Cablegate: Bush's Speech, Syria/Russia, Syria/North Korea, Palestinian
DE RUEHDM #0937/01 2591320
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161320Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4175
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 7089
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4767
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RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7604
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000937
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
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Bush's Speech, Syria/Russia, Syria/North Korea, Palestinian
Territories, Lebanon (9/14-16)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on September 15 reported President
Bush's televised speech on September 13 announcing gradual pullout
of US forces from Iraq. Isan Dari, Chief Editor of government-owned
Tishreen criticized Bush's speech saying that the speech cannot
conceal "the failures and defects" of the US Administration. Dari
also ridiculed President Bush's accusations to Syria and Iran on
demolishing the Iraqi government's performance.
Papers on September 14 reported President Asad's meeting on
September 13 with Russian President's Special Envoy, Deputy Foreign
Minister Alexander Sultanov focusing on the situation in the
occupied Palestinian territories and Iraq. Independent al-Watan on
9/16 quoted Sultanov as denying Syria's intention to interfere in
the Lebanese presidential elections.
Papers on September 16 reported that the Disarmament Conference in
Geneva adopted for the first time in nine years a chairmanship
report prepared by Chairman of the Conference and Syria's permanent
envoy Faisal al-Hamwi, concluding the deliberations of the
Conference that lasted nine months. The adopted chairmanship Syrian
report deals with the Conference's achievements for 2007, most
noteworthy of which was initiating negotiations for a global treaty
of nuclear disarmament, stopping the nuclear arms race, setting
negative security guarantees including international arrangements
guaranteeing that nuclear weapons will not be used against countries
that don't possess them, nor will nuclear weapons be used to
threaten these countries. This report can be interpreted as an
answer to recent US accusation to Syria on illicit nuclear
cooperation with North Korea which Syria has denied.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"For the first time in 9 years, the Disarmament Conference in Geneva
adopts a report prepared by Syria" (Independent al-Watan, 9/16)
"A fierce US-Israeli campaign against Syria accusing it of nuclear
activity" (Independent al-Watan, 9/16)
"Bush announces a gradual withdrawal of troops in an effort to
contain pressures" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/14)
"The killing of four US soldiers raises the death toll to 3780.
President Bush will stay in Iraq. A thorny legacy for his
successor" (Government-owned Tishreen, 9/15
"The United Nations: Syria bears the biggest burden, and the United
Nations is incapable of meeting the needs of the Iraqi refugees"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/16)
"President Asad confers with Sultanov, the Russian President's
envoy. Sultanov: Our relations are very good and cooperation covers
all domains. Both countries sustain continuing contacts and
consultation" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/14)
"Sultanov: Syria has no intention to interfere in Lebanese
presidential elections" (Al-Watan, 9/16)
"French FM Kouchner will meet FM Mouallem in New York" (Independent
"Russia supports the reconciliation initiative by Lebanese
Parliament Speaker Berri. President Lahoud: Resolving the crisis
starts from inside Lebanon" (Government-owned Tishreen, 9/15)
"Blair's senior advisor: We failed in Iraq. We were too optimistic"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 9/14)
"Israeli incursions in the Palestinian territories prevent thousands
of Palestinian worshipers from visiting the al-Aqsa mosque"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 9/15)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"A Party of Presidential Blustering"
Isam Dari, chief editor of government-owned Tishreen, wrote (9/15):
"Bush's talk in his televised speech about US achievements in Iraq
cannot convince Americans, before anyone else....
"Despite his announcement that he intends to reduce the number of
the US troops in Iraq, he ignores US and international calls for a
timetable for the withdrawal from this country...
"In the televised party of lies, Syria and Iran, as usual, had a
share of the presidential blustering, for these two countries are
working to 'undermine the work of the Iraqi Government.' Enough is
enough, President Bush. Is It Syria -- which accorded the Iraqi
prime minister a hospitable reception and expressed willingness to
cooperate with the Iraqis by all means in order to restore security,
peace, and stability to Iraq -- that is threatening the work of the
Iraqi Government, or it is it your personal interference and the
interference of your government team in every small and big detail
in the Iraqi internal affair?
"Who criticized Mr. Nuri al-Maliki because he visited Syria and Iran
in search for an independent role for the Iraqi Government based on
coordination with the neighboring countries?
"Wait, Mr. Bush, from now on, the criminal cannot blame his crimes
and failure on others and does not have the right to frighten the
neighboring countries with 'the extremists pursuing the path of
violence' and announce that those extremists are 'targeting the
people of these countries as well.'
"The presidential blustering parties can by no means conceal the
defects and failures of this administration; they rather make things
worse and aggravate the situation not only in Iraq, but also in the
entire region and world."
"What is New Is the Magnitude of Lie"
Abdul Fattah Awad, chief editor of government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(9/16): "The chorus has started a new black song this time about a
Syrian-Korean nuclear cooperation....
"Syria got used in the past years to hear such lies and to confront
them. It is not the first time Syria is charged with false
accusations. What is new this time is the magnitude of the lies and
the way it spread.
"We do not underestimate the lie and its influence with our
recognition that the occupation of Iraq was based on a lie.
"Syria suffered from lies in the past years, but they were proven to
be mere accusations and lies. And the new flagrant lie will also be
proven as such....
"Israel kept silent after its recent aggression and violation of
Syrian airspace. While we heard poisonous leaks coming from
Washington. We are having various scenarios which aim to give the
Israeli aggression sore of legitimacy. But the volume of the lie
might be a prelude for more assault against Syria. That is what
explains that the beginning signal came from Washington as voiced by
the ill-famed John Bolton....
"Syria is not in a position to defend itself on this issue as Syria
itself is demanding the world community to dismantle Israel's
nuclear weapons and persists in establishing a WMD zone in the
region. Syria strongly believes that it is imperative to make
Israel abide by international law that bans the possession of
nuclear arms without international inspection...."
"Petraeus and Crocker Deepen US Split on Iraq"
Ahmad Dawwa, a commentator in government-owned Al-Thawra, worte
(9/14): "The Petraeus-Crocker report contained clear and flagrant
fallacies, which indicate the extent of the US political and
security confusion in Iraq....
"Blaming what is happening in Iraq on Iraqis themselves and the
neighboring countries shows disregard for Iraqis and the
international community, which admitted that America invaded Iraq
without the UN approval, something which holds it responsible for
all the Iraqi problems and their regional and international
"As regards the civil war, the contradiction is manifest in the
warning against its outbreak and the confirmation by the Iraqi
Government that Iraq is past sliding into this quagmire....
"The significance of this report does not lie only in its failure to
beautify the situation in Iraq, but also in deepening the US split
over this file, contrary to what Bush and his team were looking