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Cablegate: Syria/Us, Syria/Uae, Syria/Guinea-Bissau Syria/France,

VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0723/01 1961414
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151414Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3871
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6951
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4645
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3294
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7777
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1873
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5197
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1409
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7518

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000723

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/US, Syria/UAE, Syria/Guinea-Bissau Syria/France,
Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories, Brammertz Report (7/13-15)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 13 reported President Asad's
meeting on July 12 with Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop
Emeritus of Washington, and Catholic Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the
Brooklyn Diocese, focusing on the tense situation in the Middle
East. President Asad reiterated the importance of coordinating
efforts among countries of the region and the international
community to solve the refugee issue
, due to its importance for the
region's stability. Cardinal MacCrrick and Bishop DiMarzio hailed
Syria's efforts to help Iraqi refugees in Syria. President Asad
asserted the need for continued communication, respect for different
opinions, and activation of dialogue among religions and cultures.

Papers on July 15 reported FM Mouallem's meeting on July 14 with
Ousseni Elibouy Banao, the Special Envoy of the President of
Guinea-Bissau, who carried a message to President Asad about
bilateral relations and means to enhance them, and about recent
developments in the Middle East and Africa.
FM Mouallem stressed the importance of developing relations with
African countries that share with Syria a history of struggle
against foreign occupation, pointing out the necessity of working
together to face the challenges of the new world order. Mr. Banao
expressed his country's concerns over the situation in the Middle
East, stressing the importance of effective regional and
international action to ease tension in the region and to push
towards a just and comprehensive peace. Mr. Banao also conveyed a
message to Prime Minister Mohammad Naji Otri from Prime Minister of
Guinea-Bissau Martinho Ndafa Kabi.

Government-owned Al-Thawra on July 13 cited the progress report that
Serge Brammertz, head of the international investigation commission
into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq
al-Hariri, submitted to the UN secretary general on July 12. The
paper also featured a statement by Syria's Permanent Representative
to the United Nations, Dr. Bashar al-Ja'fari, that the Brammertz
report clearly indicates that Syria's cooperation with the
commission has been generally satisfactory. He noted that the
report says this in more than one paragraph. Al-Ja'fari said that
Paragraph 93 of the report states that the commission has made 11
official requests to Syria to facilitate a number of interviews and
obtain information and that the Syrian authorities have helped
facilitate the work of four missions the commission sent to Syria.
He said that Paragraph 94 of the report says that Syria continues to
provide timely assistance to the commission and that the commission
is grateful for the logistical and security arrangements that the
Syrian authorities have provided. He said the report is being
studied carefully in order to arrive at a clear and accurate
evaluation.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"President Asad receives a US clerical delegation: Solving the
problem of refugees is important for stability in the region"
(Government-owned al-Thawra, 7/13)

"President Asad receives a letter from President of Guinea-Bissau on
bilateral relations and regional developments. The Special Envoy of
the President of Guinea-Bissau, Ousseni Elibouy Banao, hails Syria's
pivotal role in achieving security and stability in the region"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/15)

"President Asad congratulates Sarkozy on France's National Day"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/14)

"Achieving Arab solidarity and defending the Arab nation's causes
are common priority; UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al
Nahyan begins an official visit to Syria today" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 7/15)

"Koushner inaugurates the Lebanese dialogue in Paris. The Lebanese
army continues its assaults in Nahr al-Bared. Fateh al-Islam
missiles target Akkar" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/15)

"Lebanese nationalist factions: The US administration is blocking
solutions" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/15)


"Brammertz presents his fifth report.... A return to the theory of
the involvement of 'fundamental elements' in the assassination
attempt.... Syrian UN Envoy notes Brammertz' reference to
coo
peration in the Al-Hariri probe" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
7/13)

"Mosad involved in the assassination of former Lebanese MP Elie
Hubaiqa. Former leader of UNIFIL: Al Mustaqbal trend is behind
Fateh al-Islam fighters" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/15)

"Lebanese President Lahoud: The current government is a fuse that
may inflame disagreements. Fierce fighting in al-Bared and bombs on
neighboring villages" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/14)

"Former Israeli Defense Minister Peretz admits that July war was a
tragedy for Israel" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/14)

"Lebanese MP Haidar: The July war was a big set-back for the US
project" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/13)

"From inside Roumieh prison, a Lebanese espionage network works for
Israeli Mosad" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/13)

"The Arab League criticizes the Quartet's performance"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/14)

"Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Abbas nominates three
ministers to the emergency government. Israeli occupation troops
curb Bel'in demonstration with gas and fire" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 7/14)

"In spite of the opposition of two-thirds of Americans to Bush's
policy in Iraq, the US President confirms he will stay in Iraq until
victory is achieved" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/15)

"Bush: Withdrawal from Iraq without improvement in the security
situation will be catastrophic. Washington: Al-Maliki government
has failed to attain 8 of our goals" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
7/13)

"Under the burden of Bush's Iraq policy, explosions in the green
zone and assaults against US and British consulates in Basra"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/14)

"Rice postpones her visit to the region without mentioning reasons"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/13)

"Moscow, which is angry about the missile shield, carries out its
threats: Russian President Putin freezes Russia's participation in
the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 5/17)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"Obstinacy for How Long?"

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

Muhammad Ali Buza, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/13): "Amid growing local and international criticism of US
policy in Iraq and the increasing losses among American troops in
that country, people expected neoconservatives to reconsider their
policy and draft a new strategy to spare the United States further
losses, not to continue moving in the wrong direction....

"Sending a third aircraft carrier to the Gulf and rejecting the
calls for withdrawal from Iraq threaten conflagrations whose
consequences the world and the United States itself might not be
able to bear....

"American and Israeli policies have caused much pain and anguish in
the world and posed the most serious threat to humanity....
Washington must return to the language of reason and wisdom and

acknowledge the failure and futility of its plans in Palestine,
Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan....

"This dictates that US officials must stop the episodes of killing
and bloodshed and respond to the pressing wish of the American
people, namely, withdrawing from Iraq, leaving the region to its
people, and departing honorably and with the lowest cost before it
is too late...."

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

"A Desperate Attempt"

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

Mundhir Khalil Id, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/13): "The interim report on the progress of President
Bush's strategy in Iraq is another step to buy time and prevent the
erosion of support for the war on Iraq within the Republican
Party....

"Bush, who is facing growing domestic pressure to announce a gradual
troop withdrawal from Iraq because he lacks the vision and the means
to achieve stability there, is teetering politically under the blows
of failure and the human and material losses in Iraq...."

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

"Philosophy of Victory and Defeat"

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

Isam Dari, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (7/14):
"On the first anniversary of the Lebanon war, history alone will
record the truth and say who stood fast and courageously defended
the homeland and who betrayed the resistance and stabbed it in the
back before, during, and after the aggression and allied himself
with the enemies of the homeland and the traders in death,
destruction, and war....

"For the second time in six years, the Lebanese resistance men
defeated the so-called invincible Israeli army.... But what was
more important than the military victory was the political defeat of
the American New Middle East plan.... The victory was a source of
pride for all Arabs.... But there are some Arabs who installed
themselves as advocates of the devil and refused to acknowledge the
victory of the resistance and the defeat of the aggression and the
American-Zionist plan.... This team stabbed the resistance in the
back and wagered on an easy Israeli victory that would annihilate
the resistance and Hizbollah, and indeed the policy of opposition
and steadfastness in the Arab region...."

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

"Half the Distance toward the End"

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

Hanan Hamad, a columnist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote (7/14):
"President Bush is lying to himself when he describes the status
report on Iraq as satisfactory, saying that his strategy has made
progress and that victory in Iraqi is still possible.... Analysts
assess the report as a slap in the face of the president's
strategy....

"Bush announced that he will send his Secretary of State and his
Secretary of Defense to the region next month for talks with his

SIPDIS
allies.... The US president apparently counts on this mission to win
the support and assistance of those whom he calls the moderate trend
in the region....

"If we add to this Bush's warning that a precipitous withdrawal --
as he calls it -- would encourage Iran, Syria, and Hizbollah to
persist in their anti-democratic activities against the background
of what is happening in Palestine and Lebanon, we can see that the
American president is determined to stick to the policy of sowing

sedition and dividing ranks, especially since he also says that the
United States continues to strengthen its military presence, improve
its bilateral security relations, and support those who fight
extremists in the Middle East...."

Corbin

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