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As I mentioned in my film, one young woman told me, if you push me, it is still that, but nobody is pushing very much. I believe they are really trying very hard to get along.
The rivalries and the competition between the groups certainly has not disappeared, but the violence, the hatred, the rage that was so evident during the civil war seems to have, for the most part. And that was a very encouraging thing for me to find.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Tanous.
Mr. TANOUS. From our viewpoint, Mr. Chairman, we see pretty much the same thing that Terry Anderson does. There is a great deal of integration between the various religious groups. There is no longer a green line, obviously, and people travel freely from one side to another. There is probably some polarization, socially and otherwise, very much like there is in our country, but by and large there is no evidence, that we have seen from our vantage point over here, of hatred based on faith or other convictions.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Nassif.
Mr. NASSIF. Mr. Chairman, President Gemayel, I think, will tell you later, you know, from experience probably—I don't know if he will discuss this—every time the Lebanese agree on something, there is a spoiler around the corner. Syria wants Lebanon to be divided in order to have an excuse to remain in the country.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Pipes.
Chairman GILMAN. There were a number of reports that the Bekaa Valley was controlled by the Syrians and is one of the largest narcotics substance exporters out of the Bekaa Valley. Can you give us any current status of the drug production in the Bekaa Valley?
Mr. ANDERSON. Yes, sir, that is a subject I specifically investigated, including being briefed by members of the police that I know personally, a couple of the members of my wife's family, about the crackdown in the Bekaa Valley that took place about 2 years ago.
Most of the drug crops, in fact virtually all the drug crops, are gone. There are still—as you heard, the State Department people said there are still some laboratories around and still some drug running, but the flourishing trade, the flourishing open trade, is virtually gone, with the assistance, by the way, of Syria.
I remember seeing the Bekaa Valley when I first arrived in 1982 and being stunned by the greenness of the valley as seen from the mountain, until I got down to the valley and found the green valley was all hashish plants from horizon to horizon.
Chairman GILMAN. It is one of the largest hashish producers in the whole world.
Mr. ANDERSON. They are no longer there. I have been up and down the Bekaa Valley, talked to police, talked to critics, and that part of the drug trade is certainly gone.
Mr. Nassif, you wanted to comment?
Mr. NASSIF. It is a big story in the daily Al-Hayat, a respected Arab newspaper out of London, and 2 days ago they had a big report talking about how the Lebanese in the Bekaa Valley are starting again to grow poppies because of the dire economic situation in
the country. So this will conflict, I think, with Mr. Anderson's assessment.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Tanous.
Mr. TANOUS. Mr. Chairman, our information pretty much parallels Terry's. And, frankly, the source of much of this information is a very good one, I think. It is all the various U.S. intelligence services, which suggests that 95 percent of the drug problem in the Bekaa Valley has been eradicated.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Pipes.
Mr. PIPES. I think it is accurate to say that most of the drug cultivation has been eradicated. However, the laboratories and the processing are flourishing, flourishing as never before, making Lebanon an even more important way station than in the past. Drug trafficking is thus even higher than it was in the past. But there has been a basic shift from actual hill-to-hill production in the Bekaa Valley, which does not exist much anymore, to sophisticated laboratories.
Chairman GILMAN. Our Committee has received several press reports linking Hizbollah to the production and distribution of cocaine and heroin, not hashish. The reports say the drug money plays still a major role in financing of Hizbollah's military campaign against Israel and terrorist operations abroad, and also is an important money maker for Syria.
According to the State Department's recent annual reports on narcotics control, “Many small home type labs for processing opium into heroin are still reported to operate in the Bekaa Valley in areas that are not fully controlled by either Syrian forces or the Lebanese Government.
Would you want to comment on that report?
Mr. PIPES. Well, as I said, the emphasis now is on exactly what you pointed to, the processing of drugs into their final state, a very lucrative industry and one which all reports indicate the Syrians are profiting from very handsomely.
Mr. ANDERSON. Sir, I would like to comment on one part of your statement, and that is the characterization of Hizbollah as a terrorist organization. Believe me, I have no doubt whatsoever that there are those within Hizbollah who engage in those sorts of activities, but Hizbollah is also a legal political party with seven Members of Parliament in Lebanon and an extensive social network.
I do not know the extent to which those who engage in violence exert power over the activities of the party, but I suggest that it is a good deal more complicated than simply labeling all of Hizbollah as terrorists.
Chairman GILMAN. Any other questions?
Mr. RAHALL. Mr. Chairman, if I might, I want to refer to this alleged continuing drug traffic. From my last meeting with the State Department officials on this issue, the mobile labs are a problem. They are much like SCUD missiles, hard to locate them and eradicate them. As far as the permanent big production labs, they have been eradicated.
Also in reference to what Mr. Anderson just said. One of my major concerns, which I expressed to Secretary Christopher in person, and I expressed to President Clinton in person, following the massacre at Qana last April, is that Hizbollah gained tremendous recognition for social work they provided the people of the area and medical assistance. We came in, maybe, and provided $1 million in U.S. aid. Israel said they were going to provide some money. They may or may not have; I am not sure.
But nevertheless, there was a tremendous vacuum left in providing medical assistance to innocent civilians who had been hurt in that raid. Therefore, it left a vacuum that, quite honestly, Iran stepped in, and provided for financially. As unfortunate as that is, it was the fact of the matter, and we were hand-tied, or something prevented us from taking the necessary steps to fill that vacuum first.
Mr. ANDERSON. May I comment, Mr. Chairman?
Mr. ANDERSON. If I may just very briefly, sir, believe me, I am the last person to support or defend Hizbollah. I may have forgiven them, but I still don't like them very much. But I believe it is important to recognize that they have made a major step in change in becoming involved in political structure in Lebanon, in running for office, and then serving as parliamentarians. They have a stake in stability in that country now which they never had before, and I think it is important to recognize that as an important part of the reconciliation process within the country.
I do not excuse them for past crimes or endorsements of violence. I am encouraged that, at least verbally and in their present actions, they seem to be stepping away from that road.
Chairman GILMAN. Do any other panelists want to comment?
We have been receiving some reports that Hizbollah has improved its military tactics against Israeli soldiers in the south of Lebanon and also acquired more sophisticated weapons. According to Israeli sources, Hizbollah has acquired advanced antiaircraft weapons similar to U.S. shoulder-fired Stingers.
What do we know about the acquisition of advanced weapons by Hizbollah, and has the arms supply from Iran and Syria increased or decreased in recent months? Do we have any information?
Mr. PIPES. Well, as you indicate, Mr. Chairman, there does seem to be an increase in the supply of more advanced weapons to Hizbollah. In my understanding, these are to be used in a timely fashion when appropriate, against Israel or perhaps against other enemies of the Syrian Government.
Mr. RAHALL. In the occupation zone.
Mr. PIPES. Yes, in the south of Lebanon, but also against targets within Israel proper, as happened in April of last year, in the events which led up to Qana.
Hizbollah, like many radical Islamic organizations, has several faces. It is both an independent group with its own ideology and at the same time it has close connections to the Iranian and Syrian Governments. It is in some ways a servant of those governments. On the one hand, it is a genuine terrorist organization; on the other, it achieves its goals through the provision of services and through electoral success.
What counts more than the specific acts, be they violent or political, are the ultimate goals of Hizbollah and these are very clearly enunciated by their quite brilliant and very articulate leaders.
plies where “Islam is the solution” holds reign, and where nonMuslims will be under the thumb of this Islamic rule. It is an aggressive State against its neighbors and against the West. For all these reasons, Hizbollah is a group that we must be very wary of.
Chairman ĠILMAN. Mr. Anderson. Mr. ANDERSON. One disagreement with Mr. Pipes. Hizbollah has officially and publicly abandoned its stated goal of turning Lebanon into an Islamic State, officially recognizes it as a multi-ethnic State, and professes to accept that these days. They say although they would, of course, love some time in the far future to have Lebanon be Islamic, they realize it cannot happen and it is not their goal anymore.
As far as their fighters in the south, you are quite right, sir, they have become more skillful over the years. That is only to be expected. The stupid ones get killed. And they have adopted very efficient tactics which military observers in the area judge to be very professional for low-level guerrilla conflicts, which is what they are waging, and judge that the battle between the Israeli Regular Army, the Southern Lebanese Army Militia, and Hizbollah, is pretty much of a face-off. I mean, six of one and half a dozen of the other. They can keep it up for a long time and fully intend to do so. They have gotten pretty good at it.
Chairman GILMAN. Are there any further comments?
I want to thank our panelists for your very astute testimony and giving us a better insight on problems. We appreciate your taking the time to be with us.
Chairman GILMAN. We will now move to our third panelist, former President Amin Gemayel. Our final witness this morning is His Excellency, Amin Gemayel, the former President of Lebanon during the turbulent years of 1982 to 1988.
We thank you, Mr. President, for taking the time and being patient to wait through our testimony.
President Gemayel studied law at the University of St. Joseph in Beirut. In 1970, at the age of 28, he became the youngest member of the Lebanese Parliament. He was elected President of the Republic in 1982, several weeks after the previous President, his brother, Bashir Gemayel, was assassinated.
I think it was about that time that we visited with a congressional delegation, Mr. President, and met with you in the fortress up on the hill.
After leaving the Presidency, President Gemayel accepted a position at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard. Apart from his political activities, President Gemayel has established several nonprofit organizations to promote a dialog among Lebanon's various factions and to study the social, political, and economic issues facing that country.
President Gemayel is the author of several books, including the most recent, Rebuilding Lebanon's Future, published by Harvard. President Gemayel currently lives in France and has traveled a great distance to be with us today.
We thank you and welcome you to Washington once again, Mr. President. We are most pleased you are able to join us, and we look forward to hearing your assessment today about Lebanon's past.
Mr. LAHOOD. May I say one word? I made a commitment to give a talk to some people at 2:30 on the Senate side, so I am going to stay. If I leave, it is only because I have to maintain that commitment. Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this. This means an awful lot to many of us.
Chairman GILMAN. We thank you for being here.
Mr. President, you may put in your whole statement or summarize it, whatever you deem appropriate. Please proceed. STATEMENT OF AMIN GEMAYEL, FORMER PRESIDENT OF
LEBANON Mr. GEMAYEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope that you are not too tired after such a long session, especially with such a complicated issue as Lebanon.
Thank you for inviting me to appear before your Committee today. I speak on behalf of the vast majority of my people who refuse to surrender their freedom and sovereignty, and who refuse to accommodate the foreign policy aims of outsiders. I speak for those who refuse to accept the false peace which has been imposed on them.
I do not wish to repeat what has been said by so many others who have preceded me today, Mr. Chairman, including your own fine and accurate and inspiring opening statement. Therefore, I will skip my prepared statement and ask that it be included in the record.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
President GEMAYEL. Mr. Chairman, in contrast to what the State Department and some other friends say this morning, Lebanon is rapidly becoming, to quote your own words, a Syrian "Client State”. This description is very accurate because Lebanon is indeed becoming a client city and State.
appreciate that the State Department and others are obliged to use diplomatic language since they must deal with the current Government of Lebanon, but I am here to say that my country is no longer independent and that the Syrian grip is tightening in such a way that it may not be irreversible if the international community does not act now.
Also, some Lebanese and perhaps some foreign friends as well, have had experience in our country and may have been struck with the Stockholm syndrome. That may explain some of their comments today.
What is actually happening, Mr. Chairman, is that Syria is ripping apart our basic institutions, our basic national institutions. The constitutional change on Presidential terms, which you have mentioned, is a tragic example.
The renewal of the mandate of President Harawi ironically was announced in a foreign city during a press conference given by a foreign leader during a visit to Egypt. President Assad's action dramatically illustrates the importance of this issue as it demonstrates the extent to which the sanctity of Lebanese institutions has been disregarded in changing the term of the Presidency; they have cast aside our most basic safeguard against dictatorship.
Another point to emphasize what Mr. David Welch mentioned