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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03AMMAN5501 2003-08-28 16:20:00 SECRET Embassy Amman
Cable title:  

PM ABUL RAGHEB VISITS DAMASCUS TO RAISE IRAQ,

Tags:   PREL PGOV PTER KPAL IZ SY JO 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 005501 

SIPDIS

CENTCOM ALSO FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2013
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER KPAL IZ SY JO
SUBJECT: PM ABUL RAGHEB VISITS DAMASCUS TO RAISE IRAQ,
INFILTRATIONS, SUPPORT FOR MILITANTS


Classified By: CDA David M. Hale for reasons 1.5 (B) and (D)

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SUMMARY
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1. (S) PM Abul Ragheb delivered a message to Bashar al-Asad
August 26 complaining of arms and explosives smuggling and a
border incursion. Bashar professed readiness to resolve
these issues, and to support the Iraqi Governing Council
(GC). END SUMMARY



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ABUL RAGHEB ASKS BASHAR ABOUT IRAQ...


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





2. (S) Prime Minister Ali Abul Ragheb told the Charge and
EconCouns August 28 that he had visited Damascus August 26
and spent an hour and fifteen minutes with President Bashar
al-Asad. The PM said that Syrian PM Miro and the Jordanian
Ambassador to Syria sat in on the meeting. Bashar told Abul
Ragheb that there were "good people" in the Iraqi GC with
whom he could work. Bashar was, at the same time, concerned
about internal stability in Iraq, particularly by the
possibility of Turkish intervention to end Kurdish/Turkoman
tensions. He also expressed concern over smuggling of
weapons and explosives from Iraq into Syria (he did not
comment on illicit trade into Iraq, or movement of Iraqi
regime figures). He said that an organized network of both
Iraqis and Syrians appeared behind the smuggling. Syria's
long border with Iraq, he complained, is very hard to police.
Overall, Abul Ragheb said Bashar's views on Iraq had been
"very positive and constructive."



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...BORDER ISSUES...


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3. (S) Abul Ragheb said he had expressed to Bashar
Jordanian concern over smuggling of guns (one thing, Abul
Ragheb said), RPGs and explosives (quite another, the PM
commented) from Syria into Jordan. The two agreed that
Jordanian GID chief Saad Kheir would meet with Hassan Khalil,
his Syrian counterpart, in the near future to continue
discussions on the issue. Abul Ragheb complained to Bashar
that Syrian forces continue to occupy 125 square kilometers
of Jordanian territory (and that Jordanian forces occupy 3-4
square kilometers of Syrian territory). Abul Ragheb said
that the issue is complicated, with nationals of the two
states owning land across borders in the disputed parcels of
land. He said that he had raised with Bashar the report of a
1992 commission that had been convened to find a solution to
the claims and counter-claims, and suggested that the report
be the basis for a permanent settlement.



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... AND CONTINUED SARG SUPPORT FOR MILITANTS


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4. (S) Abul Ragheb said that he had also, at USG request,
raised continued Syrian support for Palestinian militant
groups and lack of Syrian support for the roadmap. He said
he had told Bashar that Syria's attitude undercuts Jordanian
support for the roadmap. Bashar, in response, said he had
nothing against the roadmap, but was ready to negotiate with
Israel only on the basis of land for peace and UNSCR 242.
Bashar expressed rhetorical support for Palestinian
resistance against Israeli occupation, and argued that very
little terrorist activity originated in or came through
Syria, claiming Syria had no interest in promoting
Palestinian Islamic groups. Abul Ragheb commented that
"Baathis are good at analysis, but don't do anything."



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MIRO TO STAY ON AS PM?


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





5. (C) Asked about signs of a cabinet change in Syria, Abul
Ragheb said he had heard that Miro might form a reshuffled
cabinet. In any event, they agreed to hold a PM-led
Syria-Jordan Binational Commission in November -- which Abul
Ragheb took at least as a sign of short-term confidence by
Miro.



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COMMENT


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





6. (S) Abul Ragheb delivered a clear message to Bashar on
several fronts, but was the first to acknowledge that Bashar
was unlikely to change his behavior.



7. (U) CPA Baghdad minimize considered.
HALE