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 005936
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: Syria/Libya, Syria/Iran,
President Asad Speech, Al-Hariri Investigation, Iraq,
Palestinian Territories (11/14)
1. Summary: Syrian papers reported the visit of a Libyan
delegation carrying a message of solidarity with Syria from
Papers also reported the visit to Damascus by the Iranian
FM, who will supposedly be mediating between Syria and
Lebanon to ease the recent tension caused by President
Headlines featured an official Syrian statement denying
reports carried by Al-Jazeera that MFA's legal advisor Riad
Al-Daoudi has reached an agreement with the International
Investigation Commission, and denouncing a statement by
Iraqi Defense Minister Al-Dulaymi that booby-trapped cars
are entering Iraq across the Syrian border. The source
described Al-Dulaymi's accusations as "baseless" and
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"President Asad receives a message of solidarity from
Colonel Qaddafi and discusses current developments and
pressure on Syria with members of the General Secretariat of
the Arab Nationalist Congress" (Government-owned Tishreen
"Lebanese demonstrations of protest expand, carrying a
political message: Western custodians are concerned about
the Al-Saniora government. Arslan [Chairman of the Lebanese
Democratic Party]: Any incursion into Syria will lead to an
earthquake in the region" (Government-owned Tihshreen,
"Iranian FM Manojahr Mattki is due in Damascus today to
discuss developments in the region with Syrian officials"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/14)
"Responsible source denounces Iraqi Defense Minister's
statement: It is baseless and part of a programmed political
campaign to sabotage affinities between the two brotherly
peoples" (Government-owned Tishreen, 11/14)
"An MFA source denies reports carried by Al-Jazeera that
MFA's legal advisor Riad Al-Daoudi has reach an agreement
with the International Investigation Commission: Mehlis has
refused to conduct his investigation in Syria or under the
umbrella of the Arab League" (Government-owned Tishreen,
"Syrian working masses send a message to UN SecGen: The UN
must not market colonial goals, the policy of hegemony over
people and violation of the dignity of other countries"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/14)
"Al-Shara discusses current developments in the Palestinian
arena with Talab Al-Sane', Arab member of the Kenesset,
emphasizing the importance of solidarity and national unity"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 11/14)
"Israeli forces attack Jenin. Two Palestinians martyred.
Palestinian FM Al-Qudwa warns against the danger of Israeli
policies for negotiations" (Government-owned Tishreen,
"Iraqi President Talabani: British forces could leave Iraq
in one year" (Government-owned Syria Times, 11/14)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"If it Is not Targeting, What is it? Izz-al-Din al-Darwish,
an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, commented: "We
do not know how President Bush and his Secretary of State
Rice find all this time every day to talk about Syria, level
charges at it, attempt to interfere in its internal affairs,
and discuss minor details that do not befit the president of
"When President Bush attends a conference or an
international economic forum, he does not find it
embarrassing to mention the name of Syria and attack it
repeatedly as he speaks. He does the same thing when he
attends a domestic US event, such as the commemoration of
Veterans' Day two days ago. Delivering a speech to mark this
occasion, he devoted part of his speech to attacking Syria
and accusing it of things that no sound intellect would
accept, regarding Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.
"President Bush says Syria interferes in Lebanon's internal
affairs. This statement is absolutely untrue. As a matter of
fact, Lebanon, which is subject to US tutelage, has now
become a place and passageway for conspiracy against Syria,
as President Asad pointed out in his speech....
"President Bush says Syria blocks the Israeli-Palestinian
peace process. However, everyone knows that no such process
exists. Also, everyone knows that Syria has always supported
peace and that it hasn't interfered in Palestinian affairs,
as the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority and
Palestinian factions have testified....
"President Bush says Syria does not prevent armed men from
entering Iraq across it border, but this statement is sheer
allegation, or, rather, a deliberate false charge. Syria
does not want to cause harm to its brothers in Iraq....
"UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is supposed to be the
main figure responsible for the multinational forces in
Iraq, said in a clear voice in a televised interview that he
has no evidence to show that armed men infiltrate Iraq from
across the Syrian border.
"With regard to Rice's statements on Syria and what she
concocts against it, they outdo President Bush's statements
by a great deal. Many people said that Rice would be more
rational, given her knowledge and academic position.
However, this view seems to have disappeared in front of the
sweeping flood of the neo-conservatives...."
"They Have Got the Wrong Address"
Muhammad Ali Buza, an editorialist in government-owned Al-
Thawra, wrote: "President Asad, in his speech, clearly
diagnosed the problem with some of the superpowers and the
reasons behind the vicious campaigns and pressure against
"The Asad speech exposed the nature of the onslaught and the
plan that targets this region and this nation.... It is
therefore natural for Bush and Rice to attack and distort
the speech and to reiterate the fabricated accusations and
"Threats do not frighten or intimidate us, because we are
innocent and have a just cause. The Asad speech had the
firmness, decisiveness, pride, position, and political
wisdom that make it harmonious with the sentiments of the
Arab public, expressing this public's aspirations and its
will to resist and stand fast as the way to face the
challenge and prevent chaos."
"Pressure of Waiting"
Ali Qasim, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra,
said: "Detlev Mehlis' rejection of all invitations to visit
Syria raises questions about the credibility of the
investigation.... The investigation commission has not been
active in the past few days.... Maybe Mehlis wants to stall
for time until 15 December to ask for another extension and,
consequently, keep the region under the pressure of waiting
additional months, during which the United States will have
prepared other files to push into the crisis."
"Many people believe that this is the reason behind the
investigation commission's sluggishness in responding to the
Syrian calls and rejecting Syria's proposals for
cooperation.... The UN secretary general and the Security
Council member states need to play their roles and examine
the reasons that drive the commission to slow its work and
reject the Syrian proposals...."