Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Us, Syria/India,
DE RUEHDM #4237/01 2401400
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281400Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1257
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6231
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4067
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2627
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7258
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1257
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4640
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0853
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6992
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 004237
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/US, Syria/India,
Syria/Cuba, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Iran (8/28)
1. Summary: Syrian papers reported President Asad's meeting with
US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. Talks focused on regional
and international developments and the current situation in
Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and Iraq, and views were
exchanged about reviving the Middle East peace process and
maintaining security and stability in the region. Reverend
Jackson briefed President Asad on the goals of his visit to the
region and confirmed that Syria has a pivotal role in the Middle
East and cannot be isolated. Jackson also met with Foreign
Minister Walid Mouallem and Deputy Foreign Minister Dr. Faisal
Miqdad. At a news conference with Deputy Minister Miqdad,
Jackson said he also brought up the subject of a prisoner swap in
his discussions with Syrian leaders. Jackson said that President
Asad told him that Syria is ready to offer all humanitarian
assistance to make Jackson's mission a success and to free
captured Israeli soldiers and Arab prisoners. Reverend Jackson
pointed out that the main task of his delegation was to maintain
the ceasefire and offer humanitarian aid and relief to those who
were displaced and affected by the war in Lebanon, and to
facilitate a prisoner exchange. Dr. Miqdad reiterated the
importance of dialogue and exchange of ideas and opinions to
establish a just and comprehensive peace, adding that the use of
force in this region or any other part of the world is not the
way to bring about a just peace.
Papers also reported Vice President Shara's and Foreign Minister
Mouallem's meetings with C.R. Gary Khan, the Indian Primier's
Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process, focusing on the
latest developments in the region in the wake of the war in
Lebanon and the adoption of UNSC Resolution 1701. Gary Khan said
in a statement to SANA that India has not taken any decision
regarding withdrawal of its troops from UNIFIL, pending
clarification from the UN on UNIFIL's mission following adoption
of Resolution 1701.
On Syrian-Cuban relations, papers reported Syrian Information
Minister Bilal's visit to Cuba and his talks with Fernando
Ramirez, Member of the Political Bureau of the Cuban Communist
Party, and Marcos Rodriguez, Acting Foreign Minister. Talks
dealt with means of boosting bilateral relations, and ongoing
preparations for the Non-Aligned Movement Summit in mid-
September. The Cuban side underscored the importance of Syria's
participation in this summit due to its main role in serving
causes of the NAM.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad discusses the latest developments in Lebanon,
Palestine and Iraq and the possibility of boosting the peace
process in the region, with Reverend Jesse Jackson, leader for
Civil Rights for Black Americans in the USA. Jackson: Syria has
a pivotal role in enhancing security and stability in the
region.... Syria cannot be isolated" (Government-owned Tishreen,
"Nasrallah, SecGen of Hizbollah: Syria has been supporting the
Resistance since 1982; Syria can announce that it is a partner
in the 2006 victory. Nasrallah confirms: Israel persists in
violations of UNSC Resolution 1701.... The Resistance reserves
the right to respond to any Israeli attack as long as occupation
continues" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/28)
"Syrian Vice-President Shara and Foreign Minister al-Mouallem
discuss latest developments in the region following the Israeli
aggression with Special Envoy of Indian Premier.... Stability
depends on implementing international resolutions and ending
occupation" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/28)
"Cuba: President Asad's participation in the Non-Aligned Summit
is important. Information Minister Bilal holds talks in Havana
on enhancing bilateral relations and preparing for the NAM summit
in September" (Government-owned Tishreen, 8/28)
"Syrian Ambassador in Washington: President Bush's endeavors to
isolate Syria have weakened US diplomacy" (Government-owned Al-
"Israel rejects lifting siege on Lebanon except on conditions.
President Lahoud calls on UN SecGen Annan to uncover Israel's use
of internationally banned weapons" (Government-owned Tishreen,
"More than 10 Palestinians killed or injured in Israeli shelling
of Gaza. Occupation forces arrest Mahmoud Musleh, Chairman of
the Palestinian Legislative Council" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
"Moscow confirms that Iranian nuclear program is peaceful. Italy
proposes to be a partner in the negotiations. Tehran
successfully test-fires a new submarine-to-surface missile, the
Thaqeb" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/28)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Arabs Must Be Very Careful"
An unsigned editorial in independent weekly magazine "Abiad wa
Aswad" said (8/28): "It is obvious that the US-Israeli scheme in
the region was based on the following points: First, US
escalation against Iran on the pretext of Iran's endeavor to
obtain nuclear weapons. Second, maintaining Israel's security by
hitting Hizbollah. Third, making a deal with the Arabs during
the period of escalation to isolate them in the forthcoming
confrontation with Iran....
"But the recent war has foiled the US-Israeli scheme at an early
stage. Israel has failed to hit Hizbollah in Lebanon. This had
an adverse impact on the US and Israel, whose images have been
shaken, at least in the Arab and Moslem region....
"As Arabs, we must be extremely careful in the next stage.
Neither a strike nor a deal will not be in our interests. We
have to make political, military and diplomatic efforts day and
night to avoid wasting this strategic victory achieved by
Hizbollah and to build a truly new Middle East in which we have
"Care of Bolton and His Lebanese Friends"
Ahmad Dawwa, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (8/28): "The Israeli violations of Resolution 1701 are
repeated daily while the international community is just
watching, as if Israel were above the law....
"We wonder why the advocates of freedom and sovereignty in
Lebanon, who welcomed the Resolution and moved to fulfill
Lebanon's obligations under it, are not using their friendships
with the United States and its representative to the United
Nations, John Bolton, who was decorated with the Cedar Medal, to
stop Israeli violations and prove that the Bush Administration
does indeed respect them....
"The fact that these people are hiding suggests that they were
instructed to remain silent about the Israeli violations and
divert attention to other issues that would add a new crisis to
serve Israel's interests....
"Doesn't the call unleashed by some of these people to deploy
international forces on both sides of the Syrian-Lebanese border
-- although Resolution 1701 does not stipulate this --
constitute a gratuitous service to Israel, whether intentional
or not? Don't the baseless claims by this team about the
smuggling of weapons between Syria and Lebanon constitute a
cover for the repeated Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace
and Resolution 1701?
"These practices by the anti-Syria camp in Lebanon are very
dangerous to Lebanon's security and peace and also to the
sovereignty for which they shed crocodile tears....
"The talk about deployment of international forces on the border
with Syria paves the way for the complete cancellation of the
Lebanese Army's role. If this is not one of the missions of the
national army, Lebanon will turn into another Gaza: [controlled
by] Israel from the air, the sea, and the south, and the
international forces from the east and north. Is this how
sovereignty is achieved and freedom is preserved...?
"Some of the false advocates of sovereignty in Lebanon prove
time after time that they are just tools in the American plan."
"Winds of Israeli Defeat"
Izz-al-Din Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned
Tishreen, wrote (8/28): "Europe, which during the aggression
appeared unable to do anything in favor of Lebanon at the
Security Council, is now using all its ground, naval and air
power and its technical expertise to provide protection for
Israel from a potential, not actual, danger....
"Europe decided to send about 7,000 soldiers to the UNIFIL force
in South Lebanon; that is, a soldier for every seven Lebanese
citizens in the towns and villages south of the Litani River.
Some European countries, like France, do not mind sending a
soldier for every three Lebanese citizens. For Israel's
security requires taking such measures and more, and Israel's
satisfaction is the ultimate objective of some European
presidents and heads of government, who claim, day and night, to
be friends of Lebanon....
"This European enthusiasm was a result of Israel's defeat in the
war with Hizbollah.... The United States, Israel, and some
Europeans want to circumvent UNSC Resolution 1701. They claim
that it authorizes them to disarm Hizbollah and control Lebanese
security. They coordinate with their team in Lebanon for this
purpose. This team, which hates the Resistance and which is
connected with Israel, hopes that the international forces will
deploy throughout Lebanon. But UN Secretary General Kofi Annan
shocked all of them when he stressed that Resolution 1701 does
not allow this....
"All cards have been exposed. The resistance option has been
entrenched. And the winds of the Israeli defeat have swept away
the plans and dreams of the 14 March team."