Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Israeli Operation in Lebanon,
DE RUEHDM #3914/01 2211307
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 091307Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0872
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6169
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4012
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2564
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7206
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1199
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4581
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0800
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6939
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 003914
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,
1. Summary: Syrian papers today reported that the Syrian
Cabinet listened to a political review by Foreign Minister
Mouallem confirming that Arab Foreign Ministers oppose any UN
Security Council resolution on Lebanon that doesn't include
Lebanese demands, and any other resolution that gives Israel
political gains which it has been unable to achieve by
Papers also reported that Desiree Santos Amaral, Deputy Speaker
of the Venezuelan Parliament, conferred with members of the
Syrian-Venezuelan Friendship Parliamentary Association headed by
Mustafa al-Owaied. During the meeting Amaral reiterated her
country's support of Syria's positions regarding legitimate Arab
causes, as well as of the Lebanese and Palestinian people's
steadfastness in the face of Israeli aggression. Amaral hailed
Syria's hosting of the Lebanese displaced by the Israeli
aggression on Lebanon. She expressed the Venezuelan parliament's
desire to develop cooperation with the Syrian People's Assembly
and to activate the role of the Parliamentary Friendship
Associations between the two parliaments. For his part, al-
Owaied stressed the importance of developing relations between
the two parliaments.
Papers also cited an article by US journalist Bert Stephens
published in the 'Wall Street Journal' saying that ... Israel has
nothing to show from its aggression on Lebanon, underlining that
Israel has so far gained no Lebanese territory, has killed no
Hezbollah leaders, and has failed to abate the missile barrage
that has sent a million Israelis from their homes and workplaces.
"Generally speaking, wars are lost either militarily or
politically. Israel is losing both ways" Stephens said,
clarifying that at the beginning of the war Israeli officials
boasted that they had destroyed 50% of Hezbollah's military
capabilities and needed just 10 to 14 days to finish. But after a
record 140 Katyushas landed on Israel, Israeli Prime Minister
Ehud Olmert told visiting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
that he needed another 10 to 14 days. Stephens noted Israel's
failure since the beginning of the war, and a change in official
Israeli statements, , saying "When the war began, Israeli
officials spoke of 'breaking' Hezbollah; next of evicting
Hezbollah from the border area; then of 'degrading' Hezbollah's
capabilities; now of establishing an effective multinational
force that can police the border." "Israel's goals are becoming
less ambitious" he emphasized, noting that Israel seems unable to
defeat Hezbollah. He questioned Israel's intelligence
capabilities, indicating that the war began with a string of
intelligence failures about Hezbollah's military and fighting
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Vice President Shara and Prime Minister Ottri review with the
Egyptian Popular Delegation recent developments in the Arab
arena. Shara: The absence of Arab solidarity and US collusion is
the main motive for the Israeli aggression against Lebanon"
Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/9)
"Foreign Minister Mouallem receives phone calls from Iranian,
German and Danish FMs, as well as Deputy Russian Foreign
Minister. Discussions focus on international diplomatic moves
regarding the Lebanese issue. Mouallem warns against adopting a
UNSC resolution that does not enjoy Lebanese approval"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/9)
"The Cabinet listens to political reviews by Foreign Minister
Mouallem and Information Minister Bilal about recent developments
in the Israeli aggression against Lebanon and Syrian contacts
regarding that issue" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/9)
"Deputy Foreign Minister Mikdad and Information Minister Bilal
review developments in the Israeli aggression against Lebanon
with the Chinese envoy and a delegation from the Venezuelan
parliament" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/9)
"Israel commits scattered massacres in Lebanon in the US style.
The Israeli army takes revenge upon Lebanese civilians after big
failure in confrontations with Hizbollah" (Government-owned
"Heavy missile-shelling by the Lebanese Resistance. Israeli
occupation evacuates settlements in Northern Israel. 29 Israeli
soldiers killed or injured and eight Israeli tanks destroyed by
the Lebanese national resistance. President Lahoud: Lebanon has
won politically. The US-French draft resolution meets the demands
of Israeli goals" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/9)
"US Military Journalist Bert Stephens [in World Street Journal]:
Israel is facing its worst humiliation" (Government-owned
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Before It Is Too Late"
Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (8/9): "The seriousness of Arabs in shouldering their
historic responsibility toward Lebanon is now put to a real
test.... Some Arab governments moved late, only to save face and
after the Lebanese resistance proved not easy to crush....
"Now there are hopes that the Arab diplomatic effort that the
Beirut conference initiated will succeed in rectifying the
crisis management diplomacy that the United States and France
are leading through their Security Council draft resolution,
which seeks to lead Lebanon to where Ehud Olmert and his
criminal war machine failed to lead it, within the plan to
create a new Middle East....
"It is still not too late for Arabs to correct the negative Arab
position and make efforts on the international scene to support
Lebanon's position and the steadfastness of its valiant national
resistance and to curb Israeli terrorism and reject all the
colonial plans and the Security Council formulas that do not
serve the interests of Lebanon first and the Arab nation
"A US Slip-up"
Ali Qasim, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(8/9): "The remark by Nabih Berri, Speaker of the Lebanese
Parliament, that the Franco-American UNSC draft resolution gives
Israel more than it asked for, was perhaps the most expressive
description of the essence of this draft....
"While everyone knew that the US Administration was from the
beginning a partner in the aggression, the French position came
as a surprise, even to those who placed their bets on it.... The
international community and its superpowers showed that they are
sliding completely toward the American position....
"The draft resolution showed the narrow and limited margins
within which these powers operate.... After much
procrastination, France appeared closer to the American
position, while other positions were completely absent....
"The clarifications that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
offered regarding the draft resolution added insult to injury.
She admitted that the draft seeks to keep Israeli forces in
their positions. This clearly shows that the convening of the
Security Council was intentionally delayed to enable Israel to
occupy Lebanese territory to serve as a chip for bargaining and
"We hope that Arabs, in light of all this, will reconsider their
calculations and stop searching for room to maneuver within the
roles and positions of others...."
"Presenting the Victory of Resistance over Aggressors"
Isam Dari, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(8/9): "The Lebanese, who pinned their hopes on a French
position different from the US position, were disappointed....
"France, which falsely claims to care about its ally in the
region, Lebanon, has not forgetten its past in the region, in
general, and in Lebanon, in particular. It took the side of
Israel and the United States....
"Those who believe that France loves a strong, free, and
sovereign Lebanon, are mistaken; France wants Lebanon as it left
it six decades ago, weak, frail, and implementing orders. It
wants it just as Israel and the United States want it: a link in
an old plan and another new plan. The Franco-American UNSC draft
resolution, therefore, came to reap the victory of the
resistance and present it to Israel...."
"Open War and Unified Resistance Front"
Muhammad Suwwan, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Ba'th,
said (8/9): "Israel's attacks against Lebanon violate all
international laws and conventions and the UN Charter. The right
to resistance in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq is a sacred right
acknowledged by worldly and divine laws....
"The Lebanese resistance proved to the world that peoples cannot
be subjugated even if they pay a heavy price.
"What Israel is doing in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories
is very serious.... It minimizes the chances for a political
settlement in the region and kills the very basis of peace....
"This dictates that Arab countries and the international
community work to force Israel to comply with the requirements
of a just and lasting peace....
"Those who fear that the Palestinian-Lebanese-Israeli
confrontation might turn into an open war and conflict must not
broadcast their fears. This is required if the issue is to move
toward a solution. Those who say otherwise are either terrified
or happy seeing Israel isolate the Palestinians and the Lebanese
and keeping the conflict and the confrontation away from their
palaces and despotic regimes."