US embassy cable - 00DAMASCUS3050

SYRIAN MEDIA SAYS BASHAR CONTINUES HAFIZ AL- ASAD'S LEGACY, HIGHLIGHTS SAUDI STAMP OF APPROVAL

Identifier: 00DAMASCUS3050
Wikileaks: View 00DAMASCUS3050 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Damascus
Created: 2000-06-17 04:27:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL OPRC PROP KPAO KMDR LE SY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 170427Z JUN 00
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1453
INFO ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
AMEMBASSY NICOSIA 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DAMASCUS 003050 
 
NICOSIA FOR ILMG 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/14/10 
TAGS: PREL, OPRC, PROP, KPAO, KMDR, LE, SY 
SUBJECT:  SYRIAN MEDIA SAYS BASHAR CONTINUES HAFIZ AL- 
          ASAD'S LEGACY, HIGHLIGHTS SAUDI STAMP OF 
          APPROVAL 
 
REF: A) FBIS GMP20000614000164, B) FBIS GMP 
20000614000190, C) FBIS GMP20000614000160 
 
CLASSIFIED BY AMBASSADOR RYAN C. CROCKER, REASON 1.5 (B/D) 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY.  SYRIAN PRESS JUNE 14-15 EMPHASIZED UNIFIED 
SUPPORT FOR BASHAR AL-ASAD UNDER THE BANNER OF CONTINUING 
HIS FATHER'S LEGACY.  PRINT FEATURES INCLUDED FAVORABLE 
COMMENTS BY THE SYRIAN JEWISH COMMUNITY AND FOREIGN 
DELEGATIONS.  PARTICULAR ATTENTION WAS GIVEN TO COMMENTS 
BY ARAB LEADERS, NOTABLY SAUDI CROWN PRINCE ABDALLAH BIN 
ABDUL AZIZ, INDICATING A DESIRE FOR AN EARLY ARAB STAMP OF 
APPROVAL FOR HEIR APPARENT DR. BASHAR.  END SUMMARY. 
 
"LEAD US, O BASHAR, WE ARE ALL BEHIND YOU" 
------------------------------------------ 
 
2.  (U) SYRIAN PRESS ON JUNE 14-15 WAS UNITED IN ITS 
SUPPORT FOR BASHAR.  AN EDITORIAL IN THE GOVERNMENT- 
CONTROLLED DAILY TISHRIN JUNE 14 EMPHASIZED THAT A "BIG 
TRUST" WAS PLACED IN THE HANDS OF BASHAR, TO WHOM "WE 
PLEDGED OUR ALLEGIANCE A LONG TIME AGO".  THE EDITORIAL 
EMPASIZED BASHAR'S DESIRE TO BOTH BUILD A MODERN SYRIA 
CAPABLE OF PARTICIPATING IN THE "SCIENTIFIC AND 
INFORMATION RENAISSANCE" AND TO CONTINUE THE "UNIQUE 
STRUGGLE MARCH" FOR ARAB RIGHTS BEGUN BY HIS FATHER.  THE 
PIECE CONCLUDED BY URGING THE HEIR APPARENT TO "LEAD US, O 
BASHAR, WE ARE ALL BEHIND YOU".  A JUNE 15 EDITORIAL IN 
THE SAME PUBLICATION SIMILARLY STRESSED THAT "THE 
CONSENSUS OF THE SYRIANS ON THEIR PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO 
GENERAL DR. BASHAR AL-ASAD AS PRESIDENT OF THE COUNTRY . 
IS A CLEAR INDICATION OF THEIR ADHERENCE TO THE 
CORRECTIONIST COURSE, THE COURSE OF CONSTRUCTION, 
LIBERATION, STEADFASTNESS AND JOINT ARAB ACTION". 
 
THE LION AND THE CUB:  BASHAR AND HIS FATHER'S LEGACY 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
3.  (U) THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY AL-BA'TH REPORTED 
ON JUNE 14 THAT THE SYRIAN PEOPLE WERE LOYAL ONLY TO THE 
LATE, GREAT FIGHTER WHO "ACHIEVED MIRACLES IN A RECORD 
RACE WITH TIME" (LATE PRESIDENT ASAD) AND TO THE "LION CUB 
(BASHAR)" REARED UNDER HIS FATHER'S TUTELAGE, WHO WILL 
CARRY ON HIS LEGACY.  THE ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SYRIA TIMES 
ECHOED THE THEME OF CONTINUITY IN AN EDITORIAL THAT 
PROCLAIMED THAT BASHAR AL-ASAD WILL "SUSTAIN HIS FATHER'S 
RICH LEGACY AND CONTINUE ENHANCING THE COUNTRY'S MARCH OF 
STEADFASTNESS AND ALL-OUT DEVELOPMENT UNTIL THE NATION'S 
RIGHTS AND LANDS ARE TOTALLY RETURNED, ITS DIGNITY AND 
PRIDE ARE FULLY SAFEGUARDED AND A DECENT PLACE UNDER THE 
SUN IS PRESERVED". 
 
4.  (U) THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY AL-BA'TH REPORTED 
THAT MEMBERS OF THE SYRIAN AL-MUSAWIYAH (JEWISH) COMMUNITY 
HELD A SPECIAL SERVICE TO HONOR THE LATE PRESIDENT ASAD. 
KHADR AL-KABARITI, WHO LED THE SERVICE, PRAISED THE LATE 
PRESIDENT'S DECISION TO GRANT MEMBERS OF THE JEWISH 
COMMUNITY EQUAL RIGHTS.  HE FURTHER STATED THAT THE JEWISH 
COMMUNITY SUPPORTS THE NOMINATION OF BASHAR TO THE SYRIAN 
PRESIDENCY AND EXPRESSED CONFIDENCE THAT HE WOULD "BE A 
GREAT LEADER, LIKE HIS FATHER, AND BE THE BEST SUCCESSOR 
TO A GREAT LEADER". 
 
GRIEF AND OPTIMISM AMONG ARAB LEADERS 
------------------------------------- 
 
5.  (U) GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED DAILY TISHRIN STATED ON JUNE 
14 THAT MILLIONS OF SYRIAN CITIZENS AND A VERY LARGE 
NUMBER OF WORLD DELEGATIONS MOURNED THE LATE PRESIDENT, 
AND THAT PEOPLE FROM ALL ARAB COUNTRIES TOOK PART IN THE 
FUNERAL PROCESSION.  SIGNIFICANT COVERAGE WAS DEDICATED TO 
THE STATEMENTS OF CONDOLENCE MADE BY VARIOUS FOREIGN 
DELEGATIONS.  PARTICULAR ATTENTION WAS PAID TO THE 
STATEMENT CABLED BY SAUDI CROWN PRINCE ABDALLAH BIN ABD 
AL-AZIZ TO BASHAR.  THE CABLE FEATURED PROMINENTLY IN 
LOCAL ARABIC-LANGUAGE PRESS AND IN THE GOVERNMENT- 
CONTROLLED ENGLISH-LANGUAGE DAILY SYRIA TIMES.  ABDALLAH 
EXPRESSED HIS DEEP REGRET OVER THE TRAGIC LOSS OF LATE 
PRESIDENT ASAD, BUT EMPHASIZED THAT HIS DELEGATION LEFT 
SYRIA WITH "COMPLETE OPTIMISM AND CONFIDENCE THAT SYRIA 
WILL BY THE WILL OF GOD BE IN SAFE AND SKILLFUL HANDS OF 
ONE WHO HAS GROWN UP WITH FAITH IN GOD, PRIDE IN THE 
NATION'S HERITAGE, VALUES, SOLIDARITY IN RIGHT, DEPTH IN 
THINKING, AND FAR-SIGHTEDNESS".  THE CROWN PRINCE FURTHER 
STRESSED SAUDI ARABIA'S FULL SUPPORT FOR SYRIA IN ALL 
CIRCUMSTANCES AS AN ISLAMIC AND MORAL DUTY.  HE CONCLUDED 
BY EXTENDING BEST WISHES TO BASHAR IN LEADING THE COUNTRY. 
 
6. (C) COMMENT.  THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED SYRIAN PRESS HAS 
COME DOWN SQUARELY BEHIND BASHAR, STRESSING THE THEME OF 
CONTINUITY AND PERPETUATION OF HIS FATHER'S LEGACY.  WHILE 
SYRIAN MEDIA HAS ACCORDED FULL ATTENTION TO PRESIDENT 
ASAD'S PASSING, IT HAS BEEN CAREFUL TO EMPHASIZE THAT THE 
COUNTRY NOW STANDS UNITED BEHIND THE HEIR APPARENT.  THE 
PROMINENT COVERAGE OF THE COMMENTS OF FOREIGN DELEGATES, 
PARTICULARLY THOSE OF SAUDI CROWN PRINCE ABDALLAH, SUGGEST 
THE IMPORTANCE THE NEW REGIME ACCORDS TO AN EARLY ARAB 
STAMP OF APPROVAL FOR BASHAR. 
 
CROCKER 

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