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Cablegate: Syria/Sudan, Syria/Us, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian

VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0690/01 1891315
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 081315Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3827
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6933
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4628
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3278
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7763
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1857
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5182
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1393
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7504

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000690

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/Sudan, Syria/US, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian
Territories, Blair (7/6-8)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 7 reported the visit to Sudan by
Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri and his meeting with Sudanese
President Omar Hasan al-Bashir on July 5. Their talks focused on
bilateral relations and means of boosting them in all domains.
The Sudanese President hailed Syria's national and pan-Arab
positions under pressure, expressing appreciation for Syria's
support of Sudan in the face of the challenges it has been
confronting. Otri held a joint press conference with the Sudanese
Vice President, Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, at which they stressed
strong bilateral relations and their interest in increasing
cooperation in all fields.

Papers on July 8 featured a report by the Tunisian newspaper
Al-Sarih published on July 7 confirming the failure of the U.S.
policy of isolation of Syria. The newspaper pointed out that the US
administration is attempting to target Syria by several means
because of its opposition to U.S. plans and its insistence on a just
and comprehensive peace in the region at a time when the US
administration and Israel seem unprepared to work for peace.

On Iraq, papers reported recent terrorist attacks that killed and
injured 500 Iraqis in a single day. Government-owned Tishreen on
July 7 reported more defections from President Bush over Iraq
policy, citing Republican Senator Pete Dominici, who called on Bush
to withdraw from Iraq and to change the war strategy. The same
paper also featured a statement by former US Secretary of State
Colin Powell calling on President Bush to start a gradual reduction
of US forces in Iraq.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Prime Minister Otri and Sudanese Vice-President Taha reiterate the
importance of developing relations to face pressures and challenges"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/8)

"Sudan's President al-Bashir and Syrian Prime Minister Otri
reiterate the importance of boosting cooperation in all fields"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/6)

"Powell calls on the Bush administration to open dialogue with Syria
and Iran" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/7)

"Tunisian newspaper Al-Sarih confirms failure of the United States'
policy of isolation of Syria" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/8)

"Israeli violations in South Lebanon continue. Confrontations resume
in Nahr el-Bared. The opposition holds the governing team
responsible for chaos" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/8)

"Lahoud talks about steps to correct failure.
Erslan, Chairman of the Democratic Party: Internationalization is a
project of sedition and division" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/6)

"The Islamic Action Front denounces storming of flat formerly owned
by Yakan [Lebanese Islamic leader]. Lebanese nationalist factions:
Policymongers are encouraging foreigners and sedition
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/7)

"The Arab Parliamentarian Union mediates between Fatah and Hamas.
Demonstrations in the Gaza Strip calling for opening Rafah crossing"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/8)

"28 Palestinians die at the Rafah crossing point. Israel wages a
campaign of arrest in Nablus" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/8)

"Palestinians bury martyrs of the Gaza massacre" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 7/7)

"A new Israeli massacre in Gaza" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/6)

"The bloody days of Iraq: 500 Iraqis killed and wounded in one day
of Bush's war on Iraq. The occupation army loses 9 soldiers,
raising the death total in Iraq to 3602" (Government-owned Tishreen,
7/8)


"French Chief of Staff says: Full chaos in Iraq; democracy can not
be promoted by force" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/6)

"The Sadr Movement joins the list of opposition to the Oil Law.
After Senator Lugar, Republican Senator Pete Dominici calls on Bush
to withdraw from Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/7)
"Half of Americans call for the resignation of the Bush
Administration" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/8)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"The Problem Is in Israel"

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

Muhammad Ali Buzah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/6): "The world did not need Israeli Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert's statement that his government is not ready for peace with
Syria to realize that Israel has never wanted peace or sought to
achieve it in a just and comprehensive way that would put an end to
the conflict and the region's long suffering....

"The Zionist mentality is governed by a strategy based on
aggression, occupation, terrorism, killing, destruction, and the
elimination of the other....

"Israel uses talk about peace as a hollow slogan and blackmail....
It is not true that Syria begs for peace or would accept it at any
price. The UN Security Council resolutions, which are the terms of
reference of the Madrid process, remain the basis of any negotiating
process and the minimum that cannot be relinquished or bargained
away....

"What the US Administration and the West need to understand is that
the problem in this part of the world lies with Israel and with the
US and the West's relations with Israel as a force of aggression
occupying Arab lands and their open support for Israel's crimes and
bloody terrorism."

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

"Who Prevents Stability?"

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

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
commented (7/6): "Israel alone is aborting peace opportunities
because it sees its interest in instability....

"Syria, on the other hand, believes that instability harms it and
that peace serves the interests of all parties and all nations of
the world....

"Is it conceivable that Syria, which is calling for a Lebanese
national unity government acceptable to all the Lebanese and
comprising all Lebanese groups, is against stability in the region?
Does it make sense that Syria, which is calling for a Palestinian
national unity government resolving domestic differences and
strengthening Palestinian ranks, is against stability in the
region?

"The same applies to Syria's Iraq policy, where Syria is supporting
a political process involving all Iraqis and preserving the unity of
Iraq and its people....

"The others, who are working to entrench division and infighting in
Lebanon, Iraq, and Palestine, are certainly the ones who want
instability in the region. This is what Israel wants. The head of
the Israeli government publicly said that the time for peace has not
come yet. And this is what the US Administration wants, as it
pushes Israel not to negotiate with Syria. Syria has done its
utmost to achieve peace, security, and stability. The rest depends

on Israel and others in Europe and the United States. Will they
respond to words of justice, reason, and unanimous interest?"

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

"Closure of the Rafah Crossing"

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

Ahmad Hamadah, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/6): "Israel continues to prove its hostile nature and racist
practices in the Gaza Strip by continuing liquidations,
assassinations, siege, and all forms of repression, killing,
destruction, and terrorism without any deterrence or an
international effort to curb its crimes....

"The world's silence on, and in some cases support for, Israel's
heinous crimes, continue....

"We wonder if the closure of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and
Egypt in the face of more than 6,000 Palestinians, mostly women,
children, and old people, is an effort to fight terrorism?"

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

"A Peace Envoy... What a Peace!"

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

Dr. Sabir Falhut, a columnist in government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(7/6): "It is incredible that Tony Blair, the main partner in the
destruction of Iraq, is coming to the region as a peace envoy....

"Blair comes to the region on a wagon pulled by two horses: The
first is the American 'creative chaos,' the thorns of which are
being reaped in the four corners of the world, and the second is the
Roadmap, which has lost the compass of justice and logic and so has
lost both the objective and the way....

"All Palestinian factions must realize that Blair will not be able
to bring life to the dead peace.... There is no way our rights to
our land and our holy places can be regained without the cohesion of
the Palestinian national forces that believe that peace can only be
reached by the strong and that power can be gained only through
unity of position, objective, and resources, and through a national
decision supported by the Arab street."

Corbin

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