The Council of Lebanese American Organizations
March 16, 2003
PR 030316
The Syrian occupation of Lebanon must end, U.S. Declares.

The Council of Lebanese American Organizations (CLAO) is grateful to president Bush's administration stance towards Lebanon. CLAO applauds the publicly stated remarks made by Secretary Colin Powell, the Under Secretary, Arms Control and International Security, the Honorable John Bolton, as well as the ones by his Excellency, the U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon, Mr. Vincent Battle. Indeed, the Syrian occupation of Lebanon must come to an end, as is the time for the Syrian dictator regime to be accountable for its atrocities in Lebanon and in Syria. Syria must disarm and surrender its weapons of mass destruction.

Furthermore, the Lebanese regime is a Syrian-appointed puppet regime. It is not a freely elected government and is unrepresentative of the people of Lebanon. The Lebanese have no one to turn to, certainly not to the imposed regime whose lifeline and survival depend on its relationship with Damascus. Such regime has no other function but to further Syria's interests and certainly not those of the Lebanese people.

Syria has kidnapped Lebanon's foreign policy and its role in Middle East politics. Lebanon is simply not permitted to adopt policies that would support its own interests, which may be in tune with those of the United States. Instead, undesirable decisions are made on its behalf, which directly compounds its own problems. Hence, it should surprise no one that the stance of the puppet regime of Lebanon is a carbon copy to that of Syria's in opposing the U.S. with its just stance for democracy and proper representation of the people against dictator regimes.

Moreover, the Syrian regime is following the same path as that of Iraq by ruthlessly committing atrocities and continuously working to strengthen their threatening arsenal of mass destruction; keeping in mind that the Syrian regime is at least as active in harboring and supporting terrorists trained in Syria and Lebanon. Meanwhile, the Lebanese people are most impacted and are direct victims of such evil policies and should not pay the price of the unwise decisions made by the present regime.