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Lebanese freedom fighters are pleading with the U.S. to help liberate Lebanon by approving H.R. 4483, the Syrian Accountability Act of 2002.
Ziad Abdelnour, president of the U.S. Committee for a Free Lebanon, says his organization lobbies for the bill so that Syria will no longer control “everything” in Lebanon.
“It’s a Gestapo state [in Lebanon],” he said. “It’s exactly France occupied by Nazi Germany.”
Abdelnour believes the best way to win freedom for the Lebanese people is through American politics.
“The war in Lebanon is not being played in the Middle East. It’s not played in Lebanon. It’s not played on Lebanese soil,” he said. “We will never win on Lebanese soil. It’s played in Washington.”
The presidency, government and press in Lebanon are all controlled by Syria, says Nagi Najjar, executive director of the Lebanese Foundation for Peace. He says many Lebanese leaders have been killed by Syrians in the past because “they dared to open their mouth” against Syria.
“I hope that the United States this time will take a correct stand on what Syria is doing in the Middle East,” said Najjar.
The current Syrian regime will leave the U.S. and Lebanon no peace, he says. He thinks the Syrian Accountability Act, if passed, will be a major step toward a new Syria.
“You can only achieve peace in this area of the world by being strong,” Najjar told WorldNetDaily.
Launching their own website on July 4 to symbolize their own “longing for independence,” the Lebanese Liberation Party was created out of their frustration with Lebanon’s present dilemma. LLP says Lebanon is occupied by tens of thousands of Syrian troops and intelligence officers and has been the target of artillery attacks, kidnappings and murders.
In an e-mail to WND translated into English by the LLP news department, Elias Youssef, founder of LLP, said, “The Syrian occupiers have a long history of brutalizing the Lebanese people.”
“Just because the Lebanese people choose to fight their occupation with international lobbying, peaceful protests, and words instead of violence does not mean that we are any less desperate,” Youssef said. “I beg of all those who seek to solve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to not forsake us due to our peaceful ways.”
Through their suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism, Youssef explains, Palestinians have drawn world attention to their cause. Yet, because the Lebanese people are “strongly opposed” to committing such “barbaric acts,” their plea for help has gone almost entirely unheard, he says.
“We have noticed that in recent years, the world’s attention has been fixated on the Palestinian/Israeli problem, while Syria is allowed to rampage through our country with little international opposition,” said Youssef.
The stated purpose of the Syrian Accountability Act is to “halt Syrian support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and by so doing hold Syria accountable for the serious international security problems it has caused in the Middle East, and for other purposes.”
Michel de Chadarevian, on the executive committee for the Free Patriotic Movement based in Beirut, Lebanon, said, “We need, for the sake of the United States as for the sake of Lebanon, this bill to pass.”
There are Syrian terrorist camps located throughout Lebanon and Syria that specifically target the U.S., he says. These camps need to be closed, explains Chadarevian, and Lebanon needs to be given its sovereignty.
Chadarevian says what he doesn’t understand is why the U.S. State Department is working to freeze H.R. 4483 by negotiating with Syrian groups. Syria is on America’s list of terrorist states, he says, and yet the U.S. government is collaborating with them.
“You cannot negotiate with terrorists in one region and fight terrorists in another region,” Chadarevian told WND.
The Syrian Accountability Act has Arabic and Syrian lobbyists “worried,” said Abdelnour. They don’t think the act is acceptable and believe it’s “not fair,” so they are lobbying hard against it, he says.
According to Abdelnour, there are around 129 sponsors of H.R. 4483 from the House and around 32 sponsors for its counterpart, S.2215, in the Senate.
Lebanese speaking out against Syria and in support of a free Lebanon, Najjar says, is “crossing the red line,” according to Syria. The Lebanese people are afraid to protest too loudly in their country for fear of what Syrian officials might do, he adds.
Groups that push for Lebanese freedom represent the voice of many Lebanese people that don’t have the power to speak out on their own. Some groups mainly work to educate the public on behalf of the Lebanese cause. Other organizations are actively involved with either Lebanese and/or American politics, working to establish a sovereign Lebanon.
The LLP believes all those who are fighting for the independence of Lebanon must unite to create “one strong and united voice.”
“The voice calling for our freedom and human rights must be a loud and powerful one,” Youssef wrote in an e-mail to WND.
Securing a free Lebanon is a three-step process, according to Abdelnour. Syrian rule must end in Lebanon, he says, because they are only providing chaos, instability, fear and intimidation. The Hezbollah military force must be entirely dismantled, because they are nothing but a bunch of “terrorists,” he said. Lastly, Abdelnour explains, there has to be “drastic” economic changes, because Lebanon is deeply in debt.
Chadarevian stated the cause by simply saying, “We want Syria to leave Lebanon.”