Cablegate: Syria/Uae, Syria/Netherlands, Syria/Sudan,
DE RUEHDM #0727/01 1971345
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161345Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3878
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6956
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4649
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3299
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7782
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1877
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5202
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1413
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7522
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000727
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/UAE, Syria/Netherlands, Syria/Sudan,
Syria/Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories (7/16)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 16 reported that President
Sheikh Khaifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates
arrived in Damascus July 15 on an official 2-day visit. He made a
statement upon arrival expressing satisfaction with cooperation in
recent years in the economic, trade and investment fields and with
the outcome of meetings of the Joint Ministerial Committee. He
noted that this visit will be an important opportunity for
consultations with President Asad on the latest developments in the
Arab region and for discussions on regional and international
Papers also reported President Asad's meeting on July 15 with a
delegation representing the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Dutch
Parliament, headed by Henk Jan Ormel, Chairman of the committee.
President Asad clarified to the delegation Syria's position
regarding the situations in Iraq, the occupied Palestinian
territories, Lebanon, the peace process and Syrian-European
Members of the delegation reiterated the importance of dialogue
with Syria because of its pivotal role in the region and highlighted
Syria's efforts to achieve stability in the region. The delegation
also conferred with FM Mouallem on July 15. Talks focused on
relations between Syria and the Netherlands and the role of the
parliaments of both countries in enhancing these relations. Talks
also dealt with recent developments in the Middle East, particularly
in Iraq and Palestine. Members of the visiting delegation expressed
their appreciation of Syria's efforts in hosting Iraqi refugees and
its role in establishing security and stability in the region.
In a statement to SANA, Ormel described his talks with Syrian
officials as "distinguished and very good," and praised Syria's role
in regional issues. He also pointed out Syria's stability, saying,
"It would be a good thing if this state of stability would spread to
the entire region."
Independent Al-Watan cited "Western diplomatic sources" as saying
that some members of the Dutch parliamentary delegation met with
HAMAS representatives in Damascus. The sources said the meeting
"was not welcomed by all the members of the delegation, especially
in light of the European isolation of HAMAS, and specifically
because some of those who participated in the meeting are affiliated
with the ruling coalition."
Papers also reported the visit to Damascus of Kazakhstan's Minister
of Industry and Trade, Galym Orazbakov, who met FM Mouallem on July
15. Talks dealt with bilateral relations and recent developments in
the Middle East and Central Asia. Following the meeting, Orazbakov
told SANA reporters that his talks with FM Mouallem discussed means
to strengthen relations between the two countries and to prepare for
President Asad's visit to Kazakhstan later this year.
On Syrian/Sudanese relations, papers reported that the Assistant
Secretary General of the Baath Party, Abdullah al-Ahmar, met on July
15 with Sudanese National Congress Secretary for Foreign Relations,
Kamal Obeid. Talks dealt with regional developments and bilateral
relations and means of enhancing them. Al-Ahmar confirmed Syria's
support for its Sudanese brothers in confronting foreign pressures
and interference in its internal affairs, and in seeking a solution
to the Darfur crisis through dialogue among Sudanese parties.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Sheikh Khaifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab
Emirates arrives in Damascus on an official 2-day visit to Syria.
Sheikh Kalifa Bin Zayed: This visit will be an important
opportunity to consult with President Asad... We are satisfied with
joint cooperation" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/16)
"President Asad clarifies Syria's position on regional developments
to a delegation representing the Foreign Affairs Committee of the
Dutch Parliament. The Dutch delegation: Dialogue with Syria is
very important since it has a pivotal role in the region"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/16)
"Abdullah al-Ahmar, Assistant Secretary General of the Baath Party,
discussed with Sudanese National Congress Secretary for Foreign
Relations Kamal Obeid the situation and developments in the region
and current relations between the two parties and means of enhancing
them" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/16)
"FM Mouallem discusses developments in the Middle East and Central
Asia with Kazakhstan's Minister of Industry and Trade, Galym
Orazbakov" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/16)
"Crash of an F-16 warplane in Iraq. The White House rejects
Republicans' call for withdrawal" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
"US Democratic Presidential nominee John Edwards: America needs
Syria and Iran to cement stability in Iraq" (Government-owned
"The Lebanese army tightens siege on strategic positions in Nahr
al-Bared. The Paris conference concludes deliberations without a
final communique. Kouchner heads to Beirut on July 28"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/16)
"Abbas confers with Olmert today. The Israeli occupation suspends
pursuit of 180 Fateh activists" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/16)
"Bush in Poland today to discuss the missile shield, ignoring the
Russian alternative for a solution" (Government-owned Al-Thawra,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Are We at a New Stage in French Policy?"
Ilyas Murad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(7/16): "We are approaching a new French policy that is more
independent and less subservient to American policy....
"The French people were annoyed with the foreign policy that
President Chirac pursued, a policy that adopted personalization at
the expense of the people's interests.
"France's new approach to the Lebanese issue and the French chief of
staff's harsh criticism of US policy in Iraq are evidence of a new
French policy under President Sarkozy.... But we still see some
confusion in French positions.... We wonder if there are two
administrations or two policies in France.... An example of this
confusion is the contradiction in the position toward Hizbollah and
the fact that the criticism of American policy was not paired with a
clear practical position.... We wonder if it is the American
interference and pressure that confuses the French positions....
Americans have always been willing to destroy France's relations in
the region, as this would strengthen their own influence....
"The new French administration must put the French wagon back on its
normal track and build relations with the countries of the region on
the basis of justice, equality, and mutual interests...."
"The Palestinian View and Required Solution"
Ibrahim Shuqyar, a columnist in government-owned Al-Ba'th, wrote
(7/16): "Palestinian divisions help Israel implement its plans and
perpetuate occupation and allow the Israeli government to overcome
its political crisis as the final report of the Winograd Committee
is about to be released....
"Palestinians must draw conclusions from what happened in Gaza and
return to a serious national dialogue to correct the mistakes and
serve the higher interests of the Palestinian people, not the narrow
interests of this faction or that...."
"Barriers and Agendas"
Maha Sultan, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/16): "The world community remains silent on the suffering of
6,000 Palestinians who have been stranded at the closed Rafah
crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip for more than a month....
"In two days, Condoleezza Rice will be in the region with only one
item on her agenda: Making sure that the Palestinian-Palestinian
split is still on and heading to the point of no return. She will
visit the West Bank but not the Gaza Strip, so as to stress her
support for this team against that and to give Israel the time it
needs to use the stranded people on the Rafah crossing to blackmail
the Palestinian parties. After Rice, Tony Blair, the new envoy of
the Quartet, will visit Israel and the region. Since his
appointment, he has not uttered a single word giving hope that the
suffering of these Palestinians and the suffering of other
Palestinians at the more than 700 Israeli checkpoints in the West
Bank and Gaza will come to an end....
"Arabs, for their part, can do nothing to overcome the Israeli
rejection, while Palestinian leaders still have priorities different
from the priorities of the Palestinian people, priorities that are
determined by personal interests and ambitions...."
"Rudeness or a Slip of Tongue?"
Ali Nasrallah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/16): "It is natural for Americans to set their own objectives in
Iraq and to rely on American forces to achieve them, but it is
unacceptable that they expect Iraqis to achieve these objectives for
"US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the Iraqi
government continues to work to realize the security, political, and
economic objectives that the Congress has set.... Has the insolence
of the occupier these days reached a point where it publicly
announces its objectives in such a way? Has it reached the point
where it publicly and unashamedly tells lies, at times talking about
a model of democracy in Iraq and at other times torpedoing these
claims through such statements? Or was Rice's remark a slip of the
tongue requiring accountability?
"Most likely this is insolence. For Rice previously said, during
the Israeli aggression against Lebanon a year ago: What we are
witnessing are the birth bangs of a new Middle East...."
"Bush's Veto and Deferment in Announcing Defeat"
Muhyi-al-Din al-Muhammad, a columnist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (7/16): "The situation in Iraq is bad on the political,
military, security, and livelihood levels. This situation is a
reflection and one of the direct results of occupation. The
withdrawal of US forces, therefore, will definitely lead to
remarkable and direct progress on all these levels, while the
continuation of the occupation of Iraq will make things worse....
"This is not only the view of nationalist Iraqi forces and regional
powers that care about Iraq's security and stability, but also the
reading of the American congress....
"President Bush's insistence on the use of his veto against any
democratic decision made jointly by a majority of the Democratic and
Republican parties and calling for the withdrawal of American troops
from Iraq will not make the situation in Iraq better. On the
contrary, it will increase American losses and negatively affect the
United States' reputation, prestige, and interests...."
"A War of a Different Kind"
Ahmad Dawwa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/16): "The region is facing not only a military war with the
United States, Israel, and their allies, but also a war of another
kind, the tools of which are locals who live among the sons of the
region and speak their language. It is the war of twisting facts,
distorting reality, and misleading people."
"One of the Arabic speaking television channels hosted one of the
tools of this war. The aim was to convince the viewers that Israel
and the United States are protecting the Syrian regime!
"People like this interviewee go too far in their hostility toward
Syria. We wonder how one can say that the United States is
protecting those against whom it applies the strongest pressure and
imposes sanctions.... This is a brazen and ridiculous attempt by
these tools, who are deeply involved in the American plan, to cover
up their cooperation with the enemies of Arabs and pave the way for
the New Middle East plan....
"The fact that the tools of the American plan are revealing
themselves in such a flagrant way and desperately defending this
plan shows their bankruptcy and sense of approaching danger. No
matter how long it takes, their fate will not be better than the
fate of [Antoine] Lahd [leader of the defunct pro-Israel militia in
south Lebanon] and his ilk."