Lebanon is a deeply rooted country,
but not Syria.
From Souk Al-Karieb to Sikes-Pico
By: General Michel Aoun

(Translated by: Elias Bejjani)
Published in Arabic on July 24/2000

(Syria's Defense Minister General Mustafa Tlas delivering a eulogy on Syria's late President Hafez Assad's forty day remembrance in which he said, "Syrian achieved marvelous military victories when it conquered Souk-Al-Karieb, (a Lebanese town in Mount Lebanon), and Lebanon has never been an independent State in history."

General Michel Aoun responded to Tlas's mockery in a release published on July 24. Aoun said: "We can understand that it is Mr. Tlas's duty to deliver a eulogy on the forty days remembrance of the president who made him a minister all through the era he spent in power. Giving the eulogy in itself is a Syrian internal issue that is not of our business. What really concerns us as Lebanese is the ongoing, shameful, deliberate twisting of facts practiced by Syrian leaders when talking about their political achievements and projects. They give themselves a political historical identity that does not in reality exist. They endeavor to impose their mockeries through an ideological speech intended to stir emotions, but devoid of all needed scientific and practical components that could secure its progress and continuity.

A thorough response to Mr. Tlas's mockeries and to others who address the geo-political status of the Middle East necessitates a full review of the Sikes-Pico agreement that was reached between France and England in 1916. The two countries divided among themselves responsibilities and influence in the Middle Eastern region. The thorough response also requires full knowledge of the contents of the decisions taken by the UN League congress in April 1922. The congress decided on the role and mission of both France and England in the region. Denoting these agreements by a word of rejection or acceptance is not more then an individual political stance devoid of any significant importance. Such opinions are usually born dead because they camouflage reality and truth needed to give credibility to a political, social and economical status.

Syrian stance rejecting the Sikes-Pico agreement indicate covertly that Syria is actually rejecting its own existence as a state. One might comprehend from such stance that Syrian leadership would prefer to go back to the Ottoman era and its Ottoman province System. The utmost ambition through that obsolete system offered a local governor (Wali) instead of an Ottoman ruler. It also indicates that France and England dismantled certain Arab existing states to establish artificial ones, like the current republic of Syria.

In fact there was an Arabic plan to establish one big strong Arab State, but it did take place for many reasons stemming from the will of both countries in power at that time, France and England. This fact was taken into consideration when the borders of the current Middle East countries in the region were decided. We do not wish to debate or dwell on these reasons or on the aims of such decisions due to the fact that we do not intend to involve again the foreign countries in our own affairs. These countries (France and England) were initially behind the decision to establish new countries in the region. Meanwhile although these issues mean a great deal to us and effect our future and the everyday life of our own people, they are not any more a concern for France or England..

I personally believe that the best response to Mr. Tlas's mockeries will be through displaying historical facts. Displaying facts in accordance to their chronology in a bid to put an end to this forgery of history.

First Fact: Lebanon, both the distinguishable political identity and people has expressed itself in many forms. Without dwelling deeply into Lebanon’s remote history, we know that it was an independent entity at least at the beginning of this century. More specifically in the year 1517 at the beginning of the Ottoman era. During that era Prince Faker Eddine, known as the master of the land, (Sultan Al-Baer) established the well-known Lebanese Maani Emirate.

The Maani Emirate enjoyed self-autonomy, had its own army as well as its own foreign independent relations. Lebanese Princes cut numerous accords with foreign countries and fought the Ottoman authority to maintain this kind of independence. Meanwhile the whole surrounding entities, including the current state of Syria were divided into provinces ruled directly by an Ottoman governor (Wali). Syria as it is known today has never been a political, independent identity. The name Syria was given by the Greeks to a geographical area located between Dejla -Euphrates rivers and Phoenicia. Syria was not a name for a state.

In year 1920 the Lebanese entity was recognized as an existing state, and not as a newly established one. At that time the existing borders of the Lebanese Emirate were taken into consideration when the current Lebanese State borders were demarcated. The Lebanese regions that were annexed to the neighboring provinces were returned to the state of Lebanon.

During that era the current geographical Syria was divided into four small provinces, the Alawi province, the Druz province, the Damascus province and the province of Aleppo. The same status prevailed until the year 1925 when the province of Damascus was integrated with that of Aleppo and both were given the name of the State of Syria. The four provinces were joined together in year 1939 and called the Syrian Republic. The UN recognized this newly established republic in year 1941 after it was liberated from the French Vichey troops. Accordingly the current Syrian Republic is a product of the Sikes-Pico greement. Mr. Tlas, who is older then the Republic itself, is no doubt well informed about the history of his country. Without the Sikes-Pico agreement, the French occupation and the UN, current Syria would have remained divided into four provinces fighting each other. I doubt very much that Mr. Tlas is not fully aware of the French documents that exhibit plainly the Alawi's stance in calling for an independent Alawi State. I am sure too that he is fully aware of the names of the Alawi leaders who signed it. We conclude from all these documented facts that Syria is the fake country the French created and not Lebanon. Lebanon is historically a deeply rooted country dating back to when history itself started to be documented, at least for the past 6000 years.

Mr. Tlas's objection and rejection to the outcome of the Sikes-Pico agreement is mere empty propaganda. Mr. Tlas himself owes his existence to this agreement. If Mr. Tlas is genuinely not happy about the Sikes-Pico agreement, he and his Alawi regime will have to cancel it. Syria will then revert to its four provinces previous system. The core of the problem lies in the fact that the Syrian regime is not protesting the agreement. Nor has it complained to the foreign countries that provided it with a margin within which to function. The regime endeavors to attribute all hardships and failures to the Sikes-Pico agreement after it has been unsuccessful in establishing a national unity. Due to its oppressive and hegemonic mentality, the Syrian regime has drifted towards a monopoly in ruling Syria and has camouflaged its behavior with national ideology, that in reality is no more then empty, deceptive slogans.

The Syrian sick mentality takes us immediately from inside Syria to Lebanon where this super Defense Minister (Tlas) has been a genius in his accomplishments, especially in the Souk Al-Karieb battle. He has quoted President Hafez Al-Assad as saying, "Souk Al-Karieb was the battle of all Arabs, in each and every Arabic country. The Syrian Army has played a logistic military supportive role and provided extensive shelling coverage that was not experienced before in the history of warfare art. Souk Al-Karieb fell in the hands of the resistance and the route to Beirut became accessible." Tlas added, "When I informed President Assad of this victory, he responded, 'You have to tell our friends in Lebanon to stop where they are now because the big powers have their national dignity and it is not wise or acceptable to injure it"

We do not know what battle at Souk-Al-Karieb Mr. Tlas meant in his childish and derisive statement because three major battles took place at that Lebanese mountainous town. The first in September 10, 1983, the second in Sepember 22, 1983, and the last in August 13, 1989. In these three battles no attacker was able to conquer the town, while none of the attackers were able to retreat because all of them were killed. The bodies of the attackers were handed over to the Red Cross. The Lebanese Army has never bragged about the fact that it was successful in defeating the extensive Syrian shelling and the huge number of attackers, although it has endured heavy losses and offered great sacrifices.

We could have been very happy if Syrian military support would have been offered to the Lebanese Resistance during the two massive Israeli assaults on Lebanon: the Grapes of Wrath and Accountancy operations. Both assaults destroyed badly Lebanon’s infrastructure. At the same we would have felt better if the Syrians had directed their extensive shelling against the Israelis during the 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli wars and not against the Lebanese and their army. Such practices are considered unforgettable crimes against humanity.It is both shameful and disgusting for Mr. Tlas to brag about his crimes in Lebanon and parade them as military victories. At the same it is pathetic that the subservient behavior of the Lebanese authorities has reached such a stage of advanced blindness and treason. How, for heaven's sake, can the Lebanese officials sit quietly and listen attentively to Mr. Tlas's lies and assaults against Lebanon without summoning the courage to end his delirium-like state.

We have to credit the Syrian regime for its ability to analyze and comprehend the 'facts' in accordance with its twisted and sick mind. This regime apparently has discovered the dignity of the big powers after its defeat and then tried to hide behind it. Its figures are trying accordingly to justify their shameful retreat and defeat in every military battle in which they were engaged.
It is worth mentioning that Mr. Tlas's rhetorical attacks against any brotherly country are usually mere camouflage. They are nothing more than a pathetic attempt to cover certain conspiracies against another brotherly or friendly country. It is definite that the Syrian fleet was not supporting the Lebanese people nor protecting their welfare when it besieged Lebanon from the Gulf to the ocean and cut all supplies.

Even the imbeciles know by now who gave Syria a green light to invade the Free Regions of Lebanon on October 13, 1990. During its barbaric invasion, Syria massacred hundreds of innocent Lebanese civilians and military personnel by hanging, mutilation, decapitating and shooting after a cease-fire was announced. The Syrian regime committed and still commits in Lebanon the most horrible and disgusting crimes. Crimes condemned by all international laws and declarations of human rights.

The only good to come out of Mr. Tlas's statement is that he has openly and publicly admitted that Syria was and still is behind the ongoing war in Lebanon. Mr. Tlas has admitted without a doubt that the so-called 'Lebanese civil war' was and remains to this day the war of others, especially the Syrians, against Lebanon and its people.

The Lebanese minority politicians and mercenary that shared with Syria its devastating war against their country and people are nothing more than a bunch of mere drums. Bereft of all values or conscience, they echo their masters' lie alleging the Lebanese war was a civil one. Under the deceptive cover of these mercenaries Syria executed an international, regional plan that plunged Lebanon into hell. This vicious plan did not and will not rescue
He who is in trouble should keep quiet. We advise Mr. Tlas to do so.
August 8/2000