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Through its occupation of Lebanon, it undermines democracy and development there, providing protection for criminal enterprises, such as the growth and production of drugs and of Western and Arab currency counterfeiting in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, whose profits serve to finance the activities of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.

Even as America prepares for what appears to be an inevitable confrontation with Iraq, recent press reports indicate that the Syrians have been busy supplying Saddam Hussein with weapons. Syria also continues to serve as a conduit for illegal oil exports. Moreover, there is a direct pipeline from Iraq into Syria from which Iraq derives illicit profits in the billions of dollars.

These actions not only constitute a direct violation of resolutions passed by the very body that it serves on—the U.N. Security Council—but they will only help to strengthen Saddam even as he prepares to confront our nation.

Syria's support for terrorism, aid to Saddam Hussein's regime, and other illicit activities not only jeopardize the post-September 11th international consensus delegitimizing terrorism, but it compromises our ability to procure peace and stability in the region. Our nation respond accordingly.

H.R. 4483, the Syria Accountability Act of 2002, is one such response, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our distinguished Majority Leader, the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Armey, and the distinguished Member of our Committee, the gentleman from New York, Mr. Engel, for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation that's before us today. I want to congratulate them for their good work.

The Syria Accountability Act would prohibit exporting any item on the United States Munitions List or Commerce Control List of duel-use items in the Export Administration Regulations.

It would prohibit the provision of any U.S. assistance to our U.S. businesses with respect to investment or other activities in Syria, or conducting Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Trade Development Agency programs in or with respect to Syria. It also directs our President to impose two or more on a list of other sanctions against Syria.

The Administration contends that the Syria Accountability Act "ties its hands at a very important moment," and that “this is not the right time for legislative initiatives that could complicate or even undermine the efforts of the State Department.”

It's important for the Administration to take into account that many of its sanctions are subject to waiver and the entire sanctions regime would be obviated if Syria were to behave like a normal state. It's also important to note these are not secondary sanctions, and they do not effect third countries, and, as a result, have little impact on our commercial and diplomatic ties with Syria's major trading partners.

As our President so eloquently articulated, states and their leaders are either with us or against us in our war on terrorism—there is no room for hesitation, no room for wavering if a regime is to be truly considered an ally in our war on terror. Only when our nation comes to adopt this determined approach with regard to the Syrian regime will that regime be faced with the difficult dilemma of whether to acquiesce to American and international pressure and fundamentally alter Syrian policy, or face further alienation. Normal U.S.-Syrian bilateral relations must be contingent upon the reversal of policies which are harmful to U.S. interest.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Gillman follows:) PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE

IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK, AND CHAIRMAN, SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE MIDDLE EAST AND SOUTH ASIA

In his June 24th address on the Middle East, President Bush put Syria on notice, stating that “Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations." Yet Syria's words and actions since then have not been those of a state that shares our commitment both to our twin goals of eradicating global terrorism and fostering stability in the Middle East. Rather, with a few exceptions taken in its own self- interest, Syria has demonstrated that it continues to actively undermine the basis for our campaign against terrorism and our initiatives aimed at ending the violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.

According to the State Department's report on Patterns of Global Terrorism2001, Syria continued to provide “safe haven and logistics support to Hezbollah, HAMAS, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist organizations.” Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has allowed Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group under his patronage, to intensify its military activities along Israel's northern border. Working closely with Iran, Syria has facilitated the transfer of thousands of rockets and other weaponry to Hezbollah, boosting their arsenal and significantly improving their ability to carry out terror attacks against Israel. Of the seven state sponsors on the Administration's list, only Syria rivals Iran in its unabashed support for terrorism.

In addition to Syria's support for terrorism, Syria continues its illegal occupation of Lebanon in contravention of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 425 and 520. Through its occupation of Lebanon, it undermines democracy and development there. It provides protection for criminal enterprises, such as the growth and production of drugs and of Western and Arab currency counterfeiting in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, whose profits serve to finance the activities of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.

And even as America prepares for what appears to be an inevitable confrontation with Iraq, recent press reports indicate that the Syrians are busy supplying Saddam Hussein with weapons. Syria also continues to serve as a conduit for illegal Iraqi oil exports. Moreover, there is a direct pipeline from Iraq into Syria from which Iraq derives illicit profits. These actions not only constitute a direct violation of resolutions passed by the very body that it serves on-the U.N. Security Council-but they will only help to strengthen Saddam even as he prepares to confront the United States.

Syria's support for terrorism, aid to Saddam Hussein's regime, and other illicit activities not only jeopardize the post-September 11th international consensus delegitimizing terrorism, but it compromises our ability to procure peace and stability in the region.

The United States must respond accordingly.

H.R. 4483, the Syria Accountability Act of 2002, is one such response, and I would like take this opportunity to thank our distinguished Majority Leader from Texas, Mr. Armey, and the distinguished Member of our Committee, Mr. Engel for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation, and congratulate them for their good work.

The Syria Accountability Act would prohibit exporting any item on the United States Munitions List or Commerce Control List of dual-use items in the Export Administration Regulations. It would prohibit the provision of any U.S. assistance to U.S. businesses with respect to investment or other activities in Syria, or conducting Overseas Private Investment Corporation and Trade Development Agency programs in or with respect to Syria. It also directs the President to impose two or more on a list of other sanctions against Syria.

The Administration contends that the Syria Accountability Act "ties its hands at a very important moment, and that “this is not the right time for legislative initiatives that could complicate or even undermine” the efforts of the State Department. It is important for the Administration to take into account that many of the of the sanctions are subject to waiver and the entire sanctions regime is obviated if Syria behaves like a normal state. It is also important to note that these are not secondary sanctions, and they do not affect third countries, and, as a result, have little impact on our commercial and diplomatic ties with Syria's major trading partners.

Ås the President so eloquently articulated, states and their leaders are either with us or against us in the war on terrorism—there is no room for hesitation, no room for wavering, if a regime is to be truly considered an ally in our war on terror. Only when the U.S. comes to adopt this determined approach with regard to the Syrian regime, will that regime be faced with the difficult dilemma of whether to acquiesce to American and international pressure and fundamentally alter Syrian policy, or face further alienation. Normal U.S.-Syrian bilateral relations must be contingent upon the reversal of policies which are harmful to U.S. interests.

Mr. GILMAN. We regret that Ambassador David Satterfield, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs will be unable to be with us.

We now call on our witnesses, and it's my pleasure to introduce our distinguished Majority Leader, who will soon be leaving us, regrettably, along with my unnecessary involuntary retirement.

It is my pleasure to ask our distinguished Majority Leader, Mr. Armey, the gentleman from Texas, who has had a long and distinguished career in public service to give us his testimony on his important bill. Thank you for being here, Mr. Majority Leader.

STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE RICHARD K. ARMEY, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS

Mr. ARMEY. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me say, first of all, it's a pleasure to be here.

Mr. GILMAN. Would you press your button on your microphone?

Mr. ARMEY. My buttons, got you. I always prefer to push my own buttons, Mr. Chairman, and I thank you.

It is a pleasure to be here, and it is a pleasure, Mr. Chairman, to be here before you in front of your portrait, which I might say doesn't make you look near as young and handsome as you are in fact.

Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Majority Leader.

Mr. ARMEY. It's a particular pleasure for me to be here with my co-sponsor, Mr. Engel, a Member of your Committee.

I should caution you, Mr. Chairman, that because I take foreign affairs as seriously as I do, and consider the subject to be one where subtleties matter in the way things are expressed, I will read my statement. It's been carefully written, and I think in reading it enables me to make the most precise clarity and minimize the chance for things to be misunderstood.

However, as I mentioned to you on the Floor yesterday, since I am not a man of your experience in travel, I must advise you that I am likely to mispronounce half of the Middle East in this discussion, and for that I will make my apologies ahead of time.

Let me just say to be here to speak with Mr. Engel on behalf of H.R. 4483, the Syrian Accountability Act 2002, is, I think, a very serious business. And I dare say, we both have taken it quite seriously.

Syria has been on the State Department's terrorist list since 1979. There are seven countries currently on the terrorist list. The United States has sanctions against, and has broken normal relations with five of the seven nations on that list. Those five nations are Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Cuba. The House passed the Sudan Peace Act in response to its concern with the sixth country, Sudan.

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Now I come to speak about my concerns about the seventh, and to question whether we should have normal, sanction-free relations with Syria.

As we continue to wage war on terrorism, Syria is a country that enjoys full diplomatic relations with the United States, trade relations with the United States companies, and receives significant foreign aid from some our closest allies, while it simultaneous cuddles up to Saddam Hussien's regime, protects some of the world's most active terrorist organizations within its borders, and repeatedly violates international law.

During my testimony today, I will review the threats that Syria poses through its support of terrorism, its occupation of Lebanon, its development of weapons of mass destruction, and its illegal importation of Iraqi oil. These are threats to the United States and its allies around the world.

Our inaction on holding Syria accountable for its dangerous activities could seriously diminish our efforts on the war on terrorism and our efforts in brokering a viable peace in the Middle East.

Syria should be held accountable for its record of harboring and supporting terrorist groups; stockpiling illegal weapons in an effort to develop weapons of mass destruction; and transferring weapons and oil back and forth through Iraq.

In his June 24th speech, President Bush made a very clear statement of U.S. policy, and I quote,

“Nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror.” In that speech, he also laid down the gauntlet for Syria. He said,

“Syria must chose the right side in the war on terror by closing

terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations." A year has now passed, and the deadline for this choice has come and gone. The Congress of the United States cannot allow Syria to continue activities that pose a threat to the United States and our allies without consequence.

As evidence for our serious support of terror, let me say, that while Syria publicly condemned the terrorist attacks of 9-11, for decades, it has harbored, sheltered, and sponsored terrorist organizations insides its borders; and within borders of areas it controls in Lebanon.

There are reports from reliable news sources, such as the respected Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, to the effect that Damascus has allowed some 150 to 200 al-Qaeda terrorists to settle in Palestinian refugee camps in southern Lebanon within the last year. We need to take these reports seriously and continuously monitor both sides for evidence of a relationship between the two.

I have been advised that Syria is a secular dictatorship and likely holds no affection for the fundamentalist views of al-Qaeda. Still, it has made common cause with Sunni extremists in Hamas and Shia extremists in Hezbollah.

My concern is whether Syria supports and sponsors any terrorist organization whatsoever. It is a quibble to me to say that Syria supports this terrorist organization, but not that one. Even if the question of al-Qaeda is open in the minds of some, we know for sure Damascus is a haven to more than one terrorist group.

Hezbollah is headquartered in Damascus and they effect a global threat by maintaining a terrorist network in Europe, Africa, South America, North American and Asia. They are the radical terrorist group that until 9–11 had claimed the most American lives in terrorist attacks.

It was Hezbollah who masterminded the bombing of the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beruit in 1983 that killed more than 300 people, including 243 Americans. We also know that Hezbollah would not be able to launch attacks against Israel from southern Lebanon without Syrian acquiescence and approval, which brings me to the point of Syria's forceful control of Lebanon.

Since the early 1980s, Syria has maintained an illegal military occupation of southern Lebanon with 25,000 troops operating under the guise of maintaining peace between the factions. Syria has created a front line of terrorist incursion into Israel on Lebanon's border.

The U.S. National Commission on Terrorism reported last year that the Syrian government "still provides terrorists with safe haven; allows them to operate over a dozen terrorist-training camps in the Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, and permits the Iranian government to resupply these camps."

It is also widely believed that the Bekaa Valley and Syrian-occupied Lebanon serve as the epicenter for training the world's most dangerous terrorists. The Bekaa is a one-stop shop for terrorist training. Terrorists from every corner of the international community come together in training camps to learn how to conduct lethal operations.

Terrorists learn how to transform themselves into suicide bombers. They also learn how to utilize various types of weapons, including long-range katyusha rockets, high-explosive anti-tank mines, and modern plastic explosives.

The effects of this comprehensive training can be seen in such devastating acts as the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. Other attacks that originated from Bekaa Valley include the kidnapping and murder of former CIA bureau station chief William Buckley in 1984.

Such groups as al-Qaeda, Al-Jihad, Hamas, the Japanese Red Army, Abu Nidal's organization, Force 17, New People's Army, the IRA, Chechen rebels, Fatah, the Red Brigade, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Medellin Drug Cartel are just some of the terrorist organizations who have received training in the Bekaa valley and continue to operate there today.

Another factor of concern in Syria's illegal import of Iraqi oil through the pipeline in direct violation of U.N. Resolution 661 and subsequent resolutions prohibiting commerce with Iraq's oil and gas sector outside the Oil-for-Food Program. Syria imports about 200,000 barrels of Iraqi crude oil a day, allowing Damascus to sell more of its domestically-produced petroleum for profit and totaling approximately $1.1 billion annual profit for both countries.

State Department spokesman Richard Bocher noted on February 14, 2002, that Syria is now a member of the United Nations Security Council. As such, it bears a special responsibility with regard to the implementation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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