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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
02DAMASCUS1761 2002-05-09 07:46:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Damascus
Cable title:  

ASAD TELLS NODEL US LACKS VISION

Tags:   PREL SY 
pdf how-to read a cable
P 090746Z MAY 02
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9184
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 DAMASCUS 001761 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/08/2012
TAGS: PREL SY
SUBJECT: ASAD TELLS NODEL US LACKS VISION

CLASSIFIED BY: AMBASSADOR THEODORE H. KATTOUF, REASON 1.5B/D



1. (U) CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR THEODORE H. KATTOUF, REASON
1.5 B/D.



2. (C) SUMMARY: IN A TWO-HOUR DISCUSSION WITH CONGRESSMAN
DAVID PRICE, PRESIDENT AL-ASAD SAID THE US ADMINISTRATION HAS
NO CLEAR MIDDLE EAST VISION. THE DISPARATE ADMINISTRATION
VOICES HURT THE US REGIONALLY. PROGRESS TOWARDS
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN PEACE REQUIRES A CLEAR AND CONSISTENT
VISION, AND IMPARTIAL US MEDIATION. ASAD COMPLAINED THAT
THERE IS NO POLITICAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN SYRIA AND THE US, AND
THAT THE RELATIONSHIP 'ONLY COMES THROUGH ISRAEL.' ANY
SYRIAN EXPRESSION OF SUPPORT FOR US POLICY COULD ONLY COME
AFTER EXTENSIVE BILATERAL DIALOGUE. THE PROPOSED
QUARTET-INITIATED CONFERENCE COULD TURN INTO A POINTLESS
PHOTO OP, SINCE THE PRINCIPLES FOR A NEGOTIATED PEACE WERE
ALREADY ARTICULATED AND LAUNCHED AT MADRID. US POLICY
TOWARDS IRAQ HAS SERVED ONLY TO MAKE SADDAM STRONGER; THE US
SHOULD HAVE CONSULTED WITH REGIONAL COUNTRIES BEFORE
THREATENING UNILATERAL MILITARY ACTION. A FREED ARAFAT CAN
STILL DO NOTHING, SINCE HE HAS NO RESOURCES AND THE INTIFADA
IS THE DOMINANT REALITY. THE JENIN AND NABLUS 'MASSACRES,'
WHICH 'KILLED OVER SIX HUNDRED PALESTINIANS,' HAVE POSTPONED
THE POSSIBILITY OF PEACE. ASAD SAID THAT 'NO ONE WANTS TO
HEAR' TALK OF PEACE, AND SYRIA WOULD WAIT UNTIL EMOTIONS
COOLED BEFORE DECIDING WHAT TO DO. HE CALLED FOR MORE VISITS
BY CONGRESSMEN AND SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS TO SYRIA,
SO THEY COULD GET A CLEARER PICTURE OF REGIONAL REALITIES.
WE TAKE ASAD AT HIS WORD THAT, GIVEN THE ENFLAMED PASSIONS
AND DYNAMIC REGIONAL SITUATION, SYRIAN POLICY WILL MOVE
TOWARD ITS TRADITIONAL DEFAULT OF 'WAITING.' END SUMMARY



3. (C) ON MAY 4, CONGRESSMAN DAVID PRICE (D-NC) MET FOR TWO
HOURS WITH SYRIAN PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASAD. AMBASSADOR
KATTOUF AND POLOFF (NOTETAKER) WERE ALSO PRESENT, AS WAS
WAYNE OWENS, PRESIDENT OF THE CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE
AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION; FM SHARA AND INTERPRETER/ADVISOR
DR. BUTHAYNA SHA'BAN ATTENDED ON THE SYRIAN SIDE.



4. (C) PRESIDENT AL-ASAD TOLD PRICE HE'D MET A LOT OF HIS
COLLEAGUES RECENTLY (PRICE WAS THE EIGHTH CODEL PRESIDENT
BASHAR RECEIVED IN RECENT MONTHS), AND WAS HAPPY TO MEET HIM.
THE US ADMINISTRATION SEEMED NOT TO BE FULLY 'IN THE
PICTURE.' CONGRESSMAN PRICE'S VISIT, LIKE THOSE OF HIS
PREDECESSORS, COULD HELP CONVEY A CLEARER PICTURE OF REGIONAL
REALITIES TO THE ADMINISTRATION.



5. (C) CONGRESSMAN PRICE THANKED ASAD FOR SYRIA'S EFFECTIVE
COUNTER-TERRORISM COOPERATION, AND TOLD HIM THAT HE WAS
ENCOURAGED NOW THAT THE ADMINISTRATION WAS FULLY ENGAGED IN
THE REGION. ALTHOUGH THE RECENT VISIT OF SECRETARY POWELL
DIDN'T SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS, THE SYRIAN AND LEBANESE LEG OF THE
TRIP WAS SUCCESSFUL, FOR WHICH HE ALSO THANKED ASAD.



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

---
US: NO CLEAR VISION, NO REAL DIALOGUE WITH SYRIA


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

---



6. (C) ASAD SAID SYRIA AND OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES HAVE DONE ALL
THEY COULD TO KEEP THE US FULLY ENGAGED. THROUGH MEETINGS
AND POLITICAL DISCOURSE, SYRIA HAS REPROACHED THE US FOR ITS
REGIONAL ABSENCE AND ENCOURAGED IT TOWARDS GREATER
ENGAGEMENT. ONE OF THE CAUSES OF JENIN WAS THIS US ABSENCE.
ADDITIONALLY, THE US HAS ALSO MADE MANY MISTAKES. FOR
EXAMPLE, PRESIDENT BUSH ERRED IN CALLING SHARON A 'MAN OF
PEACE' WHILE THE LATTER WAS KILLING PALESTINIANS. SUCH
STATEMENTS OBSTRUCT ANY POSITIVE US ROLE.



7. (C) REPEATING EARLIER CRITICISM THAT THE US SPEAKS WITH A
MULTIPLICITY OF VOICES, ASAD ASSERTED THAT 'THE
ADMINISTRATION HAS NO CLEAR VISION ABOUT WHAT TO DO.' ASAD
ALSO COMPLAINED THAT THAT SYRIA DOESN'T SEE US OFFICIALS
UNLESS THERE IS AN 'ISRAELI PROBLEM,' AND THAT CURRENTLY
SYRIA HAS NO REAL DIALOGUE WITH THE ADMINISTRATION. 'I'VE
MET WITH SECRETARY POWELL TWICE, AND ONE OF THESE VISITS (THE
MORE RECENT) WAS NOT EVEN PLANNED BEFOREHAND.' HE HAD ASKED
THE SECRETARY HOW COULD ANYTHING BE DISCUSSED IN ONE HOUR,
LET ALONE THE GOLAN AND THE MEPP, WHEN THEY'D NOT MET IN
EIGHTEEN MONTHS.



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


SYRIAN STATEMENT OF SUPPORT


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





8. (C) PRICE TOLD ASAD THAT IT WOULD BE CONSTRUCTIVE FOR HIM
TO PUBLICLY EXPRESS HIS AND HIS COUNTRY'S SUPPORT FOR AN
ACTIVE US REGIONAL ROLE, OR TO DO SO PRIVATELY IF A PUBLIC
EXPRESSION WERE NOT POSSIBLE. ASAD SAID THAT WHATEVER STAND
SYRIA TOOK WOULD BE A PUBLIC ONE. IN ANY CASE, SYRIA
SUPPORTED POLICIES, NOT OFFICIALS. SYRIA WOULD SUPPORT AN
APPROPRIATE US ROLE. BUT SYRIA HAS ITS DIFFERENCES WITH THE
ADMINISTRATION, THE ISSUES ARE VERY COMPLEX, SYRIA WOULD NOT
BE ABLE TO PUBLICLY SUPPORT PRESIDENT BUSH UNTIL AFTER
EXTENDED BILATERAL DIALOGUE. FOR THIS REASON, THE SYRIAN
PRESIDENT STATED, HE HAD CALLED FOR A BROADER BILATERAL
DIALOGUE WITH THE US.



9. (C) PRICE ASKED ASAD FOR HIS REACTION TO THE SUMMER
CONFERENCE PROPOSED BY THE QUARTET TO ADVANCE THE MEPP. ASAD
SAID HE HAD NOT BEEN BRIEFED, AND ASKED WHAT WOULD BE THE
POINT OF THE CONFERENCE. WHAT CAN THIS CONFERENCE ADD TO THE
MADRID LAND FOR PEACE FRAMEWORK? ANSWERING HIS OWN QUESTION,
ASAD SAID THAT A CONFERENCE COULDN'T ACHIEVE PEACE; ONLY
NEGOTIATIONS COULD. THIS CONFERENCE WOULD BE CEREMONIAL.



10. (C) AMBASSADOR KATTOUF SUGGESTED THE CONFERENCE COULD
GIVE THE MEPP A NEW IMPETUS BY ALLOWING THE QUARTET, AND
OTHER ARAB COUNTRIES TO RECOMMIT THEMSELVES TO A NEGOTIATED
SETTLEMENT BASED ON THE MADRID PRINCIPLES. ASAD RESPONDED
THAT IT COULD BECOME A MEDIA EVENT. THE EU AND THE UN WANT
TO PLAY A CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE, AND THE ARAB COUNTRIES HAVE
ALWAYS EXPRESSED THEIR DESIRE TO DO LIKEWISE. REGARDLESS OF
A CONFERENCE, EVERYBODY WAS READY FOR PEACE. BUT THE RECENT
ISRAELI 'MASSACRES' HAVE DELAYED THE PEACE PROCESS LONGER
THAN MERELY THE TIME THAT SHARON REMAINED IN OFFICE. ASAD
SAID HE SAW NO BENEFIT IN THE CONFERENCE, BUT IT WAS UP TO
THOSE PROPOSING IT TO STATE ITS PURPOSE.



11. (C) PRICE AGREED THERE WAS NOTHING NEW ABOUT THE THREE
PRIORITIES STATED BY SECRETARY POWELL, BUT IT WAS ALSO TRUE
THAT THE MEPP WAS IN SHAMBLES. THE HOPE WAS THAT THE CYCLE
OF VIOLENCE COULD BE BROKEN. PRICE ASKED ASAD HOW COULD WE
GET A FRESH START? WHAT WERE VIABLE ALTERNATIVES TO THIS
CONFERENCE? WHAT ELSE SHOULD THE US DO BESIDES SEEKING TO
CONTAIN THE VIOLENCE?



12. (C) ANSWERING, ASAD SAID DURING THE PAST PERIOD THERE
HAVE BEEN MANY FAILED INITIATIVES. HE EXPECTED THESE
FAILURES AND TOLD THE US SO (READ: TENET-MITCHELL). WHY DOES
THE US ALWAYS THINK IN TERMS OF 'LAUNCHING INITIATIVES?' IF
THERE IS NO INITIAL CLARITY, THE CONCERNED PARTIES WILL 'WALK
A DISTANCE AND THEN BE LOST AND AT JEOPARDY.' SWITCHING
ANALOGIES, ASAD SAID THAT SOME MEDICINES ARE ONLY TEMPORARY
AND DON'T TREAT THE CAUSE OF THE DISEASE. WE MUST GO BACK TO
THE 'RIGHT INITIATIVE' - MADRID, WHICH WILL LEAD US TO PEACE.



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


FORGET NEW CONFERENCE; ENFORCE MADRID


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





13. (C) ASAD SAID THAT THE STARTING POINT FOR THE BUSH
ADMINISTRATION SEEMS TO BE SUPPORTING PM SHARON WHILE HE
KILLS PALESTINIANS. THESE MASSACRES HAVE HAD A HUGE REGIONAL
IMPACT AND HAVE HURT THE US, WHICH HAS LOST A LOT OF ITS
ARAB-WORLD, SEPTEMBER 11TH SYMPATHY. BUT THE PEOPLE CAN BE
LED BEYOND ANTI-US FEELINGS, NOT BY FORCE, BUT BY POLITICAL
DISCUSSION, AND THIS IS WHERE A BILATERAL US-SYRIAN DIALOGUE
CAN BE VERY HELPFUL. WHEN THE US ADMINISTRATION IS 'IN THE
PICTURE,' IT CAN ACT CORRECTLY AND WILL GET REGIONAL SUPPORT.
THEREFORE, BILATERAL US-SYRIAN DIALOGUE IS MORE IMPORTANT
THAN ANY CONFERENCE INITIATIVE. ASAD SAID HE KNEW OF THE
INFLUENCE OF DOMESTIC LOBBIES, AND THAT THE ARABS WERE NOT
DOING THEIR JOB IN LOBBYING OR PRESENTING A TRUE PICTURE TO
CONGRESS.



14. (C) CONGRESSMAN PRICE SAID THAT BILATERAL DISCUSSIONS AND
THIS CONFERENCE WERE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. HE KNEW THE
APPARENT DIFFERENCES WITHIN THE US ADMINISTRATION WERE
CAUSING PROBLEMS GLOBALLY. BUT SEPTEMBER 11TH HAD BEEN A
'WAKE-UP CALL' FOR PRESIDENT BUSH, AND NOW HE SHOULD BE TAKEN
AT HIS WORD CONCERNING HIS DESIRE FOR A LASTING PEACE.
SECRETARY POWELL IS THE PRESIDENT'S EMISSARY AND SPEAKS
AUTHORITATIVELY ON HIS BEHALF. THEY BOTH NEED SYRIA'S HELP.



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


IRAQ


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





15. (C) RESPONDING TO WAYNE OWENS' QUESTION ON HIS VIEWS
CONCERNING US ACTION AGAINST IRAQ, ASAD REPEATED HIS STANDARD
LINE THAT THE ONLY ACTION ACCEPTABLE WAS IMPLEMENTING UN
RESOLUTIONS. WHAT THE US WAS CONTEMPLATING WOULD NOT WORK,
AND THE US NEEDED TO SERIOUSLY RECONSIDER ITS PLANS. THE US
SHOULD CONSULT WITH COUNTRIES IN THE REGION; OTHERWISE, THE
US LOSES. THE US ERROR LAY IN THINKING THAT MILITARY POWER
COULD SOLVE EVERY PROBLEM.



16. (C) PRICE AGREED THAT VP CHENEY SHOULD HAVE COME TO
SYRIA. HE ALSO AGREED THAT US MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAQ
WAS LIKELY. HE TOLD ASAD THAT, WHILE HE STRONGLY BELIEVED
THAT THIS SHOULD BE A LAST RESORT, IRAQ POSED A REAL WMD
THREAT. PRICE EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT THERE WERE
INTERMEDIATE STEPS TO TAKE BEFORE MILITARY ACTION. ALTHOUGH
THIS WAS HIS OWN VIEW, MANY IN THE CONGRESS SHARED IT.



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


ASAD'S LETTER TO BUSH


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





17. (C) COMMENTING THAT ASAD'S LETTER TO PRESIDENT BUSH
FOLLOWING 9/11 HAD BEEN IMPORTANT, OWENS SUGGESTED THAT
ANOTHER SUCH LETTER, COMMENTING ON THE GOOD THINGS THE
ADMINISTRATION HAS DONE THUS FAR, WOULD ALSO BE USEFUL. ASAD
SAID THAT HE WAS SURE THAT WHAT HE HAD SAID TODAY WOULD
SIMILARLY BE RELAYED UPWARDS, SO THAT THE INFORMATION WOULD
REACH THE PRESIDENT IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. (COMMENT: DESPITE
REPEATED PROBING, ASAD GAVE NO INDICATION THAT THAT HE WOULD
BE WILLING TO ISSUE A STATEMENT OF SUPPORT FOR REGIONAL US
POLICY, EITHER PUBLICLY OR PRIVATELY).



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



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


ARAFAT TOOTHLESS, REGION INFLAMED, SYRIA WILL WAIT


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



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





18. (C) IN RESPONSE TO PRICE'S OBSERVATION THAT NEWLY-FREED
ARAFAT FACED A MAJOR TEST IN STEMMING PALESTINIAN VIOLENCE,
ASAD ASKED RHETORICALY WHAT MEANS WERE LEFT FOR ARAFAT TO DO
ANYTHING? PRICE REPLIED THAT ASAD HAD A POINT. HOWEVER, HE
WAS CONCERNED - THE COMING DAYS AND WEEKS WERE CRITICAL, BUT
HE WAS HOPEFUL THAT SYRIA COULD BE OF MAXIMUM ASSISTANCE.
POWELL HAD TOLD ARAFAT THAT HE WAS DOWN TO HIS LAST CHANCE;
THERE WAS A DESPERATE QUALITY IN THE AIR. WHAT DID PRESIDENT
ASAD THINK FRIENDS OF THE PALESTINIANS SHOULD DO?



19. (C) ASAD REPEATED THAT ARAFAT COULD DO NOTHING. HE HAS
NO POLICE, NO PRISON, AND THE ISRAELIS HAD EVEN KILLED HIS
COOK. BUT EVEN BEFORE THESE WERE STRIPPED FROM HIM, HE WAS
POWERLESS. THE INTIFADA WAS THE DE FACTO REALITY THAT ALL
HAD TO DEAL WITH. ALTHOUGH ARAFAT HAD EMERGED FROM HIS
LATEST ORDEAL WITH A HEROIC AURA, IN THE LAST THREE DAYS HE
HAS REVEALED HIMSELF TO BE AN ACTOR. SYRIA HAS KNOWN FOR
THIRTY YEARS THAT HE IS A LIAR. HE HASN'T CHANGED; THE US
DISCOVERED HIS NATURE TOO LATE. HE HAD MISLED THE US
CONCERNING HIS ABILITIES AT A TIME WHEN 'NINETY PERCENT' OF
THE SITUATION WAS OUTSIDE HIS CONTROL. EVEN HIS IMMEDIATE
CIRCLE HAS REBELLED AGAINST HIM. ALTHOUGH SYRIA EXPECTS
NOTHING FROM HIM, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. WHO IS THERE IF
ARAFAT FALLS? - NOBODY.



20. (C) AS FOR THE FUTURE, ASAD DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.
'WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED WHEN THE ISRAELIS KILL THE MOTHER AND
BROTHER OF A PERSON WHO THEN HAS TO STAY IN THE SAME ROOM
WITH THE DEAD BODIES FOR TWELVE HOURS?' ISRAEL HAD KILLED
'SIX HUNDRED PEOPLE' IN JENIN AND NABLUS, AND HAS NOW PRIMED
THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE TO EXPLODE.



21. (C) CONTINUING, ASAD SAID 'WE CAN ALL EXPECT THE WORST,
AND WE ALL WILL PAY FOR SHARON, WHO HAS DELAYED THE PEACE
PROCESS UNTIL PEOPLE FORGET THESE ATROCITIES.' MUCH AS THE
HORROR OF SEPTEMBER 11 WILL LONG REMAIN FRESH IN AMERICA'S
MIND, SO TOO WILL THESE RECENTLY INFLICTED HORRORS LONG
REMAIN IN PALESTINIAN AND ALL ARAB MINDS.



22. (C) THE US WAS PARTIALLY RESPONSIBLE, BECAUSE IT DID NOT
STAND AGAINST SHARON AND THE PRO-ISRAELI LOBBY, ASAD
MAINTAINED. THE ADMINISTRATION'S PERFORMANCE WAS SO WEAK
WITH REGARDS TO ISRAEL THAT MANY PALESTINIANS CAME TO BELIEVE
THAT FIGHTING WAS THE ONLY SOLUTION. THE PROBLEM WITH THE US
WAS THAT IT ONLY LOOKED FOR A SOLUTION AFTER THE PROBLEM HAD
GOTTEN OUT OF HAND. THE PICTURE WAS BLACK, AND FOR NOW,
SYRIA WOULD WAIT.



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



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


ASAD: "OFF THE RECORD, I CAN SAY I WANT PEACE...


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



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





23. (C) ASAD SAID THAT 'OFF THE RECORD, I CAN SAY I WANT
PEACE, BUT I CAN'T TELL THAT TO THE MEDIA, BECAUSE 'NO ONE
WANTS TO HEAR IT.' HE REPEATED THAT THE SITUATION WAS STILL
VERY EMOTIONAL, AND THAT SYRIA WOULD WAIT FOR EMOTIONS TO
COOL, AT WHICH TIME IT COULD DISCERN THE UNDERLYING
REALITIES. THE PRESENT TIME WAS ONE OF PARALYSIS, EVEN IN
THOUGHT, 'BECAUSE THE ELEMENTS WERE NOT STABLE, AND THEREFORE
THE RESULTS NOT ACCURATE.' THIS HOWEVER WAS NOT A CALL FOR
PESSIMISM. ALTHOUGH THERE WILL BE DELAY, THE PEACE PROCESS
EVENTUALLY WILL HAVE TO RESUME.



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


ISRAEL KILLS SYRIAN CROWN PRINCE INITIATIVE


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





24. (C) PRICE ASKED IF CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH'S PEACE
INITIATIVE WERE A WAY FORWARD. ASAD ANSWERED THAT SYRIA HAD
SUPPORTED IT, WHICH HAD GIVEN IT LEGITIMACY. WITHIN THE ARAB
WORLD IT WAS SEEN AS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY. BUT TWO DAYS AFTER
THE ARAB SUMMIT, SHARON STARTED HIS MASSACRES. SYRIA HAD
GIVEN LIFE TO THE CROWN PRINCE'S INITIATIVE; SHARON HAD
KILLED IT TWO DAYS LATER.



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


ASAD: WE ARE THE PEACE PROCESS


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





25. (C) ASAD AGREED THAT SYRIA'S ROLE IN THE PEACE PROCESS
WAS KEY, SINCE 'IF SYRIA IS NOT A PARTY TO THE PEACE PROCESS,
WHO IS?' EGYPT AND JORDAN HAVE ALREADY SIGNED AGREEMENTS:
SYRIA IS THE WHOLE PARTY, AND OTHERS SHOULD PLAY A SUPPORTING
ROLE. ASAD IN TURN ASKED PRICE HOW THE US ADMINISTRATION
COULD ANNOUNCE THAT THEY WERE SENDING PEOPLE TO THE REGION TO
DISCUSS PEACE, AND HAVE THESE PEOPLE AVOID SYRIA.



26. (C) IN CLOSING, ASAD SAID HE WAS PLEASED WITH THIS
DIALOGUE AND WITH CONGRESSMAN PRICE'S COMMENTS. HE ASKED
CONGRESSMAN PRICE TO SEND HIS BEST REGARDS TO PRESIDENT BUSH.



27. (U) THIS CABLE WAS NOT CLEARED WITH CONGRESSMAN PRICE.



28. (C) COMMENTS: ASAD SEEMED RELAXED AND A BIT MORE
REFLECTIVE THAN IN SOME OTHER MEETINGS. FOR ONCE, HE DID
IMPLICITLY CLAIM TO HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS. MUCH OF WHAT HE
SAID WE'VE ALREADY HEARD: CHASTISING THE US FOR ITS PERCEIVED
ABSENCE; CALLING FOR GREATER BILATERAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE
ADMINISTRATION; DECRYING SHARON'S TOXIC EFFECT ON THE PEACE
PROCESS; AND CRITICIZING US PLANS TO 'BRING DOWN' SADDAM.
NEW, ALTHOUGH EXPECTED, WAS HIS SKEPTICISM TOWARDS A PROPOSED
SUMMER PEACE CONFERENCE AND HIS RELUCTANCE TO CONSIDER A
LETTER OF SUPPORT TO PRESIDENT BUSH. CONCERNING THE
SHARON-ARAFAT STRUGGLE, HE SEEMED AT A GENUINE LOSS AS TO
WHAT MIGHT COME NEXT, ALTHOUGH RELATIVELY SURE THAT, GIVEN
ARAFAT'S IMPOTENCE AND POPULAR PALESTINIAN RAGE, IT WOULD NOT
BE GOOD. WE TAKE ASAD AT HIS WORD THAT GIVEN THE ENFLAMED
AND DYNAMIC REGIONAL SITUATION, SYRIAN POLICY WILL MOVE
TOWARD ITS TRADITIONAL DEFAULT OF 'WAITING,' WHILE PLAYING TO
THE ARAB STREET. END COMMENT.


KATTOUF