DE RUEHDM #0716/01 1940902
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 130902Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
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UNCLAS DAMASCUS 000716
DEPARTMENT FOR PA, NEA/ARN, INR/IC/CD, INR/R/MR:STHIBEAULT AND
JMCCARTER, VOA NEWS CA, NEA/PPD:CBOURGEOIS, AZAIBACK, AND
AFERNANDEZ, IIP/G/NEA-SA MDAVIDSON
WHITE HOUSE FOR NSC
CENTCOM FOR CCPA
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR PREL KPAO OPRC SY
SUBJECT: Primakov, Syria/China, Syria/Iran, Mousa, Lebanon,
Syria/Israel, Iraq, Palestinian Territories (9/11)
1. Summary: Syrian papers on July 11 featured a press conference
on July 11 held by Yevgeny Primakov, Chairman of the Russian Chamber
of Trade and Industry and former Russian Premier, at the
headquarters of the Rossiiskaia Gazeta newspaper on July 10
emphasizing that it is impossible to achieve peace in the Middle
East without Syria. Primakov said "Peace on the Syrian track means
the restoration of the Occupied Syrian Golan to Syrian sovereignty."
He stressed the necessity of moving simultaneously to revive the
peace tracks in the Middle East. Regarding the situation in
Palestine, Primakov said that Israel and the United States want to
deepen the conflict between Fateh and Hamas, stating that "it is
dangerous to attempt to stifle and isolate Hamas." He added that
deployment of international forces in Palestinian territories will
not help stabilize the situation in Gaza. Primakov also stated that
the role of the Quartet on the Middle East has been weakened, and
that it adheres to the course of the United States, adding that Tony
Blair won't be able to lead the Quartet, but will only carry out US
plans in the region. As for the situation in Iraq, Primakov called
for conducting dialogue with Syria and Iran to find a solution to
the Iraqi situation. He pointed out that the American invasion of
Iraq resulted in chaos and civil war and threatened to divide
country, all while President George W. Bush keeps talking about a
new strategy in Iraq instead of scheduling the withdrawal of US
On Syrian-Chinese relations papers featured a statement by Premier
of the Chinese State Council Wen Jiabao during his meeting Syrian
Deputy Premier for Economic affairs Abdullah Dardari in Beijing on
July 10 stressing his country's support to Syria's right to restore
the occupied Syrian Golan. Jiabao expressed China's commitment to
boost ties with Syria and develop them in all domains.
Leading articles, in government-owned Al-Thawra and Tishreen stress
support for Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa's effort to
achieve national reconciliation in Lebanon and they accuse the
United States of working to foil this effort.
End of summary.
2. Selected Headlines:
"Chairman of the Russian Chamber of Trade and Industry and former
Russian Premier Yevgeny Primakov: No Peace in the Middle East
without Syria. The Quartet implements US plans" (Government-owned
"China supports Syria's right to restore occupied Golan and is
expresses concern about expanding cooperation with it"
(Government-owned Tishreen, 7/11)
"Lebanese condemnations of the roles played French and American
ambassadors in Beirut continue. President Lahoud: National accord
is the sole prelude to elect a president" (Government-owned
"French Foreign Ministry: Hizbollah is an important political power
in Lebanon and a substantive element in the national dialogue"
(Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/11)
"French Foreign Minister Kouchner endeavors to contain Sarkozi's
anti-Hizbollah statements amid fears of aborting the Lebanese
national dialogue. Hizbollah criticizes Sarkozi's inclination to
please Israel. Nationalist factions reiterate the importance of
France's neutrality" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/11)
"Abbas calls for deploying international forces to secure transport
of aid to the West Bank. Hamas rejects the Palestinian Legislative
Council's meeting and calls for opening the Rafah crossing"
(Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/11)
"In the biggest US military show since the invasion of Iraq, the US
aircraft carrier Enterprise heads to the Gulf to confront
trouble-making countries" (Government-owned Al-Ba'th, 7/11)
"Mortar shells hammer the green Zone in Baghdad. Bush refused to
withdraw US forces and acknowledges their difficult situation in
Iraq" (Government-owned Tishreen, 7/11)
"Democrats: Withdrawal from Iraq will take place prior to April
2008" (Government-owned Al-Thawra, 7/11)
3. Editorial Block Quotes:
"When Will the War Erupt?"
Ibrahim Darraji, an editorialist in independent al-Watan, wrote
(7/11): "There is a number of factors enhancing the idea of a
possible war between Israel and Syria, such as Israel's desire to
remove the disgrace of its successive defeats in Lebanon and to
punish Syria for its support for the resistance movements in
Palestine and Lebanon, and Washington's desire to take revenge
against Damascus for its role in Iraq....
"But nevertheless the war will not take place because targeting
Syria might set the region on fire on more than one front. Also,
the Lebanon war last year showed Israel that war is no longer a
picnic where it can show its muscles and arsenal and prevail with
the least effort and losses....
"Israel certainly realizes that Syria, in the worst-case scenario,
will not be less than Hizbollah in its resistance, steadfastness,
and ability to drag Israel into an untraditional war inflicting on
Israel the heaviest losses, especially since the missiles that
pained Israel during the July aggression are abundantly available in
Syria, with ranges allowing them to target the entire Israel from
mobile and unconventional launchers, which makes it difficult to
target and destroy them...."
"Facts that Cannot Be Distorted"
Umar Jaftali, an editorialist in government-owned Tishreen, wrote
(7/11): "Syria has again welcomed the Arab League's efforts to find
a compromise among the Lebanese parties. President Asad told Amr
Musa that Syria supports his mission in Lebanon with a view toward
achieving accord among the Lebanese and forming a national unity
government to end the fabricated crisis and stop the deterioration
this crisis is causing in Lebanon and its repercussions on the
"Syria has always supported every Arab effort to help Lebanon
recover.... The experience of the past years has proven that Syria
has always supported a united and healthy Lebanon within the Arab
family. Syria spared no effort to help Lebanon and its fraternal
people. It shared its daily bread with Lebanon at the hardest of
times out of its belief that what pains Lebanon necessarily pains
Syria and what makes Lebanon happy makes Syria happy. This is
despite all the attempts by some tendentious people in the past two
years to hide these facts and sabotage the relations between the two
countries and peoples....
"Americans must stop adding fuel to the fire of sedition and
dividing Arab brothers.... It is regrettable that some in Lebanon
followed this American approach, which is supported by some Western
countries, and began to spread lies and falsehoods and distort the
facts about the Lebanese-Syrian relationship, so much so that some
of them trust [US] Ambassador Feltman, abide by his instructions,
and reject a sincere Arab effort to achieve reconciliation and bring
life in Lebanon back to normal.
"This situation worries most of the Lebanese people and the Lebanese
leaders who cherish Lebanon's national interest and Arab
affiliation, which is documented in the Lebanese constitution. It
also worries Syria and all Arabs because Lebanon was and still is
part of the one Arab body, whether Bush's administration likes this
"Syria once again stresses its eagerness for the success of Musa's
second mission in Lebanon, for the achievement of Lebanese national
accord, and for the return of a healthy Lebanon to the Arab family
on the basis of accord, a national unity government, and adherence
to the Lebanese constitution."
"Way to Solution"
Abd-al-Fattah al-Awad, Chief Editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
wrote (7/11): "Damascus believes Amr Musa has a chance to succeed
in his Lebanese mission only if Feltman and other active ambassadors
in Beirut stop putting spokes in wheels and heading off Musa's
attempt by making statements aimed at imposing certain views and
"Recent statements by US ambassador Feltman on Lebanese politics are
part of the attempt to foil Arab efforts, which cannot succeed
unless they evade and prevent the American-Israeli influence on the
parties that adopt and undertake the American-Israeli plan in
"Musa certainly found full Syrian support for his Arab efforts to
resolve the Lebanese crisis based on the formation of a national
unity government.... Syria believes that Arab issues can be resolved
within the Arab framework and away from foreign interference....
Syria repeatedly announced full support for Lebanese accord, as this
reflects positively on the region...."
"Booby-trapping of the Palestinian Situation"
Ali Qasim, an editorialist in government-owned Al-Thawra, wrote
(7/11): "Israel's decision to release 250 Fateh prisoners out of
11,000 Palestinian prisoners is meant to booby-trap the Palestinian
situation and create tension among the various Palestinian forces.
"Israelis wager on Palestinian divisions to achieve what they failed
to achieve through aggression, killing, incursion, and
assassination.... Although the release of any Palestinian prisoner
is a gain for the Palestinian cause, Palestinians must reject the
Israeli step as incomplete and useless....
"Palestinians must return to the dialogue table to preserve national
unity and not to be driven behind the wagers and assurances of the
forces that wish the Palestinian tension will continue as this would
only increase the suffering of the Palestinian people...."