Cablegate: Syria/Turkey, Petraeus-Crocker Report, 9/11 Events,
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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 111353Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
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UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000927
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ELA, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR: JPAUNESCU AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND DFOLEY,
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
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TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Syria/Turkey, Petraeus-Crocker Report, 9/11 Events,
Syria/Israel, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories (9/10-11)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on September 10 reported the visit to
Turkey by FM Mouallem on September 9 to convey a message from
President Asad to President Gul congratulating him on his election
as President. FM Mouallem's talks with Turkish officials focused on
the recent Israeli warplanes violation of Syrian airspace, the
situation in Iraq and Turkey's efforts to host a meeting for Iraq
neighboring counties due in Istanbul next autumn. Papers featured a
Press conference by FM Mouallem and Turkish FM Babajan. Regarding
the Israeli violation of the Syrian airspace, Turkish Foreign
Minister said that "it is unacceptable thing and totally rejected ,"
adding that Turkey has expressed concern in this regard and is
waiting to receives answers from the Israeli side. FM Mouallem
noted that he discussed with his Turkish counterpart the danger of
the Israeli act; particularly that it used the Turkish airspace to
do this aggression, which indicates that the violation is
deliberate. "The Turkish side asserted that it cannot accept the
exploitation of its airspace to violate Syrian airspace." FM
The second theme in the Syrian press on September 11 is the
Petraeus-Crocker report. Syrian papers focused on the negative
aspect of the report and portraying a case of chaos in the Senate
during the Petraeus-Crocker hearing. A News report in
government-owned Tishreen featured a statement by Senator Dick
Durbin accusing the Bush Administration of manipulating records so
as to give a positive image about the situation in Iraq. Tishreen
said that Petraeus and Crocker still have a more difficult hearing
at the US Congress today to assess the situation in Iraq wondering
whether both officials will persist in sacrificing their reputation
to the save the Bush Administration's reputation.
All papers reported a statement by US Senator Tom Lantos denying any
security progress in Iraq as stated by the Petraeus-Crocker report.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"A message from President Asad to Turkish President Gul conveyed by
Foreign Minister Mouallem" (Government-owned Tishreen, 9/10)
"Turkey awaits an immediate Israeli answer in the wake of the
Israeli warplanes' violation of its territory. Mouallem: The
recent Israeli act is aggressive and deliberate" (Independent
"Petraeus and Crocker submit their report: The situation is
frustrating. Reduction of forces is feasible starting from
December. Lantos: We did not learn from the Afghanistan lesson"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/11)
"Chaos at the US Senate on the background of the Petraeus-Crocker
report. Nine US soldiers killed in Iraq. Occupation troops
continue to retaliate from Iraqi civilians" (Government-owned
"The Petraeus-Crocker report: Not beatification but lies.
Petraeus-Crocker: Violence reduced in Iraq. Lantos: We do not
"Bush phones al-Maliki calling for a political progress. Petraeus
warns against reducing US troops. Crocker warns against Iran"
(Independent al-Watan, 9/11)
"A conference by Iraq Neighboring Countries is convened in Baghdad
with Syria's participation. The conference discusses the issue of
Iraqi refugees and formation of follow-up mechanisms"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/10)
"The world community continues to condemn Israeli infiltration of
Syrian airspace: Flagrant violation of international law"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/10)
"A US official [Elizabeth Dibble] in Beirut on Wednesday to discuss
'terrorism combating'" (Independent al-Watan, 9/11)
"Washington talks about the possibility that Hizbollah might attack
US territory" (Independent al-Watan, 9/11)
"Hamas describes the Abbas-Olmert meeting as an aesthesia shot.
Abbas and Olmert discuss horizons for a settlement"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 9/11)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"The Big Deception"
Omar Jaftali, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(9/11): "Six years after the 9/11 the American people are living
under the deception and illusions of their administration on
combating terrorism and its big failure in Iraq and Afghanistan
blaming others in region, especially Syria, for their failure....
"For six years Arabs have been paying the price of the aggressive US
inclination that exceeded the occupation of Iraq so as to include
all countries in the region under the pretext of spreading democracy
and fighting extremism. What is the result? Americans, before
anybody else, discovered the big deception that their administration
dragged them into for the sake of Israel. Al-Qaeada, which did not
exist the in the region before, has become very active after the US
occupation. Combating terrorism has turned into retaliatory
operations against Iraqi, Lebanese and Palestinian civilians....
"US officials are still making illusions to their president about
great achievements. They did not acknowledge that they made
catastrophic decisions and that they are the cause of chaos in the
"Many 9/11 Events in the World"
An unsigned editorial in government-owned Al-Thawra, on (9/11) said:
"Six years past the 9/11 event in the US, the Bush administration
crated many events in the world on the US model of 9/11.
"There is a terrible 9/11 in Iraq. Another in Palestine.... The
world has become more violent due to Bush's reckless and wrong
"All what happened after 9/11 confirm that combating terrorism on
the US model is the worst method in fight terrorism....
"One who listened to David Petraeus talking about interventions in
Iraqi affairs as increasing violence, become assured that Americans
did learn the lesson from the past six years and are still
obstinate. Such obstinacy will only lead the Bush Administration to
"The Frankness of Right"
Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
commented (9/10): "The Syrian announcement about the Israeli
aggression has a significance Israelis must read well. Syria was
aware of Israel's preparations for a new war. The Israeli military
exercises and the training that the enemy army conducted in the
Golan on the occupation of Syrian villages certainly took place
under Syria's watchful eyes....
"But at the same time we know that this is not the only reason that
drives Israel to think of launching a new war. Every time there is
talk about peace, one can expect Israel to launch war to cancel this
talk and lead the region in another direction.
"What is happening in Lebanon is undoubtedly not isolated from the
brazen Israeli aggression. Sabotaging every Lebanese accord is a
permanent Israeli objective, especially since this stage is so
sensitive it is open to all possibilities....
"The Syrian response is a clear warning that a repetition of this
provocation will not be without consequences and that Syria has
various forms and options for the response, the appropriate time of
which it decides. Statements by Israeli officials that there is no
intention to launch war on Syria are not taken seriously in
"Syria listened to appeals from other countries, especially friendly
countries, for self restraint and for evading [response to] the
Israeli provocation. But this dictates that the international
community, which knows the gravity of the situation in the region,
must do everything necessary to curb Israeli aggression and prevent
Israel from repeating these blatant provocations...."
"War on Racism, instead of War on Terrorism"
Dr. Buthaina Sha'ban, Minister of Expatriate Affairs Minister, wrote
in her weekly column in government-owned Tishreen, (9/10): "In the
wake of the 9/11 attacks, the United States directed its main
revenge against states and parties that were categorically proven to
have no connection with the attacks, mainly Iraq....
"The United States lost its credibility and status in the world as a
country symbolizing freedom and respect for human rights.... On the
level of Arabs and Muslims, the world was led to believe that those
who carried out the operation were Arab Muslim men, although the
investigations did not prove this and although there is no
conclusive evidence to this effect, even if the perpetrators were
Muslims. What is more important is: Who stands behind the
operation and who planned it and why?
"Although all studies proved that Iraq had no connection with the
9/11 attacks or with Al-Qaeda and that it did not have WMD, the
country was invaded and occupied.... The United States also promoted
the false impression that the resistance against the Israeli
occupation in Palestine is terrorism and gave Israel a free hand to
launch a brutal military attack against Lebanon under the pretext of
"The war on terrorism resulted in hateful racist measures against
Arabs and Muslims in the West.... Six years on, the 'war on
terrorism' undermined a host of established and time-honored human
values. The US Administration's approach to this 'war' must stop
and the world, which now stands on its head, must return to stand on
its feet and think with balanced heart and mind....
"Perhaps the best way to remember the victims of 9/11 is to stand
together, Arabs, Americans, and Europeans, Muslims, Jews, and
Christians, against occupation, settlement, and racism in Iraq,
Palestine, Lebanon, Golan, Afghanistan, and Sudan, and for justice
and proud human dignity for all humans everywhere. War on racism,
instead of war on terrorism, must be the new headline."