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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Lebanon, Syria/Venezuela,

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DE RUEHDM #4251/01 2411148
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (508)
O 291148Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1274
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6236
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4072
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2630
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7261
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1262
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4643
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0858
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6995

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 004251

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: Lebanon, Syria/Venezuela,
Syria/Egypt, Syria/Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Palestinian
Territories (8/29)


1. Summary: Syrian papers today led with reports of the visit
to Lebanon by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Headlines
featured Annan's meeting with Nabih Berri, Speaker of the
Lebanese Parliament, and their press conference in Beirut, in
which Annan expressed full solidarity with the Lebanese people
and demanded an end to the Israeli siege of Lebanon. Annan
called for focusing all efforts to help the Lebanese people in
facing their current difficult situation, and for implemention of
UNSC Resolution 1701 by all concerned parties. Berri noted that
talks with the UN SecGen were useful, adding "we focused on
Israel's continuing siege on Lebanon, which violates UNSC
Resolution 1701."

On Syrian-Venezuelan relations, papers reported the visit to
Damascus by Mrs. Cilia Flores, Speaker of the Venezuelan
National Legislative Council, who conferred with Dr. Mahmoud al-
Abrash, Speaker of the Syrian People's Assembly. Talks touched
on the current situation in the region, and means of boosting
bilateral relations, particularly in the parliamentary domain.
Mrs. Flores emphasized the depth of Syrian-Venezuelan historical
relations, which have improved following the election of
President Chavez, stressing her country's support for Syria's
stances on Arab issues. She denounced continued pressures by
the US Administration on Syria and Iran. Dr. Al-Abrash hailed
Venezuela's positive stances on just causes, including its
President's recall of his country's Ambassador to Israel to
denounce the Israeli aggression against the Lebanese and
Palestinian peoples.

On Syrian-Egyptian relations, papers reported the visit to
Damascus of an Egyptian parliamentary delegation that conferred
with Dr. Al-Abrash. The delegation emphasized the deep-rooted
ties between Syria and Egypt. The delegation included members
of the Egyptian parliament, representatives of non-governmental
organizations, university teachers and others; all expressed
full support for Syria's positions in the face of pressures and
challenges.

On Syrian-Cuban relation, papers reported that Raul Castro,
Acting Cuban President, received Syrian Minister of Information
Muhsen Bilal. The meeting was the Acting President's first with
any foreign official. During the meeting, Minister Bilal
conveyed President Asad's compliments to the Acting President and
wished a quick recovery to President Fidel Castro, enabling him
to resume his duties as President and to chair the Non-Aligned
Summit scheduled for mid-September in Havana. The Acting
President reiterated the importance of President Asad's
participation in the Summit.
End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Lebanon reiterates the importance of full Israeli withdrawal,
lifting Israeli siege on Lebanon, releasing Lebanese prisoners.
UN SecGen Annan in Beirut, visiting the demolished southern
suburb, discussing post-war era: Disarming Hizbollah is a
Lebanese issue" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/29)

"Israeli PM Olmert acknowledges defeat in Lebanon. The Israeli
government forms an investigation committee to contain the
scandal. Ha'aretz: Israel is a useless American hound"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/29)

"Lebanese MP Jumblatt meets an Israeli MP in Paris" (Government-
owned Al-Ba'th, 8/29)

"A Danish Parliament member calls for arrest of Israeli Foreign
Minister Livni for war crimes in Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-
Thawra, 8/29)

"Al-Abrash, Speaker of the People's Assembly, discusses
enhancement of Parliamentary relations with Mrs. Flores, Speaker
of the Venezuelan National Legislative Council. Mrs. Flores: We
support Syria's positions on facing pressures" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 8/29)


"Cuba's Acting President Raul Castro receives Information
Minister Bilal, describing Syria as the 'diamond and star' of the
East, and stressing Cuba's desire for President Asad's
participation in the NAM Summit in Havana" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 8/29)

"More than eight Palestinians killed in Israeli aggression
against the Gaza Strip" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 8/29)

"Sudanese President al-Bashir rejects meeting President Bush's
envoy" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/29)

"Iranian President Ahmadinejad: Our decision to possess nuclear
technology is final" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 8/29)

"More than seven American soldiers killed in Iraq. Assaults in
Baghdad and Mosul. Clashes in Diwanieh" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 8/29)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Who Violates Lebanon's Sovereignty?"

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

Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (8/29): "The Israeli Defense Minister has
called on Syria to respect Lebanon's sovereignty and freedom....

"Look how the rulers of Tel Aviv falsify the facts on the
ground. They stifle Lebanon with an unjust blockade from all
sides and, with American support and UN cover, they bring
international forces to protect their invading forces and cover
their aggression and constant threats against Lebanon from
inside its territory, and then they accuse Syria of not
respecting Lebanon's sovereignty and freedom!

"Israel's alleged interest in Lebanon's sovereignty is
consistent with the American-French "hypocrisy" about Lebanon's
sovereignty. But while Israel practices military aggression
against Lebanon's sovereignty and freedom and then accuses
others of threatening them, the United States and France have
adopted the method of diplomatic interference in Lebanon's
affairs, policies, and fraternal relations with Syria....

"Those who claim to care about Lebanon's sovereignty and
freedom, including those who constitute a local extension for
them and who draw strength from abroad, are the only ones who
violate Lebanon's sovereignty and who do not respect Lebanon's
freedom and independence. They pretend to care about Lebanon's
sovereignty and freedom only to justify their flagrant
interference in Lebanon and to advance their objective of
abolishing Lebanon's identity and its Arab role, under the
slogan of maintaining its sovereignty, freedom, and
independence. As for Israel, the objective is to isolate
Lebanon from Syria so that Israel can implement its plan of
undermining the elements of Lebanon's steadfastness, especially
its valiant resistance, to avenge the military, moral, and
political defeat that the resistance inflicted on Israel and its
army...."

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

"Suspicious Moves and Legitimate Questions"

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

Dr. Khalaf al-Jarrad, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (8/29): "We wonder why Lebanon's February 14 group is not
reacting to Israel's threats of new rounds of fighting in
Lebanon and not asking its 'friends' in Washington and Paris to
force Israel to lift the blockade of Lebanon? Does this mean


"This conclusion appears logical in light of the call by some
February 14 leaders to disarm Hizbollah at a time when the
Zionist army is still sitting heavily on part of the Lebanese
land....

"But the more important question is: Why has the issue of the
Lebanese-Syrian border become the main concern for France and
the ministers and deputies who speak for the 14 February group?
Is the aim, as they claim, to control smuggling and the entry of
weapons into Lebanon? Or are there bigger and wider objectives?
Have the mountainous, agricultural, and dirt tracks that the
inhabitants of the Lebanese border towns use to buy their needs
and transport their sick people to Homs hospitals in Syria
become the source of danger in the eyes of the February 14
leaders? Or have they decided to remove the only lung that the
Lebanese people use to breathe, close the gate that embraced
hundreds of thousands of Lebanese citizens who were forced to
leave their homes by the barbaric Zionist aggression, and punish
the Lebanese people for their genuine and spontaneous national
and pan-Arab choices?

"Many nationalist Lebanese forces have condemned and protested
against this focus on the Syrian-Lebanese border and the calls
for deploying international forces along it, describing these
calls as 'shameful' and warning that they serve Israel's
interests, harm Lebanon's sovereignty, and create tension in
relations between Lebanon and Syria...."

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

"Why Don't Arabs Cherish Hizbollah's Victory?"

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

Dr. Buthaina Sha'ban, Minister of Expatriate Affairs, commented
in government-owned Tishreen (8/29): "We regret the attitude of
some Arab officials and media toward Hizbollah's victory and
their focus on Hizbollah's weapons while Israel is continuing
its blockade of Lebanon and bringing to South Lebanon troops
from countries known for their colonial past and for arming and
fully supporting Israel to ensure Israel's security....

"While Israel continues to besiege Lebanon and kill
Palestinians, Lebanese passenger planes are searched in Jordan
and Arab troops guard an opening in the wall between Gaza and
Egypt so that Palestinians will not use it to infiltrate their
homeland and so that the grand Gaza prison will remain tightly
closed.... While some Arabs are busy with Resolution 1701, which
was adopted to save Israel from a miserable military defeat,
they are saying nothing about the massacres that Israel
perpetrated in Lebanon and they are doing nothing to promote
Amnesty International's report on Israel's war crimes or to
protest Washington's supply of cluster bombs to Israel.... While
international media are busy analyzing the reasons behind
Israel's defeat..., while Israel is setting up commissions to
investigate why it lost the war, some Arabs are busy with
attempts to dismantle the elements of their own power by
disarming their resistance and implementing resolutions that
were issued to subject their countries to the control of foreign
powers.... While many foreigners express sympathy with Arabs,
some Arabs are busy turning the victory into defeat and
entrenching disdain for Arabs and their rights....

"What did Milosevic do more than Olmert, Peretz, and Halutz did,
so that the latter three should escape punishment? The answer
is: If Arabs supported themselves once, we would see the whole

"We wonder how Arabs could achieve a historic victory and yet
some Arabs do not support their victory, and indeed participate
in the effort to undermine it....

"Many in the world have started to realize the truth about
Israel and to understand that it, along with the
neoconservatives, is the spearhead of the escalating brutality
in international relations. There is a real change in European
public opinion in favor of Arab rights. Will Arabs stick to
this historic transformation in order to achieve a just and
comprehensive peace? Will they support it and serve as one of
its important tools? Or will they remain involved in the myth
of Israel's superiority, and in friendship with the United
States, even after the Resistance defeated the myth and the
United States joined Olmert in his savage war? Arabs broke free
from the sense of weakness and humiliation when the Arab
resistance filled Lebanon's soil with the blood of Arab pride.
Let all of us adhere to this new dignified reality because we
are all in one boat, whether we like it or not...."
------------------

"Why It Is Hated?"

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

Omar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (8/29): "Since the invasion of Afghanistan, the US
Administration has done nothing other than anger Arabs and
Muslims and other free nations in the world with its
subservience to Israeli policy and the Jewish-American lobby....

"The US Administration has turned a deaf ear to all those who
have given it advice at home and abroad. It has turned a blind
eye to UN resolutions, to human rights conventions, and even to
the principles of the American Constitution itself when it
occupied Iraq. It has persisted in its support for Israel and
has sponsored the aggression against Lebanon. It has aborted
efforts of the Security Council and the international community
to stop the aggression. It then obtained UNSC Resolution 1701 as
dictated by Israel. All this generated hate for the US
Administration and led to demonstrations in Europe and all other
parts of the world, including the United States itself...."

Corbin

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