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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06DAMASCUS2554
2006-06-04 12:43:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Damascus
Cable title:  

Damascus Media Reaction: Terrorism, Syria/China,

Tags:   KMDR  PREL  KPAO  OPRC  SY 
pdf how-to read a cable
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DE RUEHDM #2554/01 1551243
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 041243Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9336
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 5998
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 3859
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2376
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7065
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1044
RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 4438
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0661
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA//
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 6802
						UNCLAS DAMASCUS 002554 

SIPDIS



SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, DBENZE AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA RWINCHESTER
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: Terrorism, Syria/China,
Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Iran (6/2-4)




1. Summary: Government-owned Tishreen, the only paper to appear
on Saturday, featured an Interior Ministry statement reporting
the clash that took place Friday morning between an anti-terror
unit and a terrorist extremist group near
Omayyad Square in
Damascus. The statement said that the clash resulted in the
killing of four terrorists, the wounding of two others, and the
arrest of four. It also resulted in the killing of a member of
the anti-terror unit and the injury of two others. The statement
mentioned that ten US guns were confiscated from the group, with
ammunition and other arms, in addition to locally made explosives
and tape recordings, including religious sermons. The statement
noted that "arms were supplied to the group by a neighboring
country to stage sabotage acts aimed at vital targets and
national interests." The statement also underlined that the
arrested terrorists would be sent to a specialized court after
completing the investigation.

Papers also reported a statement by Foreign Minister Walid al-
Mouallem describing his visit to China as "fruitful and
constructive," adding that the two sides have agreed to continue
political deliberations concerning regional and international
issues. On the Iranian nuclear file, Mouallem said that Iran is
not the cause of chaos in the Middle East. Rather, it is Israel,
because Israel has occupied Arab lands in Syria, Palestine, and
Lebanon since 1967. Mouallem added that Iranians have repeatedly
asserted that their nuclear program is peaceful and that their
installations are monitored by the International Atomic Energy
Agency, while the Israeli nuclear program is not. He stressed
that Syria calls for finding a diplomatic solution for the
Iranian nuclear program through dialogue and that it strongly
rejects the use of force against Iran, which would destabilize
the entire region. In this regard, Mouallom also announced
Syria's support of the Chinese position at the UN Security
Council when this issue was discussed. On US policy in the
region, Al-Mouallem said that when the US began the war against
Iraq three years ago, it removed the peace process from its
priorities and manifested unlimited support for Israel in the
economic, military, and political fields at the expense of the
Arabs' rights, and that it has continued the occupation of Iraq.
Therefore, the popularity of this administration is extremely low
in the Arab world. Moreover, the US policy toward the Middle East
is utterly rejected. Mouallem said that developing countries
reject the domination that the US is trying to impose on the
region. He urged Washington to opt for dialogue, because it is
the civilized tool to bridge gaps and reach a better
understanding of the problems and issues of developing countries,

particularly the Arab countries. Mouallem added that he asks
Americans why Syria has good relations with big countries, such
as China, and does not have good relations with one big country,
the United States. Mouallem said that the answer is very simple:
China understands the problems of the developing countries and
does not try to dominate them. Instead, it tries to help and
cooperate with these countries through balanced economic
relations.

End of summary.



2. Selected Headlines:

"An anti-terror unit clashes with a terrorist group. One element
of the unit martyred, four of the terrorist group killed, other
terrorists arrested. Confiscation of US made guns from the group
with their ammunition in addition to locally made explosives.
Terrorists got arms from a neighboring country to stage sabotage
acts targeting vital targets and national interests" (Government-
owned Tishreen, 6/3)

"Foreign Minister al-Mouallem describes his visit to China as
fruitful and constructive. The 'land for peace' principle is the
best option. The Syrian people insist on restoration of the
occupied Syrian Golan. Al-Mouallem: The policy of hegemony will
not be useful.... We call upon Washington for dialogue, as a
civilized option" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/3)

"Foreign Minister Mouallem addresses the Arab-Chinese Cooperation
Forum: We share with China the same position on UN reform. The

final communique of the Arab-Chinese Forum calls for enhancing
dialogue, boosting peace, increasing the volume of trade and
expanding investments" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 6/2)
"Extensive Lebanese protest against L
BC TV Program that mocked
Leader of the Lebanese National Resistance, Hasan Nasrallah. A
big mass rally in Tripoli commemorates the anniversary of Rashid
Karami's martyrdom. Lebanese Ex-Premier al-Hoss: We will not give
up Karami's blood. Former Lebanese Minister Franjieh: Why are
killers to be pardoned? Former Lebanese Premier Omar Karami: We
reject the use of Lebanon as fuel for the US-Israeli project"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 6/3)

"A Russian diplomat killed, four others kidnapped in Baghdad.
More than 100 Iraqis killed or injured in attacks in Basra and
Baqouba" (Government-owned Tishreen, 6/4)

"Israeli Occupation troops wound ten demonstrating against
separation wall. Palestinian Prime Minister Hanieh: We will not
retreat from our positions. Others will retreat. We have
reservations on the prisoners document" (Government-owned
Tishreen, 6/3)




3. Editorial Block Quotes:



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



"The message has been received"



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



Isam Dari, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/3): "This is not the first time terrorist groups have
operated in Syria to destabilize our country and tamper with its
security and safety. For many years there have been desperate
attempts to realize this evil objective. Syria has witnessed
terrorist activity that has harmed all groups of the society
without exception.

"And this is not the first time terrorism and its tools have
been exported from neighboring countries that are supposed to
support Syria in its confrontation of terrorism, first, and of
the American and Zionist plans, second.

"But this is perhaps the first time that American-made weapons
have been seized. These weapons are not used in Syria, and it is
the first time we have heard about them. It is as if the aim is
to send an urgent message to the Syrian leadership and people
telling them to realize the gravity of their continuing
confrontation of the hostile plans against Syria and the Arab
nation.

"Some time ago we heard successive fiery statements from known
figures in neighboring countries threatening to transfer suicide
and terrorist operations [from Iraq] to Syria. Was yesterday's
incident in the heart of Damascus a translation of those America-
Israeli threats that were uttered in Arabic?

"We will not be surprised by such terrorist operations. Nor will
we ask about the reasons that drove superpowers to export terror
to Syria through some of their followers in neighboring
countries. The issue is crystal clear, and targeting Syria was,
and still is, an official policy of the current US
Administration, the leaders of Tel Aviv, and a few weak-willed
people who have sold themselves to the devil in return for a
handful of dollars and temporary posts....

"The message has been received. Syria has read it carefully. But
the fact remains: such terrorist operations, pressures,
resolutions, and laws that seek to bring Syria to its knees and
force it to change its policies and positions will not succeed
no matter how skilled the enemies of Syria and the Arabs may be
at designing conspiracies and exporting terrorism. Our domestic
front is solid -- this is how it was, and this is how it will
always remain."




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



"The Magic Turns Against the Magician"


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



Ahmad Hamadah, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
commented (6/2): "The new law proposed by British Prime Minister
Tony Blair to sentence to life imprisonment those who refuse to
participate in the war on Iraq, which, it has been revealed, is
being debated by the British House of Commons, is generating
much debate among British people of all persuasions and raising
many questions and queries.

"Blair's call for such a law came after the phenomenon of
desertions from the British occupation forces in Iraq
worsened....

"Perhaps the most important question that must be asked is: Why
has the number of desertions from the British and American
armies risen to such levels, which are alarming to the military
commanders and even to the British and American administrations?

"Does the reason not lie in the fact that these deserters are
convinced that they were pushed, against their will, into an
illegal war after Blair and Bush deluded them into thinking that
the war was fair and legitimate?

"Does the other reason not lie in the fact that these soldiers
now realize that the American-British invasion of Iraq was not a
picnic, as the leaders of the White House tried to portray it to
them, that the losses that the two occupation forces suffer
daily are clear before their own eyes, and that they are fully
convinced that they are unable to confront the resistance they
are facing?

"Bush and Blair thought of oil and hegemony over the region.
They did not know that they would be burned by the fires of the
oil and lost in the entire region. They failed to subjugate the
Iraqi people or break their will. Their tricks backfired, and
here are the Army desertion figures exposing their failure and
political crisis, which will get worse every day until the day
of the major withdrawal comes."



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



"Ethical Measures for Unethical War"



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



Hanan Hamad, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(6/3): "The Hadithah massacre in Iraq is not the first scandal in
the history of the American occupation of Iraq and will not be
the last....

"Remarks have been made by US military commanders that orders
were given to train soldiers on war values and the strict rules
of engagement until these values become part of the character of
the American fighter, who traveled thousands of miles to invade
Iraq based on falsehoods and misleading justifications that have
become publicly exposed....

"The massacres and the killing of civilians are expected to
continue in what can be unreservedly described as war crimes....
Investigations of the Hadithah incidents must uncover the role of
the higher leaders in covering up the crime...."



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



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



"What Comes after Iran's Persistence in Enriching Uranium?"



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



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



Ahmad Sawwan, a commentator in government-owned Tishreen, said
(6/3): "The American offer for direct talks with Iran is a new

US trick aimed at taming or softening the Iranian position
toward all the issues of the region....

"We believe that the US proposal is not a pure American policy
but an Israeli arrangement that the administration of President
Bush agreed to implement and declare to serve Israel and protect
its occupation and security....

"Iran knows Washington's objectives quite well and this is why
it rushed to reject the American offer...."

Seche