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Syrian Media Condemns Iraqi Accusations

01-Sep-09
By IWPR
Syrian newspapers condemned Iraqi accusations that Damascus was sheltering those behind recent bomb attacks in Baghdad.



Tension between the two countries escalated when Iraq withdrew its ambassador from Syria, demanding the government in Damascus hand over former Iraqi Baathist cadres believed to be behind the August 19 attacks, which killed 96 people and wounded around 600 others.



On August 30, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded indirectly to the accusations by stressing that stability and security in Iraq are “in Syria’s own interests”, according to the state-run news agency SANA.



Assad expressed “the need to reach national reconciliation in Iraq in order to achieve stability and security”, SANA reported.



The pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said in an article published the same day that US president Barack Obama had sent a message to the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to rebuke him for “hasty and uncalculated” accusations against Syria.



The daily quoted Iraqi officials as saying that Obama asked Maliki to accept immediately Turkish efforts to mend relations between Baghdad and Damascus.



An earlier article in Al-Watan said that the spokesman of the Iraqi government was in a state of “madness and confusion” when he accused Syria of protecting Iraqi Baathists.



In an August 27 editorial, the official Al-Thawra newspaper wrote that there were parties inside Iraq and in the region who opposed good relations between the two countries.



Asaad Aboud, the daily’s editor-in-chief, said that the Iraqi government was trying to cover up for the real criminals.



He said there was still a chance to avoid the escalation of the situation and stop “foreign pressure” hostile to Syrian-Iraqi ties.



Earlier, in an August 26 op-ed article in the official newspaper Al-Baath, Bassam Hashem wrote that some parties – without naming them - were hostile to the development of good relations between Syria and Iraq for various political reasons.



He said that the accusations made against Damascus aimed at undermining the ties between the two nations, which, he said, were being formed “with a lot of effort and time”.



He said that the attacks were provoked specifically to hinder the newly established strategic cooperation council between Baghdad and Damascus.



An editorial published on the same day in the state-run Tishreen daily expressed shock at the summoning of the Iraqi ambassador back to Baghdad at a time when bilateral relations were developing positively.



Samira al-Masalma, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, accused the Iraqi government of blaming its internal crises on other nations, which, she said, was a sign of political failure.

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