Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Israel/Lebanon, Palestinian


DE RUEHDM #3626/01 2051235
O 241235Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Israel/Lebanon, Palestinian
Territories, Iraq (7/24)

1. Summary: Syrian papers continued to report on the tense
situation in South Lebanon. All papers featured a statement by
Dr. Mohsen Bilal, Minister of Information, to Spanish daily "ABC"
that "Syria will not sit tight if Israeli ground troops enter
Lebanon and approach Syria. If Israel invades Lebanon on the
ground and comes near us, threatening our national security,
Syria will not sit tight." Bilal criticized the US Secretary of
State's announcement that the US rejects a cease-fire, saying,
"It is an unjustified act by the US not to work for a cease-fire,
waiting for Israel to completely destroy Lebanon and evacuate the
Lebanese people." Bilal added, "Israel would not be the only
player in the region. Syria has always worked for a just and
comprehensive peace that secures Israeli withdrawal from all
occupied territories, including the occupied Golan, and the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem
as its capital." He depicted as "extremely cordial" the recent
talks he held in Spain with Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel
Moratinos. "Those talks focused on the dangerous situation
resulting from the hideous Israeli aggression against Lebanon and
the need for an immediate cease-fire and prisoner swap," Bilal
said. "Spain and Syria are working hard for a cease-fire; Syria
is ready to cooperate with Spanish efforts in this regard."
Syrian papers also reported that Foreign Minister Walid al-
Mouallem received Horst Fraytagh, Commissioner of the Near East
and Middle East at the German Foreign Ministry. Mouallem said
that "Syria backs international efforts to reach a just and
comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli struggle on the
basis of UN Security Council resolutions and the land-for-peace
formula." The commissioner expressed Germany's deep concern about
the dangerous developments in the region, saying that Germany is
working hard to bring about a cease-fire and a comprehensive
Syrian Foreign Minister Mouallem also received a phone call from
Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim, Foreign Minister of Brazil, who
expressed Brazil's deep concern over the recent dangerous
developments in the region, confirming full solidarity with Syria
and Lebanon and thanking Syria for facilitating the evacuation of
Brazilian nationals from Lebanon.
End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"In a statement to Spanish Daily "ABC," Information Minister
Bilal reiterates Syria's support of a cease-fire and prisoner
swap in Lebanon: Syria will not stand by with arms folded if
Israeli ground troops enter Lebanon and approach Syria"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/24)

"Foreign Minister al-Mouallem receives a phone call from
Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Luiz Nunes Amorim and
clarifies to German envoy Horst Fraytagh: Syria supports a cease-
fire and giving a chance for diplomatic efforts" (Government-
owned Tishreen, 7/24)

"Israel paves the way for the US project. The Olmert government
acknowledges inability to curb national resistance and threatens
to launch a long-range war to destroy the infrastructure. More
than a hundred missiles fired at occupied northern Palestine"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/24)

"A general strike is observed in Palestine protesting the visit
of US Secretary of State Condaleeza Rice. The national resistance
continues firing missiles at Israel in response to Israeli
massacres" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/24)

"Hundreds of Iraqis killed or injured in Baghdad and Kirkuk"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/24)

"The US army encourages torture of Iraqi prisoners" (Government-
owned Al-Thawra, 7/24)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:


"The Secrets behind Rice's Visit"


Ahmad Dawwa, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
commented (7/24): "The American support for Lebanon and its
government became clear before the arrival of US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice to the region. This support is taking the
form of laser-guided bombs presented to Israel to allow it to
destroy what its military machine has so far been unable to
flatten throughout Lebanon.

"This is beyond imagination: While Israeli planes and artillery
are spreading destruction, death, and horror across Lebanon,
using US weapons and leaning on US support, Rice is talking
about support for Al-Saniora's young democratic government in
Lebanon. It is as if those who are martyred and displaced and
those who see their homes burned had nothing to do with

"Naturally, Rice's upcoming visit comes not to pressure Israel
into stopping its aggression or finding a political solution,
but to impose Israeli conditions on Lebanon. The US support for
continuing aggression is a blatant expression of the Bush
administration's interest in and concern about Lebanon's
democracy and future.

"To know the real secrets behind Rice's visit, we should think
of the Israeli assessments of the results of the aggression on
Lebanon. These assessments generally assert that none of the
military and political objectives that Israel hoped to achieve
from this dirty war has been achieved. This risks a government
crisis in Israel. The American intervention, therefore, was
essential to cover the Israeli failure by escalating the
international and regional pressure on the Lebanese resistance
and recruiting parties in Lebanon to accuse the resistance of
destroying the country and incite the public against it. But it
appears that the Bush administration has not learned the lessons
of the past. It insists on accumulating its failures in the

"One cannot blame the US for its hostile position toward Lebanon
and the region. Its political and military power is dedicated to
Israel's interests. What causes outrage and astonishment,
however, is the defeatism of some Arab parties and their
willingness to facilitate Rice's mission and, consequently, find
a solution to the Israeli predicament at the expense of the
Lebanese people.

"The political battle is not less important than the military
battle. Those Arabs who, through their statements, have provided
cover for the war, must realize this fact.... They are not
required to support the resistance, as this is an unattainable
dream. But they should, at least, remain neutral in order to
preserve the security and stability of the region."


"We Hope it Is Untrue"


Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned
Tishreen, commented (7/24): "It is not surprising that the
United States is more enthusiastic about the war on Lebanon than
Olmert's government itself is.... What is surprising is the
reports that some Lebanese parties participating in the
government, as well as many Arab countries, are not willing to
see the Israeli aggression end at this time; they want the
aggression to continue until the final elimination of the
Lebanese national resistance....

"We hope that these reports are not true.... It has become
crystal clear that the aim of the Israeli attacks against
Lebanon is to kill Lebanese people and destroy their
infrastructure, not to obtain the release of the two captured


"Rice's Roughness"


Maha Sultan, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/24): "Condoleezza Rice's statements on the Lebanese crisis
lacked any human feelings toward the suffering of the Lebanese
people under Israel's massacres and terrorism....

"Rice's statements on the eve of her visit to the region promise
the Lebanese people that the massacre will continue and promise
the region a new map Washington entrusted Israel to draw with
blood and fire.... Rice's statements lack the minimum level of

"The United States no longer needs to be diplomatic in the way
it handles the region because the countries of the region have
reached such a level of cowardice and defeatism that they can
only take orders and fully comply with them...."


"Partnership of Illusion and Aggression"


Ali Nasrallah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/24): "The partnership between Washington and Tel Aviv
in the aggression against Lebanon is evident in US statements
and media reports....

"This partnership proves that the open war on Lebanon was a
premeditated plan that was awaiting the zero hour for
implementation, to realize strategic objectives in Lebanon....
The capture of the two Israeli soldiers was used only as a
pretext to implement the plan, which seeks to compensate for the
US failure in Iraq...."


"Israeli Aggression against Lebanon"


Dr. Sa'id Musallam, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
maintained (7/24): "Israel will not be able to achieve any of
the objectives of its military campaign in Lebanon.... Israel
will not be able, in any way, to crush the Lebanese resistance,
because this resistance is not stationed in specific positions,
nor is it a faction without a popular base. The resistance is a
people, a land, and a creed. And above all, it is the plan of
the nation's awakening and challenge to its enemy in the battle
for existence....

"Israel will be forced to admit defeat.... Israel cannot invade
Lebanese territory. If it does, it will return defeated, pulling
out thousands of bodies. The international community will
intervene and take measures and adopt resolutions forcing the
resistance to allow Israel to pull the bodies of its soldiers
out of the battlefield...."


"No to Terje Roed-Larsen"


Imad Fawzi al-Shu'aybi, a Syrian strategic analyst, wrote an op-
ed in government-owned Al-Ba'th on (7/24) saying: "Syria has
refused to receive Terje Roed-Larsen, member of the delegation
that the United Nations sent to the region to discuss the
Lebanese crisis....

"Contrary to some Western claims, Syria did not refuse to
receive the entire delegation, but put a veto on Roed-Larsen,
which resulted in the delegation canceling the visit.... Syria
has the right, as a sovereign state, to receive whomever it
wants and to reject whomever it wants....

"Roed-Larsen is persona non grata in Syria because in his
missions in the region as envoy of the UN secretary general he
always wanted to serve Israel at the expense of Syria, Lebanon,
and the Palestinians.... Roed-Larsen is the engineer of
Resolution 1559 and the one who claimed in his reports to the
Security Council that Syria continued to interfere in Lebanese
affairs after the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon,
and who called for the demarcation of the border between Syria
and Lebanon and for the establishment of diplomatic relations
between the two countries.

"He is not a mediator. He cannot be a mediator. He does not meet
the conditions that a mediator must meet. He is a party par
excellence. The message that Syria sent when it refused to
receive him is clear, because he cannot be a mediator: We will
not receive an Israeli! Send somebody else, or let the
delegation come without him.... Syria's role in the region
cannot be ignored...."


© Scoop Media

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