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Cablegate: Syria/Pdrk, Us/Syria, Syria/Eu, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0664/01 1831248
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021248Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3791
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6919
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4614
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3264
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7753
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1847
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5172
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1379
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7494

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000664

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA MDAVIDSON
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria/PDRK, US/Syria, Syria/EU, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian
Territories, Rice's Upcoming Visit to Region (6/29-7/2)

1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 2 reported the July 1 meeting of
Assistant Secretary General of the Ba'ath Party, Abdullah al-Ahmar,
with Kim Tai Jung, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign Relations' Bureau
at the Central Committee of the Democratic Korean Work Party. The
two reviewed current developments in the region and the latest
developments in the Korean peninsula, in addition to current
challenges resulting from policies of hegemony and aggression that
pose a threat to the security and stability in both areas and the
world. Al-Ahmar stressed Syria's appreciation for the PDRK's
support for Syria's right to all of the occupied Golan and for a
just and comprehensive peace in line with legitimate international
resolutions.

Government-owned Al-Thawra Chief Editor Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad
criticized the US ban on travel to the United States by Syrian
officials and pro-Syria Lebanese figures, charging the US
administration of correcting its mistakes by making more mistakes
and expressing pessimism that the Bush administration will accept
facts on the ground and stop creating chaos in every place where it
sets a foot.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Assistant Secretary General of the Ba'ath Party
al-Ahmar holds talks with Tai Jong, Deputy Chairman of the Foreign
Relations Bureau at the Central Committee of the Democratic Korean
Work Party, stressing importance of boosting bilateral relations"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'ty, 7/2)

"Former Deputy German Foreign Minister Helmut Schaefer: There will
be no peace without dialogue with Syria" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 7/1)

"Two European Parliament officials: We support dialogue with Syria,
and we will not freeze the partnership association agreement"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/1)

"Cautious calm prevails in Nahr el-Bared refugee camp after violent
confrontations. Warnings against continuing US and NATO
penetrations into Lebanon continue" (Government-owned Tishreen,
7/1)

"Lebanese President Lahoud is determined to turn over the presidency
at the end of his term of office in a way that brings the Lebanese
together. Lebanese Opposition: The governing team is implementing
a US agenda" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/30)

"Former Lebanese Minister Arslan: What we are witnessing in Lebanon
is a continuation of the July aggression. The governing team has no
nationalist conscience " (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/2)

"Sheikh al-Gharib, Head of the Druze Sect in Lebanon: Syria has
always stood by Lebanon" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/2)

"British figures call on new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to
withdraw British troops from Iraq immediately" (Government-owned
Al-Thawra, 7/2)

"US Republican Senator Richard Lugar calls for holding a meeting on
Iraq with the participation of Iraq's neighboring countries"
(Government-owned AL-Thawra, 7/2)

"Disclosure of a new US massacre in Baquba; 350 Iraqis killed, 150
houses demolished in US air assaults" (Government-owned Tishreen,
7/2)

"President Bush faces a bloody summer in Iraq. 100 US troops killed
during June" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/1)

"The Iraqi Reconciliation Front suspends its participation in
government meetings. Five US troops killed, 7 wounded south of
Baghdad" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/30)

"Six Palestinians martyred in Khan Younis and al-Maghazi refugee

camp. Hamas: We reject the deployment of international forces in
Gaza" (Government-owned Tisrheen, 7/1)

"One Palestinian martyred, scores arrested in an Israeli incursion
against Nablus, putting the Palestinian authority in an embarrassing
situation. The Al-Aqsa Brigades persist in resistance"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/30)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Days Pregnant with Mistakes"

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

Chief Editor Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, chief editor of government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (7/1): "Americans are now confused and bewildered,
and in such a case follies increase. US confusion takes many forms,
one of which is the US tone in its approach toward Syria.

"Just a short time ago, the Bush administration talked about
dialogue, especially in the wake of the Baker-Hamilton report. When
Mouallem and Rice met in Sharm al-Sheikh, the impression was that
Americans had taken a sip, just a sip, from the cup of wisdom, which
made them understand the importance of dialogue.

"But the dose was apparently not enough. Between the call for
dialogue and the current nervous and intransigent rejection of it,
Bush's administration is showing its confusion and impotence.

"The objective characterization of what is happening is that this
administration has exhausted all the futile avenues in its effort to
come out of its crises, and I do not say crisis. This is simply
because its evil intuition always leads it to the worst options....

"Those who contemplate the policy of the Bush administration find
that it tries to correct its mistakes by making more mistakes.
Applying new pressure against Syria is part of the series of
mistakes the United States is used to making, or we are accustomed
to seeing the United States make. There is no longer much optimism
that Bush's administration will accept the facts on the ground and
stop creating chaos in every place where it sets a dirty foot.

"We need no fortunetellers to foresee that the coming days are
pregnant with everything that might prove fateful for the entire
region."

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

"Bush Persists in His War on Iraq"

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

Ali Nasrallah, a commentator in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (7/1): "The UN inspection commission on Iraq's
weapons of mass destruction today closes down its offices without
finding any of the alleged weapons that the United States and
Britain used as a pretext to invade Iraq.... This coincides with
President Bush's appointment of a new adviser for Iraq war affairs
and his disgusting claim that the United States is still at war and
that the military operation in Iraq is still at its beginning....

"It appears that Bush, who has asked the angry American people to
give him more time to achieve victory and success, is determined to
continue the course of failure and lies.... Bush does not seem to be
one of those who feel ashamed of their acts and conduct, no matter
how shameful and disgraceful they might be."

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

"Visit and Pessimism"

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

Maha Sultan, a political editor in government-owned Tishreen, wrote

(7/1): "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's forthcoming visit
to the region causes pessimism among Palestinians.

"The United States, which is now talking about a modified American
vision of peace between Palestinians and Israelis, paved the way for
this new vision by creating conflicts and infighting among
Palestinians.... Rice, in her previous visits to the region, did not
actually come to find solutions or defuse tensions. If she did, she
would have forced Israel to stop its plan of canceling the
Palestinian partner, including the party that is supported by
Washington itself...."

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

"A Peace Envoy in Full Combat Gear"

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

Isam Dari, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (6/30):
"Tony Blair is appointed as a peace envoy in full combat gear and
with hands stained with the blood of innocent people....

"We recall Blair's lies about Iraq and his position during the
Lebanon war last summer.... Arabs in general, and Iraqis,
Palestinians, and Lebanese in particular, suffered disasters and
tragedies as a result of Blair's American-Israeli policy".

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

"The International Quartet and Israeli Obstinacy"

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

Ahmad Hamadah, a commentator in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (6/29): "Israeli statements confirm that Israel
will not withdraw from the West Bank and that there will be no peace
negotiations with Palestinians....

"Israel's positions toward peace prove that peace will remain
unattainable as long as Israel continues to engage in deception and
maneuvers and to deny the rights of the Palestinian people....
Israel has destroyed the Roadmap, has continued to build the
separation wall in the West Bank, and is committing the most
appalling massacres against the Palestinian people every day....

"The International Quartet's proposals and ideas, therefore, will
always fall on deaf Israeli ears...."

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

"Between Arrogance and Submission"

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

Dr. Haydar Haydar, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (6/29): "There are increasing US statements confessing that
Washington has lost the war in Iraq and must pull its troops out of
the country....

"Given this tragic picture, Americans have no choice but to withdraw
from Iraq.... Arabs who wagered on the power of the United States
have no option but to backtrack from their defeatist positions and
join the convoy of the opposing Arabs across the Arab land. If they
do this, they will save themselves and their peoples and even win
the respect of their enemies. If they do not, history will be very
harsh on them."

Corbin

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