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Dienstag, 28. Dezember 2010

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen IX

SYRIAN-IRANIAN SHOW OF SOLIDARITY MASKS TENSIONS OVER IRAQ, YEMEN, AND WAR WITH ISRAEL

Eine spannende Depesche, die sich hauptsächlich mit den bilateralen Beziehungen zwischen Syrien und dem Iran befasst. Schauen wir uns erstmal die Zusammenfassung an und im Anschluss diverse Aspekte des Berichts:

The successive visits of three high-level Iranian officials to Damascus in early December appear at first glance to reaffirm strong Iranian-Syrian security ties and other forms of bilateral cooperation, but they may, in fact, mask deepening rifts over Iraq, Yemen, and the possibility of war with Israel. Syrian observers suggest the a shifting balance of power between Iran and Syria. The Iranian government, challenged domestically by anti-regime protests and abroad by building pressure over its nuclear program, has sought Syria’s help just when Syria has begun to enjoy other strategic options, such as its relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Asad’s government proved willing to host the visits, sign a defense MOU, and allow Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal to visit Tehran, all the while continuing close cooperation with Iranian security services and Hizballah operatives. But Asad reportedly resisted Iranian arguments for closer bilateral coordination in Iraq and Yemen and flatly rejected being drawn into a war between Iran and Israel.

Man könnte demzufolge sagen, die so oft befürchteten und heraufbeschworenen engen Verbindungen zwischen Syrien und Iran bestehen nicht in diesem Maße, aber Syrien hat inzwischen einen gewissen Spielraum bei der Auswahl seiner strategischen Partner, was eine gewisse Eigenständigkeit erlaubt. Man muss weder dem Iran noch den Amis die Füße küssen, denn immer wenn der eine Partner Mucken macht, kann man damit drohen, sich ab- und dem anderen zuzuwenden. Keine unkomfortable Position.

Taken collectively, the Iranian visits over eight days were meant to dispel doubts that Syria would or could abandon its ties to Iran [...].

Ein Selbst- oder Fremdversicherungsschauspiel?

“Iran provides us diplomatic cover as well as the military might to back up our demands for peace,” argued XXXXXXXXXXXX. “In return, we’re providing Iran support when the West is pressuring Iran on its nuclear program,”

So sieht er laut XXX aus, der Tauschhandel. Fragt sich nur, wer XXX ist. Da zum Schutze der Person ausgepiept, vermutlich entweder ein bei den Syrern eingeschmuggelter Amerikaner oder ein Syrer, der gerne bei den Amis aus dem Nähkästchen plaudert.

According to XXXXXXXXXXXX Iran, not Syria, sought the visits as a sign of Syrian reassurance. “Be assured,” commented XXXXXXXXXXXX “they needed these visits far more than we did.”

The Syrian government, said XXXXXXXXXXXX, perceived a note of panic in the Iranian requests and some were saying Syria’s renewed relations with Saudi Arabia, its deepening ties to Turkey, and even Washington’s desire to re-engage Syria had made Iran “jealous.”

Also eher ein Fremdversicherungsschauspiel, um iranische Gemüter zu beruhigen.

While the Syrian government responded positively to Iranian requests for public statements of support on the nuclear issue and against Israel, it remained silent after the Iranian Minister of Defense’s arrival statement denounced Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Klar, Rhetorik gegen Israel gibt's immer geschenkt, aber sich den Iranern zuliebe mit anderen regionalen Großmächten oder gar den USA anlegen, ne, das dann noch nicht.

“They (the Iranians) basically asked us to focus on co-opting Shia politicians and to drop our support for the Sunnis and former Baathists,” arguing that the center of gravity in Iraq lies with the Shia. On this issue XXXXXXXXXXXX reported, Syrian officials expressed great reluctance and continued to insist on the reintegration of former Iraqi Baathists into the political system.

Da müsste der Iran aber schon einiges im Gegenzug anbieten, damit Syrien für ihn die Schiiten im Irak unterstützt. Das Assad-Regime verhält sich in religiösen Dingen eigentlich meist vorsichtig, Assad selbst als Angehöriger der Alewiten, einer muslimischen Randgruppe, die selbst nicht mal von allen Muslimen anerkannt wird, will sicher keine Auseinandersetzung über seine Legitimität auf religiöser Basis führen.

On Yemen, Vahidi’s public remarks rebuking Saudi Arabia for interfering in its neighbor’s affairs drew sharp criticism from Syrian officials during the Iranian Defense Minister’s meetings XXXXXXXXXXXX Vahidi was clearly trying to drive a wedge between Damascus and Riyadh, but “it didn’t work,” he said.

More significantly, Syria reportedly resisted Iranian entreaties to commit to joining Iran if fighting broke out between Iran and Israel or Hizballah and Israel. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Iranian officials were in Syria “to round up allies” in anticipation of an Israeli military strike.

Da will der Iran aber schon eine ganze Menge, Syrien soll rhetorisch die gleiche Linie fahren, die Schiiten im Irak unterstützen, es sich mit Saudi-Arabien verscherzen und dann Seit an Seit mit dem Iran gegen Israel kämpfen. Ich frage mich wirklich, was die im Angebot hatten, um das durchzukriegen, oder dachten sie, Syrien läge ihnen zu Füßen?

"Then we expect an Iranian response. At that point, we, Turkey, and Qatar will spring into action to begin moderating a ceasefire and then a longer-term solution involving both countries’ nuclear programs. That’s the best scenario. All the others are bad for us and the region,” summed up XXXXXXXXXXXX.

Das klingt tatsächlich wie eine vernünftigere Herangehensweise. Dass im tatsächlichen Krieg mit Israel für ein militärisch vergleichsweise bescheiden ausgestattetes Land kein Blumentopf zu holen ist, ist klar, und man kann nur hoffen und beten, dass Iran und Israel sich nicht an die Gurgel gehen.

“We would hope the U.S. would recognize our diplomatic efforts to resolve a regional crisis and give us some credit for playing a positive role.”

Sie sind es leid, die Syrer, auf der *schwarzen Liste* der Amis zu stehen. Aber mal eben so bekommt man deren Vertrauen nun nicht geschenkt, vor allem nicht, wenn man nebenher die Hizbollah aufrüstet.

Es folgt eine Einschätzung der syrischen Absichten, die interessant ist, auch wenn sie zu dem Schluss kommt, dass man eigentlich nicht so recht wissen kann, was die Syrer nun tatsächlich vorhaben.

Many Syrian and some diplomatic observers believe Syria is in the process of re-calibrating its relations with Iran and is seeking to avoid choices that would constrain the country’s flexibility as it faces an uncertain regional setting. Does, however, Syria’s instinct for self-survival and desire for less dependence on Iran represent anything other than a shift of emphasis as long as Damascus insists on maintaining its military relations with Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas? Some analysts here argue that Syria’s improved relations with Turkey, France, and Saudi Arabia afford Damascus a greater range of choices in dealing with the West, the Arab world, Israel, and Iran. This school asserts that better ties with the U.S. would further increase Syria’s range of options and its potential to move farther away from Iran. Even if Damascus and Tehran maintained some semblance of their political-military relationship, the extent of their ties would be constrained by Syria’s competing equities in deepening relations with others, including the U.S. Others argue that a wider range of options would only perpetuate Syria’s decision-averse orientation; if the Iranians can’t pin down Syria on matters of war and peace, then what chance would the United States have? Syria could pocket openings offered by Washington and simply use our gestures to play rivals off one another. At the end of the day, it may be impossible to assess Syria’s intentions with any confidence until the regional context becomes clearer. In the meantime, the U.S. should take a modicum of quiet satisfaction that Syria is showing signs of wanting to moderate Iran’s influence in its affairs, even though expecting the relationship to end altogether remains unrealistic. If Syria’s improved relations with France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey can initiate cracks in the Syrian-Iranian axis, then perhaps discrete U.S.-Syrian cooperation could add further stress to these fault lines. A willingness to offer concrete deliverables as evidence of a U.S. desire for improved relations would force Syrian officials to calculate how far they would go in response, providing us with a more accurate measure of their intentions. At a minimum, increased Washington interest in Syria would increase Tehran’s anxiety level and perhaps compound Syrian-Iranian tensions, at a time when Syrian officials themselves may be unsure how they will react to unfolding events.

Montag, 20. Dezember 2010

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen VIII

SYRIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ATTENDS CT DIALOGUE WITH S/CT BENJAMIN

Da ist doch während eines syrisch-amerikanischen Gesprächs plötzlich, überraschend, der syrische Geheimdienstchef aufgetaucht. Der lässt sich sonst bei solchen Treffen nicht blicken, nicht einmal bei solchen mit "friendly countries like Britain and France." Das sei eine freundliche Geste von Assad, weil die vorigen Treffen so gut verlaufen seien, aber es habe ganz bestimmt keine Bedeutung hinsichtlich geheimdienstlicher Kooperation - zumindest nicht für die Gegenwart. Tatsächlich geht es während des ganzen Gesprächs aber vorwiegend darum, wie eine solche Kooperation zukünftig aussehen könnte. Hier die Zusammenfassung:

In a surprise appearance, Syrian General Intelligence Director (GID) General Ali Mamlouk attended a February 18 meeting between Vice Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad and a U.S. delegation led by S/CT Coordinator Daniel Benjamin. Miqdad explained Mamlouk had joined the meeting at the request of President Bashar al-Asad as a gesture following a positive meeting between U/S William Burns and the Syrian president the previous day. Stressing the meeting did not signal the commencement of security and intelligence cooperation between Syria and the United States, the Syrian side said the discussion could be a starting point for a blueprint regarding possible cooperation in the future. Calling Coordinator Benjamin’s description of terrorist groups operating in the region “valid,” Mamlouk emphasized the linkage between progress on political issues in U.S.-Syrian relations and possible security and intelligence cooperation. He identified Syrian-Iraqi border security as an area where Syria could cooperate with the U.S., but only after Iraqi legislative elections in March. Mamlouk added cooperation on Syrian-Iraqi border security could lead to security cooperation in other areas. Mamlouk, Miqdad, and Syrian Ambassador to the U.S. Imad Mustapha were attentive during Benjamin’s presentation on al-Qaeda, foreign fighters, and other common threats, and reacted positively to his warnings that these issues presented challenges to both the U.S. and Syria. Mamlouk and Miqdad emphasized three points regarding possible security and intelligence cooperation with the U.S.: (1) Syria must be able to take the lead in any regional actions; (2) politics are an integral part of combating terrorism, and a “political umbrella” of improved U.S.-Syrian bilateral relations should facilitate cooperation against terrorism; and (3) in order to convince the Syrian people that cooperation with the U.S. was benefiting them, progress must be made on issues related to economic sanctions against Syria including spare parts for airplanes and a plane for President Asad. “In summary, President Asad wants cooperation, we should take the lead on that cooperation, and don’t put us on your lists,” Miqdad declared.

Was ich toll finde, ist, dass also die syrische Bevölkerung von den Vorteilen einer Kooperation mit den USA überzeugt werden soll, indem der Präsident ein neues Flugzeug bekommt. Na, wenn das die syrischen Bürger mal nicht vom Sockel haut!

Also, insgesamt ist der Tonfall, soweit man das der Depesche entnehmen kann, recht freundlich und es findet tatsächlich sowas wie ein konstruktives Gespräch statt, ohne Pseudowitzigkeit oder gehässige Seitenhiebe (naja, fast). Die Syrer geben mehr von sich, als nur PR-Seifenblasenrhetorik und stimmen gar den Amerikanern in ihren Erkenntnissen um terroristische Gruppierungen in Middle East zu. Das liest sich echt so, als sei da Zusammenarbeit möglich. Ach ja, und:
Benjamin [...] noted that there were issues on which we had clear differences, such as Syrian support for Hamas and Hizballah.

Ach, ich denke, von dem Thema wollte man sich vorerst etwas fernhalten? Ich glaube, die wissen einfach nicht wie sie das angehen sollen und jeder macht dann halt so, wie er denkt, dass es richtig ist.

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Dienstag, 14. Dezember 2010

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen VII

JUMBLATT ON POSSIBLE NEW UNSCR, NATIONAL DIALOGUE; RIZK ON UNIIIC EXTENSION

Zwei Depeschen aus der libanesischen Botschaft: Hauptthemen sind 1.) Die komplizierte politische Gemengelage im Libanon und 2.) Ein von der Hizbollah organisiertes fiberoptisches Netzwerk. Aber Syrien kommt auch immer mal am Rande vor, wie sollte das bei einem Staat, der indirekt immer noch so stark unter der Fuchtel eines anderen steht, auch anders sein.

March 14 leader Walid Jumblatt questioned the utility of a new UN Security Council resolution on Lebanon if it does not address the border issue with Syria and if it does not contain strong language.

When asked how the USG could best support Lebanon at this juncture, Jumblatt said he was pleased to see the USG’s recent public statements on Syria’s efforts to build nuclear weapons. Jumblatt half-jokingly said that the U.S. should now send the USS Nimitz to intimidate Syria.

Jumblatt said the Special Tribunal was “not enough” to intimidate Syria. Rizk chimed in to acknowledge that work on the Special Tribunal was “frightening to Syria until recently.” Both agreed that Syrian President Bashar Assad won’t care about the Tribunal in a year’s time.

Immer wieder geht es also darum, Syrien unter Druck zu setzen, mit "strong language", dem Hariri-Tribunal, und, da dass nicht ausreicht, gar einem amerikanischen Flugzeugträger, "jokingly" zwar, aber auch wieder nur "half-", immer die Problematik libanesisch-syrischer Grenzziehung im Hinterkopf.

LEBANON: HIZBALLAH GOES FIBER OPTIC

Die immer wiederkehrende Problematik zu intensiver syrischer Einmischung in libanesische Angelegenheiten zeigt sich auch hier:

The Syrian interference [within the mobile network] is similar to that occurring during the Nahr al-Barid fighting, and highlights the ability of the Syrians to communicate within Lebanon through non-Lebanese mobile systems. Because the system in the part of Syria bordering on northern Lebanon is a private company, MTM, Hamadeh believes that they offer political cover to the Syrian government, who he nevertheless believes is behind the problem.

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Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen VI

IS NOW THE TIME TO RAISE HIZBALLAH WITH SYRIA?

In dieser Depesche beschäftigen sich die Amis mit der Frage, wie man den Syrern am konstruktivsten mitteilt, dass sie gefälligst aufhören sollen, die Hizbollah mit Waffen zu unterstützen. Die Zusammenfassung sieht so aus:

Syria's determined support of Hizballah's military build-up [...] could change the military balance and produce a scenario significantly more destructive than the July-August 2006 war. If rockets were to rain down on Israeli civilians in Tel Aviv, Israel would still have powerful incentives, as it did in 2006, to keep Syria out of the conflict, but it might also face compelling reasons for targeting Hizballah facilities in Syria, some of which are in and around populated areas. Syria's current strategic mindset appears to assume Syria could avoid involvement in a new conflict, based largely on its 2006 experience. Syrian leaders also appear convinced that arming Hizballah will increase Syria's leverage in bringing Israel to the negotiating table. As Washington weighs how to approach Syrian officials in upcoming engagement efforts, discussing Hizballah from the perspective of the regional strategic landscape may help to facilitate a "big picture" conversation in which we could challenge these assumptions and focus Damascus on the importance of taking cooperative steps with the U.S. now. Though raising this subject could well distract from a cooperative approach that shows signs of progress after months of investment, we believe sounding a warning, probably in a one-one-on meeting with President Asad, would be worth considering in pursuit of a broader, more strategic dialogue.

Dass die Syrer die Hizbollah bewaffnen, steht trotz regelmäßiger Dementi für die Amis ziemlich außer Frage:

There is overwhelming evidence that shows Syria
provided not just logistical and other support in moving the weapons, but was the main source of the weapons.

Die möglichen Folgen dieses Handelns werden in einem, im weiteren Verlauf als "unappealing" bezeichneten Szenarios, geschildert:

At least two potential consequences flow from Hizballah's increased capabilities and Syria's role in creating them: (1) If there is another war between Hizballah and Israel, it will be far deadlier than the 2006 conflict; (2) as in 2006, there would be compelling reasons for Israel to want to keep Syria out of any future war if possible, but there might be a countervailing need to hit Hizballah and perhaps targets in Syria, some of which are located in populated areas.

Die syrische Lösungsvorstellung sähe dann so aus: erst Frieden mit Israel, dann Hizbollah entwaffnen:

President Asad and FM Muallim have also suggested that the challenge of disarming Hizballah would be solved after Syria and Israel signed a peace treaty. This agreement would lead naturally to a deal between Lebanon and Israel, thereby removing the rationale for Hizballah's resistance movement [...].
Asad nonetheless appears more convinced than ever that arming Hizballah is necessary for Syrian security and perhaps as a stick to bring the current Israeli government back to negotiations on the return of the Golan.

Den Amis ist natürlich klar, dass das so herum nicht funktionieren kann, und die Israelis keinen Frieden mit einem Land schließen mögen, dass weiterhin den Feind aufrüstet.

Syrians remain resistant to the notion that Syria bears responsibility for managing a potentially explosive situation that could draw Damascus into a war neither sought nor winnable. They have ably deployed a force field of cognitive dissonance to resist arguments linking Syria's arming of Hizballah and the future prospects of Syrian-Israel peace negotiations.

"Kognitive Dissonanz" ist einer meiner Lieblingsaudrücke, er beschreibt die menschliche Fähigkeit, alle ím Gegensatz zur eigenen Auffassung stehenden Argumente zu ignorieren oder abzuwerten. Aber in diesem Fall trifft diese Beschreibung wohl doch nicht ganz zu. Es ist meines Erachtens doch davon auszugehen, dass die Syrer schon ganz klar wissen, dass das so mit dem Frieden nichts werden kann, aber den wollen sie eben auch gar nicht ernsthaft. Ein äußerer Feind lenkt wunderbar von innenpolitischer Murkserei ab, der Friedensschluss brächte zahlreiche Rechtfertigungsprobleme gegenüber anderen arabischen Ländern mit sich etc.pp. Alles andere ist nicht "kognitive Dissonanz" sondern seifenblasenblubbernde Rhetorik, denn die Syrer können ja nicht lauthals sagen, dass ihnen Frieden mit Israel schnurze ist und sie viel lieber Waffen an die Hizbollah geben, als sich mit Verhandlungen herumzuschlagen.

After months of investment, our engagement efforts are close to enabling both sides to exchange positive gestures. This cooperation should help to the stage for more focused discussions on a broad range of issues and strategic choices about the future direction of the relationship. [...]
Our view is that the cooperative approach will have more chance of success if we continue to use these channels to deal with such issues, until the relationship can sustain discussion at higher levels that will yield a higher probability of favorable progress. Against this backdrop, sending U.S. officials to focus on Syrian relations with Hizballah could distract significantly from our efforts to build a cooperative
foothold.

Wie also die Syrer dazu bringen, mit der Waffenunterstützung aufzuhören? Direkte Ansagen werden als wenig zielführend abgelehnt, man befürchtet da eher Trotzreaktionen. Also macht man sich an den langsamen Aufbau bilateraler Beziehungen, Zusammenarbeit in vereinzelten Bereichen, wo man ab und an mal ein Schlagwort (Menschenrechte! IAEA-Zusammenarbeit! Hizbollah!) fallen lassen kann, ohne dass es nach offizieller Maßregelung aussieht.

While the near-term chances for a successful dialogue on Syria's strategic relationship with Hizballah are much lower, the stakes -- the possibility of a regional conflict and significant obstacles to achieving comprehensive peace -- are just as, if not more, urgent. Sharing our concerns about the dangers of Syria's arming of Hizballah, probably best done privately in a one-on-one session with President Asad, could serve to establish the basis of a more frank exchange about Syria's role [...].

Blöd also, dass das Thema zu dringend ist, als dass man erst ein paar Jährchen "Basis-Beziehungsarbeit" investieren könnte. Also doch das Thema mit Assad direkt ansprechen? Verdammt, Diplomatie kann kompliziert sein...

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Sonntag, 12. Dezember 2010

Nirvana

Na klasse, gerade ne halbe Stunde am nächsten Wikileaks-Eintrag geschrieben und nu isser weg. Jetzt mog I nimmer.

Mittwoch, 8. Dezember 2010

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen V

V/FM MIQDAD DENIES SUPPLYING BALLISTIC MISSILES TO HIZBALLAH, DIRECTS U.S. DEMARCHE TO ISRAEL

Diese Depesche nimmt Bezug auf eine schriftlich an Syrien gerichtete "Warnung". Es scheint, das Schreiben, auf das hier Bezug genommen wird, befindet sich (bislang?) nicht unter den veröffentlichten Depeschen. Ohne also die exakte Natur des initialen Schreibens zu kennen, lesen wir die Stellungnahme des syrischen Vizeaußenministers, der die Gefährdung der Stabilität der Region durch Israel ausmacht, während Syrien und der Libanon am Frieden interessiert seien und keine aktiven Schritte gegen Israel unternehmen würden, sich aber durchaus reaktive Schritte vorbehalten. Hier die Zusammenfassung:

Responding to Ref A demarche, Syrian Vice Foreign Minister (V/FM) Miqdad expressed surprise the U.S. was sharing such a strong message in the wake of Under Secretary (U/S) William Burns’ positive February 17 visit. He argued Israel represented the major threat to stability in the region and that the U.S. should be directing its message toward Israeli officials. Syria, he claimed, wanted peace and was working with Turkey and the U.S. toward that end. Flatly denying any Syrian role in the supply of weapons to Hizballah, The most sophisticated weapons Damascus supported Lebanese independence while Israel violated Lebanese sovereignty on a daily basis. Miqdad argued Syria wanted to preserve the positive results of U/S Burns’ recent visit and promised to convey the message. He also pledged to review our request for assisting the Center for Victims of Torture and agreed to follow up Charge’s request for official written notification of the government’s decision to allow the Damascus Community School (DCS) to reopen.Miqdads Reaktion ist unspektakulär, die üblichen Aussagen eben:

The message [...] “shows the U.S. has not come to a mature position (that would enable it) to differentiate between its own interests and Israel’s.”

“Please convey to Washington, while we take note of your demarche, this message should be directed at Israel”

“You may hear about weapons going to Hizballah,” he claimed, “but they are absolutely not coming through Syria.”

“We’re confident the Lebanese can deal with their own situation”

Das da nichts Neues gesagt wird, sondern nur Standardantworten aus dem Baukasten zusammengewürfelt werden, merken denn auch die Amerikaner:

Miqdad’s surprise that we would raise this issue so forcefully on the heels of U/S Burns’ visit may have been genuine, but the abject denial of any Syrian role in supplying arms to Hizballah and the verbal counter-attack against Israeli provocation were standard (if disingenuous) responses.

Bemerkenswert finden sie aber dieses:

Leaving aside the substance of Miqdad’s response to the demarche, his agreement to meet us on two hours’ notice on a Syrian holiday (the Prophet’s birthday) and during the Ahmedinejad visit is worth noting.

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Korrektur: Aus diesem Bericht über syrische Waffenlieferungen an die Hizbullah entnehme ich, dass die o.g. "Warnung" doch unter den geleakten Papieren ist. Ich finde sie im Moment aber nicht. Außerdem sind schon wieder so viele neue Depeschen der Botschaft Damaskus draußen, dass ich erstmal damit beschäftigt sein werde... wenn jemand das Schreiben der Amerikaner an Syrien, um das in dieser Depesche geht, findet, würde ich mich über den entsprechenden Link freuen.

Dienstag, 30. November 2010

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen IV

PRESIDENT ASAD AND CODEL CARDIN DISCUSS A NUCLEAR IRAN, PEACE PROCESS, TERRORISM, AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Ein Treffen von Assad mit amerikanischen Diplomaten, die Themen stehen schon in der Überschrift: Irans Nuklearprogramm, der Friedensprozess, Terrorismus, Menschenrechte. Wiederum eine lange, aber lesenswerte Depesche. Zunächst die Zusammenfassung:

CODEL Cardin, in a February 18 meeting with President Bashar al-Asad, FM Muallim, Presidential Advisor for Political and Media Affairs Shaaban, and Ambassador to the U.S. Mustafa conveyed U.S. concerns regarding Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon, Syrian human rights abuses, the Israel-Syria peace process, upcoming Lebanese elections, and Syrian support for terrorism. Senator Cardin encouraged the SARG to address these issues in order to lay the groundwork for a more productive future dialogue. Asad argued Syria essentially shared the same position as the U.S. on the majority of these issues, but Syria's approach toward solving these problems was clearly different. Asad said the U.S. needed to look at the larger regional political picture, as Syria did, if it truly wanted to find satisfactory resolutions. On Iran, Asad maintained IAEA monitoring would ensure Iran's pursuit of nuclear power for civilian purposes only. Regarding human rights, Asad stated Syria was making progress, but the CODEL needed to understand this issue in the larger context of Israel's aggression in Gaza, the suffering of Palestinian refugees, and terrorist attacks on Syria. Asad rejected the notion that Syria facilitated the transit of foreign fighters into Iraq, pointedly asking the CODEL what interest would he have in doing so? The upcoming elections in Lebanon, Asad surmised, would not change the composition of the government dramatically nor Syria's determination to continue the process of establishing a full diplomatic presence in Beirut. On future Israel-Syria peace negotiations, Asad was more vague. He offered no specifics on re-opening talks, but expressed Syria's desire for the process to continue with U.S. involvement. Finally, in response to the CODEL's repeated concerns about Syrian support for Hamas and Hizballah, Asad remarked that these were democratically elected organizations in the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon; dealing with them was simply part of the reality of politics in the Middle East.

Die interessantesten Passagen, mitunter wieder recht unterhaltsam, habe ich hier mal rausgesucht:

[..]a warm exchange of pleasantries in which Senator Cardin thanked Asad for sending Imad Mustafa to the U.S. as Syria's Ambassador ("He's in our offices so much we've thought of charging him rent!")

Ein bisschen Spaß muss sein...

Senator Cardin told Asad he could give specific examples of citizens jailed for their political views. Asad responded, "we are a country in process of reform. We aren't perfect. You are talking about 12 people out of 20 million. It's a process. We are moving forward, not fast, but methodically."

Z-w-ö-l-f? Pro Zelle oder was?

Senator Cardin argued that "when the U.S. is challenged, you see it on the front page of the newspaper" and that such challenges were an important part of a national dialogue. "You do not see this (freedom of expression) anywhere in the region," Asad chuckled in reply, "let's talk about Saudi Arabia."

Die Amis loben ihre Pressefreiheit und schieben den schwarzen Peter zu Assad. Der schiebt ihn zu den Saudis. Und die? Na die hätten ja noch Nordkorea zum Weiterreichen. Und da das den Nordkoreanern wohl ziemlich egal wäre, könnte er dann dort bleiben.

In a final bid to put the subject of human rights to rest, Asad stated he was a popular president and that if he were working against his people, he would not enjoy such popularity.

Das lasse ich jetzt mal kommentarlos so stehen. Schließlich liebe ich doch *meinen* Präsidenten ;).

Asad noted an Iranian nuclear strike against Israel would result in massive Palestinian casualties, which Iran would never risk.

Da wäre ich mir mal nicht so sicher...

"The ability of the international community to monitor Iran on NPT [Non Proliferation Treaty] is understood. It's the role of the [Iranian] proxies [Hamas and Hizbullah] that is the problem," she said. Asad replied, "if you don't trust the mechanisms of the NPT, let's cancel it."

So kann man doch kein vernünftiges Gespräch führen.

He added "we know who and when [to send to Lebanon as ambassador], but we're not going to announce it today." Senator Wicker deftly rejoined "we could make news!" eliciting laughter from everyone, including Asad.

Offenbar muss jeder Lacher ins Protokoll aufgenommen werden.

Asad responded Syria had been in negotiations with Israel with no concern for Iran's opinion. He told the story of how Iranian President Ahmedinejad called him just before the Annapolis conference and implored him not to send anyone, that it was a "bad meeting," but that they sent a representative anyway.

So, da muss Syrien also den USA beweisen, wie unabhängig vom Iran man ist... überzeugt?

Asad said Syria wanted to know when the U.S. would adopt a new approach toward terrorism, adding that "it's not a question of how much you can destroy, but how much dialogue you can make."

Das klingt doch sogar ganz vernünftig, nur irgendwer muss halt den Anfang machen, sonst gibt es keinen Dialog sondern nur gemeinsames Schweigen.

The Europeans, Asad continued, knew more about the region than the U.S. and he urged the CODEL to turn to them for guidance.

Interessant.

"Can you stop the immigration of Mexicans into the U.S.? No. All borders are porous. There is no army on the [Syrian-Iraqian] border; you don't have soldiers on the border. Do your homework. My job is to protect my people, not your soldiers.[...]

Insgesamt ein recht selbstbewusstes Auftreten, das Assad gegenüber den Amis an den Tag legt.

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Update 07.12.2010, 23:52: Auf erreichbaren Link umgeleitet

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen III

CODEL GREGG'S DECEMBER 30 MEETING WITH PRESIDENT ASAD

Wie in der vorigen Depesche gesehen, warnt der Libanon Amerika vor Zugeständnissen an Syrien bevor sie selbst welche bekommen. In einem Treffen zwischen einer amerikanischen Delegation und dem syrischen Präsidenten wird aber schnell deutlich, dass Syrien seine Front recht verhärtet hat: keine Zugeständnisse, bevor Amerika den ersten Schritt macht. Die Depesche ist recht lang und kreist um viele Themen: Friedensverhandlungen mit Israel, geheimdienstliche Zusammenarbeit mit den USA, das iranische Nuklearprogramm sind die Hauptthemen. Es lohnt sich, die Depesche ganz zu lesen. Die Zusammenfassung liest sich so:

In a frank one-hour meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Asad, Senators Gregg, Bayh, Specter, Enzi, Cornyn, and Klobuchar affirmed Washington's interest in better U.S.-Syrian relations and pushed Asad to take positive steps as well. The senators urged Syria to move forward on security cooperation with the U.S. on Iraq, facilitating the release of three detained Americans in Iran, and re-opening the Damascus Community School. Asad welcomed the prospect of more Congressional visits and candid exchanges, saying diplomacy had failed to solve the region's problems during the last two decades.

-- On comprehensive peace, Asad reiterated Syria's strong desire to return to Turkish-facilitated indirect talks with Israel as a means to establish agreed terms of reference for direct negotiations. Syria's relations with Iran should not be linked to Israeli-Syrian peace negotiations. Syria's ties to Hamas, Hizballah, and other groups could be satisfactorily resolved only after the achievement of a comprehensive regional peace, Asad maintained.

-- The U.S. and Syria should use the next several months toimprove bilateral relations so that both sides could overcome mutual distrust that would hinder U.S. credibility as an honest broker, Asad told the senators. Later in the discussion, FM Muallim argued the onus for taking the next positive step lay with the U.S. Syria could not move on issues such as the American school or the Cultural Center unless Washington lifted its ban on the sale of new commercial aircraft to Syria.

-- Calling Iran the region's most important country, Asad said the West could improve the prospects for peace by acknowledging Iran's NPT-protected right to enrich uranium under IAEA monitoring. Asad argued the West should accept Iran's "reasonable" counter-offer to ship several batches of low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad for enrichment by other countries, instead of insisting Iran ship all of its LEU at once. Asad said he believed Iran was not interested in pursuing a nuclear weapon, but warned that an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear infrastructure would fail to disable the program and would only increase Iran's determination.

Hier noch einige interessante und teils amüsante Ausschnitte:

Calling for a fact-based approach to identifying the obstacles to peace, Asad likened the process to how a doctor should treat cancer. Condemnations and mutual recriminations might be self-satisfying, but the cancer still grows unless the doctor is able to treat the root illness.

Ja, die Araber. Immer müssen sie in Bildern sprechen. Sie können nicht anders, es liegt an der Muttersprache. Fragt sich nur, wofür dieses Bild steht. Ein Schelm, wer Assad unterstellt, Israel selbst als die "root illness" im Hinterkopf zu haben.

Asad cautioned against linking Iran's nuclear program to an Israeli-Syrian peace deal, arguing such a link would only complicate both sets of issues. "Too many cooks spoil the meal," he said. Later in the conversation, however (in the context of a request for Syrian intervention with Iran to free detained American hikers), Asad noted every person and nation was key in bilateral and regional dynamics.

Neben Bildern sind auch Sprichwörter sehr beliebt. Für mehr als ganz genau einen Fall, nämlich den, auf den sie gerade angewendet werden, brauchen sie dabei auch keine Gültigkeit zu haben.

The U.S. possessed a "huge information apparatus" but lacked the ability to analyze this information successfully, maintained Asad. "You're failing in the fight against extremism. While we lack your intelligence capabilities, we succeed in fighting extremists because we have better analysts," he claimed, attributing the superior analysis to living in and understanding the region.

Wir sind die besten! Und alle anderen sind doof.

Syria had no interest in supporting extremists, who weren't killing Americans but rather Iraqi civilians.

Bin ich jetzt zu doof, das richtig zu verstehen, oder hat Assad gerade gesagt, er unterstützt Terroristen nur dann, wenn sie Amis töten, aber irakische Zivilisten töten, das geht gar nicht?!

Iran represented the most important country in the region, Asad assessed, ranking Turkey second and Syria third.

Vorige Nächste

Update 07.12.2010, 23:51: Auf erreichbaren Link umgeleitet

Die arabischen Wikileaks-Depeschen

Eine allgemeine Einschätzung der Bedeutung der Wikileaks-Depeschen für die arabische Welt von Karim el-Gawhary.

Die syrischen Wikileaks-Depeschen II

LEBANON: PM SINIORA TO PETRAEUS: PUSH SYRIA TO GET
BACK IN ARAB FOLD

Siniora sorgt sich um den politischen Einfluss Syriens auf den Libanon, und hält die Amerikaner dazu an, diesen Einfluss zu verhindern und den Syrern in Verhandlungen keine voreiligen Zugeständnisse zu machen. Petraeus wiederum betont sein Interesse an verbesserten Beziehungen mit Syrien, für die er aber keine Möglichkeit sieht, solange Syrien terroristische Gruppierungen protegiert und hat daher an ihn gerichtete Einladungen von Seiten Assads bislang ausgeschlagen.

Siniora encouraged the U.S. to push Syria to
respect the sovereignty of other states (namely Lebanon) as a way to bring Syria back into the Arab fold, rather than
continuing to align itself with Iran.[...]
Syria, Siniora said, has geopolitical significance.
He said Lebanon desired a mutually respectful relationship
with Syria and lauded the establishment of diplomatic
relations between Lebanon and Syria as a good first step.
However, other issues, such as border delineation and the
presence of PFLP-GC military camps, supported by Syria, on the border, remain. Siniora commented on the signs of
increased U.S. engagement with Syria, but he advised the United States to be careful not to give any rewards to Syria without Syria taking action first. Most importantly, the U.S. should not allow Syria -- or other states in the region -- to use Lebanon as a platform or battleground; engagement with Syria should not come at the expense of Lebanon, Siniora said.
General Petraeus assured Siniora that the U.S. administration understood Lebanon's concerns. He told Siniora that Syrian President Bashar Asad had invited him to visit several times, but the time was not yet appropriate. Syria, he added, continues to allow Al Qaeda-affiliated facilitation networks to operate from its territory and allow the transit of suicide bombers into Iraq. General Petraeus added that the U.S. would like to see Syria return to the Arab world and develop closer ties to the western world, rather than continue to align itself with Iran.

Vorige Nächste

Update 07.12.2010, 23:58: Auf erreichbaren Link umgeleitet

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