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Cablegate: Syria/Iran, Peace/Bush's Call for International

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDM #0745/01 2031349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221349Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3904
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6971
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4662
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3315
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7795
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1890
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5215
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1426
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7535

UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000745

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/Iran, Peace/Bush's Call for International
Conference, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestinian Territories (7/20-22)


1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 20 reported Iranian President
Ahmadinejad's summit with President Asad on July 19. Talks focused
on regional developments and bilateral relations. Banner headlines
featured the joint press conference at the conclusion of their
talks. The Iranian President called on "enemies of the region who
try to trouble it to abandon their hostile schemes and plans to
attack the interests of this region, or they will be burned by the
wrath of the region's peoples," he said. He added: "We hope that
the hot weather of this summer would coincide with similar victories
for the peoples of the region, and with consequent defeat for the
enemies of the peoples of the region."

Ahmadinejad depicted Syrian-Iranian relations as "cordial, excellent
and extremely deep," adding that "the two countries share common
stands on regional issues and face common challenges." President
Asad said that "Syrian-Iranian relations are swiftly and
continuously developing, and we are very optimistic about the
visit's goals and outcome and about the region's future." A final
statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said that talks focused on
the Palestinian issue and that Syria and Iran underscored the rights
of the Palestinian people to liberate their lands, return home and
establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
They urged all Palestinian parties to return to dialogue and
reconciliation, in order to preserve the unity of the Palestinian
people. Syria and Iran also condemned the sacrilegious Zionist act
of destroying parts of Al-Aqsa Mosque in an attempt to demolish its
Islamic and historical identity, calling for a serious move by
international organizations, particularly the Organization of the
Islamic Conference, to prevent such aggressive violations of holy
places.

Syria and Iran stressed the need for preservation of the unity of
Iraqi land, people, sovereignty and independence, and to maintain
its Islamic Arab identity. They condemned all terrorist acts
targeting Iraqi citizens and establishments and demanded the pullout
of occupation troops.

Regarding Lebanon, Syria and Iran underlined the significance of
boosting Lebanese national unity and reconciliation and expressed
support for all that the Lebanese agree upon to guarantee security
and stability in Lebanon, touching upon the Lebanese people's right
to resist the repeated Israeli aggressions and to regain all still
occupied Lebanese lands.

On the Iranian nuclear file, both sides underlined the firm right
of signatory states to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to
peaceful use of nuclear energy, announcing that any discrimination
regarding developing countries 'exercise of this right is
unacceptable, as resolutions and policies of parties to this treaty
must be respected. The joint statement expressed the firm
conviction of the need to free the Middle East of weapons of mass
destruction and drew the international community's attention to the
dangers of Israeli nuclear weapons for international and regional
peace and security

Papers also reported that on July 19 Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal
al-Miqdad discussed the situation of Iraqi refugees in Syria with UN
Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees L. Craig Johnstone.
Johnstone called for support and help to Syria to handle the huge
requirements of the Iraqi refugees that the Syrian government has
been shouldering during the few past years.

On the Lebanese issue, papers featured statements by Lebanese
officials criticizing the role of US Ambassador Feltman in Lebanon.

End of summary.

2. Selected Headlines:

"Syria and Iran: Mutual respect, friendship and cooperation.
President Asad: Bilateral relations are developing rapidly, and we
are optimistic about the future of the region. President
Ahmadinejad: Our cooperation is in favor of peace and security in
the region" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/21)

"Israel releases 250 Palestinian prisoners and arrests other 300 in

the West Bank. Deputy Secretary General of the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine, Abed El Raheem Mallouh: The issue of
Palestinian prisoners must be passed to the International Court"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/22)

"A split within the Lebanese Progressive Socialist Party in protest
of the party's corruption. Al-Sayegh: One who owns millions of
dollars is neither progressive nor socialist" (Government-owned
Al-Ba'th, 7/22)

"Lebanese opposition: Feltman leads the governing team and speaks
on its behalf" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/22)

"Israeli planes fly over Nahr al-Bared again. Lebanese circles:
Washington hinders solutions" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/21)

"The Lebanese army is wrapping up the operation in Nahr al-Bared.
Nationalist factions: The US is responsible for chaos"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/20)

"Washington seeks UN help to break impasse in Iraq. Baghdad
requests definition of the role of coalition forces" (Independent
al-Watan, 7/22)

"The hell of explosions burns the occupation army. Two US troops
and three British killed in Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/21)

"Clinton: Bush has failed on the political and the military levels
in Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/20)

"Deputy FM Miqdad tells Johnstone that those who caused the plight
of the Iraqi refugees must shoulder their responsibilities"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/20)

"Lavrov: The reactivation of the peace process must be on all
tracks" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/20)

3. Editorial Block Quotes:

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

"The Quartet, the US and Myths"

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

Isam Dari, Chief Editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (7/21):
"The problem of the international Quartet on the Middle East is that
it is governed by the US veto and the US position and is unable to
have an independent vision.... The problem with the neoconservatives
who rule the United States is that they believe in the Talmudic
creed, which is racist par excellence....

"Because neoconservatives are the decision-makers in the United
States, they are the ones who draw up the strategies and policies of
the current US Administration. And since this administration
controls the Quartet, whatever comes from this committee is a
translation of American ideas, which are derived from Zionist
thought and the instructions of the Talmud....

"Some verses in the Talmud place Jews above all other races and
encourage the killing of non-Jews.... It might be said that we are
anti-Semitic -- as is customarily done -- but Americans and Israelis
are anti-humanity, and they kill people around the clock because
their myths make them believe that 'he who kills a foreigner
[non-Jew] offers a sacrifice to God....'

"Aside from the myths that have become a constitution for a
superpower and a racist entity, we ask: What has the Quartet
offered for peace, and how does it see peace in the first place...?
So far we have heard nothing other than orders and demands that must
be fulfilled to protect Israel, safeguard its security, and defend
its existence. As for Arab rights, they are mentioned only through
timid expressions that are not binding or based on Chapter
Seven....

"Peace, as the Quartet understands it, must serve Israel, not the

Palestinian people, which a big country in the Quartet itself helps
besiege and starve....

"The Quartet accepted the appointment of Tony Blair as its envoy....
How can a man with the blood of the women and children of Iraq,
Palestine, and Lebanon on his hands be a man of peace and an envoy
of peace?"
---------------------------------------

"Syria and Iran, Deep-Rooted Relations"

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

Mundhir Khalil Id, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/20): "The Iranian President's visit reflected the
deep-rooted, historical, and strategic relations between the two
countries, relations built to serve the joint interests of the two
peoples, the Arab and Islamic causes, and the security and stability
of the region....

"The visit reaffirms the strategic relations between the two
countries and Iran's support for Syria under all circumstances,
especially against American-Israeli threats.... The visit confirms
that the two countries agree in their views of the regional
situations and the events in Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. They
support national accord in those countries, back the resistance, and
reject the occupation. They also seek to foil the American
objective of separating each country from the other....

"It was a successful visit by all standards. It stressed that the
relations between Syria and Iran are firm and stable and that the
two countries see eye to eye on most regional issues. The visit is
a new solid block in the joint wall of resistance and opposition to
the vicious American-Israeli onslaught on the region."

---------

"A Show"

---------

Izz-al-Din al-Darwish, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen,
wrote (7/20): "When Syria says that it does not trust Israelis when
they talk about their desire for peace and that it wants them to
match their words with actions and with written guarantees about
withdrawal from the entire occupied Golan up to the 4 June 1967
border, it is because it knows exactly how Israelis think, what they
want, and why they talk about peace.

"As is clearly known, the Olmert government is not in the least
interested in peace.... Some informed figures in Israel stress that
the Olmert government talks about peace while preparing for
aggression because it is the weakest of Israeli governments and
because it is struggling to stay in power, nothing more, benefiting
from some acrobatic movements and meetings intended for show....

"US President George Bush's call for an international peace
conference in the Fall -- he, through the White House spokesman,
backtracked from the word conference and changed it to meeting -- is
part of this Israeli publicity stunt. The US Administration never
stops offering support for Olmert to compensate him for his losses
in the July aggression, which he implemented on behalf of the Bush
administration, which, in turn, is applying pressure on Olmert to
prevent him from resuming peace talks....

"Olmert is talking about peace with the intention of obtaining
photos to show Israelis. The Bush administration, which does not
want to resume the peace talks in the first place, is using
everything in its power to assist this Israeli publicity objective.
The real intentions of the two sides are in the realm of war and
aggression.... Syria realizes all this and takes it into
consideration."

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

"Between vagueness and Indifference"

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

Ahmad Hamadah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/20): "President Bush's call for an international conference on
the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations was vague and late, as noted by
many observers.... Yet Israel did not care much about the call and
ruled out negotiations with Palestinians on a final solution to the
problem....

"This American vagueness and Israeli indifference towards the cause
of peace is nothing new or passing in the policy of the two sides.
All the heads of Israeli governments since the launch of the Madrid
peace conference denied the logic of peace, evaded its requirements,
strongly called for the circumvention of its constituents, and
disavowed legitimate international resolutions using all maneuvers
and evasive tactics....

"The US Administration, for its part, never offered genuine support
for the establishment of a just and comprehensive peace in the
region. As a result of these Israeli and US policies, the region
will continue to suffer tension and instability...."

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

"Important Messages"

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

Ali Nasrallah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/20): "In his oath-taking speech, President Al-Asad sent a number
of clear messages to the international community....

"The most important message is that Syria, in its domestic policy,
pays attention only to the interests of its people.... With regard
to peace, Syria is ready to resume (public not secret) negotiations,
but only if Israel offers written guarantees on the full return of
the occupied Golan based on UN resolutions and the land-for-peace
principle....

"A third message was addressed to those who linked themselves to the

positions of the superpower although they know the facts in the
region.... This message says that Syria has nothing to offer but
dialogue. It does not have consolation prizes to give to anyone."

Corbin

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