Saturday, 16 April 2011

Wikileaks: Hariri 'suggested the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood with Abdel Halim Khaddam, ... they even support peace with Israel'

They even support peace with Israel'

(Original cable)
S E C R E T BEIRUT 002735
1. (C/NF) In a wide ranging discussion at his Qureitem home on August 22, an effusive and provocative Saad Hariri met with senior Senate Foreign Relations staffer Puneet Talwar and poloff (notetaker).... Saad gave an oft-repeated laundry list of needs - trucks, cars, M-16s, fuel, ammunition, helicopters. How, Saad asked, can the army be expected to present an obstacle to Hizballah when it only has four hours worth of ammunition? "It's ridiculous!"... Surprisingly, Hariri described the head of the LAF's G2 intelligence bureau George Khoury (generally
described as pro-Syrian by other March 14 leaders like Walid Jumblatt) as "a good guy."...(C/NF) Saad claims (perhaps overconfidently) that 

since it was seriously depleted during the conflict.

Admitting that there is little to be done now to combat Hizballah's trumpeting of "victory" over the Israelis, since very survival means victory for Hizballah, Saad believe that once the triumphant afterglow has worn off, people will see only the destruction wrought by Hizballah's unilateral action against Israel. "In a week, two weeks," predicted Saad, "when it starts raining, and the economy's crumbling. Then people will be annoyed with Hizballah.".... 

Hizballah's missile stockpile is no longer such a deterrent 
8. (C/NF) Saad said he has completely shut down communication with Hizballah. "I want them to change their attitude and give up their weapons. Else they will have a problem with me." When Talwar asked if Saad intends to return to the negotiating table with Hizballah, Saad dismissed the idea and quipped, "What? The national dialogue? 

You want me to sit in the same room with Hassan Nasrallah while the Israelis know exactly where to find him?!"  

(courage like never seen before!)

10. (S/NF) Looking to the East, Saad said that the regimes in Syria and Iran are the biggest obstacles to peace in the region. The USG has tried for years to bring about a "change in regime behavior" in Syria, to no avail. Saad argued that nothing is really being done about Syria. Saad urged that now is a golden opportunity for the international community to "weaken" Bashar. The USG needs a clear, new policy to isolate Syria. "My belief is, if you don't isolate Syria, if you don't put a blockade, they will never change." By subduing Syria, you remove Iran's main bridge for playing the troublemaker in Lebanon and Palestine. "If you weaken Syria," Saad suggested, "then Iran has to work alone." The Saudis and other Arab states have all had enough of young Bashar, according to Saad, and no longer want to try a conciliatory approach to the Syrian regime. After Bashar's recent speech threatening civil war in Lebanon, they are no longer interested in "talking" with Damascus. Saad said he had hear this directly from the Saudis, and that Prince Bandar is delivering this message in Washington now (Comment. It is also interesting that Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal made similar comments, but about Iran specifically, during an 8/22 meeting with Ambassador Oberwetter, as reported in reftel.
End Note).
"The Saudis and Egyptians have turned. Look into that." When Talwar asked what the United States could do to increase the pressure on Syria, Saad suggested forging ahead on the special tribunal with international character on the Hariri assassination and organizing international sanctions on Syria.12. (S/NF) Getting a little more animated as the conversation continued, Saad argued that the Syrian regime  lived on conflict. It will only stop if we get rid of the regime."

13. (S/NF) If the regime were to fall in Syria, who would be there to fill in the vacuum?..., Saad suggested that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, in partnership with ex-regime figures like Abdel Halim Khaddam and Hikmet Shehabi ("though he's still close to the regime"), could step into the void. Saad claimed that the Syrian Brotherhood is similar in character to Turkey's moderate Islamists. "They would accept a Christian or a woman as President. They accept civil government. It's like Turkey in Syria.
needs to be gotten rid of entirely. "This regime has always 
They even support peace with Israel.Saying that he maintains close contact with Khaddam (in Paris) and Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader-in-exile Ali Bayanuni (in London), Saad urged us to "talk to Bayanuni. See what he's like. You will see wonders.".....
Posted by G, M, Z, or B at 11:26 AM
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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