The Legitimacy of Occupation
By: General Michel Aoun
(Translated by: Elias Bejjani)

With the end of Israel's occupation of Lebanon's Southern border strip (Security Zone), all the cheap and deceptive excuses and fraudulent fears, fabricated by Syria's regime to justify 'its' occupation of Lebanon, became resoundingly null. As was expected, widespread calls for the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon have been voiced loudly and on a national wide range scale. These brave calls were also cautioning against the devastating consequences of any parliamentary election carried under the Syrian occupation umbrella. As expected, Syrian-Lebanese joint intelligence bureaus have been deceitfully spreading unfounded anxiety and also justification to their presence in a bid to impose a forced public silence and subservience.

Syria's aim is to portray this silence as a unanimous Lebanese acceptance of its current occupational status quo. At the same time, a Syrian orchestrated campaign is actively and frantically taking place. Lebanon's puppet officials, politicians and clergymen are echoing Syrian statements and sentiments that allege the Syrian occupation of Lebanon is legitimate. The question is, what legitimacy can be granted to the Syrian occupation by puppet Lebanese officials, parties and politicians that are appointed and created by the Syrian regime itself?

The essentiality of national responsibility mandates that each and every Lebanese should fight and passionately contest these Syrian-imported statements and vicious propaganda. This simply means that all of Lebanon's sons and daughters in occupied Lebanon, in Diaspora, in any council or shrine, in their residence or on the street, in a playground, school or coffee shop, no difference - are required to stand tall like their proud, noble and sovereign Cedars high in the ancestral mountains of Lebanon, witness for the truth and negate all these devious Syrian lies and mockeries. All the Lebanese should actively protest, demonstrate and object this Syrian occupation and continuously assert the need for a free and independent Lebanon.

The Syrian presence in Lebanon has never, ever been legitimate in accordance to any legal or ethical criteria. It has never been a Lebanese project even under the umbrella of the Arab Deterrent Forces. This alleged legitimacy (the legitimacy of the Syrian occupation) came as a compromise through a regime totally appointed by the Syrian occupier.

The late Lebanese leader Mr.Raymond Edde, God Bless his soul, had declined from accepting the Presidency post because he adamantly refused to accept the condition that was offered with it. He refused to give any legitimacy to the Syrian occupation and betray his country. Instead, Mr. Edde preferred to commit himself into self-exile in a bid to escape the plots planned to assassinate him.

This imposed Syrian occupation and alleged legitimacy can be judicially challenged. in fact, the Arab Deterrent Forces legitimacy became void and null in year 1982 after late President Elias Sarkis dismantled its leadership and canceled its operation bureau. President Sarkis officially asked the Arab League not to renew the force's mandate in Lebanon. Meanwhile, President Amin Gemayel also asked Syria officially to withdraw its troops from Lebanon on September 1'st of 1983, and I personally made the same request in my capacity as PM.

The Syrian regime has adamantly refused to respond to any of these Lebanese official successive calls and decided unilaterally to keep its occupational forces in Lebanon and continued its assault against the people and the country.

The illegitimate "Taef Accord" gave Syria a free ticket or 'carte blanche' to savagely infringe on all Lebanon's national and public taboos. This 'Accord' was not legitimate in its content, presentation or jurisdiction. It was forced on the Lebanese people through a military invasion; the greatest sin ever inflicted on Lebanon and its people in recent history.

All of the mockery, deceitful and fabricated justifications for Syria's barbaric invasion of Lebanon in 1990, are now crumbling and falling apart. In fact the question of Syria's legitimate or illegitimate presence in Lebanon should not even be an issue any more since the Israeli withdrawal from the South. Syria must unconditionally withdraw all its troops from Lebanon immediately without any pre-conditions.

The other viciously malignant assignment delegated to the intelligence bureaus is to spread rumors and gossip aiming to create anxiety, tension and fear among both, people and religious denominations. It is a proven fact that this imperialistic tactic appeals to the naive people's minds in all societies.

The Intelligence bureaus' vicious agenda is to use these rumors when there is a need to reinforce the 'reasons' for the continuation of Syrian oppression and the presence of the Syrian occupation troops. The most 'important' rumor states that Hizbolla will re-ignite the civil war in an attempt to control the whole country and cancel the role of all other religions. Another rumor says that the Christians will cancel all of the Muslim's gains when Syrian troops withdraw from Lebanon.

On behalf of all the Lebanese citizens that I represent, I stress on the following facts that differentiates us, the Lebanese, from other peoples and countries:
The people of Lebanon have enough self-confidence and they are capable and qualified to face all circumstances, under any given condition in a civilized and democratic manner.
The people of Lebanon have great confidence in their fellow citizens, especially in those with whom they do not see things eye to eye.
No matter what religion, denomination or political group the Lebanese are affiliated to, still all of them share Lebanon's concepts and beliefs of freedom, sovereignty and independence.

I call on the Lebanese people all around the world to support an ideal Lebanon for their children, their future, for all their loved ones who have died in the name of  "Free Lebanon", for the regional milieu and for the whole world. A Lebanon that will be erected on reciprocal respect, tolerance and equal partnership among its people. A Lebanon that will be distanced from any attempts of any one community to impose hegemony on another. A Lebanon in which each of its different ethnic communities will advocate for its integrity, identity, sovereignty, and humanity in other countries, and not a representative for other countries in Lebanon.

We the people of Lebanon can establish this ideal free democratic, human and civilized Lebanon through a civilized free dialogue without any foreign custody or guardianship.

The nation that is built with a free will can establish peace and healthy relations with itself and the surroundings.

Long Live Free Lebanon
France 5/6/2000