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Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Lebanon, Peace Process,


DE RUEHDM #4385/01 2501143
O 071143Z SEP 06





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Lebanon, Peace Process,
Palestinian Territories, Iraq (9/7)

1. Summary: Syrian papers today continued to focus on Lebanon,
highlighting the visit to Lebanon by a Syrian popular delegation
that represented social and parliamentary activists, in addition
to Moslem and Christian clergymen. The intent of the visit was
to confirm Syria's popular and formal support for the Lebanese
people and the Resistance. The delegation met with President
Lahoud, Speaker Nabih Berri, and Lebanon's Grand Mufti, Mohammed
Rashid Qabani.

Headlines also featured reports on the gradual lifting of the
Israeli siege on Lebanon and cited a press statement by General
Aoun calling for a national unity government.

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The Middle East peace process was also prominent in the papers.
Headlines reported Italian PM Prodi's message to President Asad
about peace proposals in the region, Syrian Foreign Minister
Walid al-Mouallem's visit to Cairo to take part in the 126th
session of the Arab League Ministerial meeting, and a statement
by Russian FM Lavrov confirming that peace in the region cannot
be achieved without moving on the Syrian, Lebanese and
Palestinian tracks.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad receives a letter from Italian PM Prodi dealing
with the situation in the region" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,

"With the participation of FM al-Mouallem, the 126th session of
the Arab League Ministerial supports Syria's demand to restore
the occupied Golan, rejects US sanctions on Syria, and demands an
active mechanism to resume peace negotiations" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 9/7)

"Lahoud and Berri receive the Syrian popular delegation. Lahoud:
Syria has always been a real supporter of Lebanon" (Government-
owned Al-Ba'th, 9/7)

"Lebanese Minister of Energy Fneish praises Syrian efforts to
restore electricity in Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/7)

"Israel will lift siege on Lebanon today. Aoun demands a
national unity government and says: International forces will
not give us peace" (Government-owned TIshreen, 9/7)

"Lavrov confirms that Hizbollah is legitimate, not imported,
national resistance and that peace cannot be achieved in the
region without moving on the three tracks" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 9/7)

"7 Palestinians martyred, more than 30 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
The EU demands that Israel stop settlement activities"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 9/7)

"Britain will send additional forces to Iraq. Nine Iraqis
killed, 36 injured in various explosions in Baghdad" (Government-
owned Tishreen, 9/7)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:


"Allegiance to Lebanon or Someone Else?


Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(9/7): "Israel continues to violate Resolution 1701 on Lebanon,
and the United States is turning a blind eye to these serious
Israeli violations of a resolution that was drafted by the Bush
administration itself....

"Resolution 1701 came to save Israel from a predicament into

which it pushed itself. When the military hostilities ended,
the US Administration was no longer interested in the
implementation of the other clauses of the resolution.
America's friends and John Bolton's Lebanese team made no moves
to lift the blockade or to force Israel to withdraw from the
territories it occupied. Indeed, these friends and the Bolton
team found a good opportunity to continue their attack on the
Resistance with unprecedented viciousness and unlimited
insolence. They also found sufficient time to attack Syria and
its positions in a stunningly systematic manner and through an
enviable distribution of roles, while they were extremely polite
and timid toward the Israeli aggressor, not to mention their
complete silence on the Zionist espionage and sabotage networks,
which began to emerge and fall apart...."


"Another Defeat for the US Administration"


Ahmad Burghul, a commentator in government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(9/7): "Steadfastness of the Lebanese Resistance in the face of
the Israeli war machine proved a number of facts, primarily that
the scenarios for changing the region by force and through
foreign dictates can only fail, and that the future of the Arab
region is determined only by its peoples. This must be a lesson
for the US Administration before it becomes a lesson to

"The neoconservatives in Washington were behind the war that
Israel launched on Lebanon.... They exchanged roles with the war
criminals in the Zionist entity to move the region decades back,
destroy Arab capabilities, and attack the regimes and forces
that still block the implementation of the American-Zionist plan
that seeks to produce a new Middle East submissive to the
American-Israeli will...."


"When Annan Criticizes Israel"


Ahmad Hamadah, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (9/7): "Arabs and the United Nations are the main victims
of the domination of superpowers, led by the United States, over
the international organization, its role, and its resolutions.
Successive US administrations have used their weight in the
organization's agencies to invalidate resolutions that call on
Israel to implement Security Council resolutions....

"UN Secretary General Kofi Annan condemned Israel for its use of
cluster bombs in Lebanon, but this is not enough.... Annan's
condemnation and the establishment of an international team to
investigate this issue are positive steps. But they are not
enough to force Israel to respect international legitimacy. The
international organization must play its full role in
implementing Security Council resolutions that call on Israel to
withdraw from the occupied Arab territories. It must force
Israel to recognize the right of return for Palestinian refugees
and to implement Resolution 194. This is the only way for the
organization to regain its confiscated independent decision-
making authority."


"Where Is the Arab Challenge?"


Umar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (9/7): "Ever since the terrorist Israeli aggression on
Lebanon stopped, the United Nations has appeared as if begging
Israel to implement Resolution 1701, although Americans tailored
the resolution more to serve Israel and its wishes than to

benefit Lebanon....

"American and European pressure is directed at Lebanon, even
though, Lebanon has implemented the resolution.... The US
Administration does only what Israel wants and acts only to
serve Israel's interests.... The strangest thing is that Arab
efforts to help Lebanon in these difficult circumstances are

"Israel is engaged in procrastinations and maneuvers and is
defying international legitimacy. The Arab challenge,
therefore, must be serious. It must not feel content with media
statements or with some financial assistance to Lebanon. It is
inconceivable that the entire Arab nation lacks the means to
support its just causes."


"'The True Pledge' and Swap of Prisoners"


Ahmad Suwwan, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, said
(9/7): "Kofi Annan's announcement that he will appoint a
representative to negotiate a swap of prisoners between
Hizbollah and Israel proves that Israel has failed to impose the
condition that it offered before and during its war on Lebanon
as the excuse for the war....

"Israel has failed to achieve any of its objectives in the war.
After the Israeli defeat, the issue of the two captured Israeli
soldiers returned to square one, and Hizbollah kept its pledge
that the two Israelis would not be released except through
indirect negotiations and an exchange of prisoners....

"Thanks to the Resistance, Israel was unable to obtain the
release of the two soldiers...."


© Scoop Media

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