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ganizations are primary based in Syria or occupied Lebanon. The Iranians on their part offer ideological, military and financial support. In this combination, Hezbollah represent the A-Team 21 while others including Hamas, the Islamic Jihad and PFLP complement the arsenal and are used where and when appropriate. Until today Hezbollah still acts as the main contractor of the Syrian terror trade. Timely violence in South of Lebanon, the deployment of thousands of missiles in the area, organizing the Karine-A weapons shipment to Palestinian extremists and the increased coordination with “al-Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations, money laundering, weapons smuggling and acquiring forged documents” 22 all are evidence that Syrian efforts to use the terrorism weapon have expanded under Bashar el-Asad. Weapons of Mass Destruction:

Syria today is a prominent and a senior member of the chemical and biological weapons (CBW) club. As early as 1992, the U.S. Defense Department ranked Syria as the sole Muslim state possessing a “chemical systems capability in all critical elements” for chemical weapons. And in recent years, Syria has added biological weapons to its store-weapons with far more strategic value than chemical weapons. Budgeting these weapons is generously available at the expense of the impoverished Syrian people. The measly picture that is drawn for the Syrian army based on its conventional ordnance is misleading. Syria spends between $1 billion and $2 billion annually on its ballistic and CB capabilities, an enormous share of the Syrian military budget. Syria now possesses the most formidable CBW capabilities of any Arab state. Its arsenal probably even exceeds that of Iran in quantity and quality 23.

Syria has a combined total of several hundred Scud B, Scud C and SS-21 SRBMs, It is pursuing both solid- and liquid-propellant missile programs and relies extensively on foreign assistance in these endeavors. North Korean and Russian entities have been involved in aiding Syria's ballistic missile development. All of Syria's missiles are mobile and can reach much of Israel, Jordan, and Turkey from launch sites well within the country 24, Aid and Support to the Axis of Evil":

The Asad regime has in the past few years established strong political, economic and security relations with Saddam Hussein's regime. Syrian diplomacy has played a major role in strengthening the resolve of many Arab states in rejecting our efforts to militarily remove Saddam Hussein. The Syrian regime is also using a railroad to Iraq-authorized to facilitate the U.N. oil-for-food program-to transport conventional arms including tanks, air defense equipment and surface-to-air missiles as well as “flow-forming machines,” which are used to produce components crucial to the building of nuclear weapons. An illegal oil pipeline running between Syria and Iraq provides Saddam Hussein with $1.1 billion annually to support the development of his hidden weapons arsenals. Syria also profits from this illegal scheme, making $1.2 billion annually.

Iran recently transferred hundreds of tons of weapons to Hezbollah via Syria. Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards often run the Syrian-sponsored terror training camps in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. This year, Asad hosted Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, head of the judiciary in the Islamic Republic and one of the most prominent anti-Khatami conservatives. Shahroudi is the person most likely to lead the hard-line conservatives in the next presidential elections in Iran.

North Korea and Syria signed an agreement this month on "scientific and technical cooperation,” which could entail collaboration on ballistic missile technology and non-conventional arms. Bashar Asad recently received Kim Yong-Nam, president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly Presidium to improve cooperation between the two countries in the economic, military political and cultural fields came at a time when Washington was trying to impose widespread changes on the region in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. Kim received a rapturous welcome in Damascus and the two sides pledged their determination to further develop cooperation, building on the foundations laid down by the “immortal leaders Hafiz Asad and Kim Il Sung.” 25

Obviously, President Bashar el-Asad's is working hard on improving his cooperation and strengthening his standing in the “evil" camp to confront the “tyrannical policies” of President Bush and to prove Syria's well earned eligibility for inclusion in the new “Axis of Evil.”

PAST AND PRESENT U.S. POLICY

and peace

U.S. Policy towards Syria:

Asad's regime, exploiting the United States hopes of bringing Syria and Lebanon to the peace process, was allowed a lot of impunity for its actions in Syria and Lebanon and for its criminal attacks against United States citizens and interests. Also, it cunningly manipulated the US foreign policy makers by giving them some phony signs of cooperation.

In 1990, Hafiz el-Asad ceased the opportunity of the United States desire to form a broad coalition against Iraq. He sent a token force to liberate Kuwait. This seemed enough of a price to allow his army to savagely complete his control of Lebanon. And in return to vague promises of participation in the peace process, he received considerable prestige and recognition from the U.S. presidents and various Secretaries of States in addition to no timely objections to his accelerated program to acquire weapons of mass destruction.

After 9/11, Bashar Asad, feigned cooperation in the war against terror by sharing intelligence information about only those individuals undesirable to the Syrian Alouite regime while hosting herds of leaders and elements of terrorists organizations on the Syrian soil and in Lebanon. The mere interrogation of an operative and some intelligence on al-Qaeda seems enough for some to brand Syria as an ally in the war against terror.

Despite the overwhelming facts that prove that the Syrian regime has no interest in any successful conclusion to any peace process, that it is supporting global terrorism and relentlessly building a huge arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, some US officials are adamantly reluctant from taking a stand against Syria.

The inability of the US foreign policy makers to treat Syria as the rogue nation it really is and the wishful thinking of some who see Syria as a promoter of stability

26 in the region have led to over twenty five years of disastrous failures in the Middle East.

The irony is that the evil deeds that are committed by the Syrian regime rival the ones committed by Iran and Iraq combined. Yet the deception skills of the Syrians reward them with a double standard of U.S. policy and a generous dose of appeasement. U.S. Policy vis-a-vis the Occupation of Lebanon:

Historic ties between Lebanon and the U.S. have seen American business and academic institutions flourish since the 19th century. The Lebanese immigrants established a strong and law abiding entrepreneurial communities throughout the Americas. Until the mid-60s, the economic, personal and political freedom found in Lebanon offered a model for the Arab world that complemented the U.S strategic interests and hence, Lebanon received much more attention in Washington.

Since the outbreak of the war, the official U.S. position “supported the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Lebanon.” Although at times the official position included statements in “support of the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon,” at no time did any State Department or White House official specifically call on Syria to withdraw from Lebanon.

By 1989, the U.S. had abandoned all efforts to directly assist Lebanon in maintaining any remnants of sovereignty and the official position evolved to support the Saudi-sponsored Ta'if agreement as an “Arab solution for the Lebanese problem.” In the last twelve years the “Arab solution" has been transformed into a “Syrian solution” and only articles suitable to Syria were ever executed while others, such as the timely redeployment of Syrian forces, became empty rhetoric. Yet, the U.S. official statements have not gone beyond supporting the implementation of the Ta'if agreement.

In the late 90s, when Syrian non-compliance with Ta'if became obvious, American officials changed their approach and tied the sovereignty and independence of Lebanon to the Arab-Israeli peace process, giving Syria yet another incentive to drag the process for decades to come. In reality, U.S. officials rationalized that since the Lebanese war is over, very little priority should be given further to the small country. In the last two years of the Clinton Administration, and within the increased effort to reach any settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict, Administration officials became even vocal in support of the Syrian occupation, some even “appealing to prominent Lebanese politicians and opinion makers to allow Syrian troops to remain in Lebanon” 27 after the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon. Assistant Secretary of State Edward Walker testified in congress in 2000 that the state department “believe that the Lebanese people through their democratic process, can make important decisions about their future relationship with Syria" 28 somehow missing the fact that the Lebanese have been under an occupation of a totalitarian regime and democracy is nonexistent. In June 2000, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright went as far as praising Syria for playing a “constructive role as far as Lebanon is concerned. We hope that they will continue to do so.” U.S Ambassador to Lebanon, Vincent Battle still continues to date to discourage Christian opposition leaders from taking steps or making statements that would undermine the Syrian occupation. Despite the fact that the policy of appeasing the Syrians has been a complete failure -in seducing the Syrians to the peace process, in maintaining the peace in South Lebanon, in curbing the activities of radical Islamic organization, in improving human rights in Syria and Lebanon and in convincing Bashar to be less totalitarian than his father, the public position of the State Department has remained the same: no public denouncing of the Syrians and let's continue to engage them in subtle diplomacy.

THE CASE FOR IMMEDIATE CHANGE IN U.S. POLICY The Legal Argument:

Since September 17, 1982, Syria has been in violation of UN Security Council resolution 520, demanding that “all non-Lebanese forces” leave Lebanon. Syria's argument that they are in Lebanon by the Lebanese request is refuted in three points:

First, they have entered Lebanon in 1975 illegally without any official request as stated by Hafiz el-Asad himself in a speech on August 20th, 1976: “Syria and Lebanon, throughout history, were always one country, one people. This is a fact that should be taken into consideration by everybody... and it is for this reason that we were obliged to provide weapons and ammunitions and decided to intervene under the name of "the Army for the Liberation of Palestine"; This armyentered the Lebanon despite everybody without taking any advice from the national parties nor any authorization from anywhere . . .

Second, the Syrians have officially been requested to leave by Presidents Elias Sarkis, Amin Gemayel and by General Michel Aoun, at the time when he was the head of the transitional government.

Third, the Ta'if accord, which was agreed to by Syria and supported by the U.S., stipulated “a redeployment of the Syrian armed forces inside Lebanon within a period of two years, followed by a complete withdrawal.

Additionally, the Syrians are in violation of UN resolutions 661, 687 and 986 restricting the purchase of petroleum from Iraq and restricting the sale of conventional weapons and assistance in weapons of mass destruction programs. The Moral Argument:

President Wilson believed in the moral obligation of the United States and often restated that America's special mission transcends day-to-day diplomacy and obliges it to serve as a beacon of liberty for the rest of mankind. President Truman's doctrine in face of totalitarian regimes' way of life, which “relies upon terror and oppres. sion, a controlled press and radio; fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms,proclaimed it should be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure. However, the United States, the historic leader of the forces of freedom, seem dedicated in the case of Lebanon, to a negative role of supporting a brutal occupation by a totalitarian regime. In the few incidents in our history where similar position was taken, such as the case of the Hungarian students and workers uprising in 1953 against the Soviets, the sad result is severe damage to our moral standing in the world and discouragement of aspiring people to believe in our American values.

Lebanese in general and Christians in particular have believed in our values of democracy, freedom and human rights for over a hundred years. They have fought for over 26 years, at a great cost, the enemies of our values and freedoms, the same enemies we find ourselves today and after September 11, in a global war against. Is it not the time to regain our moral role and take active and substantial steps to free Lebanon? Is it not timely to publicly declare the evil Syrian totalitarian regime, as our ene

nemy? The National Interest Argument:

Our best interests are served in a lasting peace in the Middle East. At every major diplomatic turn, Syria stood in the way of America's efforts for peace. In 1978, Damascus was a key actor in the Arab regional alignment against the Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt. In 1983, Syria opposed the May 17 Agreement negotiated during the Reagan presidency between Lebanon and Israel. Since 2000, the Syrians have undermined any effort to negotiate a settlement of the Palestinian problem by prompting its terrorist “contractors” to erupt violence.

Attacks by Syrian sponsored terrorism since the early 80s have claimed hundreds of American lives. One could easily make the argument that those attacks and our

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lack of proportional response, emboldened Syria and its allies and served as an operational and ideological model for the attacks of September 11.

In defiance of President Bush's proclamation of “either with us or against us” in the war on terror and an offer of amnesty for previous actions, Bashar el-Asad has expanded his support to terrorism and deepened his cooperation with Iraq, Iran and North Korea. Clearly Mr. Asad has chosen the "against us” camp. Appeasement and subtle diplomacy have failed us for the last 26 years. Despite all our efforts to se, duce Syria for over two decades, The Asad regime still considers us the enemy and uses the “struggle” to maintain and strengthen its existence.

The occupation of Lebanon provides the Syrian regime with excellent means to prolong this “struggle”. By using Lebanon as a facade, the Syrians are able to fend all direct accusations while threatening our interests and national security. It would only be logical to conclude that the elimination of the threat and the advancement of our strategic interests have to start with ending the occupation of Lebanon. Time is of The Essence:

Before his death on September 9th, 2001, Ahmad Shah Massoud had been visiting various Western capitals pleading his case of the impeding threat to the West by the Taliban and al-Qaeda and begging for any help to the Afghani Northern Alliance in their fight against the Taliban. His warnings were dismissed as unimportant, as no one saw the magnitude of the danger nor liked the involvement in the Afghani internal political quagmire. Two days after his death, the world woke up to the harsh reality of his alarm. No one could know if substantial help to Massoud would have averted the attacks, but one could argue that being late to act in Afghanistan had considerably increased the human losses, time and cost of our later intervention

Today, many Lebanese are begging for help and warning of the threat that Hezbollah and their Syrian masters are plotting. The cost to free Lebanon would have been considerably less if we had taken actions against the Syrians, Palestinians and Islamic radicals in 1976. After the United States Embassy and the Marine barracks were attacked in 1983 a forceful and decisive response then could possibly have averted the pattern of suicide terrorist attacks that have led to September 11. Again, in 1989, we stood silent and immobile while the Syrian heavy artillery was brutally pounding the free Lebanese civilian areas that fought radical Islamic groups and their Syrian protectors. Our passive attitude through these episodes have demoralized most Lebanese and convinced them of the futility of fighting the Syrians alone. Over 700,000 mostly pro-Western well-educated young Christians, have left the country and thousands are still leaving every month. The influence of radical Islam in education, military and demography is expanding at a formidable pace; Hezbollah is quickly becoming the unstoppable evil

, created and nurtured by Iran and Syria. While serving the Syrian goals in the short run, Hezbollah's long time agenda aims at establishing an Iranian-style theocratic state. Lebanon is irreversibly sliding away from being a pro-western nation to becoming a land of intolerance, oppression and misery. The time to act is now before the world loses the lone bastion of democracy in the Arab world.

Today the Syrian regime represents a clear and present threat against the United States and against world peace. Actions against it, if taken promptly, might avoid greater losses and prevent a more dangerous and costly future confrontation. If we allow events to proceed in their chartered course, disillusioned with the effectiveness of appeasement and paralysed by the deception skills of the Syrians, then less and less choices will be available and the price of each becomes considerably higher. In the end when the threat becomes too great, and the diplomatic paralysis erodes most options, the only choice left would be military actions at the ultimate price of human lives.

Experience has reinforced what ideology has taught the Syrian regime—that the political process being external or internal is about winners and losers not about compromise. The hollow rhetoric by Syrian officials proclaiming their interest in better relations with the U.S., their commitment for "fair and comprehensive peace," and in offering token and questionable assistance in our hunt for el-Qaeda, serve only to blur our vision of the creeping danger. The pattern of events since 1970 and until today, unequivocally prove that the Syrian regime considers the United States an enemy. In fact, they never tire from declaring this to the Syrian people and all the Arabs. Bashar Asad on July 16, 2002, during Kim Yong-Nam visit to Damascus stated: Bush tyrannical policies, based only on US military supremacy, is spreading a wave of terror in the world, under the pretense of fighting terrorism.” Then, Syria's Minister of Foreign Affairs Faruq Sharaa commenting on Israel attacks in Gaza against Hamas militants said on July 25, 2002, Bush policies lack common sense" and “Israel attack in Gaza that killed 16 people, including 9 children, is similar to the bloodbaths committed by the United States in Afghanistan.The fact that we are being deceived by their empty gestures is the proof, at least in their eyes, that they are winning and we are loosing. Our consistent diplomatic efforts in seducing Damascus to reach a compromise are perceived as signs of weakness.

The reality is, Bashar al-Asad and his Ba'th party are enemies of the United Sates. The time for our policy to change and cope with this fact is now. Our just demands should be made clear to Damascus, and our policy should be to pressure the Syrians to meet those demands, our resolve should also be clear to use our might in support of our policy. Our key demand should be a democratic Lebanon free of Syrian occupation. In addition to being the correct moral position, it is the key for advancing our interests in the Middle East and it is the key for eliminating a major element of the Syrian threat to our security.

POLICY OPTIONS • Clear Statement of Policy outlining our just demands. The Syrian Account

ability Act states these demands. Support and passage of the bill will send

a clear message to Damascus of where the American people stand. • Further statements from the Administration officials and most critically,

President Bush, should unequivocally inform the Syrians of the perils of their current policy and demand their total withdrawal from Lebanon and the ceas

ing of their support of terrorism in all its shapes. • Publicly announcing the inclusion of Syria in the “Axis of Evil.” Merely recog

nizing their relentless efforts to be a senior partner with the other three. • Refraining from making statements by State department officials in support

of the Syrian role in Lebanon. In contrast, our ambassador in Beirut and Washington officials should be vocal in support of pro-democracy efforts and

leaders in their opposition of the Syrian rule. • Lowering the level of diplomatic exchange to deprive the Syrians form the

prestige they seek. • Financially and logistically supporting Lebanese opposition leaders living out

side the country and demanding the release of those imprisoned by the occu

pation. • Insist on sending the Lebanese Armed Forces to the Lebanese Southern bor

der. • Press on taking away all weapons in the possession of Hezbollah and other

terrorist groups operating in Lebanon. • Work on reengaging other Arab countries in support of the sovereignty of

Lebanon. • Ceasing any and all forms of aid to Syria and redirecting aid to Lebanon to

wards social and charitable organizations aiming at relieving the suffering of

stranded Lebanese. • If above options fail, Washington should work on ousting Syria from inter

national forums and work with our allies to reduce their diplomatic and eco

nomical ties with Damascus. • As a last resort, military action should not be ruled out and that should be

clear to Syria. Covert or overt operations could be directed at Syria's weapons of mass destruction, its oil pipeline with Iraq, the piles of weapons being sent to Iraq, Damascus airport as the channel of terrorist logistical support, its military forces in Lebanon and the terrorist camps and headquarters in Syria and Lebanon.

CONCLUSION State Department officials' assumption that peace in the Middle East could not proceed without Syria's support is absolutely correct. Damascus has made this reality its objective for the last thirty years and used various immoral and illegal policy tools to reach this end. Ironically, U.S. diplomacy supporting their occupation of Lebanon has enabled them to succeed.

Peace in the Middle East and the once democratic Lebanon, have been taken hostages by the Syrians. It is this status quo that guarantees the continuity of their totalitarian regime. Our failed efforts to advance peace in the region have been countered with the Asads' successful efforts in strengthening their ability to destabilize the region and in “global” expansion of their threat. The Syrian regime has not, and will

not jeopardize its own dictatorship by willingly allowing the “struggle" against us to cease. When asked by his biographer Patrick Seale about a sentence to summon his legacy, Hafiz el-Asad replied: "the struggle shall go on.

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