Syrian Newspapers Optimistic on al-Maliki Visit

The USG Open Source Center rounds up Reactions of Syrian Newspapers to the visit to Damascus of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki

Syrian Papers Expect Al-Maliki’s Visit To ‘Reflect Positively’ on Region
Syria — OSC Summary
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Syrian newspapers on 21 August note the importance of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s visit to Syria and stress that the solution to Iraq’s problem lies in the withdrawal of the American forces from Iraq and the achievement of political reconciliation in the country.

Damascus Tishrin in Arabic, a government-owned newspaper, says Damascus welcomed the Iraqi Prime Minister hoping his visit “will mark a new and serious stage in the relations between the two sisterly countries in all fields and help resolve all the pending issues.” In a 400-word editorial by Umar Jaftali, the paper maintains that “the American occupation is the reason behind the tragedy of Iraq and all the Iraqis, not the neighboring countries, as the occupation claims.”

The paper says that Syria, which is “greatly pained at the security deterioration” in Iraq, “extended its hand to the Iraqi brothers, removed all the excuses that the American occupation gave, resumed the diplomatic relations with Iraq, signed many economic cooperation agreements with Iraq and worked to activate them to serve the two countries and peoples, and hosted about 2 million displaced Iraqis and gave them special treatment.”

The paper adds: “Now that Al-Maliki’s visit has added a new block to the relations and cooperation between Syria and Iraq, the visit also provides an opportunity for the Iraqi prime minister to learn the Syrian viewpoint and Syria’s cooperation with every measure that would end the suffering and the tragedy of the Iraqis at home and abroad.”

It goes on: “There is no doubt here that the Iraqi brothers’ endeavors to schedule the withdrawal of the occupation forces, up to the full removal of this occupation, and to achieve a political reconciliation, which is indispensable to strengthen the Iraqi people’s ability to confront the hard circumstances, constitute the strong foundation for the unified Iraq of the future within its Arab family.”

The paper concludes by saying: “Syria will not hesitate to help the Iraqi brothers fulfill their aspirations and to effectively contribute to the easing of their suffering so that Iraq can return to the Arab fold united and recovered from all the harm caused by the occupation.”

Damascus: Al-Thawrah [Revolution] in Arabic, another government-owned newspaper, says when Al-Maliki decided to visit Damascus, “he realized in advance that it is the capital that is closer to Iraq on the political and popular levels, the capital that spared no effort to ease the suffering of the Iraqis as it hosts about 2 million Iraqis and shares with them its air, buildings, streets, restaurants, schools, and even universities.”

In a 500-word article by Ali Qasim, the paper says: “In Damascus, Al-Maliki found and sensed facts that many have tried for long to suppress, and in some cases to distort and twist. He saw firsthand the huge efforts that Syria is making to help the Iraqis come out of their crisis, and he clearly heard the ideas and proposals, and even the bases, that can form the genuine framework for any solution in Iraq.”

The paper notes that Syria from the very beginning announced its position against the occupation of Iraq and clearly determined the difficult challenges the region would face as a result of the occupation. “In this visit,” the paper adds, “necessity dictates that the Iraqi prime minister rearrange the equation in light of the Syrian reading of the Iraqi situation, especially when this reading offers the true formulas that ensure Iraq’s unity and stability and help the country preserve its independence and existence.” It says “the Iraqi prime minister, who is facing all kinds of challenges, and who is coming under immense pressure from the occupation’s administration, realizes this fact, especially when the occupation tries to blame the Iraqis and other countries in the region for its crisis and failure.”

“In this climate,” the paper says, “the visit appears important for the Syrian-Iraqi relations, and its results will reflect positively on the region.” It concludes by saying: “The region, which is experiencing the most dangerous situation in its history, remains, with it countries and peoples, the more able to fulfill the ambitions of its peoples and determine the best ways for its relations. The starting point is the end of the occupations, from which the region is suffering.”

Damascus: Al-Watan [The Nation] in Arabic, an independent newspaper, mentions some Syrian-Iraqi border incidents in which “the Americans who supervise the border on the Iraqi side deliberately spread chaos and create crises for the Syrians and then publicly accuse Syria of non-cooperation to control the border and blame it for the failure of all their policies and plans in Iraq.”

In a 500-word article by Ibrahim Darraji, the paper says it hopes the Syrian officials will explain to Al-Maliki “the lack of cooperation from the other side of the border, which is controlled by the Americans, and the security and humanitarian problems this lack of cooperation creates for Syria, which has the right to complain from the failure to cooperate with it to control the border.”

The paper concludes by saying: “We hope Al-Maliki will be told about all the efforts that Syria is making to control the border, including cooperation with the international organizations, such as the International Organization for Migration, to bring in experts and equipment to identify the points of weakness and strengthen the ability to discover forged documents. This is in addition to the security efforts, which led to our border forces coming under more than 100 attacks from inside Iraq and resulting in the martyrdom of six of our soldiers and the wounding of 17 others. This is what Syria is doing. What did the others offer other than further intentional chaos and plenty of accusations and lies, which appear to have become the main characteristic of the policies of many countries these days?”

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