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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Israeli Operation in Lebanon

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DE RUEHDM #3718/01 2120714
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (TAO)
O 310714Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0640
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6143
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 3987
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2525
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4558
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0777
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6916

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 003718

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: Israeli operation in Lebanon
(7/28-30)

1. Summary: Syrian papers reported that Secretary General of
Hizbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, stressed in a televised speech on al-
Manar TV station that Israel has failed to achieve anything
militarily so far in its 18-day aggression on Lebanon, and that
Israel has received very tough blows. He added that Hizbollah is
keen about national unity and solidarity in Lebanon, calling on
his countrymen to be patient and steadfast. Nasrallah said "we
are at an historical opportunity in Lebanon to liberate land and
to restore Lebanese prisoners; victory of the Lebanese resistance
in this battle is a victory for all Lebanese and Arabs and all
resistance men. The victory of the Lebanese resistance is a
victory for all honest Arabs, Moslems and Christians." He also
praised Syria for hosting tens of thousands of Lebanese evacuees
who were forced out of their homes by the continued Israeli
aggression against Lebanese civilians and infrastructure.
Nasrallah said that the resistance would target many Israeli
cities in the 'beyond-Haifa stage' unless Israel stops its
barbaric aggression on Lebanon.

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Syrian papers also reported that Israeli warplanes launched a
series of raids against the Beirut-Damascus road near the
border point of Al-Masna. A SANA report said that: "Israeli
artillery bombarded the peripheries of Rashaya al-Fakhar and
Halta Farm, Kafr Hamam, and Birkat Shab'a for two hours while
military planes flew over many villages in the Hasbaya region
dropping leaflets warning citizens against cooperating with the
Lebanese Resistance."

Papers also reported a statement by Information Minister Muhsin
Bilal in an interview broadcast by channel two of German ZDF
television Thursday night, highlights of which were carried by
SANA. Dr Bilal denied that weapons are sent from Iran to
Hizballah via Syria. He stressed that Syria supports the
Lebanese and Palestinian national resistance against the Israeli
occupation. Minister Bilal said that "Syria is offering every
possible aid to the Lebanese brothers to help them overcome the
horrible consequences of the Israeli aggression on Lebanon.
"Syrians and Lebanese are one family and will not allow
themselves to be separated by anyone." "Those who propose
deployment of an international force on the Lebanese-Syrian
border forget the fraternal relationship between the two
sisterly countries," he said. "No Syrian or Lebanese will accept
this," he added.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Hizbollah Leader Nasrallah: Israel seeks to achieve in politics
what it has failed to achieve in war.... Victory is presented to
all Lebanese and honest Arabs.... The shelling al-Afoula
settlement is a start for the new beyond-Haifa stage. Over 13
Israeli soldiers injured in attacks in Maroun al-Raas and 19
Israeli settlers wounded in shelling of Israeli settlements.
Israeli massacres increase amid new American pressures"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/30)

"America dispatches more military equipment to Israel. Rice
discusses formation of international forces" (Government-owned Al-
Ba'th, 7/30)

"The second defeat: The Israeli army withdraws from the south
following huge losses. Lebanese national resistance for the first
time uses the 'Khaybar 1' missile system in the battle. A speedy
US-British move to contain the situation and to make Lebanon join
the New Middle East. Lebanese intelligence arrests a large number
of Mossad networks in South Lebanon, some of whom previously
served in the Lahd army" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/29)

"Foreign Minister Mouallem reviews international efforts to reach
a ceasefire in Lebanon with Norwegian envoy" (Government-owned Al-
Thawra, 7/28)

"Syrian Information Minister Bilal: Syrians and Lebanese are one
family; they will allow no international power to separate them"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/29)

"Demonstrations expand internationally condemning Israeli

aggression against Lebanon. The Moslem brotherhood in Egypt
condemns attempts to sow seeds of sedition that had, previously,
exhausted the nation's body and mind. Islamic scholar Sheikh
Yousef Al-Qaradhawi stresses backing of the resistance"
Government-owned Tishreen, 7/29)
"Israel confesses painful blows. Israel abandons field
confrontations in favor of air escalation. An Israeli officer:
Hizbollah eradicated the spearhead unit in the Goulani Brigade.
14 Israeli soldiers injured in a resistance operation at Maroun
al-Raas. Peres and Halloutz: Grave losses inflicted upon our
forces" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/28)

"Hizbollah officials to Al-Thawra: We are ready to respond to
Israel's scorched-earth policy" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
7/28)

"14 Palestinians martyred, eight injured in Gaza and Jennin by
Israeli occupation" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/28)

"30 Palestinians martyred in three days of Israeli aggressions.
Occupation forces destroy Palestinian houses on the pretext of
tunnels" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/29)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"The Least That Can Be Done"

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

Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/29): "The UN Security Council was content to express shock at
the crime that the occupation army committed when it bombed a
position of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon UNIFIL, killing
four soldiers.

"The Council did not dare to condemn Israel. In other words, the
United States did not allow the Council to issue such a
condemnation. Thus, the international cover was removed, not
only from Lebanon and the Palestinian people, but also from
forces that supposedly serve as peacekeepers. Those forces were
sent to Lebanon by an organization that could not defend them
even with an expression of condemnation.

"If the Security Council was prevented from condemning the
killer of the forces that it sent to Lebanon, how could we
expect this esteemed Council to condemn the same killer for the
massacres it is perpetrating against the people of Lebanon?

"The message here is clear: The United Nations must get out of
the game of death and fire that Israel is playing in Lebanon so
that no international witnesses will remain there to write
diaries about Israel's terrorism. UNIFIL's mission must also end
so that the region up to the Litani and Al-Awwali rivers in
southern Lebanon will be cleared to pave the way for the
scorched-earth plan that Israel is preparing to implement under
the pretext of crushing the resistance, and also to pave the way
for the deployment of the international force that US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice is proposing, and which she imposed on
the Rome conference. That international force will occupy south
Lebanon and will be assigned the mission of annihilating the
Lebanese national resistance on behalf of Israel. We should not
forget that the current proposal says that this force should be
made up of NATO troops.

"The international organization lost its role, or delegated it
to the US Administration. Or perhaps this administration robbed
the United Nations of this role, rendering it unable to perform
its mission in accordance with its Charter.

"Has anyone noticed that in the press conference that was held
at the end of the Rome conference, a journalist asked UN
Secretary General Kofi Annan a question but got the answer from

SIPDIS
Rice, who did not allow the UN chief to answer...?


-------------------
"The Secret Agenda"

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

Ahmad Hamadah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
said (7/28): "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's talk
about a new Middle East shows the hidden agenda of the brutal
Israeli aggression against Lebanon....

"The American position shows that the Israeli attacks against
Lebanon were not a reaction to Hizbollah's capture of the two
Israeli soldiers, but rather an effort to serve the strategic
interests of Israel and the United States at the expense of the
peoples of the region and their rights....

"The failure of the American and Israeli policies over the past
months to impose their vision on Lebanon made Washington and Tel
Aviv turn to the military option to achieve what they failed to
achieve through diplomacy.

"The objective of the new Middle East plan is to integrate the
Israeli entity into the Arab and Islamic region after abolishing
the region's identity and culture and fragmenting it into feeble
ethnic and sectarian entities so that Tel Aviv will emerge as
the only master of this region and the main controller of its
resources and capabilities.

"However this plan will not succeed. Events in Iraq serve as
proof, and here is Lebanon proving the failure of this dangerous
plan, thanks to the steadfastness of the Resistance and its
ability to reshuffle cards and upset equations...."

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

"Futile Questions"

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

Ali Qasim, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/28): "The world agrees almost unanimously that the outcome of
the Rome conference and the failure of the Security Council to
condemn Israel represented a green light for Israel to continue
its aggression against Lebanon....

"Perhaps it is difficult for anyone in the world to understand
the logic that drives the US Administration to add fuel to the
fire, and perhaps it is more difficult to see this logic
obstruct the international will. But this is the bitter reality
in this American age....

"The world should ask Washington where it wants to lead it, for
how long it will continue to practice political debauchery, and
why it refuses to learn from its failures in Afghanistan and
Iraq....

"But it might be futile to ask these questions, because
Washington deals with the world disdainfully, supports the
continuation of the killing and destruction unashamedly, and
uses all the tools of pressure, hegemony, and blackmail to drag
the world behind it toward the swamps of wars...."

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

"At the Climax of Challenge and Confrontation"

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

Samir al-Shibani, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (7/29): "The steadfastness that the valiant resistance men
showed in Marun al-Raas, Bint Jubayl, and Aytarun was not only a
surprise for the enemy, but it also shocked the enemy's elite
military troops, who suffered heavy human and material
losses....

"The steadfastness of the resistance came also as a shock for
the Arab and international silence, which hides evil objectives
and satanic dreams.... It has become quite obvious that
defeating the Arab nation Umma is not only a US-Israeli goal
but also a goal for some false Arabs...."

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

"The Option of Victory"

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

Samira Al-Maslmeh, an editorialist in independent weekly Al-
Iqtissadiya, wrote (7/23): "The time will come when the facts
will be divulged about the Israeli aggression, about those
Lebanese who stand behind it and about those who secretly
called for continuing the aggression while they claimed in
several world capitals that they endeavored to stop this
aggression against their country.

"Those few Lebanese seem really afraid of Hizbollah's real
victory, which will expose them in front of Lebanese and Arabs.
They really hope this will not happen. Some of them are making
efforts to defeat Hizbollah. But to those Lebanese we say:
Conspiring like bats in the dark, in secret and behind-the -
scene sessions in some Arab, American and European capitals,
will be useless. Those who have fallen will be doomed to
failure. The age of secret conspiring against the Arab nation is
over. There are two obvious parts of the picture now .... One is
drawn by the resistance, and the other by the remnants of
official Arab regime, whose tails are Israeli agents in Lebanon
who serve Israel's interests, like Marwan Hamadeh former
Lebanese Minister and current MP and the retired, defeated
resistor Elias Atallah, who, in the words of the Israeli
Ambassador to the UN, are true friends of Israel...."

Seche

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