September 14, 2004
UN RESOLUTION 1559: A BLOW TO SYRIAN 'BULLYING' AND 'MEDDLING'
** The UNSC resolution
"effectively attacked Syria's occupation of Lebanon."
** Arab papers term the
resolution "more proof" of U.S. "double-standards."
** Many observers note
"Lebanon's international isolation."
** Lebanese outlets split
over the resolution's effect on "Syria's monopoly of Lebanon."
'Syria is in a fix now'-- Israeli, Kuwaiti,
Canadian and some Lebanese dailies praised UNSC Resolution 1559 for
"increasing international pressure on Damascus," which has
"crushed the only democracy in the Arab world" and turned Lebanon
into "a big prison." The
conservative Jerusalem Post deemed the resolution "something
positive" to terminate Lebanon's "Syrian supervision," under
which the country has "become a hotbed of Islamist fanaticism and
terror." Deriding the Lebanese
legislators who approved the extension of President Emile Lahoud's term in
office as Syrian "rubberstamps," Kuwait's independent Al-Seyassah
added that only the Lebanese "can end Syrian hegemony in Lebanon. They should."
'A purely internal matter'--
Arab outlets claimed the "UNSC's uninvited interference" in Lebanon
demonstrates "a strange new precedent." The world body "now specializes in
issuing resolutions" that permit the U.S. "to invade Arab
states," said pan-Arab Al-Quds Al-Arabi. Other observers blasted the UN's "double
standards." Jordan's semi-official Al-Rai
asked why "the American military presence in Iraq [is] legitimate" if
Syria's presence in Lebanon "is illegitimate." But several writers did criticize Syria's
"ill-advised move" to "impose" Lahoud's extension. Syrian papers dismissed the "illegal
intervention into Lebanese internal affairs" as part of an effort to
"consolidate U.S.-Israeli hegemony."
'Unusual American-French agreement'-- Analysts stressed how Paris, "angered by
Syria's recent coup in Lebanon," joined with the "U.S.-Israeli
camp" to persuade the UN to issue a "yellow card, a warning" to
Damascus. An Israeli writer hailed the
"more aggressive Franco-American diplomacy," while Belgium's
independent De Standaard noted that the "U.S.-European front"
only "amplifies the isolation of Damascus." Syrian dailies focused on U.S. Assistant
Secretary of State William Burns' visit to Syria, which state-owned Al-Ba'ath
called a "new indication of victory for Syrian foreign policy." Beirut's Arab nationalist As-Safir
judged that Burns "did not pressure Syria" because the U.S. needs
"Syria to help in Iraq."
'Resentment about Syria's performance'-- Moderate Lebanese papers emphasized the
"frustration of the majority of the Lebanese" with "Lahoud's
extension" and the lack of any "real willingness to reform" the
status quo. Independent Al-Balad
warned that Syria "cannot turn its back on the demands" in the
resolution because it could "lead to sanctions," while anti-Syria An-Nahar
called for a "national unity government" to implement "major
change." Pro-Syria dailies urged
Beirut to "join ranks with Damascus" and opposed "any Syrian
capitulation to U.S. pressure."
Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202)
EDITOR: Ben Goldberg
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media
Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a
representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the
Internet. This report summarizes and
interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views
of the U.S. Government. This analysis
was based on 38 reports from 11 countries over 4 - 14 September 2004. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most
"Syria's Burden Of Proof"
Guy Bechor held in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot Aharonot
(9/9): "Following the UNSC
resolution [on Lebanon], the nature of the burden of proof required from Syria
must be amended: no longer should the extent of its involvement in terrorism,
its striving to procure WMD and its ambitions in this domain be demonstrated,
but it must be made to prove to the international community that it has
modified its policy. It should show that
it has stood by four conditions: complete evacuation...from Lebanon...the
cancellation of the shameful 'Brotherhood and Friendship Agreement' between
Damascus and Beirut...the ouster of all Palestinian terrorism commands from its
territory; the disarming of the last militia in Lebanon, i.e. Hizbullah' and
the disarming of Syria's WMD.... In a
regional and global policy dictated by parameters of democracy and human
rights, there no longer is room for Syria's Ba'ath regime--the brother of Saddam
"Say Yes to Assad"
Dov Goldstein noted in popular, pluralist Maariv
(9/8): "Weak, isolated Syria, which
fears U.S. and UN sanctions, is ripe for peace with Israel under reasonable
terms. These are the fundamentals of a
wise policy: using the enemy's weakness in order to make him compromise under
the easiest conditions. With a strong
Syria, which would have a modern army, and enjoy wide Arab support and friendly
relations with the U.S., it would be difficult, even impossible to reach peace. Indeed, the price for peace with Syria is a
hefty one.... [But] peace with Syria
means the end of the conflict with the Arab states.... Israel ought to carefully examine every
proposal made by the Syrian President.
There's only one thing that shouldn't be done: the absolute rejection of
Assad's call for peace negotiations. Not
only would the world not understand this.
The Israelis wouldn't either. It
would be better if the thousands of Syrian missiles covering every centimeter
of Israel's territory--some of them equipped with chemical or biological
weapons--remained in their launching pads."
"A Lebanese Test Case"
The conservative, independent Jerusalem Post declared
(9/6): "It's been a long time since
Israelis had anything good to say about the UN, but last week something
positive finally emerged from Turtle Bay, as the UNSC effectively attacked
Syria's occupation of Lebanon.... A free
Lebanon can also be expected to offer the broader Middle East a glimpse of what
liberty would offer any part of this region once it unseats its unelected
rulers.... Under Syrian supervision and
Iranian inspiration, Lebanon has become a hotbed of Islamist fanaticism and
terror. Hizbullah, a major engine for
the glorification and manufacture of hostage takers and suicide bombers, has
been made the effective ruler of the country's entire south. Worse yet, from a UN viewpoint, the places
currently ruled by Hizbullah are the very ones the UN abandoned in 2000 while
insisting they would be subsequently seized by the Lebanese army. Last week's diplomatic slap on the wrist
should be followed by more aggressive Franco-American diplomacy that will not
relent until Lebanon's freedom is fully restored and the Lebanese army has
control of its own borders."
"A Lebanese Lesson"
Independent, left-leaning Ha'aretz editorialized
(9/5): "Resolution 1559 by the UNSC
on Thursday, calling for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, for
the militias there to be dismantled, and for free presidential elections,
represents an appropriate intervention by the international community to attain
calm and security in the Middle East....
Washington and Paris demonstrated that they are capable of cooperating
on the Middle East, despite the disagreement over Iraq.... Israel has a substantial interest in a
renewed independence and sovereignty in Lebanon, whose weakness was and remains
the source of security threats from the north.
Therefore, it should welcome the UNSC resolution and support its
implementation, including the evacuation of Syrian and Iranian forces and the
disarmament of Hizbullah. Resolution
1559 and the increasing international pressure on Damascus would not have been
made possible without the decision by former prime minister Ehud Barak to
withdraw from Lebanon in May 2000."
WEST BANK: "And Why
Wouldn't America And France Ask Israel To Withdraw Its Forces From
Independent Al-Quds opined (9/4): "The resolution approved by the UNSC in
which the U.S. demanded that Syria pull its forces out of Lebanon and warned of
any foreign intervention in the Lebanese internal affairs, mainly the presidential
elections, is more proof of the U.S.’ double-standard policies and,
unfortunately, of Europe’s starting to follow this policy, especially France
and Germany which voted in favor of the resolution.... This American-European position reveals the
real intentions and forged claims about supporting principles of justice,
freedom and human rights and shows the Arab citizen how aggressive the U.S. and
some European countries are toward his rights and interests.”
Independent, Arab nationalist, London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi
opined (9/6): "The recently passed
UN Resolution 1559, which calls for free elections in Lebanon and Syrian
forces' withdrawal from Lebanon, shows that the UNSC now specializes in issuing
resolutions that open the way for the U.S. to invade Arab states, as was the
case with Iraq.... There are over 100
states where there is no democracy, elections and even constitutional rules.
Yet, the UN passed no resolutions calling for fair elections in these states.... But these Syrian forces have been deployed in
Lebanon on the Lebanese state's invitation and consent in accordance with the
Taif Accord, which enjoyed the U.S.' blessing and also support from all
Lebanese political forces at the time....
On the other hand, the Syrian government made a big mistake by insisting
on the amendment of the Lebanese constitution.... Syria, which has the overwhelming majority in
the Lebanese parliament on its side, could have worked for the election of a
pro-Syrian president, perhaps one more loyal to it than current Lebanese
President Emile Lahoud himself.... It is
the Syrian decision to extend the Lebanese president's term in office which
allowed the United States to go to the UNSC to internationalize the Lebanese
crisis and secure a resolution, which may be used in the future to justify
aggression against Syria or against its forces in Lebanon. It should not be ruled out that Israel will
refuse to follow UNSC resolutions which call on it to pull out of the Golan
Heights, the Lebanese Shebaa farms, the West Bank and Gaza Strip because Syria
did not implement the UNSC resolution, which calls on it to withdraw its forces
from Lebanon. We know very well that
Syria is targeted and that both the U.S. and Israel are making preparations to
carry out an aggression against it. But why should Syria give them pretexts to
cover up such an aggression?"
"The Rule Of Exceptions!"
Ghaleb Solh maintained in pan-Arab London-based Al-Hayat
(9/5): "This is not the first time
a Lebanese president tries to cling to his office.... Yesterday, members of parliament amended the
constitution to extend the term of President Emile Lahoud for yet another three
years. Another exception!.... Never has
it been about internal, national, or Lebanese requirements. Typical! In the
Arab world's closest model of a democracy....
The status quo will now persist for an additional three years. The
security forces that blockaded the area were preparing to go home. Motorcades
were getting ready to block the roads one after the other until they reach
their destinations. In a world where
every peoples are fighting for their independence, self-determination, and
sovereignty, we the Lebanese are giving them all up. Fifteen minutes later,
downtown was swarming with indifferent people, resuming their banal lives. This
time, indifference could be devastating."
BAHRAIN: "UN Must Try
To Restore Credibility"
The pro-government English-language Daily Tribune noted
(9/10): "Three cheers for
Secretary-General Amr Moussa and the Arab League. Moussa’s statement that the
UNSC had its priorities wrong and applied double standards is an
understatement.... The UNSC's uninvited
interference is a flagrant violation of the UN charter because the issue of
Syria’s presence in Lebanon is a purely Lebanese internal matter. What is more
worrying is that it also reflects a great deal of bias, hypocrisy and double
standards in favour of the aggressor against the victim of aggression. Moussa’s words highlighted the new realities
created by the U.S. by dictating its will on the world organisation.... This made-in-Israel resolution is one more in
a long list of resolutions which was forced through by the Zionist leadership
of the U.S., thus turning the world body into a biased tool in their
hands. Today the UN can no more be
considered the guarantor of international legitimacy. Moussa was very diplomatic when he said that
the UNSC’s recent decisions raise 'big question marks' about the council and
its role.... As far as the Arab masses
are concerned they have no trust in the world body and its UNSC for they only
cater to the U.S.’ and Israel’s security, not the world’s.... We humbly suggest that UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan...and all the members of the UNSC re-acquaint themselves with the UN
Charter and keep their noses out of the areas where they have no legitimate
role.... As things stand today the UN
and its UNSC have no credibility, at least in our part of the world. To earn
any kind of respect from us the UN and its UNSC should force the implementation
of all the resolutions it passed through the past decades. Until then the world
body will be considered an extension of Israel and the Zionist leadership of
the Bush administration."
Security Council Action On Lebanon"
Hasan Abu Nimah held in the English-language elite Jordan Times
(9/8): "The recently adopted UNSC
resolution on Lebanon sets a strange new precedent.... For a long time the performance of the international
organisation has been widely criticised for abandoning its basic
functions.... That has steadily led to
lopsided international justice, double standards, selectivity and near absence
of objectivity and fairness in handling international issues. Only when it has
suited the purposes of the influential powers has the UNSC...been allowed to
act.... In such a degraded situation,
therefore, it was bizarre but unsurprising to witness the UNSC debating the
situation in Lebanon and demanding for Lebanon what the Lebanese permanent
representative to the UN was clearly opposing.... The current crisis developed when Syria, with
stunning bluntness, decided to impose on Lebanon an extension of the term of
President Emile Lahoud.... The open
defiance and vocal protest it aroused prove that Lebanon is a profoundly
democratic country.... It is now up to
the Lebanese people to...determine if the official extension action was
actually the result of Syrian pressure or reflected a genuine Lebanese
position.... Notwithstanding the
seriousness of this issue, it remains a purely internal matter.... Why, then, did the UNSC rush to register such
a precedent...The answer...is that the U.S., spurred on by Israel, has put
Syria in its gun-sights. And Syria, with its blatant and ill-advised move in
Lebanon, has succeeded in pushing its friend, France, into the US-Israeli
camp.... How could the UNSC demand the
departure of the Syrian soldiers from Lebanon without, at the same time, demanding
the departure of the Israeli occupiers from the Lebanon's Sheba'a farms,
Syria's Golan Heights, and the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and
Jerusalem?.... If there was a Syrian
blunder, it was compounded by a UN blunder....
Any forthcoming hopes of the UN system freeing itself from superpower
abuse and manipulation are fast dissipating. This is sad as well as scary. The
UN is no more the guarantor of law and legality. It is fast becoming the mere
tool of violators and aggressors."
"Internationalizing The Lebanese presidency"
Fahd Fanek concluded in semi-official, influential Al-Rai
(9/7): “The French-American decision
that was approved by the UNSC with regard to Lebanon has two aims. The first is French designed to safeguard
Lebanon’s interest and sovereignty, and the second is American designed to defy
Syria and prepare for the imposition of international sanctions. It is difficult to protest against the
content and the text of the international decision; after all, who could stand
against Lebanon’s sovereignty and respect for its constitution.... The protest is therefore against the hidden
intentions that lie behind such a decision, namely targeting Syria, be it
through a direct Israeli aggression or an American siege similar to the one
imposed on Iraq after 1990. The protest
is also against the double standard. If
foreign occupation is rejected, why the decision not ask Israel to withdraw
from the Golan Heights and the rest of the land it occupied in 1967.... If the Syrian military presence in Lebanon is
illegitimate, then why is the American military presence in Iraq legitimate,
given that the Syrian forces went into Lebanon pursuant to an agreement, while
America imposed itself on Iraq by force?
Syria has always acted wisely and carefully so as not to give its
enemies any pretexts for attacking it, but it has, for some reason, made it
easy for these enemies when it pressured so clearly for renewing the presidency
of the Lebanese president and amending the constitution. President Bush needed such a conduct on
Syria’s part in order to be able to pass an international decision calling for
Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon, just as his father passed a similar decision
calling for the Iraqi army’s withdrawal from Kuwait.”
Editor-in-Chief Ahmed Al-Jarallah contended in the independent,
usually pro-American English-language Arab Times (9/8): "A sophisticated political game is on
between Damascus, Beirut and the UNSC.
Nobody will believe Syria has walked into a trap set by others.... Syria has fallen for this trick and revealed
its face from behind the mask of Lebanon. They have been exposed before the
international community after succeeding in hiding behind their masks for over
three decades.... Lebanon, which can't
stand on its own feet any longer, has reached its nadir. Although Syria is the
reason for the problems faced by Lebanon it is not facing any crisis.... Syria's desire to extend its stay in Lebanon
and its insistence on its Lebanese allies to do likewise led them to imagine
power is more important than the will and emotions of the people of Lebanon.
The already fragile political scene worsened when some Lebanese, who may be
against Syria, worked on luring Syria more and more towards confrontation. Syria is in a fix now and it can't wriggle
out of it.... Unfortunately no one
except Israel can implement this UN resolution. This means Damascus will meet
the same fate of Baghdad. Arab leaders, who are always keen not take any
blames, will be mere spectators to the events which are expected to
follow.... UN Resolution 1559 to free
Lebanon of all foreign forces is an invitation to the U.S. from the Lebanese
who are sure no one else can end their misery. We suppose the Americans have
taken the hint."
"Imposing A President"
Ihsan Trabulsi observed in independent
conservative Al-Seyassah (9/7):
"This is the second time that Damascus has imposed a president on
Beirut, and the world should compare between the Syrian occupation in Lebanon
and the U.S. occupation of Iraq....
Lebanese opposition is repressed by the head of Syrian intelligence in
Lebanon, Rustum Ghazali, who also represses the media with his heavy military
boots.... While former U.S. civil
administrator Paul Bremer left Iraq following the handover at the end of June
2004...Syrian intelligence officers who rule Lebanon have not left the country,
and they are planning to stay forever.
Lebanese politicians, such as Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, have to keep
their mouths shut or face the fate of those who have been assassinated in
Lebanon since 1976, such as Druze leader Kamal Jumblat, former President Rene
Moawad and Bashir Gemayel.... Lebanese
lawmakers have become rubberstamps who simply approve what Damascus dictates. While Washington has removed a vicious
autocratic rule from Baghdad...Damascus has crushed the only democracy in the
Arab world, and Syrian troops have turned Lebanon into a big prison. While Damascus has tortured and killed
Lebanese journalists, such as An-Nahar's former editor in chief Michael
Abu-Jawdeh and the editor in chief of Al-Hawadeth magazine, Salim
al-Lawzeh, Trabulsi added that Washington has freed the Iraqi press, and
instead of one or two state-run newspapers, Iraq has around 100 free
dailies.... The Lebanese people are the
only ones who can end Syrian hegemony in Lebanon. They should do what Georgian
people did to President Edward Chevarnadze."
LEBANON: "The Last
Sateh Noureddine opined in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(9/14): “UNSC 1559 lost some of its
significance as a result of the renewed American-Syrian talks over
Iraq.... It became easier to understand
its connotation.... However, contrary to
circulating rumors, these Syrian-U.S. talks do not mean that the U.S. will
exchange Iraq for Lebanon. Burns’ recent
visit to Syria did not signal the beginning of Syrian-U.S. cooperation on Iraq,
but was the crowning of this cooperation."
"What Washington And Damascus Say About Burns’ Talks"
Nicolas Nassif contended in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/14): “Information about the content
of A/S Burns’ talks with President Asad was conflicting.... The Americans...confirmed the seriousness of
their demands regarding Iraq and Lebanon.
The Syrians, however, reflected satisfaction with the dialogue over
Iraq, but did not attach similar importance to the Lebanese issue and UNSC
1559.... A different reality...however,
exists on the content of Asad’s talks with Burns. The information is as follows: The Iraqi
issue is a priority for the U.S. Administration...because of Washington’s
emphasis on stability and democracy in Iraq....
Syria has a responsibility to help achieve stability in Iraq through
working on controlling the border.... In
Lebanon, the U.S. insists on Syrian withdrawal from Lebanese territories,
non-interference in Lebanese affairs, freedom of decision for the Lebanese, and
extension of Lebanese Army control over all Lebanese territories. Thus, A/S Burns raised the issue of UNSC 1559
clearly and frankly with the Syrian President. The Americans are dealing with the
Iraqi issue independently from UNSC 1559 and the Syria Accountability
Act.... No link should be created
between these issues. The cooperation of
Damascus on Iraq will neither disrupt the Syria Accountability Act nor cripple
the impact of UNSC 1559. Furthermore
there is no possibility of a bargain....
Washington believes that it is Syria’s obligation to cooperate on the
issue of the border without bargaining.
The U.S. is getting impatient with Damascus because it believes that
ever since Powell’s visit, Damascus has been deliberately ignoring U.S.
demands, leading the U.S. to believe that Damascus is not serious about making
any serious progress in mending American-Syrian relations.”
"Burns’ Visit Did Not Carry New Pressures And Its Lebanese
Echo Is Not Escalatory"
Ghasib Mokhtar wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(9/13): "Information which flowed
to senior Lebanese officials following Burns’ meeting in Damascus confirmed
that Burns’ visit was not negative and did not pressure Syria.... The visit reflected the American need for
Syria to help in Iraq, particularly on issues where the American occupation
failed.... These sources confirmed that
Burns focused on Syria’s role in calming the situation politically and
militarily in Iraq and an understanding was reached with Syrian officials to
control the Syrian-Iraqi borders....
Official sources believe that the U.S.-Syrian cooperation on Iraq
reflects progress in Syrian-Americans relations, and is an indication of
Washington’s understanding of Syria’s role in Iraq and in Lebanon as
well.... In this context, official
sources confirmed that the military delegation which will visit President
Lahoud today is not a reflection of any Syrian capitulation to U.S. pressure,
but rather an opportunity to offer Lahoud congratulations for his new term in
"Damascus Tried To Send Positive Signs Before Burns’
Rosana Bou-Monsef asserted in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/12): “Despite Syrian public efforts
to downplay the importance of UNSC 1559, recent intensified Syrian diplomatic
activity reflects the contrary.... Two
days before A/S Burns’ visit to Syria, Asad received an Egyptian envoy who
asked him to take UNSC 1559 seriously....
Damascus also received the Iraqi Minister of Interior and discussed
cooperation along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Damascus also received Congressman Issa and former U.S. Ambassador
Indyk. All talked about Asad’s flexible
positions...and his willingness to cooperate.... Syria believes that Burns’ visit is a new
opportunity to mend relations with Washington.
This opportunity might not be repeated particularly if President Bush is
re-elected. Syria understands that any
mistake could lead to another phase of sanctions against Damascus."
"American Envoys To Snub Lebanon"
Khalil Fleihan maintained in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/10): “Washington has decided to
exclude Lebanon from its envoys’ rounds in the region after the conditions set
forth in UNSC 1559 were not met, Lebanese government sources said.... Washington says Lebanon breached the
resolution by amending its Constitution to extend President Emile Lahoud’s
mandate by three years. The U.S. began
implementing this decision...by canceling U.S. Middle East Envoy William Burns’
visit to Beirut, which was supposed to take place Sunday.... According to the same sources, U.S.
diplomatic relations with Lebanon will be reduced and no senior U.S. official
will visit the country. These relations
will be limited only to the presence of U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. The sources suggested this new and negative
situation between both countries should be confronted, warning the Lebanese
Government against underestimating Washington’s decision. They urged the government to resume contacts
to disperse the chaos resulting from Lahoud’s extension in office.... Sources said they wondered how many Arab
countries backed the U.S. position....
Support for Lebanon will remain ‘shy and in the context of words only.’”
“The Lebanese Issue Will Not Be A Priority On Burns’ Agenda"
Radwan Al-Theeb remarked in independent, non-sectarian Ad-Diyar
(9/10): “A/S Burns’ visit to Damascus is
very important...because Burns will open the doors of dialogue regarding all
pending issues between Damascus and the U.S.
It is believed, however, that Iraq will be the priority issue on Burns’
agenda because of the increasing number of American casualties in Iraq.... Sources believe that the U.S. is becoming
convinced that the policy of exerting pressure on Syria is not beneficial and
has only backfired.... Syria also proved
that it has the ability to help the U.S. inside Iraq...Those who believe that
the U.S. will isolate Syria are shocked over Burns’ imminent visit to
"Syria On The Strategic Arena: Is It Weak Or Strong?"
Fares Khashan said in pro-Hariri Al-Mustaqbal (9/10): “Is Syria strong or weak? This strategic question is being posed in
Lebanon and other Arab countries....
Those who believe that Syria is weak cite the following reasons: The UNSC internationalized The Syria
Accountability Act.... The EU placed the
project of partnership with Damascus aside....
France, which was one of the countries that defended Syria, decided to
reverse its policy...because it came to believe that Damascus has no
consideration for the French economic interests in Syria and political
interests in Lebanon.... The U.S.
bilateral relations with Syria are facing a crisis.... Syria’s geographic location is strategically
weak because it is surrounded by Israel, the U.S. Army, Turkey, Jordan and
Lebanon (which is under international scrutiny.
Finally, Arab countries are not able to support Syria.... On the other hand those who believe that
Syria is strong...cite the following reasons: neoconservatives in the Pentagon,
Wolfowitz for example, are weak because of the Israeli spy issue.... The natural result of what is happening at
the Pentagon is strengthening the voice of the State Department which is the
voice of negotiation and diplomacy.
Weaknesses at the Pentagon will bring the CIA--which has good relations
with the Lebanese and Syrian security agencies-back into the limelight.... It is impossible to implement UNSC 1559
within a month.... Finally, Syria...was always
able to solve its problems with the international community.... In any case...whether Syria would be
considered strong or weak depends on two issues: whether U.S. President Bush
will become the next U.S. President...and whether Syria knows how to deal with
France and Europe.”
"Egyptian Contracts With Washington And Paris To Convince
Them To Dismiss Implementation Of 1559"
Khalil Fleyhan contended in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/9): "A number of Lebanese
officials believe that UN Secretary General Annan had no right to criticize
Lebanon’s constitutional amendment...because it does not threaten regional
security.... The same sources noted that
the motive behind UNSC 1559 was political....
Other sources revealed that Egypt will work through diplomatic channels
with the U.S. and France to clarity the dangers of UNSC 1559 and to convince
them to dismiss looking into its implementation.”
"Damascus May Hold Off On Cabinet Reshuffle"
Zeina Abou-Rizk opined in the moderate English-language Daily
Star (9/9): “Burns’ expected visit
to Damascus at the end of the week is likely to shed more light onto the
ambiguous U.S.-Syrian dialogue, and its repercussions on Lebanon. Significantly, Burns will be accompanied by a
high-ranking Pentagon official, Peter W. Rodman...a neoconservative who once
worked for former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. As a senior Pentagon official, Rodman’s
presence with Burns will definitely add a new dimension, one that is more
military in nature, to the ongoing American-Syrian political contacts.”
Ali Hamada commented in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/9): "Following the UNSC
resolution 1559 that demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from Lebanon,
the dismantling of Hizbullah, and the deployment of the Lebanese army in the
South, the international community is observing the Lebanese domestic situation
closely and President Emile Lahoud should avoid any blunders in his extended
three-year term.... Because Lebanon is
under the international microscope, if Lahoud makes any mistakes in politics,
economics, and human rights, the country will pay ten fold. Beirut and Damascus...cannot anymore claim
that Syrian-Lebanese matters are domestic issues, but international ones put
under scrutiny by the UN. Resolution
1559 is a yellow card, a warning, given by the UN to Lebanon and Syria, and
those stupid Lebanese politicians who pretend that the crisis over the
constitutional amendment that allowed Lahoud to stay in office is over are not
aware of the gravity of the situation....
Hence...any blunder made by Lahoud during the coming years will increase
Lebanon's international isolation, and the president should look for wisdom
even it were in China."
George Alam stated in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(9/8): "In order to face the
repercussions of UNSC Resolution 1559, the Lebanese should unite, institute a
plan of action that includes coordination with Syria and cooperate with the EU
and France.... While such advice may
sound simple, it is the only way that Lebanon and Syria could avoid
international isolation. This was
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's opinion too.... Lebanon should take action instead of trying
to explain 1559 and maintain its friendship with France, despite Paris' stance
with Washington in favor of the resolution.
Lavrov was not the only diplomat to offer Beirut advice on ways to deal
with 1559 or take positions on the resolution.... Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom
declared that 1559 will pave the way for a peace agreement between the Jewish
state and Lebanon. The Lebanese
authorities have been debating with the UN over Resolution 425 ever since the
UNSC announced that Tel Aviv had implemented 425 fully when Israeli troops
withdrew from South Lebanon in 2000.
Beirut, however, thinks that Israel should also withdraw from Shebaa
Farms on Mount Hermon. Only then would
Beirut consider Israel to have fulfilled its obligations under the
resolution. At this juncture, Lebanon
does not need more confrontations with the UN. Beirut should approach the
international community with soft diplomacy and join ranks with Damascus in
order to face Israel."
"National Unity Government Is Needed"
Sarkis Naoum wrote in moderate, anti-Syria An-Nahar
(9/8): "The frustration of the
majority of the Lebanese over the Syrian-backed constitutional amendment
allowing President Emile Lahoud to stay in office can only be defused by
forming a national unity government that includes all political groups in the
country.... But there are two stumbling
blocks in the success of such a step.
First, Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Sfeir, the Christian opposition
group Qornet Shehwan, and the Druze leader and his parliamentarian bloc are not
ready to participate in such a Cabinet because they believe that its failure
will be inevitable.... The opposition
believes that even if Lahoud were able to do in his extended three-year term
what he failed to do in six years, regarding the eradication of corruption,
national reconciliation, and economic reform, Syria may not be willing to allow
any major change in the Lebanese situation....
Meanwhile...the war between opposition forces and Syrian loyalists in
Lebanon will continue. The second
obstacle to a national unity government...is that Damascus and Lahoud have not
until now shown any real willingness to reform the Lebanese situation. Some parties may add a third stumbling block:
The Lebanese are only objects in the regional conflict, and their country is
the battlefield used by the following parties: pro-Syrian Lebanese, Syria, the
U.S. and Israel. Hence, none of these parties has any interest in changing the
"The Last Stop"
Sateh Noureddine wrote in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(9/8): “Israel presented its
interpretation of UNSCR 1559...however, it pushed things too far by expecting
Lebanon to become the third Arab country to sign a peace treaty with
Israel. This is an overly optimistic
Israeli reading of UNSC 1559.... UNSC
1559 is only a reflection of American, French, British, and German resentment
about Syria’s performance in Lebanon.
The resolution might aim at breaking Syria’s monopoly of Lebanon, but no
one is looking to separate the Lebanon and Syria peace tracks.... In any case, it is clear that Israel is not
interested now in reaching a peace agreement with Lebanon.... It certainly knows that Lebanon might have
its differences with Syria over many issues but not on its position towards Israel."
"Lebanese And Syrian Attempts To Deflate International
Rosana Bou-Monsef asserted in moderate, anti-Syrian An-Nahar
(9/7): “Syria minimized to a great
extent the impact of UNSCR 1559, which demands respect for Lebanon’s
sovereignty and Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.... Syria will continue to take necessary steps
to confront and further diminish the impact of UNSCR 1559: It will allow its
allies in Lebanon to respond in several ways to UNSCR 1559 and confirm the
importance of the Syrian presence in Lebanon.
It will stop linking the Syrian presence to the Arab-Israeli conflict,
and instead link it to Lebanon’s need to control the Palestinian camps.... Syria is also depending on Prime Minister
Hariri to use his broad international contacts to explain Syria and Lebanon’s
view and work on diminishing the impact of Annan’s report expected after 30
days.... On the Syrian level, diplomatic
sources noted that President Asad is ready to cooperate with Washington
regarding Iraq...Syria is also ready to make A/S Burns’ visit a success.... In this context, Asad informed the
Congressional delegation that visited him last week that he had asked the U.S.
Embassy to provide him with technical equipment that would support Syria’s
efforts to monitor its border with Iraq....
He said that he was also ready to allow U.S. military planes to use
Syrian space to enhance control of the border.”
"American Successes: Internationalization Of Syria
Accountability Act And Dismantling Resistance"
Ibrahim Al-Amin commented in Arab nationalist As-Safir
(9/7): “How will the UN deal with UNSCR
1559?.... In principle...the UN
Secretary General should send an envoy...to ensure that UNSCR 1559 is
implemented. However, a UN source
says...that Annan tends to wait and observe the situation...and believes that
the coming few weeks will witness events that could facilitate Annan’s
mission.... The same sources revealed
that the U.S. pressure that was exerted in order to reach UNSCR 1559 was not
normal. Many thought that the U.S.
wanted to expedite the procedures to reach UNSCR 1559 in order to block
extension of President Lahoud’s term in office, however, UN sources clarified
that the real aim behind UNSCR 1559 was to show that Syria and Lebanon violated
an international resolution and use this fact against them in future
negotiations...The U.S. also wants to convince the Europeans to join them in
‘chasing’ Syria.... The U.S. wants to
internationalize the Syria Accountability Act and also wants the Europeans to
join it in characterizing Hizbullah and other resistance movements in the
region as terrorists.”
"The Lebanese Army To Control Palestinian Bases And
Ali Al-Amin argued in independent Al-Balad (9/7): “The Ta’if Accord, which was signed in 1989,
gave Syria a free hand in Lebanon.... However,
UNSCR 1559 is designed to take Lebanon and Syria to a new phase...Sources
believe that Syria cannot turn its back in the demands in UNSCR 1559...because
ignoring them might lead to sanctions....
Lebanon and Syria...should show readiness to implement the demand for
withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon, dismantling all militias, and
extending the Government of Lebanon’s control over all Lebanese
territories. Arab political sources
claim that Syria is exerting efforts...to get the Arab League (instead of the
U.N.) to supervise the implementation of UNSCR 1559.... As for the actual implementation of these
demands...sources believe that Syria might announce its support to sending the
Lebanese Army to South Lebanon.... Such
an announcement might help Lebanon and Syria avoid possible sanctions...at the
same time, begin the mechanism of controlling a number of Palestinian military
SYRIA: "Towards Common
Ahmad Dawa commented in government-owned Al-Thawra
(9/14): "The official US-Syrian
comments about Burns' visit to Damascus, especially the one made by Secretary
Powell in which he praised these talks and considered them as useful, good and
necessary player have restored credit to the principle of dialogue as a basis
for serious and objective discussion to eliminate points of disagreement
between the two countries.... These
talks constitute a success for the moderate team in the Bush
Administration.... Certainly the
U.S.-Syrian talks have not reconciled the two countries' positions on the
issues they tackled, due to their seriousness and sensitivity for the two
countries and their connection with the Israeli factor. The U.S. inclination to
resort to dialogue as a necessary option, is inevitable in international
relations to eliminate differences and to agree on deferring solutions for
deeper differences until better international and regional circumstances
"Ground For Dialogue"
Dr. Fayez Sayegh, chief editor of government-owned Al-Thawra,
stated (9/13): "The U.S.-Syrian
agreement on continuing dialogue is a step in the right direction. Agreement on
setting appropriate mechanisms to deepen dialogue is a second step that serves
U.S. and Syrian interests.... Burns'
talks provided a common ground for dialogue....
We hope that the coming days will witness intensified constructive
solutions for pending issues to achieve best results before this positive
atmosphere is sabotaged by Israeli circles and wasted by Zionist
"Is Syria's Policy That Of A Super State?"
Dr. Mahdi Dakhlallah, chief editor of government-owned Al-Ba'th,
remarked (9/12): "Recent
developments in US-Syrian relations, including Burns' visit to Damascus, have
reinstated the issue of Syria's foreign policy as a distinguished phenomenon in
the Middle East.... When Burns visits
Damascus, he does not come only to speak, but also to listen. His return to
Damascus, in form at least, is a new indication of victory for Syrian foreign
policy. It is a policy that always underscores the importance of dialogue in
organizing relations among states--small or big--as opposed to the concept that
pressure, threats and shows of force are the only effective means in
international policy. Isn't this new
evidence that Syria's foreign policy is that of a super-state?.... Syria's policy confuses observers, who are
astonished by the way a small country like Syria--which is located in an
inflamed region--could say 'no' to the sole superpower, which has no concern
whatsoever for other countries' independence and sovereignty."
"Syria Cannot Be Blamed"
Government-owned Tishreen editorialized
(9/8): "Syria cannot be blamed for
the worsening condition of U.S.-Syria relations.... The U.S. knew that Syria does not take
responsibility for the deteriorating conditions in the region.... Damascus was interested and eager to achieve
stability in the region...Syria is not an aggressor, but is being assaulted by
Israel, and is facing American pressures, especially from this administration,
because it is not bowing to blackmail and threats of aggression from Israel and
the American drive that adopts the Israeli allegations.... It was impractical to describe Syria's
position as hard-line when most of the world countries were supporting
it.... Even the EU recently asked the
U.S. to take a more firm position towards Israel.... Washington should have by now discovered the
Israeli games and blackmail that have reached the point of spying on American
national security and the reality that Israel does not want developed
Arab-American ties, but wants everything that is American for itself alone that
would serve its aggressive plans whose results reflect badly on the
Ahmad Hamadah said in government-owned Al-Thawra
(9/6): "U.S. threats against Syria
can be seen from the perspective of the American strategy for the Arab region
and its many plans to redraw the region's maps, policies and inclinations in a
new way that will serve Israel and its expansionist ambitions.... The American need to please Israel should be
obvious enough...the American presidential elections and their requirements:
primarily pleasing Israel and the Jewish lobby in the U.S., AIPAC, and American
Jews' long economic, financial and media arms.... The resolution behind which the U.S. is
throwing all its weight in the UNSC tries to arrange the situation in Lebanon
in a way consistent with what Israel wants: particularly turning the Lebanese
Army into a protector of the Israeli security in northern occupied Palestine and
restricting Lebanese resistance even though Israel attacks Lebanon daily from
the air, the sea and the ground. Only
because of Israel is American concerned for the Lebanese constitution and
presidential elections.... The U.S.
considered the election an opportunity to raise the issue of the presence of
the Syrian troops in Lebanon even though this presence is legal, legitimate,
and agreed upon by the two governments. It also enjoys broad Arab and
international understanding.... Although
the Lebanese alone are the ones who have the right to choose their president
and amend their constitution, the U.S. Administration allowed itself to
interfere flagrantly in Lebanon's domestic affairs and in Lebanon's strategic
relation with Syria.... From this
premise we can understand the nature of the Israeli-American moves against
Syria and Lebanon."
"Lebanon's National Stance"
M. Agha noted in the English-language
government-owned Syria Times (9/5):
"The US Administration has been adamant on exerting further pressure
on Syria with the aim of serving Israeli objectives which run counter to norms
of international laws and conventions.
The UNSC meeting to approve the U.S.-French draft resolution on Lebanon
is part of this policy. The current attempts to interfere in the internal
affairs of this Arab country are part of the US-Israeli strategy to divert
world attention from the human rights violations and state terror pursued by
the Sharon government against the defenseless people of Palestine. The main target of the US-Israeli alliance is
to obliterate the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to
self-determination, the establishment of an independent state and the return of
refugees to their homeland. The meeting
is a flagrant violation of international law for it represents an illegal
intervention into Lebanese internal affairs. The recent developments that
preceded the meeting show that this step is part of a larger campaign that has
nothing to do with the Lebanese presidential question. This vicious campaign is
an integral part of the so-called Syria Accountability Act plot that aims to
consolidate U.S.--Israeli hegemony over the region as a whole and to pillage
its natural resources, particularly its oil.
After the UNSC issued a revised version of the US-French draft
resolution concerning Lebanon, the Lebanese Parliament voted to amend the
constitutional to extend the President's term for three years. This is a rebuff
to US pressure on Syria and to its attempts to meddle in Lebanon's internal
"Targeting International Legitimacy"
Samir al-Shibani observed in government-owned Tishreen
(9/4): "Day after day, world
peoples are becoming more convinced that the current U.S. administration and
Sharon's government...seek to turn international authorities into a tool to
impose hegemony over peoples' resources and to exercise all sorts of coercion
against them. Within this context comes
a dangerous precedent that portends great chaos. The UNSC has stepped away from its legal
course as a result of US-Israeli pressure.
It has discussed an issue of concern to two brotherly countries that are
tied with relations of kinship, history, and fate.... Observers view the timing of the UNSC
resolution with great skepticism...as it coincided with the Republican Party's
endorsement of George Bush for the US presidency. Bush has great problems
inside and outside the U.S., and his practices in support of Israeli policy
have greatly aggravated and intensified these problems. It is noteworthy that
the UNSC resolution has brought nothing new and that those who stood behind it
have failed to mention Syria by name.
Moreover, the resolution rallied only the minimum number of votes. Those
who stood behind the resolution must recall the unanimous votes in the General
Assembly that repeatedly denounced and condemned the Israeli occupation and its
practices; the most recent of these votes was on the illegality of the hated
racial wall. If they are concerned about
Lebanon, they must apply their influence and pressure on the party that
occupies Lebanese land in the south. Moreover, if they are concerned about the
UNSC's prestige and its need to retain international authority, they must
implement its decades-old resolutions that remain frozen and forgotten in
"Did Lebanon Lose The Democratic Test?"
The pro-government English-language Yemen
Times averred (9/10): "Many in
the Arab world thought that Lebanon could have been the leading example of
democracy. It is the Arab country with the freest press and the most
liberalized media.... But it has
undergone a very difficult test.... The
constitutional amendment to extend the presidential term of Emile Lahoud by
three more years was a grave disappointment to those who had bet on Lebanon’s
democracy. Overturning the amendment in parliament would have been a clear
example of the insistence of the people of Lebanon to stick to the democratic
principles established in their country. It was a pity that Lebanon didn’t pass
this test.... For many Lebanese, the
amendment constituted a failure to stick to the growing trend in democratic
practice in Lebanon, and a tendency to slip back to the domain of other Arab
regimes, which manipulate constitutions and parliaments for their own
benefit. But if there is another side to
blame, it would be the USA and European countries, who passed a UNSC resolution
that pointed fingers towards Syria and Lebanon, and dragged a sovereign issue
into the international domain. This has
caused extensive damage to the position of the Lebanese people who had opposed
the amendment.... It would be difficult
to stand with the USA and others....
However, it is important to note here that it is not the number of
years, or reasons, that make the amendment a disappointment, it is rather the
decision to go for it at a time when Lebanon was advancing very quickly, and
being acclaimed as a liberal and free Arab state. Is this a regression or weakening of Lebanese
democracy? Was our belief that Lebanon could be a state different from other
Arab countries a myth? Let’s wait for three more years and see."
"American-European Front Isolates Syria"
Mia Doornaert wrote in independent
Christian-Democrat De Standaard (9/9):
"While the U.S. is feeling how difficult it is to try to export
democracy with weapons, France is coming to the conclusion that dialogue does
not yield much either when reforms are needed.
That has led to an unusual American-French agreement in the UNSC for a
resolution that demands that Syria respect Lebanon's sovereignty.... While France is disappointed by the poor
results of its 'engagement' in Syria it is also angered by Syria's recent coup
in Lebanon.... The Syrians consider
Lebanon and Israel/Palestine as part of their historic territory that was
seized first by the Ottomans and later, by Western powers. France does not want Lebanon to become a
Syrian colony. That explains its
initiative--supported by the EU--for UNSC resolution 1559 that demands the
departure of all foreign, i.e. Syrian, troops from Lebanon. It was not difficult to find American
support. In the U.S. Bashir al-Assad is
in disfavor because, Washington believes, terrorists can go to Iraq via Syria
and because Syria continues to give support to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon
and to Palestinian terrorist groups like Hamas and the Islamic Jihad that seek
the destruction of Israel. For that reason
America imposed trade sanctions on Syria earlier this year. The fact that this country is now confronted
with an U.S.-European front amplifies the isolation of Damascus and
"Syria's Bullying Ways"
The liberal Toronto Star editorialized (9/6): "While Syria has been a genuine force
for stability in Lebanon, where rival communities waged a savage war in the
1970s and 1980s, its continued meddling in Lebanese affairs, and denial of
democracy, puts it on the wrong side of history. Choosing a president should be
a strictly internal matter. And the UNSC has wisely reaffirmed that principle,
by denouncing Assad's latest string pulling, the third such meddling in a
decade. The UN passed an American-sponsored resolution last week, demanding
respect for Lebanon's sovereignty and calling for the withdrawal of all foreign
troops from Lebanese soil. Lebanese
Sunni Muslim, Christian and Druze religious figures have also denounced Assad's
manoeuvring. Assad has shrugged off international
outrage. But this will haunt him. While Canada has always tried to cultivate
good relations with both Syria and Lebanon, people here recoil from Assad's
bullying. Syria has already been rightly
criticized for giving sanctuary to Palestinian extremist groups, for letting
Iranian-backed Hezbollah guerrillas run riot on the Israeli border and for
spurning Israeli peace overtures over the Golan Heights. This latest outrage
can only further tarnish Syria's image, deepen its isolation, hurt its economy
and invite sanctions."