Imagini ale paginilor

The case is clear that the United States interests and objectives could not be achieved through a policy of tacit and sometimes explicit, approval of the Syrian modus operandi and their occupation of Lebanon, but only through a determined and assertive diplomacy based on just demands and a resolve to use our might in support of our policy.

As we nationally debate the means to deal with Saddam's threat, we should not create a double standard for the Asad's threat. They are two sides of the same coin. And while our soldiers are placed ever closer to the threat source, let us not underestimate our ability to direct the winds of change. Our determined will and actions should engulf the main pillar of terrorism in the region—the Asad regime. It is only through a free Lebanon and a democratic Syria that terrorism will abate, stability in the region will be achievable and Peace will prevail.

REFERENCES 1 Ariel I. Ahram, Iraq and Syria: The Dilemma of Dynasty 2 Patrick Seale, Asad p. 161 3 Patrick Seale, Asad p. 329

4 Report from Amnesty International to the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, London 1983

5 Report from Hama by Robert Fisk, The Times, 19 February 1982

6 Daniel Pipes, Hearing before Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, June 14, 2000

? Patrick Seale, The Human Rights Challenge to President Bashar al-Asad, June 21st, 2002 8 Barry Rubin, The triumph of the “Old Middle East"

9 Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role, Report of the Lebanon Study Group, Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, Co-Chairs, May 2000

10 Asad interview with Lally Weymouth, Los Angeles Times, 14 August 1983.
11 Amnesty International, Report 2002, Lebanon
12 BBC news, Wednesday September 4, 2002
13 U.S. State Department, 2001 Human Rights Report, Lebanon.
14 William M. Mercer Companies LLC, 13 January 2000.
15 MEED Weekly Special Report, 14 January 1999

16 Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role, Report of the Lebanon Study Group, Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, Co-Chairs, May 2000

17 Catholic Center for Information.

18 Testimony by Ambassador Philip C. Wilcox, Jr., Coordinator for Counterterrorism, before the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, Washington, DC. July 25th, 1996

19 Matthew Levitt, Syria and the War on Terrorism.
20 Dr. Reuven Ehrlich, Terror weapon as instrument of Syrian policy
21 Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Reuters Thursday, September 5, 2002
22 Dana Priest and Douglas Farah The Washington Post, Monday, July 1. 2002

23 Syria's chemical and biological weapons by Dany Shoham Middle East Quarterly Summer 2002

24 Remarks to the Heritage Foundation by John R. Bolton, Under Secretary for Arms Control and, International Security, Washington, DC, May 6, 2002

25 Ibrahim Hamidi Daily Star newspaper

26 Ending Syria's Occupation of Lebanon: The U.S. Role, Report of the Lebanon Study Group, Daniel Pipes and Ziad Abdelnour, Co-Chairs, May 2000

27 Undersecretary Edward Walker's testimony, Hearing before Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, June 14, 2000

28 Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, p.453 29 President Harry S. Truman's address before a joint session of Congress, March 12, 1947 30 Patrick Seale, Asad, p. 495


EXECUTIVE OFFICER, CONOCO INC. (AUGUST 29, 2002) Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee:

I appreciate this opportunity to provide written testimony regarding the Syria Accountability Act of 2002 (H.R. 4483) and its potential consequences for the security and economic interests of the United States and our allies.

I would like to begin by thanking the Subcommittee for its efforts over the past year on behalf of the American people and the business community as you have worked tirelessly to ensure our safety and economic viability during this difficult time. On September 11, members of the al Qaeda terrorist network tried to cripple our economy by striking the World Trade Center in the heart of New York's financial district and to destabilize our government by attacking the Pentagon to symbolize the vulnerability of our national defense. Thanks to the dedication of Congress and the Administration, America responded to this aggression with strength, resolve and resilience.

The business community requires a safe environment to pursue opportunities and create jobs during this volatile time. As Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conoco Inc., I am responsible for the safety and well being of thousands of employees working in over 40 countries. Our company fully supports and is grateful for your efforts to root out the scourge of terrorism. We do feel compelled, however, to share our concerns with respect to H.R.4483 which we believe to be flawed.

The primary purpose in submitting this testimony is to share my conviction that the goals of the Syria Accountability Act cannot be achieved by the methods presented in H.R.4483. The objectives of this legislation are unlikely to be achieved be


• Unilateral sanctions have an abysmal track record for accomplishing their in

tended goals as they are quickly undermined by foreign companies that replace American trade and investment within the targeted country. American companies and workers always suffer the negative consequences of unilateral

sanctions. • At a time when the alleviation of poverty and public diplomacy are under

stood to be vital tools in the war against terrorism, this proposed legislation would subvert the positive contributions American businessmen and women have traditionally made to raising standards of living throughout the world

and serving as visible representatives of America's values and way of life. • Syria remains an important partner in the quest for a comprehensive Middle

East peace and in the effort to identify and eliminate remaining al Qaeda cells. This legislation is counterproductive to the United States' interests by reducing the Syrian government's motivation to assist the U.S. on these vi

tally important issues. The most likely outcome of this legislation is that American businesses and workers will be harmed as companies like Conoco Inc. are forced to abandon investment opportunities and ongoing business operations in Syria. The American business community willingly, and with pride, sacrifices to protect our national interests and those of our close allies. We cannot, however, support legislation that punishes U.S. businesses, sacrifices American jobs and jeopardizes important regional relationships with almost no chance of advancing and further protecting U.S. interests.

INEFFECTIVENESS OF UNILATERAL SANCTIONS In February 1999, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published the results of an eighteen-month study on the effectiveness of unilateral economic sanctions as a tool of foreign policy. The study was conducted with the input of over 150 present and former members of Congress and the Executive Branch, business leaders, and foreign policy experts. The purpose was to determine whether the implementation of sanctions had led to desired modifications of the following countries' policies—Vietnam, Cuba, Iran, China, and Myanmar (Burma). The results of the study were strikingly stark: "comprehensive unilateral sanctions did not accomplish their primary foreign policy task in any of the five countries”. 1

The aim of economic sanctions is to coerce the targeted regime into changing its policies or behavior by subjecting it to the consequences of economic decline. In theory, one path to success for such sanctions would be manifested by a progression from domestic discontent due to economic turmoil, to popular unrest and uprisings, to eventual weakening or removal of the targeted regime.

The fallacy of imposing unilateral economic sanctions is that their punitive effects are inevitably undermined by foreign companies that increase trade and investment with the targeted country as U.S. firms exit. To address this inherent deficiency of unilateral sanctions, Congress has also attempted to create the effect of multilateral sanctions by passing U.Š. laws that have extraterritorial reach. Such laws have proved to be paper tigers as foreign governments usually refuse to recognize their validity.

Given a very poor record on the effectiveness of past unilateral sanctions, my question to the distinguished members of this subcommittee is “What evidence exists that the Syria Accountability Act will succeed where other unilateral sanctions policies have failed?” If the legislation under consideration today is passed, nearly 400 American companies currently doing business with Syria will soon be replaced by their foreign competitors with little likelihood of any correspondent benefit to U.S. foreign policy or national security.

1 “Altering U.S. Sanctions Policy: Final Report of the CSIS Project on Unilateral Economic Sanctions," Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 1999, pages vii and 16.

PRIVATE SECTOR PARTICIPATION IN THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM In the aftermath of September 11, Americans struggled with questions like “Why do they hate us?” and “How can we ensure that this never happens again?" An examination of the root causes of terrorism has led us to two primary problems that must be solved if we are to ultimately triumph over this great evil.

The first problem is the widespread economic decline of many Middle East countries which gives rise to despair, anger, and deep frustration. While most regions of the developing_world have advanced over the past twenty years, the economies of many Middle East countries have declined. Since 1980, the region's population has doubled while its share of world trade has dropped from 20% to 6% today. Foreign direct investment in the Middle East has shrunk 75% since 1985. Seven of the ten largest Arab nations plus Iran still remain outside the WTO while virtually all major Latin American, Asian, and African economies are members.2 These negative trends must be halted to give the people of these countries more hope for jobs, prosperity for their families, and personal advancement, thereby reducing the appeal of extremism.

The second problem is that we have not been effective in communicating America's values and ideals to the people of the region. This is made more difficult since we have little business presence and few Americans in the region. The crucial nature of American public and commercial diplomacy has been recognized by the President and Congress through a number of new initiatives.

Last November, Charlotte Beers was designated the new Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, responsible for educating and influencing the attitudes of foreign audiences. More recently, Congress passed the Freedom Promotion Act allocating $135 million to expand U.S. media programs throughout the Middle East. President Bush created a fully staffed Office of Global Communications to coordinate the Administration's foreign policy message and supervise the positioning of America's image abroad.

The Bush Administration and Congress are considering additional initiatives to foster economic, political and educational reform in the Middle East and to promote democracy in the region. These programs have been referred to as a Marshall Plan for the Middle East. The fundamental premise is that engagement, rather than isolation, is more effective at producing desirable changes in public policy.

Although the lack of economic progress in the Middle East combined with gross misunderstandings about the United States are serious problems, I believe America's businessmen and women abroad can participate in the solution. By continuing or increasing our investments in the Middle East, American companies promote the need for rule of law, American values, sanctity of contracts and the importance of market reforms. American companies contribute significantly to an improved standard of living in countries where they operate through local employment, education and access to healthcare. American businessmen and women establish lifelong friendships with their neighbors and colleagues and in doing so they serve as living “Voices of America” that broadcast our values and culture through hundreds of daily interactions.

The Syria Accountability Act, however well intentioned, will do great harm by depriving the United States of the private sector's valuable role in the war against terrorism-a role which costs U.S. taxpayers nothing. I'd like to share the story of Conoco's operations in Syria to illustrate the power of commercial diplomacy and highlight the contributions made to raising the standard of living in Syria and generating goodwill toward the United States.

CONOCO INC. OPERATIONS IN DEIR EZ ZOR, SYRIA (DEZ GAS) Conoco commenced operation in August 2001 of a $430 million project designed to capture previously flared natural gas and use it to fuel the generation of electricity and supply Syria's gas infrastructure. The project was completed two months ahead of schedule and $30 million under budget due to the extremely high standards adhered to by our employees during contract negotiations and construction.

Conoco's positive impact upon the expectations of its Syrian employees began during project construction when crews worked over 6 million man-hours with only one lost workday injury. This is truly exceptional safety performance on an industry scale, although our goal is always zero injuries. Our commitment to creating a challenging work environment with ample opportunities for advancement is also evident in Syria where all new employees undergo three months of intensive English language instruction before their technical education begins. Highly advanced training programs prepared 200 Syrian employees to manage the added responsibilities of operating and maintaining the processing plant.

2 Gresser, Edward, “Draining the Swamp: A Middle East Trade Policy to Win the Peace,” Progressive Policy Institute, Washington DC, January 2002.

The DEZ Gas project has also had an extremely positive impact upon Syria. Conoco has contributed greatly to energy conservation and efficiency, as well as emissions reduction and infrastructure modernization, by capturing 175 million cubic feet of gas each day that was previously flared for more than 15 years. This volume of gas recovery, put into more relevant terms, is equivalent to the energy required to power more than 400,000 households in the United States every day.

Other benefits include the near elimination of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) imports as a result of the LPG recovered from the Deir ez Zor plant. Carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by more than 5.5 million tons per year as gas flaring has ceased and clean burning natural gas has replaced heavy fuel oils for manufacturing and power generation. Syria's natural gas pipeline system has been expanded by 250 kilometers, allowing for greater industrial development and further electrification of rural areas. These important contributions to economic progress have helped raise the standards of living of our employees, their families, and all Syrians who depend on energy resources, thereby mitigating the radicalizing effects of poverty.

An added and especially gratifying benefit of Conoco's presence in Syria is the wonderful new friendships that have served to counteract negative images of American culture and society. Through everyday interactions with their Syrian neighbors and colleagues, I know that our employees challenge stereotypes of the U.S. and create enormous goodwill toward America. Recently, we were involved in the rescue of a four-year-old boy named Ahmed who had fallen 132 feet into a water well near the DEZ Gas facility. Conoco employees used an oversized 'fishing line' to snag Ahmed’s pajamas and pull him to safety. After treatment for hypothermia at the Deir ez Zor hospital, he soon recovered and the rescue team gained the friendship of Ahmed's overjoyed family.

It's difficult for me to understand how the Syria Accountability Act can strengthen our national security when its immediate result will be the loss of opportunities like these to gain the goodwill of the Syrian people. Commercial cooperation, which has long been an essential instrument in America's foreign policy arsenal, will be lost if this legislation is passed. The CSIS report emphasizes this point by stating, “policymakers both in the Congress and in the Executive Branch should have greater confidence that U.S. engagement will have more influence on target countries than the sharp curtailment of bilateral interaction." 3


As Congress deliberates the merits of this legislation, it must carefully consider the many national security interests that it will affect. I am extremely concerned that passage of the Syria Accountability Act may negatively impact our ability to defend against the continuing threat of al Qaeda and impair the already fragile chances for peace in the Middle East. Additionally, many throughout the Arab and Muslim world will view this legislation as another example of lack of balance in U.S. foreign policy as they strive to understand why their plight is less recognized.

The Middle East conflict is extraordinarily complex and Syria will have an integral role in any progress toward comprehensive peace. It is for this reason that Secretary of State Powell expressed the Administration's strong opposition to H.R.4483 in letters to Congress saying, “The imposition of new sanctions on Syria would place at risk our ability to address a range of important issues directly with the Syrian government and render more difficult our efforts to change Syrian behavior.” 4 More recently, President Bush reiterated this message to Congress stating, “Imposing the new sanctions regime envisioned by the Syria Accountability Act would limit our options and restrict our ability to deal with a difficult and dangerous regional situation at a particularly critical juncture.”



Critics question the patriotism of the business community by implying that our pursuit of profits makes us indifferent to the national security threats posed by terrorists or those governments who support them. An article written last year in support of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act summarizes this perspective well

3“Altering U.S. Sanctions Policy: Final Report of the CSIS Project on Unilateral Economic Sanctions,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 1999, pages 17-18.

* Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, Letter to Senator Joseph R. Biden regarding the Syria Accountability Act, May 3, 2002.

5 President George W. Bush, Letter to Congressman Robert I. Wexler regarding Syria's relations with Iraq and the Syria Accountability Act, September 3, 2002.

. It states: "Opponents of U.S. sanctions include some of America's largest and most successful multinational corporations. They stand to gain billions of dollars in potential trade should they succeed in getting sanctions lifted. Put politely, their arguments emit a faint odor of self-interest.” The article ends with the warning that “Lifting sanctions might fatten the bottom line of a few selected U.S. companies, but it would do severe damage to our national security.” 6

These accusations are painful, insulting, and unfounded. I am a former Marine who, like all men and women serving in our military today and those that served before me, was willing to sacrifice my life for my country. My conscience is clear knowing that, without hesitation, I would also sacrifice business profits if I knew the United States would be stronger and safer as a result.

American companies understand that the strength of our balance sheet is dependent upon the strength and security of the United States, which in turn is dependent upon a favorable outcome in the war against terrorism. There is no doubt that our vital national security interests and commercial business interests are aligned.


The negative impact of sanctioning Syria extends far beyond multinational energy companies. Almost 400 U.S. companies—large and small conduct business directly with Syria in a wide range of sectors including medical supplies, computers, hotels, energy services, auto manufacturers, electronics, heating/air conditioning, etc. Many other companies benefit indirectly as sub-suppliers to those who conduct business directly with Syria.

The DEZ Gas project illustrates the tremendous multiplier effect one Syrian investment had on U.S. companies and American jobs. This project alone generated $60 million in additional revenues for over 150 U.S. companies, many of which were small to medium-sized businesses. I urge Congress to consider the costs of this legislation to American businesses, workers, and the economy at this fragile time.

I would like to emphasize that the costs of these sanctions, though significant, would be borne by the business community with gratitude if we believed the security of our families, our companies, and our country would be strengthened as a resust. Unfortunately, this legislation requires the sacrifice of jobs and livelihoods for a unilateral sanction that: a) most experts believe will be absolutely ineffective in eliciting a positive change in Syrian behavior; b) eliminates private sector participation in American public diplomacy; and c) dismisses Syria's potential role in resolving the Middle East conflict and eradicating remaining al Qaeda members.


Our objection to the Syria Accountability Act is underscored by the need for real solutions that will prevent another terrorist attack on our country. We must stop al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, find a solution to the Middle East conflict, minimize the radicalizing effects of economic stagnation, and build goodwill toward the United States. The Syria Accountability Act will accomplish none of the above. On the contrary, the sanctions prescribed as the means to achieve its goals are counterproductive to its ends and could do much harm to our foreign policy and security interests.

PATRIARCH DISCLAIMS AOUN'S SUPPORT OF U.S. SANCTIONS AGAINST SYRIA Patriarch Sfeir says the Maronite Church is disinterested in the Syria Accountability Act of the U.S. Congress and wants no harm to befall Syria. But we want to be sovereign and independent and make our own decisions instead of having others taking them for us.

His statement in the course of an interview with the BBC was seen by the local media as "resetting the course of the church” on an unflinching determination to terminate Syria's tutelage over Lebanon without resorting to violence or external assist


Obviously rejecting Gen. Aoun's public support to the Accountability Act, Sfeir said this is a strictly American affair and the Lebanese should not interfere with U.S. affairs. We want the best of neighborhood relations with Syria.”

6 Timmerman, Kenneth R. “Q: Should the United States Renew the Iran Libya Sanctions Act?”, July 2, 2001.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »