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

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #5279/01 3111456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071456Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2411
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6361
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4160
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2751
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7345
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1370
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4726
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0943
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7078

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 005279

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/Europe, Syria/Lebanon,
Congressional elections, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Iraq
(11/7)


1. Summary: Syrian papers today reported President Asad's meeting
on November 6 with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store,
focusing on Syrian-European relations, general developments and a
potential European role in the Middle East peace process. Headlines
featured a joint press conference held by FM Mouallem and the
visiting Norwegian FM, who described his talks with President Asad
as "candid, direct, and useful."

On Syrian-Lebanese relations, papers reported the visit to Damascus
by Ali Qanso, Chairman of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in
Lebanon, and his meting with Vice President Farouk al-Shara. In a
statement following the meeting, Mr. Qanso praised Syria's keenness
for the achievement of national accord among the Lebanese.
Papers also reported that German weekly magazine Der Spiegel
recently revealed a new misunderstanding between Germany and Israel
after Israeli Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit failed to present to a
German delegation last week proof of his accusations that Syria
smuggled arms to Hizbollah in Lebanon.
End of summary.

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2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad discusses current developments in the region,
Syrian-European relations and the European role in the Middle East
peace process with the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Ghar Store.
Minister Store: Syria has pivotal role in achieving security and
stability. Talks with President Asad were frank and fruitful.
Foreign Minister Al-Mouallem: US accusations against Syria reflect
failure of Washington's policy in the region.... We hope that next
year will witness launch of the Middle East peace process"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/7)
"Vice President Shara discusses recent developments in Lebanon with
Ali Qanso, Chairman of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party in
Lebanon. Qanso reiterates importance of national unity to serve
Lebanon's Arab identity.... We all know Syria's sacrifices to
realize stability in Lebanon" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/7)
"The second round of Lebanese consultations will be held today.
Berri calls for halting media campaigns. President Lahoud: Everyone
is invited to adopt national discourse instead of seeking support
from abroad. Olmert demands a meeting with Lebanese PM Al-Saniora"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/7)
"Der Spiegel: Israeli statements about smuggling arms to Lebanon
from Syria are mere lies" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/7)
"The Israeli aggression against Gaza Strip enters its sixth day. A
new Israeli massacre against Palestinian students in Beit Hanoun:
The death toll rises to 53. A Palestinian woman carries out
martyrdom operation amidst a crowd of occupation soldiers"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/7)
"The US Congressional elections will commence today. The Saddam
death sentence narrows the margin between Democrats and Republicans"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/7)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:

--------------------------------
"The Key to Peace and Stability"
--------------------------------
Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawrah, wrote (11/07): "There is growing talk by European
officials and some Americans about the regional importance of Syria
and the need to talk with it.... This interest in Syria sends
several messages. The first is that Europe is in the process of
revising its policy after studying the bad American experience in
the region and drawing the necessary conclusions.
"The second message entails implicit criticism of the policy of
marginalization and isolation that the administration of the
neoconservatives, led by President Bush, has pursued against
Syria...,a policy that has resulted in demolishing the basis of
regional stability....
"The new positions toward Syria also show its strategic status in
the Middle East and the pressing need for Damascus in the effort to
entrench security and stability in the region....
"Syria's importance lies in two things: Its geo-strategic location
in the heart of the region and its sound policy toward events and
their future results.... Syria is an influential country by virtue
of its location, and it is a country that has not erred in its
reading of events and the way they have developed, because it relies


on rich experience in analyzing events, foreseeing the future,
giving advice, and warning against foolish and adventurous policies.
Syria has had views on all developments in the region and the
mistaken interventionist policies in it, and it has never been
proven wrong in its views on any event, big or small.
"The Bush administration's bet on the possibility of iso
lating
Syria, marginalizing it, and canceling its role from the region's
political map has been a 100 percent failure."
--------------------------------------
"Will Baker Repair What Bush Has Spoiled?"
--------------------------------------
Dr. Khalaf al-Jarrad, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (11/07): "What makes the mission of James Baker's commission
on Iraq important is Baker's experience in the region, the
bipartisan support for his work, the growing American failure in
Iraq and the need to extricate the United States from this serious
impasse....
"The world will soon know if Baker will really offer a lifeline to
President Bush or if his recommendations will fail to correct what
has been spoiled by the policy of blind brute force and the logic of
hegemony and imposition of the colonial will on peoples and
societies with civilizations that extend back thousands of years.
These peoples and societies have long historical experience in
defeating invaders and aggressors, smashing their tyranny, and
inflicting shame and disgrace on them, for the sake of dignity,
honor, and freedom, irrespective of the huge sacrifices and the
heavy cost of resistance...."
-----------
"Isolation"
-----------
As'ad Abbud, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(11/07): "The US policy of isolating other countries has often
proven a failure, despite the negative influence of the policy on
the countries isolated, such as China, Cuba, North Korea, and
Iran....
"The United States today boasts that it is trying to isolate Syria,
and it loudly warns other countries against helping Syria come out
of its isolation....
"I do not say that this policy of pressure and isolation has not
harmed our programs and our efforts to implement reform and move
forward. But despite this, we are succeeding in resisting these
attempts. The signs of success are seen in many places, from
Europe, where many figures have warned against the seriousness of
isolating Syria -- and we see an example of this even in the United
States itself -- to Damascus, where as soon as one international
conference ends a new international or regional conference
begins....
"The policy of pressure and isolation against Syria has failed
entirely.... Dialogue is the only option."
----------------------
"Where Are You Arabs?"
----------------------
Dr. Buthaynah Sha'ban, Minister for Expatriate Affairs, commented in
government-owned Tishreen (11/7): "Israel's actions against the
Palestinians constitute real genocide.... Arab rulers, especially
Washington's allies, continue to be silent and motionless....
"President Bush openly stated that what concerns him in the Middle
East is oil and commitment to Israel and other allies.... How can an
Arab be an ally to the United States in its absolute support for
Israel and at the same time respond to the cries of mothers and
children in Palestine, Iraq, and recently in Lebanon, who were the
victims of Israeli and American crimes committed within an organized
genocidal war to fragment the Arabs, sow divisions among them, and
push them toward sectarian and civil fighting....?"
Corbin

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