Message from the Lebanese Information Centre (LIC)
Ackerman Resolution on Lebanon Passed by House
25/09/07
HRes. 548 passed today the House of Representatives almost unanimously: 415 Members voted for. (Only 2 voted against: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.)
This Resolution specifies the policy of the U.S. Congress towards Lebanon. It sends a clear message that there in no change in Congress' support for Lebanon's sovereignty and democracy, for the Cedar Revolution and for the Siniora Government. It deals a blow to those who thought that the Democrats in Congress will reverse previous policies towards Lebanon, and will tolerate Syrian interference in this country. Congratulations and Thanks to all of you who helped.
Below Statements from Chairman Gary Ackerman who introduced the Resolution.
Joseph Gebeily
Ackerman Resolution on Lebanon Passed by House
(Washington, DC) Congressman Gary L. Ackerman today led the House of Representatives to pass of his resolution calling for strong U.S. support for the government of Lebanon by a vote of 415 to 2. Ackerman, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, warned the House that "Lebanon is being bullied" by Iran, Syria and their proxies, Hezbollah, Amal and Gen. Michel Aounís Free Patriotic Movement.
Citing the campaign of assassinations, bombings, weapons smuggling and the instigation of a jihadi insurgency, Ackerman slammed Damascus and Tehran for destablizing Lebanon in order to pursue their own national interests.
"Now is the time for Congress to send a strong message of support for the democratically elected and fully legitimate government in Lebanon" Ackerman said. "Time is short. The Syrian-backed campaign of murder is creeping ever closer to its goal of destroying the majority of the Lebanese parliament, bringing down the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, and again imposing a pro-Syrian president on Lebanon."
Ackerman added, "The current Lebanese government, which is under siege, is both legitimate and representative of the majority of Lebanese. The attempts to undermine it are not some kind of retaliation. Lebanon's government is being systematically attacked only because it is unwilling to subordinate its authority and Lebanonís sovereignty to external and extra-legal demands."
The resolution, H. Res. 548 condemns Syria and Iran for providing arms to Lebanese militias, particularly the terrorist group Hezbollah, and Palestinian factions in Lebanon in clear contravention of Security Council resolutions and endorses "prompt action" by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon established by the Security Council to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. The resolution also pledges continued U.S. material support to help preserve and strengthen Lebanese sovereignty and independence.
On September 19, a massive car bomb killed Antoine Ghanem along with 5 other civilians, and left many dozens of innocent bystanders wounded. Mr Ghanem, a member of the Lebanese parliament, and a supporter of the Siniora government, was just the latest in a string of 11 political assassinations over the past three years. As a consequence of this pattern of violence, the Lebanon's ruling March 14 allianceís majority has dropped from 72 to 68 out of 127.
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Rep. Gary L. Ackerman
Statement in Support of H. Res. 548
September 25, 2007
Mr. Speaker, what's been happening in Lebanon is extreme aggression in the classic sense of the word. Through a campaign of assassinations targeting Lebanese parliamentarians and political figures; bombings in public places; threats to establish an alternative extra-constitutional government; and the instigation of a jihadi insurgency by the Fatah al-Islam, Syria, Iran and their boot-licking proxies, Hezbollah, Amal and Aounís Free Patriotic Movement, have brought Lebanonís government to a constitutional crisis. Yet again, outside actors have pushed Lebanon to the brink of civil war for their own selfish interests.
Just 6 days ago, on September 19, a massive car bomb killed Antoine Ghanem along with 5 other civilians, and left many dozens of innocent bystanders wounded. Mr Ghanem, a member of the Lebanese parliament, and a supporter of the Siniora government, was just the latest in a string of 11 political assassinations over the past three years. As a consequence of this pattern of violence, the March 14 alliance is 2 parliamentarians away from being murdered out of their majority.
Now is the time for this Congress to send a strong message of support for the democratically elected and fully legitimate government in Lebanon. Time, Mr. Speaker, is short. The Syrian-backed campaign of murder is creeping ever closer to its goal of destroying the majority of the Lebanese parliament, bringing down the government of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora, and again imposing a pro-Syrian president on Lebanon.
Fearing just this scenario, months ago, I introduced H.Res. 548, with the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, Mr. Pence, with Chairman Lantos, and Representatives Issa and Boustany, two Members whose roots extend back to Lebanon. This bipartisan resolution expresses the strong support of the House of Representatives for Lebanon's elected government, and affirms our readiness to make that support tangible in order to help preserve and strengthen Lebanese sovereignty and independence.
The resolution condemns Syria and Iran for providing arms to Lebanese militias, particularly the terrorist group Hezbollah, and Palestinian factions in Lebanon, in clear contravention of Security Council resolutions.
H. Res. 548 also endorses "prompt action" by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon established by the Security Council to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. Syria must know with utter certainty that the United States will never sacrifice justice in Lebanon to allow Damascus to escape accountability for its crimes.
The current Lebanese government, which is under siege, is both legitimate and representative of the majority of Lebanese. The attempts to undermine it are not some kind of retaliation. Lebanon's government is being systematically attacked only because it is unwilling to subordinate its authority and Lebanonís sovereignty to external and extra-legal demands.
Quite simply, Lebanon is being bullied. And in light of this fact, the United States and the entire international community must come to its aid.
I urge my colleagues to support the resolution