Cablegate: Iraq, Lebanon, Islam, Palestinian Territories, Peace
DE RUEHDM #0775/01 2111422
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301422Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3947
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6997
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4682
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3341
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7811
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1913
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5240
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1442
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7552
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000775
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: Iraq, Lebanon, Islam, Palestinian Territories, Peace
1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 30 reported Deputy Foreign
Minister Faisal al-Miqdad's meeting on July 29 with Under Secretary
of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry Mohammad al-Haj Mahmoud focusing on
bilateral relations, developments in Iraq and the effects of the
increasing influx of Iraqi citizens to neighboring countries and the
difficulties that the governments of these countries endure to
provide their basic needs. Al-Miqdad stressed that the occupying
forces in Iraq must take responsibility for the urgent situation of
the Iraqi people, stating that Syria is willing to cooperate with
the Iraqi government and the international community to provide
their needs. He reiterated the importance of preparing conditions
for their return to their homes as soon as possible. For his part,
Mahmoud expressed the gratitude of the Iraqi government and people
for Syria's hospitality in hosting Iraqi citizens, affirming the
Iraqi government's determination to shoulder its responsibilities
toward its citizens.
Papers also featured deliberations of the ministerial consultative
meeting to meet the health needs of Iraqis in neighboring countries,
which kicked off on July 29. The meeting was organized by the World
Health Organization (WHO) with the participation of Health
Ministries in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq and related UN
organizations. Syrian Health Minister Maher al-Hussami highlighted
the health services provided to Iraqi citizens in Syria who left
their country due to the loss of security and stability in Iraq.
Al-Hussami criticized negligence of the international community in
providing aid to the increasing number of Iraqis in neighboring
countries. He also stated that the deteriorating health services in
Iraq are one of the main reasons of immigration from Iraq.
All papers reported that 100 scholars and imams from the five
continents took part in an international one-week Forum for Islamic
scholars and Imams, which started on July 29 to promote moderation
and show values of coexistence among Islamic nations. The Forum was
held at Sheikh Ahmad Kuftaro Foundation in Damascus where the
foundation's Director General Salah al-Din Kuftaro, along with
scholars from Algeria, Kuwait and Iraq, stressed that the aim of
this Forum is to draft a plan for cooperation and rapprochement
among Islamic organizations in the world.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Deputy Foreign Minister al-Miqdad reviews impacts of the increasing
influx of Iraqi citizens to neighboring countries with al-Haj
Mahmoud, Under Secretary of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, stressing
the necessity of the occupation to shoulder its responsibilities"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/30)
"Under-Secretary of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry expresses gratitude
for Iraq's government and people for Syria's hospitality in hosting
"Moratinos: The Lebanese are responsible for solving their crisis.
French Foreign Minister Kouchner: I will come back to Beirut"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 6/30)
"The first anniversary of the second Qana massacre was commemorated
in Lebanon. Kouchner sees progress in his talks in Lebanon"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/30)
"President Bush's generosity to Israel: Maintaining Israel's
military supremacy over countries of the region, and an additional
$30 billion in US aid. Rice and Gates to the region today to
promote a rotten commodity" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/30)
"Scores of Palestinians pass to Gaza. Abbas in Moscow seeking
support" (Independent al-Watan, 7/30)
"An international Forum for Scholars and Imams calling for
moderation and values of coexistence" (Government-owned Tishreen,
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"A Scenario Underway"
Abd-al-Fattah Al-Awad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/30): "There are a number of future American scenarios with
regard to the Iraqi war and the region. One of these scenarios is
an announcement by the US Administration, under pressure from home
and abroad, that the time has come for withdrawal from Iraq because
of the failure of the Iraqi government to accomplish its mission and
play its role....
"Another scenario is further American indulgence in the military and
political madness through the expansion of the regional conflict....
A third scenario is the search for a publicity breakthrough where
the failure is covered up by an opportunity for success
somewhere.... The current American talk about peace in the Middle
East in this context can be seen within this context....
"Other scenarios include authorizing Israel to ignite the region,
and spreading instability in the Middle East through the creation of
sectarian strife and other conflicts...."
Ahmad Dawwa, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/30): "The United States is dealing with the crisis of the Iraqi
refugees as a secondary problem.... We wonder if the
American-British occupation seeks to drive Iraqis to vacate Iraq....
"All indications and information say that the problem is continuing
and escalating and that the occupation is not taking any real
measures to guarantee the return of these refugees in the
foreseeable future. This creates a new tragic situation to these
"Providing the necessary assistance to Iraqi refugees in the
countries that host them is important and urgent. Failure to do
this would only worsen their problems and heighten their tragedy in
light of their long stay. But this is not the alternative to the
solution; namely, working speedily to provide the circumstances for
their return to Iraq as soon as possible. Here, the basic
responsibility lies with the occupation and also with the
international community and its establishments, which were lax in
their opposition to the occupation of Iraq, especially the Security
Council, which deals with the issue of Iraqi refugees as if it does
"The US Administration's approach to the issue of Iraqi refugees
indicates that it wants either to tamper with Iraq's demography or
export the problems that resulted from the occupation to the
neighboring countries in the hope that this would help to promote
the 'creative chaos' theory....
"The international community must pressure the occupation to
shoulder its responsibility by looking after the existing refugees
and stopping the Iraqi exodus at any price...."
"The End of the Al-Maliki Government"
Marwan Qabalan, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Watan, wrote
(7/30): "The political and security developments in Iraq indicate
that the fall of the al-Maliki government is imminent.... After
more than one year in power, the Al-Maliki government has "failed to
score any tangible achievements on the level of either the national
reconciliation process or the control of the wild sectarian violence
and the achievement of a reasonable degree of stability....
"Instead of acting as a prime minister of the entire Iraqi people,
Al-Maliki established himself as a leader of a party or a trend that
prevailed over part of its country and people.
"The only factor delaying the fall of the Al-Maliki government is
the American desire to evade a political earthquake hindering the
Iraqi parliament's approval of a number of laws, notably the oil and
"An International Conference, Bush's New Lie"
Salim Abbud, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/30): "President Bush's desire for peace in the Middle East and
his call for a peace conference in September is an attempt to
re-draw attention to the American role, which is suffering a serious
fracture in the region and the rest of the world....
"Bush is working to further divide the Arab world into moderates and
extremists and serve Israel and its expansionist objectives....
The joint visit by Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates to the region
suggests that the US Administration is preparing for one of two
things, or for both: First to recruit parties in the region to
support Bush's policy in Iraq, and second is to mobilize the
energies of the countries of the region in the face of the so-called
Iranian threat or the Hizbollah threat...."