March 18, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 882

Syrian-Jordanian Media Brawl Over U.N. Resolution 1559

March 18, 2005
Syria, Jordan | Special Dispatch No. 882

In recent days, the Syrian and Jordanian press have taken turns firing accusations at one another over U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 that calls for a Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon. A March 12, 2005 editorial in the Syrian government daily Teshreen launched a scathing attack on Jordan for its overall policy on the resolution, particularly for a statement that Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Al-Mulqi made on his visit to Israel to the effect that Syria must implement the resolution. The Syrian editorial, by columnist Issam Dari, stated that Jordan has taken on itself to represent the Devil by adopting a policy similar to that of the U.S. and Israel on 1559, and that this was like being "stabbed by a brother and a partner."

The next day, the Jordanian government daily Al-Ra'i published a response by its political commentator stating that those responsible for the Teshreen editorial were still living in the Middle Ages and were stuck in the past. The real "devils," he claimed, hinting at Syria, were those who had bartered in the [Arab] nation for the past four decades and brought it to its current miserable state. The following are excerpts from the articles:

Syrian Daily Teshreen: Jordan has Taken on Itself to Represent the Devil

The Teshreen editorial stated: "When you are stabbed by your enemy, it is a natural thing, because the nature of an enemy is to be base and treacherous. But when you are stabbed by someone who is supposed to be your brother and partner in the war of existence, it causes not only frustration but also disappointment and sorrow. This is particularly so if this 'brother' and 'partner' has volunteered to take upon himself to represent the Devil and has adopted positions and policies that may go farther than the positions and policies of the enemy himself!

"We had hoped that the inter-Arab consultations, meetings, and visits on the eve of the Arab summit [slated to convene March 22, 2005 in Algeria] were conducted in order to examine the best ways to bring about the summit's success, and to coordinate positions and policies – with the aim of reinforcing the Arab position and making it steadfast in order to cope with the challenges that surround the Arab nation on all sides, especially in light of the grave circumstances and serious challenges. But unfortunately, the opposite has happened.

"Jordan has rewarded Israel for its crimes and massacres of the last four years by returning its ambassador to Tel Aviv – and maybe we will soon see him in Jerusalem itself! After that, the Jordanian king sent his foreign minister, Dr. Hani Al-Mulqi, to Tel Aviv to shake Sharon's hands, which are stained with the blood of our steadfast Palestinian people.

"[Al-Mulqi's] visit [to Israel may be] a Jordanian matter, [but] it is contrary to the Arab consensus. Al-Mulqi's statement [on Resolution 1559] crossed red lines. According to all criteria, it is like a faithful translation of the American-Israeli policy in the region, and it is like standing in formation behind Washington and Tel Aviv in their battling and pressuring Damascus.

"From Tel Aviv, Al-Mulqi called on Syria to immediately implement Resolution 1559, and regarded the Taif agreement as one of the remnants of the past, no longer worthy [of consideration]. By doing so, he went beyond even the American and Israeli positions and beyond Resolution 1559 which is based partially on the Taif agreement.

"Furthermore, Al-Mulqi [also] ignored the will of the Lebanese themselves, including that of the opposition members who stress their adherence to the Taif [agreement]. Who gave Minister Al-Mulqi power of attorney to speak in the name of the Lebanese, the Syrians, and the Arabs…?

"Let the Jordanian minister go to Israel and meet with Sharon, who allowed Palestinian blood to be spilled with impunity and allowed his army to wage all-out war against all classes of our Palestinian people. But the decision-makers in Amman must remember the limits of the positions and statements declared by their officials, [and ensure that] they do not take upon themselves to represent the Devil and do not join the dangerous game going on in Washington.

"It is inappropriate for the Jordanian leaders to shake the hands of the murderers of the Palestinians and the Arabs, [the murderers] who still hold Jordanian prisoners in their jails and refuse to release them despite the very friendly and warm relations between the Jordanian Crown and Tel Aviv.

"It is inappropriate for the Jordanian leaders to join in the attacks of disinformation and forgery, and act in the European arena to defend the American and Israeli positions – particularly those against Syria, which has always devoted itself to the defense of the [Arab] nation and its affairs.

"It is highly disgraceful for Al-Mulqi to shake the hand of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon at a time when a European, the mayor of London, is standing tall and declaring that Sharon is a war criminal who belongs in jail, and that Israel is conducting a racist and criminal policy.

"We had hoped that our sister [state] Jordan would take measures [in favor] of the Arab brothers, and particularly [in favor of] Syria, so as to stand up to the attack to which the Arabs, headed by Syria, are subjected, and for the sake of the success of the Algeria summit. But the [Jordanian] 'brothers' wanted to change this trend, because they apparently have no freedom of choice, and their policy is not consolidated in Amman according to the heartbeat of the Arab and pan-Arab Jordanian street, but according to other considerations that are certainly not the considerations of the entire Arab street." [1]

Jordanian Response: The [Real] Devils are Those Who Led the Arab Nation to Repeated Defeat

Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Al-Mulqi responded to the Teshreen editorial: "The statements in the Syrian press are worthless. We cannot be selective with regard to Security Council decisions. Teshreen can say what it likes." [2]

On March 13, the Jordanian government daily Al-Ra'i's political editor wrote: "We had hoped that the time of treachery and the planned media attacks rife with invective and vilification had ended, and that these people had returned to their senses and learned their lessons from what happened to our nation…

"But the brothers at Teshreen, not to say in Syria, still live in the Middle Ages, in isolation from the world, and don't know what is happening around them…

"We in Jordan have not 'taken on ourselves to represent the Devil.' Furthermore, the [real] devils are those who have bartered in the [Arab] nation for four decades, bringing it to a state of weakness, humiliation, and repeated defeat while displaying no kind of [self-]criticism…

"It was not we who issued Resolution 1559. We were not party to it. We were not the ones who refused to recognize the Taif agreement. And we were certainly not the ones who intended not to implement [the resolution] until others came and demanded its 'immediate' implementation [under threat of] sanctions.

"We did not tell [Syria]: implement [the resolution] or face the consequences. We said that we must honor the U.N. resolutions comprehensively, not selectively, because if [we do] not, then our constantly repeated demands regarding the implementation of [U.N. Security Council] Resolutions 242 and 338 and U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 are meaningless… We are for Resolution 1559, because we love Syria and Lebanon." [3]

[1] Teshreen (Syria), March 12, 2005.

[2] Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), March 13, 2005.

[3] Al-Ra'i (Jordan), March 13, 2005.

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