|07DAMASCUS485||2007-05-22 12:47:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Damascus|
VZCZCXYZ0000 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHDM #0485/01 1421247 ZNR UUUUU ZZH O 221247Z MAY 07 FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3512 RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 6817 RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 4539 RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 3166 RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 7683 RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 1763 RUEHAK/AMEMBASSY ANKARA 5095 RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1301 RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA// INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 7426
UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000485
1. Summary: Syrian papers on May 22 continued to report on clashes
in Naher al-Bared refugee camp in north Lebanon.
All papers also featured a lecture at Damascus University by FM
Mouallem on May 21 praising Syria's foreign policy under President
Asad's leadership, saying that "US pressures and attempts to isolate
Syria, since the occupation of Iraq, have failed, thanks to the
national cohesion in Syria and the people's support of their
Leader." He emphasized that dialogue with the US must cover
regional issues in order to achieve security and stability here.
On the peace process, the Minister stressed that Israel has no
desire for peace, and that "the liberation of the Golan remains at
the top of Syria's defense and political priorities."
Regarding Iraq, the Foreign Minister said the solution has to be
political, must preserve the country's territorial integrity and
independence, and must set a timetable for withdrawal of foreign
On the Palestinian issue, the Minister reiterated Syria's continuous
efforts to stop Palestinian civil strife.
As for Lebanon, Mouallem renewed Syria's support for what the
Lebanese agree upon, pointing out the importance of Lebanon's
stability and security for Syria, and saying that "the only way to
achieve this goal is through Lebanese national dialogue and
formation of a national government." On the international tribunal,
the Minister said "the aim of this tribunal under Chapter 7 is to
subjugate every country that opposes US hegemony." Regarding the
latest events in Lebanon, FM Mouallem made it clear that the
so-called "Fatah al-Islam" is an outlawed group whose militants are
pursued in Syria and whose activities do not serve the Palestinian
Independent al-Watan cited a statement by Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's
Ambassador to the UN, denying any Syrian linkage with Fatah al-Islam
and linking violence in Lebanon to the UN Security Council vote on
the International Tribunal. Al-Jafaari said that "every time the UN
Security Council is scheduled to meet to deal with the Lebanon
crisis, there is some kind of trouble, like a bombing, assassination
or assassination attempt one or two days earlier." He added that
"some people are trying to pressure the UNSC members to adopt the
US-British-French draft resolution on the International Tribunal."
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Clashes between the Lebanese army and the Fatah al-Islam group
continue. Assaults in Nahr el-Bared, Asharafieh and Verdan raise
questions about their timing on the eve on UNSC vote on the
International Tribunal" (Independent al-Watan, 5/22)
"FM Mouallem: The International Tribunal is one of the US policy's
tools to subjugate Syria and the region. The Fatah al-Islam
organization is an outlawed organization that does not serve the
Palestinian cause" (Independent al-Watan, 5/22)
"Syria's Ambassador to the UN, al-Jaafari, links violence in Lebanon
to vote on the International Tribunal at the UN Security Council"
(Independent al-Watan, 5/22)
"Jaafari: There is anxiety at the UN Security Council about a hasty
resolution on the International Tribunal" (Government-owned
"Gaza buried its martyrs yesterday. Israel threatens to liquidate
Mishal and Hanieh. France denounces Palestinian missile-firing and
calls on Israel to practice self-restraint" (Independent al-Watan,
"Former US president Jimmy Carter calls for holding dialogue with
Iran and Syria in accordance with the Baker-Hamilton
recommendations" (Government-owned Tishreen, 5/22)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"Horizons of US Dispute"
Muhammad Khair al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-owned
Al-Thawra, wrote (5/22): "The debate between Democrats and
Republicans, which at the beginning was aimed at correcting mistakes
of the current US Administration and reformulating America's
relations with the world and the Middle East free from the logic of
force and the policy of threats, has now turned into merely an
electoral battle in preparation for the presidential election, which
will be held more than two years from now. This makes this debate
useless as far as the situation in Iraq and the American predicament
in that country are concerned....
"For this debate to open onto positive horizons accelerating the end
of the American occupation of Iraq and helping the United States
come out of its crisis and its successive repercussions there,
Iraqis have no option but to continue with their resistance and to
increase the losses among occupation soldiers.... Americans have no
option but to expose the policy of lies that their administration is
pursuing and on which it built the failed war plan in Iraq, and to
remove President Bush before he completes his term in office in
light of the damage and harm his policy has caused to the interests,
economy, reputation, and credibility of the United States...."
"They Are Not Regretful"
As'ad Abbud, a columnist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(5/22): "During his last visit to Baghdad, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair said that he did not regret the war on Iraq....
"Instead of offering an expression of sorrow, a small apology, or a
tear for those who are killed daily in Iraq, Blair announced in
Baghdad that he does not regret participating in the major
historical crime of invading Iraq....
"Mr. Blair, we did not expect you to express regret. If there were
any capacity for you to regret, you would not have committed what
you have committed. The crime of destroying Iraq was committed in
cold blood. Maybe you did not draw up its scenes, but you were
certainly an accomplice. Your regret will not do you any good
before history.... It has already damned those who destroyed this
country with gunpowder, fire, and hatred, hatred toward Arab
history, Arab civilization, and Arabs and Muslims...."