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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Apr 15th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Israel, Syria exchange messages over lack of desire to go to war
Israel, Syria exchange messages over lack of desire to go to war PDF Print E-mail
Written by Haaretz-SANA-JPost-Ynetnews   
Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Syrian VP Farouk al-Shara Speech in Damascus 8/14/2007
Syrian VP Farouk al-Shara Speech in Damascus 8/14/2007

In an effort to forestall the possibility of a miscalculation leading to war, Syrian and Israeli leaders sent calming messages to each other Tuesday. 

Syrian Vice President Farouk Shara said that Damascus does not intend to initiate war, a message that was echoed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

"Israel is not interested in war with Syria, but we are preparing for any eventuality," Olmert told officers during a visit to Northern Command headquarters Tuesday.
"Israel knows that we do not wish for war," said Shara, speaking at a press conference in Damascus. "We will always be ready to respond to Israeli aggression, but we will not initiate war."

All of Syria's military preparations are defensive, Shara asserted, and accused Israel of "looking for an excuse to start a war."

"People on Syria's streets do not want war, although they will not accept anything less than Israeli withdrawal from the whole of the occupied Golan Heights. The Arab initiative is clear in this regard and we support it," Shara said, referring to an Arab League plan that calls for Israel to withdraw from all territories captured in 1967 in return for peace.

Shara said that this is the option Syria has chosen, but ominously noted that Damascus also has "other options."

Regarding his country's close ties with Iran, Shara said that the relationship is strategic, but stressed that it is "not blind."

During Olmert's visit to Northern Command, GOC Gadi Eisenkut described the Syrian army's movements on the Golan Heights as not being offensive in nature.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi were also at the meeting, as was Major General Amos Yadlin, the head of Military Intelligence. Yadlin stressed that "Syria is not planning to initiate a war, but the scenario of a possible miscalculation is still relevant."

Both Olmert and Barak called on Northern Command officers to bring "calm" to the front and avoid steps that might create confusion on the Syrian side.

The deputy defense minister, Matan Vilnai, also said yesterday that Syria has no interest in war with Israel.

"Israel, too, has no interest in war. The tension is natural, but unnecessary," he added during a visit to the village of Ghajar, on the border with Lebanon.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Bureau said that yesterday's visit to Northern Command had been preplanned and was not related to the escalating tensions.

These tensions have been fueled in part by the Israel Defense Forces' intensive training exercises, which are part of its rehabilitation program following the Second Lebanon War, as well as by the massive rearmament of the Syrian armed forces with sophisticated, primarily Russian-made arms.

Despite the Syrian rearmament, Yadlin was firm in his assessment that there are no indications that Damascus is planning an attack against Israel. The MI chief argued that war is currently not in Syria's interest.

As such, the defense establishment is primarily concerned that war may be triggered by miscalculation.

Senior defense officials told Haaretz that the situation on the Syrian front is likely to become clearer in the near future.

Meanwhile, the United States has been surprisingly uninvolved in the tensions, and has not sent Israel any special messages regarding its concerns over a possible conflagration on the Syrian front.

A senior political source in Jerusalem said yesterday that the American stance did not constitute "indifference," but explained that "in recent talks with the Americans, the focus was the Palestinian question. On the Syrian question, we spent two to three minutes and we told them [U.S. officials] the usual: that we have no intention of starting a war."

Another political source said that Israel and the U.S. regularly exchange intelligence information on Syria, but tensions on the border are not central to the diplomatic dialogue.

"The Americans are still concerned that we will become tired of the Palestinian track and turn our attention to the Syrian track," the source said. "The American message at this time is: 'Don't start a romance with the Syrians because of difficulties with the Palestinians.'"

By Amos Harel, Barak Ravid and Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondents, and Agencies 


Syria Renews Commitment to Peace, al-Shara says

Tuesday, August 14, 2007 - 09:05 PM
 DAMASCUS, (SANA)-Vice President Farouk al-Shara on Tuesday renewed Syria's commitment to the just and comprehensive peace in the region, based on Israel's full withdrawal from the occupied Arab territories to the line of June 4th, 1967 including the Syrian Golan, and the establishment of the Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

"Syria doesn't seek war…. But it stands aware of any aggression because Israel always puts pretexts to launch wars, as done during July 2006 aggression on Lebanon," al-Shara told Journalists in a meeting. 

"Syrian people won't accept surrender or subjugation… they want negotiations that restore their full lands till the line of June 4th, 1967," Vice-President added.

On US George Bush's call for a conference on peace, al-Shara noted that the conference's goals, factors and bases are not specified and it doesn't offer the needed guarantees to make it a success.

As for the Palestinian issue, al-Shara reiterated the importance of resuming the inter-Palestinian dialogue, saying "Syria stands at one distance from all Palestinian factions and works to return dialogue back between Fatah and Hamas.

Regarding Iraq, Vice President renewed Syria's commitment to Iraq unity, Arabism and national reconciliation, getting it out of its ordeal and ending the foreign occupation of its territories and establishing good relations with its neighbors, adding "The Iraqi Premier's expected visit to Syria comes in this frame."

Al-Shara referred to the importance of the Lebanese resistance victory over the Israeli aggression on Lebanon last summer, saying "this historic achievement will foil any Israeli attempts to control the region."

On the Arab forthcoming Summit due in Damascus next year, Vice- President stressed the Summit will be very important to heal the rift in the inter-Arab relation and correct its track, showing Syria's keenness to realize the Arab solidarity.

As for ties with Iran, al-Shara described the relations as strategic and based on understanding and accordance in visions regarding regional issues.

Vice-President referred to the Syrian-Saudi relations, underlining Syria's commitment to maintain strong and brotherly ties with Saudi Arabia as they were since 1970.

The meeting was held on the occasion of Journalists' Day in Syria. Minister of Information Mohsen Bilal, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad attended the conference.

From the Syrian Arab News Agency, Official News of the State of Syria



Syrian VP: We don't want war to get Golan back
JPost.com Staff, THE JERUSALEM POST  Aug. 14, 2007

Syria is not interested in embarking on a military conflict with Israel in order to win back the Golan Heights, Syrian Vice President Farouk Ashara said Tuesday.

"Israel knows that we do not desire a war. Damascus will always be ready for a response to an Israeli attack but Syria will not initiate one," Army Radio quoted Ashara as saying.

This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1186557447677&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull


Barak: Israel not interested in war with Syria
Published:  08.15.07, 09:15 / Israel News 

Israel in not interested in a war with Syria, said Defense Minister Ehud Barak Wednesday, during a visit with the Armor Corp's 74th brigade, which is holding a drill in the Golan Heights.

"As far as we know Syria isn't interested in war either, so war shouldn't erupt," said Barak. (Hanan Greenberg)


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