US embassy cable - 90DAMASCUS7323

SYRIAN-IRANIAN MEETINGS IN DAMASCUS LEAD TO NEW AMAL-HIZBALLAH AGREEMENT

Identifier: 90DAMASCUS7323
Wikileaks: View 90DAMASCUS7323 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Damascus
Created: 1990-11-07 15:35:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL PTER SY LE IR
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
O 071535Z NOV 90
FM AMEMBASSY DAMASCUS
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8632
INFO RUEHNC/AMEMBASSY NICOSIA
AMEMBASSY PARIS
AMEMBASSY ALGIERS
AMEMBASSY AMMAN
AMEMBASSY CAIRO
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY RABAT
AMEMBASSY RIYADH
AMEMBASSY ROME
AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
AMEMBASSY TUNIS
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 3588
USMISSION GENEVA 1195
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DAMASCUS 07323 
 
 
GENEVA FOR GRIERSON 
LONDON FOR MILLIKAN 
 
NICOSIA FOR BEIRUT SUPPORT OFFICE 
 
PARIS FOR ROSENBLATT 
 
ROME FOR EMBASSY VATICAN 
 
E.O. 12356:  DECL:  OADR 
TAGS:        PREL, PTER, SY, LE, IR 
SUBJECT:     SYRIAN-IRANIAN MEETINGS IN DAMASCUS LEAD TO 
             NEW AMAL-HIZBALLAH AGREEMENT 
 
REF:    DAMASCUS 7165 
 
1.  (U)  AN IRANIAN DELEGATION LED BY IRANIAN VICE 
PRESIDENT DR. HASAN HABIBI MET SYRIAN COUNTERPARTS IN 
DAMASCUS NOVEMBER 3-5 WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE SUPREME 
SYRIAN-IRANIAN COUNCIL TO DISCUSS A FULL RANGE OF 
BILATERAL AND REGIONAL SUBJECTS.  ACCOMPANYING HABIBI 
WERE IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER VELAYATI, HIS ASSISTANT 
GHOLAM REZA SAN'ATI, DIRECTOR OF THE MIDDLE EAST SECTION 
OF THE IRANIAN MFA MAHMUD HASHEMI-RAFSANJANI, ASSISTANT 
DEFENSE MINISTER MUHAMMAD VAHIDI, ADVISER TO THE FOREIGN 
MINISTER AHMAD FAS MALIJIAN, AND CHIEF OF PROTOCOL FOR 
THE VICE PRESIDENT MUHAMMAD HOSEYN DANYAL. 
 
------------------------------- 
AMAL-HIZBALLAH AGREEMENT SIGNED 
------------------------------- 
 
2.  (U)  THE SYRIAN MEDIA ON 5 NOVEMBER ANNOUNCED 
AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE LEBANESE SHIA AMAL AND HIZBALLAH 
MOVEMENTS FOLLOWING TALKS AT THE SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY 
WHICH REPORTEDLY BEGAN THE EVENING OF 4 NOVEMBER.  THE 
ACCORD WAS SIGNED BY AMAL LEADER NABIH BERRI AND 
HIZBALLAH SECRETARY GENERAL SUBHI AL-TUFAYLI "UNDER THE 
AUSPICES" OF THE IRANIAN AND SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTERS AND 
IN THE PRESENCE OF SYRIAN MILITARY INTELLIGENCE CHIEF IN 
LEBANON, BRIGADIER GENERAL GHAZI KANAAN.  ACCORDING TO 
THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT: 
 
--  THE TWO SIDES WILL HELP FACILITATE THE DEPLOYMENT OF 
THE LEBANESE ARMY IN SOUTHERN LEBANON "IN ACCORDANCE WITH 
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ITS ABILITY TO ENFORCE LAW AND ORDER." 
 
--  ANY DISAGREEMENT ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THIS AGREEMENT 
MUST BE RESOLVED THROUGH REFERENCE TO THE SYRIAN AND 
IRANIAN PARTIES AND SUBJECT TO THEIR INTERPRETATION. 
 
--  ALL PERSONS EVACUATED AS A RESULT OF AMAL- 
HIZBALLAH FIGHTING SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO RETURN TO THEIR 
"AREAS, VILLAGES, AND HOMES." 
 
--  A COMMITTEE WILL BE FORMED, "COMPRISING BRIGADIER. 
GENERAL. GHAZI KANAAN AND (IRANIAN AMBASSADOR TO SYRIA) 
AKHTARI," TO SUPERVISE AND FOLLOW UP IMPLEMENTATION OF 
THE AGREEMENT. 
 
--  FURTHER TO THE APPENDIX TO THE DAMASCUS AGREE- 
MENT (JANUARY 30, 1989), AND IN CASE EITHER PARTY 
VIOLAQTHE AGREEMENT, THE "INJURED PARTY" MUST 
INFORM THE COMMITTEE, WHICH WILL THEN CONVENE 
IMMEDIATELY TO "TAKE THE NECESSARY ACTION TO DETER 
THE VIOLATOR WITHIN A MAXIMUM PERIOD OF 24 HOURS. 
IN CASE OF A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, THE ACCUSED WILL BE 
HANDED OVER TO THE CONCERNED AUTHORITIES." 
 
--  THE AGREEMENT WILL TAKE EFFECT AS OF 10 NOVEMBER 
1990. 
 
----------------------------------------- 
NO OTHER CONCRETE ACHIEVEMENTS NOTED, YET 
----------------------------------------- 
 
3.  (U)  BEYOND MENTIONING HABIBI'S DESCRIPTION OF 
HIS TALKS AS "SUCCESSFUL AND FRUITFUL" ON HIS RETURN 
TO TEHRAN NOVEMBER 6, THE SYRIAN MEDIA HAS NOT 
PROVIDED DETAILS OF ANY SUBSTANTIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS 
TOWARD THE STATED GOAL OF "CHARTING A PLAN OF ACTION" 
TO DEVELOP BILATERAL RELATIONS "IN ALL FIELDS."  BOTH 
SIDES AGREED TO FORM SUBCOMMITTEES TO FOLLOW UP THE 
SYRIAN-IRANIAN JOINT COMMITTEE'S THREE SESSIONS ON 
BILATERAL COOPERATION.  HABIBI MET WITH SYRIAN 
PRESIDENT ASAD (IN LATAKIA) ON NOVEMBER 4, AS WELL AS 
WITH VICE PRESIDENT KHADDAM.  OTHER MEETINGS BETWEEN 
IRANIAN AND SYRIAN OFFICIALS DEALT WITH LEBANON AND 
OTHER "REGIONAL AND BILATERAL ISSUES," ACCORDING TO 
THE LIMITED MEDIA REPORTING. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
EXCHANGE OF POSITIONS ON THE GULF CRISIS 
---------------------------------------- 
 
4.  (C)  WHILE SYRIA CONSIDERS ITS SUCCESS ENSURING 
IRANIAN COMPLIANCE WITH UN SANCTIONS ON IRAQ TO HAVE 
BEEN THE SUPREME ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ASAD'S SEPTEMBER 
VISIT TO IRAN, THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES 
ABOUT THE PRESENCE OF FOREIGN FORCES APPARENTLY 
CONTINUE TO BE AN ISSUE.  ALTHOUGH SYRIAN MEDIA HAVE 
BEEN LARGELY SILENT ON GULF-BELATED ISSUES (SEE 
SEPTEL ON INFORMATION MINISTER SALMAN'S RECENT 
REAFFIRMATION THAT SYRIA DEMANDS IRAQ'S FULL AND 
UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL FROM KUWAIT), WE NOTE THAT 
IRANIAN MEDIA CITED HABIBI'S NOVEMBER 4 STATEMENT 
THAT "ALLIED FORCES MUST WITHDRAW FROM THE REGION" 
AND THAT KHADDAM SAID IN RESPONSE THAT "THE PERMANENT 
PRESENCE OF FOREIGN FORCES HAS NOT TOLERABLE."  THE 
TWO SIDES ALSO RECONFIRMED THEIR REJECTION OF ANY 
GEOGRAPHICAL CHANGES IN THE REGION AND THEIR SUPPORT 
FOR COLLECTIVE REGIONAL SECURITY COOPERATION.  SYRIAN 
PRESS ON NOVEMBER 7 QUOTED HABIBI'S ARRIVAL STATEMENT 
AFFIRMING SYRIA'S AND IRAN'S CONDEMNATION OF IRAQ'S 
INVASION OF KUWAIT AND THE TWO GOVERNMENTS' CALL FOR 
IRAQ'S UNCONDITIONAL WITHDRAWAL. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
5.  (C)  THIS LATEST AGREEMENT TO END THE OFTEN 
BLOODY INTRA-SHIA FEUDING IN LEBANON WILL LIKELY BE 
THE PRINCIPAL ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THIS VISIT.  UPON HIS 
RETURN TO TEHRAN, HABIBI LAUDED THE AGREEMENT AS AN 
ACHIEVEMENT WHICH WILL ENABLE "THE MOBILIZATION OF 
ALL CAPABILITIES TO CONFRONT THE ZIONIST ENEMY." 
HIZBALLAH LEADER AL-TUFAYLI ECHOED THIS SENTIMENT 
WHILE AMAL LEADER BERRI, BY CONTRAST, MERELY VOICED 
THE HOPE THAT AMAL AND HIZBALLAH MEMBERS WILL BE ABLE 
TO "RETURN TO THEIR HOMES AND VILLAGES." 
 
6.  (C)  THE ABSENCE OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT 
OTHER ASPECTS OF THE VISIT MAY REFLECT DISAGREEMENTS 
OVER THORNY BILATERAL MATTERS LIKE ECONOMIC 
ASSISTANCE.  OUR COLLEAGUES TELL US THAT ASAD DID NOT 
OVERCOME THE RESISTANCE TO CONTINUED OR INCREASED 
ECONOMIC AID TO SYRIA BY CERTAIN HARDLINE IRANIAN 
CLERICS, BECAUSE OF SYRIA'S 5.5 BILLION USD DEBT, 
DURING ASAD'S VISIT TO TEHRAN.  AS A RESULT, NO 
CONCRETE TRADE AGREEMENTS WERE SIGNED, ALTHOUGH SYRIA 
IS STILL TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CONTINUED IRANIAN 
WILLINGNESS TO SELL IT OIL AT BELOW-MARKET RATES. 
WHETHER THESE REPORTS ARE TRUE, IT DOES NOT APPEAR 
FROM THE COMPOSITION OF THE IRANIAN DELEGATION OR THE 
MODEST SYRIAN MEDIA COVERAGE THAT THIS FIRST 
GATHERING OF THE SYRIAN-IRANIAN SUPREME COUNCIL WILL 
RESULT IN HIGHER IRANIAN AID LEVELS FOR SYRIA. 
 
 
DJEREJIAN 

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