Cablegate: Syria-Uae, Syria/Iran, Syrian Press, Lebanon, Iraq,
DE RUEHDM #0731/01 2001041
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 191041Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
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DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
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TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria-UAE, Syria/Iran, Syrian Press, Lebanon, Iraq,
Palestinian Territories (7/17)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 17 reported President Asad's
meeting with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on
July 16. The presidents reviewed bilateral relations and means of
strengthening them and hailed the role played by the Syrian-Emirates
Joint Committee. They discussed regional developments and stressed
continued consultation and coordination between the two countries to
enhance Arab solidarity and joint Arab action and to achieve
stability and security in the region. Vice President Shara also
held a meeting with Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin
Zayed Al Nahyan; FM al-Mouallem also attended the meeting. They
discussed bilateral relations, current developments in Iraq,
Palestine and Lebanon, and efforts to achieve security and stability
in the Middle East.
Independent al-Watan featured an interview with Iranian Ambassador
to Damascus Hassan Akhtari, on the eve of the visit of the Iranian
President to Damascus. He ruled out an Israeli war against Lebanon,
Syria or Iran due to the "state of collapse" of the Israeli army and
because it would be an extra crisis for the Bush administration. He
added that "Syria is strong and Israel has re-assessed its military
evaluation of it." He warned that if such a war should break out,
US interests under threat in the region would be too numerous to
count." He added, "my conviction is that America can't attack Iran,
because if it could it would not have waited until now." On
Ahmadinejad's visit to Syria, he said the visit is to stress the
"depth of coordination and consultations."
All papers reported that a report on freedom of press issued
recently by the General Union of Arab Journalists has placed Syria
among the first three Arab countries in respecting freedom of the
press, giving freedom to journalists and presenting services to
them. In its assessment, the report relies, as indications of press
freedom, on the degree of newspapers' exposure to full or temporary
closing, confiscation of documents or media tools, and owner's
interference in papers' work. It also looks at indications of state
interference in media content, pressure on newspapers to reveal
sources of information, and confiscation of papers after printing.
The report didn't record in Syria any violations in any of these
indicators. The leadership of the Arab Journalists Union has
decided to publish an annual report on Arab Press Day to clarify the
situation of press freedom in the Arab world.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad delivers an important speech today after taking the
oath. Vice-President Shara: The second presidential term will be a
huge national shift" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/17)
"Presidents Asad and Khalifa bin Zayed discuss the current situation
in the region. Both Presidents stress the importance of the
continuation of consultation and coordination between the two
countries to boost joint Arab action. Sheikh Khalifa offers USD 100
million as a gift to the Syrian people to build a hospital"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/17)
"Iranian Ambassador to Damascus to Al-Watan: Syria is strong and
Israel has re-assessed it military evaluation of it. Ahmadinejad
visits President Asad to stress the depth of coordination and
consultations" (Independent al-Watan, 7/17)
"Bush calls for an international conference on Middle East peace
before the end of the year" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/17)
"Syria among the first in the Arab world in respecting freedom of
the press" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/17)
"Battles rage in Nahr el-Bared. An explosive devise targets a
UNIFIL patrol" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/17)
"Olmert impedes Abbas with his conditions and announces a state of
emergency in the West Bank. Mishaal [HAMAS leader in Damascus]
calls for dialogue. Palestinian factions refuse to relinquish arms"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/17)
"A new bloody day in Iraq: 300 Iraqis killed and injured in two
explosions in Kirkuk. Bush refuses Republicans' call to change US
policy in Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/17)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"A Meeting of Solidarity"
Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
said (7/17): "The summit between the presidents of Syria and the
United Arab Emirates is important for Arab solidarity, especially
since the two countries have a close relationship and always work to
unify the Arab position and vision toward looming and expected
"Arabs cannot stand on their feet without solidarity and effective
common action against the enemies....
"Syria and the United Arab Emirates always stress that the Arab
situation is bad and needs complete revision to be able to confront
the growing occupations of Arab territories....
"This bad Arab situation is evident in what is happening in Iraq and
Palestine and what is being planned for Lebanon, Sudan, and other
"All this must be on the agenda of the Asad-Khalifah summit, on
which Syrians, Emiratis, and all Arabs pin much hope...."
"One Year After Victory"
Muhammad Khayr al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (7/17): "Israel's defeat in Lebanon a year ago
continues to shake the Israeli military and political
establishments.... The July 2006 war ended with a dazzling victory
for the resistance, a strategic defeat for Israel, and the fall of
the American plan.
"It is surprising that a hired faction in Lebanon denies the victory
of the resistance, embodying the ugliest forms of relinquishment of
the values of patriotism, in favor of mortgaging themselves to
foreigners and their conspiratorial schemes against the country and
"The anniversary of the war, with all its results and repercussions,
which have not ended yet, is an important opportunity to remind of
the positions of defeatism and to stress that the resistance, which
scored the biggest historic and strategic victory against Israel, is
able to do the same thing again if Israel thinks of launching
another aggression against Lebanon...."
As'ad Abbud, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/17): "The anger of those who were defeated in the July War was
much greater than the joy of the victors."
"From the first day of the war, a defeat was inflicted on the
official Arab order, which moves toward Israel with almost no
constraints, justifying this to the Arab peoples by saying that it
is impossible to prevail over Israel or obtain anything from it
except through capitulation and pacification....
"On the day Hizbollah managed to capture the two Israeli soldiers,
defeat knocked on the doors of Arab palaces and regimes....
"They said it was an adventure. But the adventure turned into a
scientific fact in the art of war and fighting. And there was the
steadfastness, resistance, and victory, until the defeatists lost
their remaining ability to endure. Their minds do not accept the
argument that victory is possible, because this places before them
responsibilities they abandoned long ago....
"The official Arab order was the first loser in the July War and
with it the US Administration and Israel of course....
"If victory is the opposite of defeat, or the antithesis of defeat,
what happened in Lebanon a year ago was the biggest victory the Arab
nation has known in its history...."
"Disregard of the Brutal Side"
Umar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/17): "The Western media, particularly the American media, rarely
talk about the brutal side of the American war on Iraq, where
American soldiers and foreign mercenaries practice atrocities
against Iraqi civilians....
"A report was published by The Nation and The Los Angeles Times in
which American soldiers tell stories of killing and torture in
"Gratuitous killing continues against Iraqis. And after all this,
President Bush claims he will turn Iraq into a model of a
prosperous, democratic country. What charlatanism are they promoting
after they have destroyed Iraq -- land, people, and dignity?"