Cablegate: Damascus Media Reaction: Syria/Turkey, Shara, Lebanon,
DE RUEHDM #5377/01 3411506
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 071506Z DEC 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2583
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6426
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4218
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2817
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7398
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RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4782
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0997
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7133
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 005377
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/Turkey, Shara, Lebanon,
Baker/Hamilton, Syria/US, Bolton's Resignation (12/7)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on Dec. 7 reported that President Asad
received Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Dec. 6 The
two leaders reviewed the situations in Iraq, the occupied
territories, and Lebanon, and mutual cooperation, reiterating the
importance of achieving security and stability in the region.
Papers also featured VP Shara's presentation at a meeting of the
National Progressive Front. He said that "Syria's steadfastness and
principled positions have pushed western countries to change their
stances towards Syria and to send officials to Damascus." Shara
reiterated Syria's commitment to the peace process and to the
restoration of the occupied Golan.
He criticized U.S. unilateral policy, accusing the U.S. of using
UNSC resolutions as "a means to oppress the third world, mainly the
Middle East." On Lebanon, Shara confirmed that Syria has no
intention to return to Lebanon, because Syria has decided to let
bygones be bygones, and that Syrian-Lebanese relations are deeper
and stronger than any other considerations or conceptions. Shara
criticized western officials' continuous visits to Lebanon to
dictate what they want. He denied that Syria has interfered in any
way in Lebanon, saying, "had she interfered, the issue would have
been resolved quickly." On Iraq, Shara renewed Syria's support for
the political process in Iraq and for its territorial integrity,
adding, "this process requires setting a timetable for withdrawal of
the occupation troops," stressing the importance of comprehensive
national reconciliation among the various Iraqi parties and sectors.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad discusses the situation in the region and bilateral
cooperation with Turkish PM Erdogan, reiterating the importance of
easing tension and fostering Syrian-Turkish coordination"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 12/7)
"In a comprehensive political presentation, VP Shara: We do not
interfere in Lebanon; no return of the Syrian army to Lebanon....
Resisting pressure has made Syria more respectful.... Syria is a
moderate state and has not changed positions.... We will not accept
less than the return of the whole of the Golan" (Government-owned
"The Baker-Hamilton committee acknowledges the dangerous situation
in Iraq, and recommends direct talks with Syria and Iran and
achievement of peace on all tracks" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th,
"Information Minister Bilal: US acknowledgment of failure indicates
the collapse of its arrogance" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 12/7)
"An Israeli official considers the Baker-Hamilton Report worrying"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 1/27)
"Al-Saniora government aborts initiatives for settlement. Al-Hoss:
The Israeli concern for the al-Saniora government raises suspicion.
Skaf: Wager on foreign illusions must come to an end. Albert
Mansour: Instigating sedition in Lebanon is a US-Israeli desire.
Aoun: The government has fallen into a deep coma. The opposition
will take new forms; next Sunday will be crucial" (Government-owned
"In a new provocative measure, the Olmert government encourages
settlement in occupied Golan" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 12/7)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"So That the Golden Opportunity Will Not Be Wasted"
Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen commented
(12/7): "One of the fabrications of the Bush administration in the
past few years was the claim that Syria is a factor of instability
in the region and that it interferes in the domestic affairs of
Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine.
"But as time passed and the truth emerged and it became clear that
US foreign policy, especially in our region, is based on lies,
things gradually began to return to normal. American attempts to
isolate Syria on the Arab and international levels failed, and the
overwhelming majority of the world, headed by European countries,
realized more than ever the importance of the Syrian role in the
security and stability of the region.
"We do not claim that the US Administration has abandoned its
hostile policy toward Syria. But facts must emerge, no matter what
iron enclosure has been built around them. The first of these facts
is that Syria is part of the solution, not part of the problem....
"We hope the US Administration will learn from the lessons of
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon, lessons for which the Republican
Party has paid a heavy price. The American taxpayer is also paying
"The experiences of the neoconservatives, who are controlling not
only American policy but also international policy, have proven that
the language of force, fire, and disregard for the will of nations
is useless, causing only disasters, tragedies, wars, destruction,
and further terror.
"Today we need the language of dialogue, which the Bush
administration has completely demolished. Dialogue is the way to
salvation from the crises and wars that the neoconservatives have
ignited across the world....
"The opportunity is still there. But judging from our experience
with an administration that knows nothing but the language of force
and violence, we are not very optimistic."
"Obstinacy of Bankrupts"
Khalid al-Ashhab, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(12/7): "The Bush administration is facing a stifling crisis at
home and abroad.... On the one hand, it is unable to stop the daily
military and human bleeding of its troops in Iraq, which brings
further isolation upon it and heightens the rage of American voters.
On the other, it is unable to continue to mislead Americans and
maintain their support for what it is doing or planning to do around
the world, especially after the series of failures in Iraq, Lebanon,
and even in the Iranian nuclear file.
"The satellites of the US Administration in the world are in a worse
situation because, in addition to the failure, they have the
disgrace of collaboration with and loyalty to foreigners....
"While Bush easily abandoned John Bolton and others, these
satellites had barricaded themselves in positions to which the Bush
administration pushed them, closing their ears to the roaring sound
of the street that is calling for their departure and punishment.
They insist on turning stupidity into cleverness and foreign treason
into national affiliation. This is the obstinacy of bankruptcy and
"Bolton after Rumsfeld, Retreat of a Hegemonic Plan"
Umar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(12/7): "John Bolton's resignation or dismissal from his post as
the US representative to the United Nations might be a sign of a new
American political approach toward the region, at least during the
remaining time in office of the Bush Administration. But, at the
same time, it marks a disappointing retreat for a political-military
offensive that lacked the logic of justice and law, generated
popular international hostility that embarrassed even the friends of
the United States, and, consequently, caused American
"Bolton might be another scapegoat who will be followed by others as
part of the attempt to beautify the US image at home and abroad.
But the measure, in and of itself, reflects the grave failure that
the American project has reaped, not only in the Middle East, but
also in the world at large, especially since the hawks of the US
Administration -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz, and others --
played a key role in the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq and in the
adoption of punitive measures against Syria, North Korea, and Iran,
through the fabrication of lies about these countries. That made
Americans themselves, before the friends of the United States, ask:
Why are we proceeding with this plan to dominate the world? Why are
our soldiers being killed in Iraq? Why do others hate us...?
"Bolton was the ugly and hostile face of a bad approach that brought
nothing but the hatred of nations and internal and external failure
to a policy that appears to be gradually retreating with the fall of
its initiatives one after the other as a natural result of an