Aoun: Hezbollah is a terrorist group
Lebanon 's Former Prime Minister Seeks Freedom from Syria
September 12, 2002
Hizbollah are terrorists and are under 100% Syrian Control.
We should first disband the terrorist groups, and then democratise the region
CBN.com – Syria is a nation which is known to support terrorism, but for years its agenda of subversion in Lebanon, Israel, and elsewhere has gone unchecked. Now Congress may vote on the Syria Accountability Act. To learn more about the persecution of Christians, and the threats posed by Syria, Pat Robertson spoke with General Michel Aoun, the elected Prime Minister of Lebanon who was forced from power when Syrian forces seized control of Lebanon.
PAT ROBERTSON: Just think, Lebanon was a model country, a beautiful country, and the Christians elected the president. The Christians have roughly half of the population of Lebanon, it's a little less than 50 percent now. But they are second class citizens, they're being trampled underfoot by the Syrians, and nobody seems to be doing anything about it.
With me is General Michel Aoun who is the former prime minister of Lebanon and the former commander-in-chief of the armed forces. General Aoun, delighted to have you with us on The 700 Club, welcome . Tell me about Hezbollah. We hear about the terrorist group Hezbollah. What relation do they have to Syria?
GENERAL AOUN: Hezbollah is not a separate entity from Syria. It is under the Syrian operational control.
ROBERTSON: The so-called terrorist group is under the operational control of Syria?
AOUN: Yes, 100 percent, no question about that.
ROBERTSON: I understand that Damascus is the headquarters of a number of other terrorist organizations that have received aid and assistance from the Syrians. Can you tell us what they are, those other terrorist organizations?
AOUN: There are about 11 organizations of terrorism in Damascus. Among them, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front and the General Command Front of the Palestinians [Liberation Army], all of them are listed in the United States as classified as terrorist organizations.
ROBERTSON: I understand that there were estimated as many as 10,000 Katyusha rockets that were moved from Syria into Lebanon to reinforce Hezbollah against Israel. Is something like that the case?
AOUN: Yes, since Lebanon was occupied by Syria, they extended the base of their terror operations to Lebanon, and they are stationed in Syria, but they act from the Lebanese territory.
ROBERTSON: Bashir Assad [leader of Syria] made a shocking statement that you called into account. He said that all Israelis are combatants and therefore there's no such thing as an innocent civilian in Israel. Could you comment on that?
AOUN: Yes, during the Arab Summit in Beirut last March, I think, he made this declaration that there is no civilian in Israel, all of them are military.
ROBERTSON: So you can shoot any one of them you want to as a combatant?
AOUN: He did not say it like that directly, but it means that.
ROBERTSON: All right. What happened and how did Syria get control of Lebanon? Lebanon was essentially a Christian country. How did they gain this dominance in the country?
AOUN: They first destabilized the country by opening the Syrian borders to the Palestinians and they came from Syria with the refugees who were stationed in Lebanon. Together they destabilized Lebanon and called it a civil war, but it was not a civil war.
ROBERTSON: Then they came in to stop the so-called civil war that they engendered?
AOUN: They created it. That's what we call in military terminology "indirect strategy." You make a problem and then you come to solve it.
ROBERTSON: What is the danger to world peace? We are engaged in a war on terror and yet the Syrians are in the United Nations Security Council how can that be?
AOUN: It's a big contradiction that we have to solve in the world. Because people, the terrorist regimes, they are still, you know, having good stature in the world. And there are terrorist regimes like Syria that are generating terrorist organizations. Therefore, I propose a plan that first, to disarm the organizations; second, to democratize the regimes; and then to help them to develop their country.
ROBERTSON: What do you think of President Bush's initiative to go against Saddam Hussein to help democratize Iraq? Is that a wise course or not?
AOUN: I would like personally to see that all of the United Nations resolutions be implemented. And if Iraq complies with these resolutions, maybe it would be a happy end for everybody.
ROBERTSON: Okay. What is happening to the Christians? When I was there in 1972, Beirut was the Paris of the Middle East, a beautiful city, and then little by little it's been torn asunder. What is the role of a lot of the Christians now? What is being done to them in Lebanon?
AOUN: They are rejected as second class citizens and they don't enjoy liberty and freedom. And they are threatened.