Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Russia, Syria/Poland,
DE RUEHDM #5097/01 3031201
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301201Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2210
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6337
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4143
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2731
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7330
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1350
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4711
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0926
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7062
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 005097
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, DBENZE AND AFERNANDEZ,
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Russia, Syria/Poland,
Syria/Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories (10/30)
1. Summary: Syrian papers today reported President Asad's meeting
on October 29 with Former Premier of the Russian Federation Yevgeny
Primakov. Talks focused on current international and regional
events and bilateral relations. Primakov presented to President
Asad the Arabic version of his new book "The Middle East: The Known
and The Hidden," and delivered a lecture on Sunday at al-Asad
Library in Damascus on the occasion of the book's publication.
Primakov said that Israel has to accept the return of the occupied
Syrian Golan. However, he asserted, Israel was not ready for such
Papers also reported Foreign Minister Walid al-Mouallem's meeting
with Horst Freitag, Director General of the German Foreign Ministry,
focusing on cooperation between Syria and Germany to realize
security and stability in the region, since Germany will become the
head the European Union early next year. FM al-Mouallem also met
with Watold Waszczykowski, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister. Talks
focused on Syrian-European relations and means of developing and
strengthening them, and on developments in the region.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad reviews current regional events and Syrian-Russian
cooperation and friendship relations, with Yevgeny Primakov, Former
Premier of Russian Federation" (Government-owned Tishreen, 10/30)
"Premier Mohammad Naji Ottri discusses with Iranian Foreign Minister
Manouchehr Mottaki strong cooperative relations and prospects of
developing them in energy, transport and construction domains"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 10/30)
"FM Mouallem holds talks with German and Polish delegations on
Syrian-European relations. Waszczykowski, Polish Deputy Foreign
Minister: No solution in the Middle East without Syria"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 10/30)
"New confrontations between Israeli warplanes and German naval
forces. Speaker of Lebanese Parliament Berri postpones until Monday
consultations among Lebanon's political groups on the formation of a
national unity government. Calls for changing the government
continue. Hizbollah: The Lebanese refuse to be part of the US
project in the region" (Government-owned Tishreen, 10/30)
"Scores of Iraqis killed or wounded in American raids and separate
attacks" (Government-owned Tishreen, 10/30)
"EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana is hopeful for a Palestinian
breakthrough" (Government-owned Syria Times, 10/30)
"Colonel Charlie Brown, Democratic candidate for Congress: The US
image is worsening increasingly" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Accusations and Praises"
Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (10/30): "President Bush and his team of neoconservatives
let no media opportunity pass without attacking Syria and accusing
it of interfering in Lebanese and Iraqi affairs.... In a press
conference on Wednesday [25 October], President Bush leveled direct
accusations against Damascus under the headline of the so-called
'permanent US message to Syria.'
"Any reading of US priorities in the region must lead to Israel,
because Israel is the only and permanent American priority and
Washington's undisputed strategic ally....
"The American condemnation of Syria, therefore, is, by all
standards, praise for it. This is exactly one of the main reasons
behind popular Arab rallying around Syria and support for its
national and pan-Arab positions, especially toward the Arab-Israeli
"The region desperately needs US evenhandedness and objectivity, not
Bush's false accusations. It needs a fair position from the US
Administration to help control the tension in the region and
establish a just and comprehensive peace. Spiteful words and
accusations, on the other hand, will only cause further tension and
instability and damage US interests.
"Syria's permanent message to Bush's administration and the United
States in general is: Return to global legitimacy, stop interfering
in the domestic affairs of some countries in the region, and use the
language of dialogue to achieve cooperation and understanding and
solve problems, not the language of force, arrogance, and bias,
which, when tried, brought disastrous consequences for the region
and the United States alike."
"A New European Tone"
Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
commented (10/30): "There is a positive change in the position of
some European countries toward the situation in the Middle East....
"The beginning of the change came through recognition of Syria's
role in the region.... There were statements by some European
officials on the significance of Syria's role.... Previous policies
that relied on isolating Syria have proven a failure....
"However, some European governments still insist on their wrong and
intransigent positions, so much so that Britain prevented members of
parliament from visiting Syria....
"The new European position amounts to a genuine recognition of the
soundness of the positions that Syria has adopted in past years
toward extremely sensitive and delicate issues. The evidence is
that Syria did not change any of its positions and has maintained a
clear vision toward all regional issues....
"But more time is needed to see if this European change is serious
or merely a test balloon and political maneuver. But it is clear
that the failure of the Bush administration in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Palestine, and Lebanon has made Europe reconsider its policy,
especially since it was embroiled in those problems and was used to
serve the American plan in a way that harmed Europe most....
"As it listens to these European voices and watches these changes
closely, Syria knows that its political wisdom led to these results,
and that the countries that know how to preserve their dignity and
rights ultimately earn recognition of their outstanding roles. As
for Europe, we hope the change in tone will be the beginning of a
change in language, so that Europe, benefiting from its knowledge of
the region and its peoples, can play a role that befits its
reputation and principles."
"Iraq and the US Congress"
Ahmad Dawwa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(10/30): "There is contradiction in US statements on Iraq.... The
aim is to mislead the American people and distract them as much as
possible from what is happening in Iraq prior to the Congressional
"New signals between the lines of the statements that Bush and his
top aides are making show the inevitability of the withdrawal of
American forces within less than one year, to avoid further American
losses, not out of concern for the Iraqi people. The results of the
mid-term Congressional elections will define these signals in light
of the deteriorating Iraqi situation and the increase in the number
of American soldiers killed in Iraq. Here lies the role of Iraqi
political leaders in pressing for the adoption of a withdrawal
timetable. By doing so, they win two cards simultaneously: First,
they meet the demands of the Iraqi people, who reject the
occupation, and, second, they curb the security deterioration,
because the occupation is one of the main causes of this