This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAMASCUS 005865
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/S:STHIBEAULT
VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, DBENZE AND AFERNANDEZ,
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Damascus Media Reaction: UNSC Resolution 1636,
Iraq, Palestinian Territories, South Lebanon (11/8)
1. Summary: Syrian papers today featured a press statement
by Judge Ghada Murad, head of the Syrian committee
established to investigate the Al-Hariri assassination,
announcing commencement of review of the transcripts of
testimony of Syrian witnesses and confirming cooperation
with the international investigation commission and the
Papers also reported the visit to Jordan by Deputy Foreign
Minister Walid Moallem conveying a message from President
Asad to King Abdullah on developments in the region in the
wake of UNSCR 1636.
Headlines reported the visit to Beirut by Elizabeth Dibble,
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern
Affairs, citing her statement that the "US supports an
historical shift in Lebanon."
Government-owned Al-Ba'th headlined an International Herald
Tribune story describing the Mehlis report as "political"
and saying that "the pretexts on which it is based are more
false than those concerning Iraqi Weapons of Mass
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"The Syrian Judicial Probe Committee embarks upon its
mission by studying the Mehlis report and inspecting the
transcripts of Syrian witnesses' testimony, and confirms
cooperation with the International Investigation Commission
and Lebanese judiciary" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/8)
"President Asad sends a message to King Abdullah of Jordan
on the situation in the region and UNSC Resolution 1636.
King Abdullah: Exposing Syria to pressure destabilizes
security and stability in the region. Deputy Foreign
Minister Walid Moallem: We are ready for professional
cooperation" (Government-owned Al-Thawar, 11/8)
"[U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern
Affairs] Elizabeth Dibble pledges support for 'an historical
shift' in Lebanon. Lebanese youth stage a sit-in protesting
US policy" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/8)
"Herald Tribune: The Mehlis report is political and based on
pretexts. The US goal is to subjugate Syria" (Government-
owned Al-Ba'th, 11/8)
"Warnings against politicizing the investigation continue.
Praise for the transparent Syrian judicial cooperation"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/8)
"The EU approves deployment of observers at the Rafah border
crossing. Occupation forces attack Jenin. Sharon reviews his
settlement plans at the Knesset" (Government-owned Tishreen"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/8)
"The US army speaks of the killing of 36 gunmen and the
arrest of two hundred in "Operation Steel Curtain". Six
marines killed, others injured in Baghdad and Al-Husaybah
"(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/8)
"The Iraqi government postpones a national reconciliation
conference. Iraqi figures reject Arab League sponsorship of
the conference" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 11/8)
"Israeli warplanes violate South Lebanon airspace"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 11/8)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"An Ethical Crisis"
Muhammad Khair al-Jammali, an editorialist in government-
owned Al-Thawra, wrote: "The US Administration is trying to
escape the series of crises and scandals surrounding it by
fabricating political differences with other countries like
Syria, Iran, and Sudan, even if this leads to new crises....
"The reason behind the change in the American people's
position toward the administration's policies is the huge
accumulation of facts about the war on Iraq and their
insistent indications of the failure of this war, which will
approach the Vietnamese impasse unless the Bush
Administration rushes to withdraw its troops....
"In their treatment of these crises, hawks in the US
Administration must remain mindful that the policy of
covering up the failure that produces the US crises and
their consequences, through the attempt to export them to
other countries -- as shown by their unjustified pressure on
Syria, which falsely suggests that Syria is responsible for
the predicament caused by the erroneous and false American
approach -- remains a useless policy because the American
people, and with them the peoples of the world, will
discover the hypocrisy of this policy as quickly as they
discovered the hypocrisy of the war on Iraq and its false
"Palestine, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon... What Follows?"
Buthaina Sha'ban, Minister of Expatriate Affairs, wrote in
government-owned Tishreen: "The old colonialist countries
are targeting Lebanon because it embraces the resistance
that liberated the land from the most vicious and brutal
military and political force.... They are targeting Syria
because it supports Arab rights and resistance against the
occupation of the Arab land....
"Divisions among Arabs have encouraged the enemies of Arabs
to encroach upon Arab dignity and disdain Arabs....
"The campaign against Syria and Lebanon at this stage seeks
to sow the seeds of division, suspicion, and doubt among the
two peoples, who are linked by the strongest human,
historical, social, and economic bonds. Rafiq al-Hariri was
assassinated because he was a backer of Syria, Lebanon, and
Palestine, and because he was very important for improving
the Arab situation and its international ramifications. He
was assassinated to complete the scheme of extinguishing the
remaining Arab light, represented by the Syrian-Lebanese
"All Arabs are targeted.... The aim is to finalize the
traditional and continuing scheme of abolishing Arab
identity and civilization and crowning Israel as the only
imperial force in the Middle East."
"Syria, or Syrians!"
Abd-al-Fattah Al-Awad, a commentator in government-owned
Tishreen, wrote: "The campaign against Syria over Al-
Hariri's assassination targets the whole country, not only a
number of individuals.... This explains the hasty threat of
"The list of American demands is endless.... These demands
focus on Syria's policies on Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon.
This is proof that the target is Syria as a country not some
"The advice Syria is receiving with regard to the American
and international demands most likely proceeds from bad
"Racism on the Web"
Ahmad Hamadah, in Al-Thawrah, wrote: "Israel is inciting
against Syria over the internet.... Israeli extremists, from
the extreme right to the extreme left, are collecting money
through the web to attack Syria and are using the internet
to distort Syria's image and encourage the United States to
impose sanctions on Damascus.... This racist campaign uses
fabricated films and false documents to show that Syria
supports terror.... The hostile internet sites also offer
children electronic games depicting Syrians as monsters
willing to kill humans.... They encourage abolishing Syria
and killing Syrians....
"We ask those who fight anti-Semitism: What do they think
of this incitement against Syria?"