Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Israeli War Against Lebanon,


DE RUEHDM #3721/01 2121127
O 311127Z JUL 06





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Israeli War against Lebanon,
Syria/Egypt (7/31)

1. Summary: Syrian papers today reported the new Israeli
massacre in Qana. Headlines featured President Asad's telephone
conversation with Lebanese President Lahoud expressing pain and
shock at the crime that Israel has committed against innocent
civilians in Qana. President Asad reaffirmed Syria's full
solidarity with Lebanon and its complete readiness to offer
anything that would assist, strengthen, and support Lebanon
against the sinful Israeli aggression. President Lahoud thanked
President Asad for his sincere sentiments and expressed
Lebanon's appreciation for the efforts that Syria has been
making to host tens of thousands of Lebanese who have found in
their second country, Syria, their best supporter in times of

Headlines also cited a telephone call between VP Shara and
Lebanese Chamber of Deputies Speaker Nabih Berri in which Al-
Shara expressed Syria's solidarity with Lebanon. Prime Minister
Muhammad Naji Itri also called Lebanese Prime Minister Fu'ad al-
Saniora and expressed strong condemnation of Israeli crimes in
Lebanon. Itri renewed Syria's full solidarity with Lebanon and
its readiness to offer all the assistance it needs. Foreign
Minister Walid al-Mu'allim telephoned Lebanese Foreign Minister
Fawzi Sallukh expressing strong condemnation of the massacres
that Israel is committing against the Lebanese people, mainly
the new Qana massacre. Al-Mu'allim also stressed Syria's full
solidarity with Lebanon against the Israeli aggression.

Papers also reported phone contacts by Foreign Minister Walid al-
Mu'allim with the foreign ministers of Egypt, Morocco, Yemen,
Libya, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar for
consultations on ways to confront the ongoing Israeli aggression
and massacres. The foreign minister stressed to his counterparts
the need to mobilize Arab energies to reach an immediate and
unconditional cease-fire and make efforts with the international
community to set up an international investigation commission
into the crimes that Israel has committed, especially the second
Qana massacre. The foreign minister also met on (7/30) with the
heads of Arab and foreign [non-Arab] diplomatic missions
accredited to Syria to inform them of the Syrian position toward
the Israeli aggression on fraternal Lebanon. He expressed
Syria's condemnation of the brutal Israeli aggression on
Lebanon, its full solidarity with Lebanon, and its full
readiness to provide everything that would support Lebanon's
steadfastness and alleviate its suffering as a result of the
continuing Israeli aggression and siege. Al-Mu'allim stressed
the need to give utmost priority to an immediate and
unconditional cease-fire in Lebanon. He stressed that the
massacres that Israel has been perpetrating against innocent
civilians in Lebanon for three weeks, the latest of which was
the Qana massacre, are war crimes according to international
humanitarian law. This, he said, requires joint international
efforts to establish an international investigation commission
into this massacre and the other crimes that Israel has
committed against defenseless civilians in Lebanon. The foreign
minister warned against political proposals on the international
stage which seek to give Israel what it has failed to obtain
militarily. He asserted the need for concerted Arab and
international efforts to put an end to the Israeli aggression
and hold Israel responsible for its disastrous consequences.

Papers also reported that Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu-al-
Ghayt visited Damascus (7/30) on a brief visit that lasted a few
hours, during which he met with President Asad and conveyed a
message from President Mubarak regarding developments in the
region. The visit was part of Egypt's ongoing efforts and
deliberations to contain the deteriorating situation in Lebanon
and intensify moves toward an immediate ceasefire.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Qana: a story of flagrant terrorism. President Asad: An act of
state terrorism that reflects Israeli savagery. Over 57 persons
killed, including 42 children. Vice-President al-Shara: Full
solidarity with Lebanon. Speaker of the People's Assembly al-

Abrash: Brutal massacres and barbarian aggression. Prime Minister
Otri: Unlimited readiness to offer aid. Lebanese President: We
will not succumb to Israeli terrorism. Speaker of Lebanese
Parliament Berri: Conditions of prisoners swap have changed.
Lebanonese government: Unconditional ceasefire is required.
President Bush doesn't condemn. US Secretary of State Rice is
sad! Israeli Prime Minister Olmert: No ceasefire; we need
additional two weeks. UN SecGen Annan: The Security Council's
authority is at stake" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/31)

"President Asad denounces the new Israeli massacre in Qana in a
telephone call with President Lahoud and reviews with Egyptian
Foreign Minister Abu al-Ghayt current efforts to curb Israeli
aggression" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/31)

"US Spokesman Ereli: Israel partially suspends air raids against
Lebanon for 48 hours" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/31)

"With a green light from Rice, Olmert announces continuation of
aggression against Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/31)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Lessons of South Lebanon and Foolish Threats"

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

Elias Murad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(7/31): "The ideas that US President George Bush and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair raised in their joint press conference
in Washington on 28 July were strange....

"For a moment, analysts thought Blair was visiting Washington in
an attempt to persuade it to seek a cease-fire in Lebanon and
find a solution to the tense situation that might lead to a
destructive war endangering the security and peace of the region
and the world. But it clearly emerged that the British prime
minister went further than his ally in his unfair position. He
made random accusations and threatened this country and that,
without showing any clear sign of responsibility or a desire to
take a step or make an effort to achieve peace....

"The strangest thing is that Bush and Blair saw nothing in the
aggression on Lebanon other than Hizbolllah's capture of the two
Israeli soldiers, which they considered a terrorist operation.
For them, anything that Israel does to bring the soldiers back
is justified and part of the anti-terror campaign that the
United States claims it has been waging since 9/11. They also
labeled every party supporting the Lebanese resistance as a
sponsor of terrorism, in a direct reference to Syria and

"The US president, who blames every problem in the region on
terrorism, ignores the fact that terrorism started not on 9/11,
but when Israel was established....

"The ideas that President Bush is promoting, such as the
deployment of an international force in south Lebanon and the
creation of a new Middle East, are exactly the objectives that
Israel has failed to realize by force....

"The nervousness that Bush and Blair showed and the threats they
made during the press conference were apparently a result of the
crisis that the champions of the new Middle East plan are
experiencing as the date of the failure and collapse of this
plan draws near.... It has become clear to them now that the
steadfastness of the resistance fighters and their ability to
confront all types of weapons have foiled their plans, ideas,
and proposals. In the press conference, therefore, the two
allies offered a model of arrogance and haughtiness through the
threatening messages they sent. But we call on them to read and
comprehend the lesson from south Lebanon, where the military
machine is retreating in the face of firm belief in the homeland
and readiness to sacrifice for its sake...."


"Advocates of War"


Ahmad Dawwa, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, said
(7/31): "What can be concluded from the press conference of US
President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair is
that the two leaders like organized killing and destruction so
that they can engage in relief work later. Wasn't the Israeli
aggression on Lebanon launched with an American green light?
Aren't most of the weapons used made in the United States?"

"We wonder how Bush and Blair could give Israel new
authorization to proceed with its dirty war against the Lebanese
people and provide it with smart bombs and internationally
banned weapons while they continue to talk about the suffering
of the Lebanese people.... Bush and Blair are no different from
a criminal who commits a crime and expresses regret before the
judge in the hope he will win some sympathy....

"The conditions that the United States, Britain, and Israel are
setting for a cease-fire are more dangerous than the war because
they seek to achieve what the Israeli destructive machine has
failed to achieve throughout the past days.... Decision-making
capitals in world must know that Lebanon cannot bear the
consequences of the US agenda in the region, which cannot be
realized. The Arab regimes, who thought that Israel would be
able to defeat the Lebanese resistance within days, must return
to their senses because Lebanon is just the spark, and the fire
will reach everyone, and they will be the first."


"American Is Part of the Problem"


Ali Nasrallah, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/31): "The real problem in the region is Israel, sustaining
its occupation of Palestine, Lebanon, and the Golan, and its
refusal to implement international resolutions....

"The United States and its unlimited support of Israeli policies
of occupation, killing, and aggression is a real part of the
problem.... A radical solution to the Middle East conflict
begins with the implementation of UN Security Council
resolutions, which have languished in drawers for six decades,
obstructed by Israeli rejection, the American veto, and
Washington's hegemony in the international organization....

"The United States must realize that its efforts to form and
deploy international forces to Lebanon to harm Lebanon's
sovereignty, rob Lebanon of its right to resist occupation, and
enable Israel to make security gains, are nothing but
unattainable dreams.... It must realize that the front of
rejection and opposition will foil all hegemonic plans that it
seeks to impose on the region, no matter what the


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