"Lebanon in the
Regional Game of Occupation"
By: General Michel Aoun
(Translated by: Elias Bejjani)
17 July 1998
Syrian President Hafez al-Assad is scheduled to give a significant speech
today at the end of his recent three-day visit to France. This coincides with
the commemoration of a previous speech in which he unveiled the Syrian decision
to send troops into Lebanon
On this occasion, we dream that Mr. Assad will announce a decision to
withdraw his troops from Lebanon after having accomplished his declared mission
of "restoring peace and sovereignty" to this threatened and tortured
Such a decision will be in the interests of all parties involved in the Middle East crisis, as well as those engaged in efforts
to promote a longstanding peace settlement. It will confirm the credibility of
the Syrian regime, both in its own eyes and in the eyes of the whole world. Syria will be portrayed as an element of
stability in the Middle East.
Abiding by the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 520 calling for
the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon
(sooner or later) will lift Syria
into the ranks of countries that respect the law. It will also change its
international status from a country accused of territorial expansionism and
terrorism, to a status that enables it to point out with fairness those who do
not respect international covenants and resolutions.
By withdrawing from Lebanon, Syria will be able to foster an internationally
positive stance, whereas maintaining its occupation of a "sister"
country (Lebanon) puts it in a very weak legal position for two transgressions:
first, against the Arab League Charter and second, against the United Nations
charter. Syria will get no
credit for claiming that the people of Lebanon requested the occupation of
their country. Such a claim is considered automatically invalid because nobody
made such a request. Even if such a request was in fact made, it occurred after
the the Syrian invasion took place as an effort to
compromise with an already established occupation force.
I said "we dream" because we wish to have a normal relationship
provided its regime proves its intentions towards us.
On the other hand, if Syria
does not implement UN Resolution 520, this gives Israel
a simple, clear and straightforward justification for remaining in the Golan Heights. The simple equation is this: if occupation
of land and sovereignty is permissible between "brother countries",
then why can it not be so among enemies?
It would have been fully understandable if Israel
had occupied our land and used it as a hostage chip to impose a solution on Syria. But what
is incomprehensible is for Syria
to keep Lebanon hostage to
the justification to keep its occupation of a Syrian land. We are afraid that coordinated Syrian-Israeli attempts to hinder any kind of
withdrawal of troops from Lebanon
is a planned, mutual conspiracy to normalize both occupations through
the passage of time.
The Lebanese cause is fair, clear, and extremely simple. Accordingly, the
media and some international communities are complicating it in order to
camouflage their devious pursuits. We are fed up with the circuses held around
the graves of our martyrs. Dear fellow Lebanese: wake up and call for the
implementation of UN Resolution 520.