US embassy cable - 95STATE249803

INTSUM: SYRIA - PEACE-PROCESS STAGNATION

Identifier: 95STATE249803
Wikileaks: View 95STATE249803 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Secretary of State
Created: 1995-10-20 23:47:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PINR SY
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 202347Z OCT 95
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO INTSUM COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
INFO TREASURY DEPT WASHDC PRIORITY 0000
SECDEF WASHDC 0000
JOINT STAFF WASHDC 0000
NSC WASHDC 0000
IRAN COLLECTIVE
CTF PROVIDE CONFORT (INCIRLIK AB TU)//FOR POLAD//
DIA WASHDC//DE4//
CINCUSNAVEUR LONDON UK
USCENTCO? NACDILL AFB FL//FOR POLAD//
USDOCO SOUTH NAPLES IT//INTAF/FOR POLAD//
COMS IXFLT
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
NSA FT MEADE MD
USIA WASHDC 0000
ONI SUITLAND MD//SPEAR//
JICPAC HONOLULU HI
MARCORINTACT QUANTICO VA//MCIA11//
C O N F I D E N T I A L STATE 249803 
 
LONDON FOR TUELLER 
PARIS FOR ALLEGRONE 
MOSCOW FOR FITZPATRICK 
RONE ALSO FOR VATICAN AND MFO FOR DIRECTOR GENERAL 
DOD/ISA FOR NESA 
CINCEUR FOR POLAD 
CINCUSNAVEUR FOR INTAF 
SECDEF WASHDC FOR ISI 
JOINT STAFF WASHDC FOR DJCS/J-5 
NSC FOR PARRIS 
NSA FOR CHIEF G GROUP 
USVIENNA FOR UNVIE 
OTHER ADDRESSEES FOR CHIEFS OF NISSION 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL: OCTOBER 20, 2005 
TAGS: PINR, SY 
SUBJECT: INTSUM: SYRIA - PEACE-PROCESS STAGNATION 
 
(TEXT) THE FOLLOWING IS AN INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT THAT 
RAN IN THE SECRETARY'S MORNING SUMMARY ON THE DATE 
INDICATED.  IN THE INTEREST OF PROMOTING WIDER 
DISSEMINATION, CERTAIN CLASSIFICATIONS OF INFORMATION 
CANNOT BE INCLUDED. 
 
 
1. BEGIN SUMMARY.  SYRIA HAS TOUGHENED ITS PEACE-PROCESS 
POSITION SINCE THE SIGNING OF THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN 
INTERIM AGREEMENT. ASAD IS PROBABLY NOT CAPABLE OF 
MAKING THE GESTURES THAT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO JUMP START 
THIS TRACK DURING AN ISRAELI ELECTION YEAR. END SUMMARY. 
 
2. THE SIGNING OF THE INTERIM AGREEMENT HAS INCREASED 
SYRIA'S ISOLATION, AND THE AMMAN ECONOMIC SUMMIT, IN 
WHICH SYRIA WILL NOT PARTICIPATE, WILL INCREASE IT 
ANOTHER STEP. ASAD BELIEVES RABIN WILL EXPLOIT THIS 
DEEPENING ISOLATION AND THE UPCOMING ISRAELI ELECTIONS TO 
TRY TO WIN CONCESSIONS FROM DAMASCUS. IN RESPONSE, ASAD 
AND THE SENIOR SYRIAN LEADERSHIP HAVE DUG IN. 
 
3. IN A LENGTHY OCTOBER 11 INTERVIEW WITH THE EGYPTIAN 
DAILY AL-AHRAM, ASAD WAS AT HIS MOST STUBBORN. "NO 
MATTER HOW THINGS CHANGE, WE WILL NOT DO ANYTHING WE DO 
NOT BELIEVE IN."  ISRAEL WAS AT FAULT IN THE CONTROVERSY 
OVER THE EARLY-WARNING STATIONS. ISRAELI-MANNED EARLY- 
WARNING STATIONS ON THE GOLAN WOULD BE AN INFRINGEMENT ON 
SYRIAN SOVEREIGNTY.   "MEETING FOR THE SAKE OF MEETING" 
BENEFITED ONLY ISRAEL. TECHNICAL EXPERTS HAD NO REASON 
TO MEET UNTIL POLITICAL DECISION-MAKERS HAVE MADE A 
DECISION. 
 
 
TONE MORE NEGATIVE 
 
4. FOREIGN MINISTER SHARA HAS USED A SHARPER TONE 
RECENTLY, TO PUT PRESSURE ON OTHER ARAB STATES AND THE 
PALESTINIANS NOT TO TAKE STEPS SYRIA SAYS WOULD HARM ITS 
NEGOTIATING POSITION. HE TOLD THE EGYPTIAN WEEKLY ROSE 
AL-YUSUF ON SEPTEMBER 30 THE AMMAN SUMMIT WOULD "GREATLY 
HARM" THE SYRIAN AND LEBANESE TRACKS AND THAT "ECONOMIC 
COOPERATION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND ANY ARAB COUNTRY WOULD 
WEAKEN SYRIAN'S STANCE IN THE ONGOING NEGOTIATIONS." 
ARAB STATES, HE ASSERTED, WOULD "FACE DANGERS" IF ISRAEL 
SUCCEEDED IN CONCLUDING REGIONAL-COOPERATION AGREEMENTS 
IN AMMAN. AT THE UN ON OCTOBER 3 SHARA SAID SYRIA WOULD 
"NEITHER SUPPORT NOR SEEK TO HAMPER REGIONAL AGREEMENTS" 
BUT THAT "ANY USE OF THESE AGREEMENTS TO HARM THE 
NATIONAL AND PAN-ARAB INTEREST AND RIGHTS OF SYRIA WILL 
COMPEL US TO RECONSIDER OUR POSITION. 
 
 
WHAT SYRIA CAN AND CANNOT DO 
 
5. BEYOND SUCH RHETORIC, SYRIA CAN DO LITTLE TO IMPEDE 
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE JORDANIAN-ISRAELI TREATY OR THE 
ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN INTERIM AGREEMENT. THE PALESTINIAN 
REJECTIONIST GROUPS RESIDING IN DAMASCUS HAVE NEVER BEEN 
EFFECTIVE PLAYERS ON THE PALESTINIAN SCENE. ASAD APPEARS 
NOT TO DELUDE HIMSELF ON THIS POINT, AND THERE HAVE BEEN 
NO SIGNS THAT SYRIA HAS STEPPED UP ITS LIMITED SUPPORT TO 
THESE GROUPS. 
 
6. BUT SYRIA CAN PREVENT MOVEMENT ON THE ISRAELI- 
LEBANESE TRACK AND SLOW NORMALIZATION BETWEEN ISRAEL AND 
THE WIDER ARAB WORLD.  OTHER ARAB STATES BELIEVE THE 
SYRIAN-ISRAELI TRACK MUST BE SOLVED BEFORE A TRULY NEW 
DYNAMIC CAN BE UNLEASHED IN THE AREA. SYRIA PLAYS ON 
WIDESPREAD ARAB FEARS OF THE "DANGER" TO THE REGION OF A 
STRENGTHENED ISRAEL AND ON ANTI-ISRAELI SENTIMENT 
PREVALENT AMONG THE GENERAL POPULATION IN MOST ARAB 
COUNTRIES TO KEEP ARAB NORMALIZATION WITH ISRAEL AT BAY. 
MEANWHILE IT WILL URGE EGYPT TO SUPPORT SYRIA PUBLICLY 
AND LOBBY WASHINGTON ON ITS BEHALF. 
 
 
STEADFAST SYRIA 
 
7. ASAD'S RIGID VIEW OF WHAT IS NEEDED (COMPLIANCE WITH 
242 AND 338, I. E., FULL ISRAELI WITHDRAWAL FROM THE 
TERRITORY ISRAEL OCCUPIED IN 1967) PRECLUDES HIM FROM 
OFFERING THE PUBLIC DIPLOMACY GESTURES - MUCH LESS 
SUBSTANTIVE CONCESSIONS - NEEDED TO GET THE BALL ROLLING. 
ASAD BELIEVES THAT ANY GESTURE HE MIGHT OFFER, EVEN 
PROCEDURAL, IN THE ABSENCE OF CONCRETE ASSURANCES THAT 
THE GOLAN WILL BE RETURNED IN FULL WOULD BE A MAJOR AND 
UNREQUITED CONCESSION TO ISRAEL. CONSTRAINED FROM ACTION 
BY THIS VIEW, HE WAITS FOR THE UNITED STATES TO MAKE THE 
FIRST GESTURE AND BROKER THE GRAND DEAL OF FULL 
WITHDRAWAL FOR FULL PEACE. 
 
8. WITHOUT A US-BROKERED SETTLEMENT, SYRIA WILL CONTENT 
ITSELF WITH PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE TO THE PROCESS AND 
REITERATING A POSITION THAT HAS CHANGED LITTLE SINCE THE 
1991 MADRID CONFERENCE: SYRIA WANTS PEACE (ON ITS OWN 
TERMS); ISRAEL'S "IMPOSSIBLE DEMANDS11 ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR 
THE LACK OF PROGRESS; THE UNITED STATES MUST INTERCEDE 
WITH ISRAEL IF PEACE IS TO BE ACHIEVED; AND "NO PEACE" IS 
BETTER THAN "PEACE WITHOUT HONOR." (DRAFTED OCTOBER 20 
BY INR/NESA: CONNY MAYER) 
 
 
CHRISTOPHER 

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