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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Qatar, Syria/Egypt,

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #4091/01 2331139
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211139Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1085
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6204
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4045
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4616
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0833
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6972

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 004091

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: Syria/Qatar, Syria/Egypt,
Lebanon, Syria/Iran, Iraq, Palestinian Territories (8/21)


1. Summary: All Syrian papers today reported that Shaykh Hamad
Bin-Khalifah Al Thani, Emir of Qatar, will pay a working visit to
Syria today during which he will hold talks with President Asad
that will focus on bilateral relations and current developments
in the region.
Papers also featured a statement by Syria's Information Minister,
Dr. Muhsen Bilal, to the Egyptian Middle East News Agency MENA on
Sunday, in which he depicted Syrian-Egyptian relations as
"strategic and based on a strong fraternal base." Bilal said
that "consultations between Syria and Egypt have not stopped",
pointing out the fraternal ties linking President Asad and
President Mubarak and their regular meetings in Damascus and
Cairo. "What President Asad said at the Journalists' conference
about Arab stances towards the aggression against Lebanon was
within the framework of constructive criticism of Arab brothers
within one Arab family for not adopting more decisive stances to
halt the 33-day Israeli aggression on Lebanon," Bilal indicated.
"Differences in political viewpoints would never affect the deep-
rooted relations between the two brotherly peoples and
countries." The Minister expressed astonishment at articles
published in some Egyptian newspapers, confirming that they do
not serve joint interests or fraternal ties between the two
countries.
Papers reported a TV interview broadcast by Al-Jazeera on August
20 with Lebanese MP Michel Aoun, Head of the "Change and Reform
Block" at the Lebanese Parliament, during which Aoun confirmed
that resistance is the only choice for facing the Israeli enemy,
and that the country will "either win together or loose
together." "Hizbollah is not an armed group but is the whole
people, who have chosen resistance." Aoun said that those who
are spreading rumors about the resistance are in fact trying to
frighten the Lebanese people. "For sure they did not expect that
the resistance would defeat the Israeli enemy despite full U.S.
support for Israel," he said. Mr. Aoun pointed out the
importance of saving the victory which has unified all the
Lebanese. "It's astonishing that some Lebanese neglect the
Israeli massacres against civilians in Lebanon and hold Hezbollah
responsible for the Israeli aggression against their country;
the aggression was definitely premeditated," he added. He said
Israel committed violations of the cease-fire by bombarding
Lebanese areas, stressing that this "shows the Israeli intention
to continue its aggression against Lebanon." "If the United
Nations keeps silent about Israeli practices, then it will be
considered its partner in assassinating Lebanon," Aoun warned.
He expressed fear that Israel might commit more violations and
aggression to make the Lebanese army's mission in the South a
failure.

Papers reported that Syria's Grand Mufti Ahmad Bader Eddin
Hassoun arrived in Tehran to take part in the 19th International
Conference of Islamic Unity. Hassoun reiterated the importance
of Islamic countries taking a united stance, in light of the
challenges that the region and the Islamic world are facing,
particularly the continued US-Israeli aggression against it.
Upon his arrival in Tehran, the Mufti hailed the importance of
the 19th International Conference of Islamic Unity, which is
being held at a critical stage, requiring unity of all Muslims
and dialogue with others. He stressed the significance of
Syria's role as a center of human civilizations and a site where
all Islamic and religious spectrums meet. More than 150 Islamic
personalities from all over the world are participating in the
three-day conference to discuss many issues related to the latest
accelerating regional developments following the victory of the
Lebanese Resistance, and the necessity for Islamic countries to
close ranks to face expected challenges to Islamic unity.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad holds talks with Emir of Qatar in Damascus today"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 8/21)

"Information Minister Bilal: Different points of view will never
affect Syrian-Egyptian relations" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
8/21)


"Israel violates UN Resolution 1701. President Lahoud: The
violation is caused by American support. Aoun: Hizbollah is the
whole people, who have chosen the Resistance. Arab Foreign
Ministers hail the resistance and refer the peace file to the
UNSC" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 8/21)

"Lahoud emphasizes neutrality of countries nominated for
participation in the expanded UNFIL forces: Time is
inappropriate to discuss the arms of the resistance; deployment
of the Lebanese army depends on stopping violations of the cease-
fire" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/21)

"Two Palestinians martyred in Nablus and Rafah. Israeli
authorities arrest Secretary of the Palestinian Legislative
Council" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 8/21)

"International Socialists call for dialogue with Hamas and
Hizbollah" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 8/21)

"Hassoun in Tehran: The Islamic world must be united in the face
of challenges" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/21)

"Twenty Iraqis killed, 300 injured in terrorist attacks in
Baghdad despite strict security measures" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 8/21)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Stop the Hypocrisy and Croaking"

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

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned
Tishreen, wrote (8/21): "The March 14 group in Lebanon could
not hide the political and psychological shock it suffered as a
result of the sweeping victory that the Lebanese national
Resistance achieved over the Israeli aggression.... This group
wagered on a swift Israeli victory that would end the Resistance
and give it a chance to implement its plans of subservience to
Israel and the United States....

"Leaders of this group cannot deny this fact, as their
statements in the first days of the war clearly laid the blame
on Hizbollah. Signs of nervousness, despair, and frustration
were clear on the faces of the two heads of the March 14 group
[in reference to Saad al-Hariri and Walid Junblatt] in their
press conferences on August 17. One of them [Al-Hariri]
hurriedly summoned the workers in his establishments, including
members of Parliament, to give a speech that was reckless in
word and meaning and not convincing to a single member of the
audience. The other [Junblatt] tried hard to present himself as
a statesman knowledgeable of the ins and outs of things, but he
remained as he actually is, and as everyone knows him: small in
size, weight, and stature....

"President Bush, who does not know the names and locations of
many world capitals, knows their names by heart and mentions
these names in his speeches and press conferences without
stuttering. He never stops praising what they have achieved and
what they want to achieve. Israelis, for their part, do not
hide their concern for them. They refer to them as definite
allies. They did not disturb them even with the noise of
airplanes throughout the days of the aggression....

"How could the allies of the Americans and the Israelis be
concerned about Lebanon and its resistance....?"

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

"Reactions to Victory"

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

Sa'dallah Barakat, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th,
wrote (8/21): "Those in Lebanon who wagered on Israel's success
in defeating and disarming Hizbollah have lost their bet. Those
people went too far from the position of the Lebanese people and
their nationalist leaders, ignoring the fact that the Israeli
danger remains looming and that Israel does not respect global
legitimacy or its resolutions unless they fully serve its
interests....

"July 12, the day on which Hizbollah captured the two Israeli
soldiers, marked the end of the era of the specter of Israel's
hegemony in the region and its neighborhood and the beginning of
a new age of Arab victories."

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

"Beatifying Israel's Defeat"

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

Maha Sultan, an editor at government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(8/21): "President Bush said that Lebanon and the world need
time to understand Hizbollah's defeat.... Bush appears to be the
one who needs a long time -- certainly longer than the time left
for him in office -- to understand not only Israel's defeat but
also the defeat of his administration in the region and the fall
of its plans to draw a new Middle East....

"Bush has so far failed to beautify Israel's defeat. His talk
about the promotion of democracy and the combat of terrorism has
become sterile for the simple reason that Bush refuses to
realize that the equation in the region has changed, and that
what sets the new rules in the region is will -- the will to
resist and to live in dignity -- not the weapons with which
Israel is fully armed. This was underscored by the war between
Israel and the Lebanese Resistance. But Bush cannot accept
this, and he insists on the old equation in his approach to the
region and its peoples...."

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

"Bush Is Not Yet Convinced"

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

Muhyi-al-Din al-Muhammad, a columnist in government-owned
Tishreen, wrote (8/21): "The US Administration, which dreams of
a new Middle East baptized with the blood of innocent children,
women, and the elderly, still does not believe that Israel was
defeated in Lebanon.... President Bush's comments on the result
of the Lebanon war reflect disappointment.... The US
Administration believed that the excessive use of force, the
American support for Israel, and the slackening in the call for
a cease-fire would be sufficient to crush the Lebanese
Resistance or to crush the will of the Lebanese people....

"The US Administration could not tolerate the defeat of Israel
and the defeat of the American plan for a new Middle East in
which traitors, plotters, and political traders thrived and the
Resistance men lay down their weapons and raised the flags of
surrender....

"The US Administration is entitled to its dreams, but it
certainly cannot grant Israel a victory it did not achieve or
inflict on the victorious resistance a defeat that Israel
suffered...."

Corbin

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