic
settlement for the crisis.
Papers also reported that Italian FM Massimo D'Alema expressed
appreciation for Syria's efforts to achieve stability and calm in
the Middle East, saying that "the Italian government depends on
Syria's constructive and efficient role to realize stability in
the region." D'Alema rejected allegations and accusations about
the so-called non-positive role of Syria and Iran. He stressed
that Syria, through its latest contacts, has shown a great desire
to play a pivotal regional role. The Italian Minister reiterated
criticism of the continuing Israeli aggressions against Lebanon
and the Palestinian territories, noting that these offensives
have surpassed the limits of logic, violated international law
and led to catastrophic outcomes in Lebanon and Palestine. He
warned against the possibility of expanding the war to other
countries in the region, calling on Europe to play a key role in
the region. He also criticized the US war on Iraq, saying that
this war ignited hostility and terrorism against western
countries and created a very dangerous situation in the world.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
President Asad and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan: The
international community is delaying enforcement of a cease-fire"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/20)
"The Regional Command of the Baath Party forms a higher popular
committee to support the Lebanese people" (Government-owned Al-
"The EU thanks Syria for its help in evacuating its nationals;
Foreign Minister Mouallem discusses the situation in Lebanon and
Palestine with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sultanov"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/2)
"The hysteria of the Israeli aggression expands in Palestine.
Over 15 Palestinians martyred in Nablus and Gaza" (Government-
owned Al-Ba'th, 9/20)
"Syria's Ambassador to the UN: A US-Israeli agenda to continue
the Israeli aggression another week" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
"Unlimited Israeli terrorism in Palestine and Lebanon. Two
Israeli massacres in Salaa and Sarifa. Heroic acts by the
resistance in a ground battle with Israeli forces. Six Israeli
soldiers killed, 14 injured, 4 Israeli tanks destroyed and an F-
16 plane brought down" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/20)
"Arrest of traitors who display signs for the Israeli warplanes
to shell specific targets in Beirut" (Government-owned Tishreen,
"Italian Foreign Minister D'Alema: The Israeli aggression against
Lebanon has surpassed limits of logic. We rely on a constructive
Syrian role to achieve stability" (Government-owned Tishreen,
"The hysteria of Israeli aggression expands in Palestine. Over 15
Palestinians martyred in Nablus and Gaza" (Government-owned Al-
"The Egyptian opposition calls for canceling Camp David Accord. A
campaign of a million signatures in Jordan to abrogate the Wadi
Araba Agreement" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/20)
"An American soldier and scores of Iraqis killed in separate
attacks in Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/20)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Messengers of Dictate"
Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-
Thawra, said (7/20): "The international community is not
playing the role of a fair broker, but rather imposing,
adopting, and promoting Israel's conditions.
"Turning to the international community is exactly like turning
to the enemy, especially since what we now call the
international community is controlled by the United States,
which is in ideological and behavioral harmony with Israel. Both
occupy Arab lands, and both perpetrate massacres against Arabs.
"International envoys are coming to the region to present a list
of conditions, not to offer proposals for solutions.... The
solution lies in stopping Israeli barbarism and then conducting
a prisoner swap through which the Lebanese prisoners in Israeli
jails are liberated.... Any other proposals would only be an
incitement to continue the aggression and kill civilians....
"The US arrogance is obvious in President Bush's remark that he
will ask UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to contact Syria over
the Lebanese crisis..., as if Annan were an employee of the US
"Calm Talk on a Hot Issue"
Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, said
(7/20): "It is definitely untrue that Israel's 'open war'
against Lebanon is a reaction to Hizbollah's capture of two
Israeli soldiers.... Israel would have invented excuses and
justifications to do what it is doing even if the resistance had
not captured the two soldiers....
"The aim is not to release the two soldiers in Lebanon and the
soldier in Gaza; the target is not only Hizbollah and HAMAS. The
aim is to undermine the approach of resistance and steadfastness
and to tame all those who stand in the face of the Zionist-
"When Will You Break Your Silence?"
Haifa Ali, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th, said
(7/20): "Israel took advantage of the international community's
silence and collusion to direct its brutality and aggression
toward the entire Lebanese people in an attempt to avenge its
defeat in Lebanon six years ago....
"Israel also took advantage of some defeatist Arab positions to
escalate its brutal aggression.... Arabs have failed to use oil
as a weapon to pressure Israel.... Had the Gulf countries
stopped, or at least reduced, oil exports to the US, they would
have forced Bush to pressure Israel to stop its aggression and
brutality. Regrettably, this did not happen, and it will not
happen.... Arabs will not use this powerful weapon.... When Arab
foreign ministers decided to act, their meeting in Cairo was
very disappointing.... Arabs must produce effective Arab action
at the Security Council before Lebanon is reduced to a heap of
"International Action and Outstanding Questions"
Ahmad Dawwa, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/20): "If the international parties were really serious
in their effort to stop the aggression, they would at least
pressure Israel into halting its barbaric aggression and then
act to find a political solution. But their acceptance of this
role while the Israeli war machine is still pounding Lebanon
means that they work on Israel's behalf....
"The international moves came upon US guidance.... They seek to
impose Israel's conditions and to save Israel from a new
predicament after the Lebanese resistance managed to break the
rules of the game and control its course in the field....
"The Resistance is able to expose and foil the conspiracies and
achieve victory. All that the defeatist Arabs need to do is not
stab the Resistance in the back once again...."
Dr. Adnan Mahmud, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
said (7/20): "The accusations that some Arabs have leveled
against the resistance movements and their call on these
movements to control their conduct, provide a cover and an
excuse for Israel to kill and to practice further terrorism and
crimes against the Lebanese and the Palestinians without fear of
"When some Arabs consider the capture of Israeli soldiers to
exchange them for Arab prisoners as an uncalculated adventure,
then the Arab peoples must really be worried about their future
and prepare to perform their duty towards the Resistance now
that their governments have failed to take any initiative, even
if nominal, to disobey the US master....
"Hizbollah's capture of the Israeli soldiers is an honorable
resistance action.... Any Arab criticism of the operation is
naked collusion and submission to Israel..."