Kissingerin Damascus. First meeting..
At 15 pm Damascus time on 15 December 1973, the first meeting between Assad and Kissinger was held in Damascus. A black Mercedes Kissinger, accompanied by a military procession, was taken to the gates of the Rawdah Palace, which was a hotel and turned into a very modest presidential headquarters. Even the word palace did not fully apply to where the lion worked since he took over in 1971.
The Rawda Palace is located on the top of Abi Ramana Street, the high-end street in Modern Damascus, opposite a main square with the same name, decorated by a small silver dome mosque, which was built at his own expense. Jasmine blossoms have been thriving on the balconies of the Rawdah Palace all summer, but in December that year, it was sad cold, perhaps to reflect the status of the frozen Syrian-American relations. The building itself consists of a five-story mansion, which has no design, gardens, or any special color at all, as well as its closed windows do not have any distinctive view of the city, and only one rectangular balcony with sharp ribs decorated with pieces Navy blue ceramics, the lion used to salute his supporters. Without the need for scrutiny and scrutiny, any guest can notice profound bullet effects on the walls of the Kindergarten Palace. Those effects of the battle of 1966 when military forces directed to arrest the then president of the then-president. This battle caused the destruction of parts of the homes of Al-Rawdah district, and the Amin Al-Hafiz was placed in a wet cell in Al-Maza prison. He was released after a while, and the lion issued a decision to banish him without a return.
The Syrian president didn’t care about those scars left behind by the bullets of the battle, and didn’t bother to remove them, so it stayed engraved in the walls of the Rawdah Palace until 2016. Those monuments reminded the neighbors of the troubled past in Damascus, as the city didn’t enjoy a day of Peace and calmness except when the strong man hand over power in 1970. There is at the entrance of the palace a dark marble reception platform followed by a medium-sized drawer leading to the President’s office. There is no doubt that this palace was not worth mentioning compared to the amazing and luxurious palaces of Kissinger in Riyadh and Cairo.
The first meeting started with great optimism from Kissinger because their meeting
Important for peace in the region, even for peace in the world. The fact that this was the first visit of the US Secretary of State to Damascus in two decades, has been blaming directly on Americans. During the six-and-a-half hour debate, Assad and Kissinger always came back to talk about how important it is to establish regular, direct communication between them away from the media and mediators.
Kissinger’s amazement was clear at how frankly Assad is, and his readiness to participate, and Kissinger indicated that all American reports confirmed that #Syria was a party with which it was impossible to negotiate. This is obviously based on false intelligence. When #Assad heard that comment, his surprise was nothing short of Kissinger, and in a polite manner, he indicated that if American politics towards Syria were hostile because of intelligence reports (flawed), then primarily responsible for the existing crack in relations is the United States of America And it’s not Syria.
Assad has then moved to identifying three bases for this meeting and for any future conversations: clarity, honesty, and fixed truths. This was the brilliant way of Assad telling his guest that Syria will not be easily influenced by an American peace plan that contradicts its fundamental principles, and that it will also not be a victim of any diplomatic machinery. Kissinger took a deep breath as expected, the task will not be easy, or quick.
To break the legacy of ice relations over two decades, Syrian president Kissinger asked if he had any specific topic in mind to begin the debate. Al-Assad firmly replied ′′ ongoing Israeli aggression, and the American attitude towards it “, It seemed clear that this was busy with an idea to a degree that was disturbing him at night. Years later Kissinger refers to him, and when writing his memoirs, to Israeli influence in American domestic politics, although not always brilliant and conservative. But, at this particular meeting, in a sudden bout of both parties, Kissinger admitted that the United States of America supports Israel only because of pressure from those who control capital and communications. Of course, he was referring to the powerful ′′ Israeli lobby ′′ in Washington, D. C the role of Jewish money and electoral votes in American electoral politics, and the mainstream media controlled by Israel’s supporters.
The official American narration about what happened in Damascus at that meeting in December is slightly different from the Syrian narrative. Kissinger says: ′′ There are strong local pressures in the United States of America to support Israel And the American narrative never mentions any A disclaimer to him regarding capital or means of communication. Kissinger grumbled that he can’t put strong pressure on Israel, or even face the anger of influential American newspapers, television stations, and pro-Israeli senators.
So Kissinger needed a period of time to organize the American internal situation, and asked Assad to answer the hardship of the need to give a final word on how the regional solution would look like in the wake of Geneva. However, Syrian leader Kissinger kindly stated that Syria has no choice but to wait, because the United States of America is the only one who has the power to make progress in the Middle East through diplomacy instead of war.
Kissinger wondered why was he wasting time pressuring Israel to withdraw to the October 22 line when he might succeed in snatching from them what is more important **. Then he alerted his Syrian host, who was listening to him attentively Only the United States can tame Israel’s aggression.
** The UN Security Council issued Resolution No. 338, calling for a ceasefire on 22 October 1973. Egypt agreed to ceasefire in the first exercise, followed by Syria the following day. Although the ceasefire decision entered into force on 22 October at 6.52 pm Damascus time, the Israeli forces continued their aggression and occupied several locations inside Syria and Egypt. From here, the October 22 line refers to the positions of the Israeli, Egyptian and Syrian forces at a time when the ceasefire resolution came into force.
From the book of the edge of the abyss ′′ Homeland Document ′′
Historic narrative of #Hafez _ Assad and Henry Kissinger’s discussions
Dr. #Bathina _ Shaaban, Special Adviser to the Presidency of the Syrian Arab Republic