The Syrian role in Lebanon and its legitimacy
By: George Khoury, A True Lebanese
Lccc Foreign Affairs Chairman
Let us be frank and clarify the whole issue about Taef and the Syrian role in Lebanon objectively and respectfully. It has become very clear that discussing the Syrian presence in Lebanon is a taboo. It is rejected with threats and muscle flexing by Syrian collaborators any time someone dares to bring the issue into the open. The call to normalize Lebanese Syrian relations, the regaining of independence and sovereignty are not limited to the "Taef Accord". This Accord has handed Lebanon to Syria on a silver platter, which in turn, Syria has ignored since September 1992, the date set for the redeployment of its troops toward the Bekaa Valley as the first step followed by a final redeployment by end of 1993.
It is essential for all those involved to respect the decisions of the world community. This does not fall in accordance the Taef accord, or any other for that matter, taking under consideration Lebanon's democracy, and sovereignty guaranteed by the UN chapter for all its members.
Using the "Taef Accord" for pressuring Syria to end its occupation of Lebanon would be a small token compared to the many resolutions mandated by the world community against Syria since 1978. The "Taef Accord" calls for respecting Lebanon's sovereignty and independence with emphasis on the withdrawal of all foreign forces and the deployment of the Lebanese army over the Lebanese territory.
Here is a summary of these resolutions:
To start was UN resolution 436 in 1978 which called for a seize fire between the Syrian army and the Lebanese militias as a direct result of the Syria assault against the heart of the Lebanese authority in Fayadeyeh barracks in Beirut. The UN resolution 436 changed the role of Syrian forces from a peacemaker, and made them a part of the conflict once engaging its troops in the internal affairs of the Lebanon. Such direct involvement of the Lebanese conflict pushed late President Sarkis to wave the threat of resignation and asked that the Syrian forces to be re-deployed according to what the Lebanese government deems necessary. The Syrian respond was to pull out from Beirut area after a 100 day of shelling, and replaced them with Saudi forces instead.
The wishes of the world community have been derived from UN resolution 436 and 520 which call for preserving Lebanon's independence and sovereignty with respect to its international borders, and the deployment of the Lebanese army throughout Lebanon, along with high level decisions placed by the world community from the Vatican, the French presidency, US Congress and the European community in relation to the Lebanese detainees, human rights and so fourth.
Most of these agreements linked to the years of 1990 and after September 1992, the date for the redeployment of the Syrian army toward the Bekaa Valley and the full compliance of resolution 520 by 1993 in accordance with Lebanon's independence, and the release of all prisoners in Syria with the respect of human rights by end of 1994 making resolution 520 one of the highest priority of the world community.
Starting with year 1997 and after the decision of the European community calling for all detainees to be release from Syrian jails, the argument of the Taef accord was replaced with the compliance of resolution 520 through different stages by US congress, and the French parliament calling for the liberation of the land of Cedar form Syrian occupation.
Such demands were escalated into asking the UN for a special forces in Lebanon while the American Congress insisted on the deployment of the Lebanese army and no other.
The focus of all the decisions made concentrated on conducting a new and free election in Lebanon as a prove of Lebanon's independence and the capability of self-ruling.
What are those mandates and how important are they?
A strong battle flared up in 1978 around the Fayadeyeh in Beirut between the Syrian and the Lebanese army, and soon it spread into the Lebanese Christian resistance around the suburbs of Aeen Alremani, Alsheyah all away to Baabdah district. Another round of battles floured up again around Oct time frame the same year for 100 days, were East Beirut fell under heavy shelling causing the death of hundreds of civilians; which pushed the Security Council to call an emergency meeting and draft resolution 436 and for the first time declaring the seize fire in between the Syrians and the Lebanese resistance.
US congress declared its complete support for Lebanon's independence and free choice; it also declared Syria failure of redeployment to the Bekaa Valley is in complete violation of the Taef accord and insisted that Syria withdraw its troops to the Bekaa Valley without any delays including all the Mukhabarat in Lebanon. Aside from asking Syria to pull out the US congress asked President Clinton to stop all aids to Syria until complying in full with resolution 520, and showed a concern over the election conducted in 1992 calling it fraudulent as it did not have equal representation of all the Lebanese people.
Mr. Federico Mayor declared in 7-5-1995, that Lebanon should be doing more toward regaining its complete identity and specifically stated the following: "I look forward to see the land of cedars free of all foreign entities".
12-6-1995 a Catholic team (Synods) in Rome called for the compliance of the Taef accord, the release of all prisoners from Syrian jails and the return of all exiled people. On 12-15-1995 the same team called for the withdrawal of the Syrian and the Israeli army and the deployment of the Lebanese army throughout Lebanon. On 2-29-1996 Catholics Bishops around the US urged the US law makers to block any attempt aimed at jeopardizing the sovereignty of Lebanon as peace package deal in the region as the report stated headed by Bishop Daniel Eli.
The European community.
The French Parliament declared in 7-26-1996 in a telegram sent directly to President Jacques Chirac claiming that the Parliamentary election in Lebanon is not legitimate and it does not represent the will of the Lebanese people, and on April 3-1998 the European parliament released unanimously declared a 4 points resolution calling for the release of all Lebanese detainees in Syrian jails liking it directly to the Barcelona accord with high concern for what might be the outcome of all Lebanese detainees in Syria, and urged all representatives to work directly with the Lebanese, and the Syrian government in order to secure the release of all detainees.
The Security Council convened in Oct 17-1982 after the assassinations of President elect Bashir Gemayel condemning all acts of violence especially against the Israelis, and called of respecting Lebanon sovereignty, and the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon. However, prior to resolution 520 the French President François Miteron declared on Oct 1982 at a press conference, that there are 3 armies occupying Lebanon today. The Israelis. The Syrians and the Palestinian army all at once.
The European Parliament and the Americans
Many reports was released in between 1982 and 1990 in regard to the Lebanese situation, and especially the one by the special team formed by the Arab league to find a solution for the Lebanese conflict, however all failed in favor of the Taef agreement which led Lebanon slowly into poverty and dismay. Such reality forced the European community and the Americans to change the whole strategy toward the Lebanese situation starting 1990. To that effect the European Parliament called for all foreign forces to leave Lebanon on June 13,1992, and requested the world community to supervise a new and free elections and criticized the neglect of the world community toward the Lebanese conflict for the last 15 years. On July 4th 1992 US Congress drafted an agreement conducted by George Mitchell and Senator Bob Dole claimed, that Syria enjoys a lot of influence over the Lebanese government and still has around 40,000 troops stationed in Lebanon which will make it impossible for any free election in the country, stating that the Taef accord called for the withdrawal of all Syrian troops toward the Bekaa Valley by Sept of 1992 paving the way for a complete withdrawal from Lebanon, and the preparation for UN troops to be send to Beirut if necessary.
The insistence of withdrawal.
US Congress reconvened again on 5-22-1993 when President Clinton was asked to pressure Syria to comply with resolution 520 unanimously once more by 7-3-1993.
US Congress and the French Parliament.
Going by the recommendation presented by Senator Michael Forbes to US senate session 106 on July of 1999, the following was decisions number 2056 was drafted calling for the withdrawal of the Syrian forces from Lebanon under the Logo of the (Regaining of Lebanon's independence in 1999) consisted of 6 pages; urging the US government to work toward securing Lebanon's independence, and the withdrawal of the Syrian forces. On the other hand the French counter part released a report on Feb 13, 2001calling it the French Parliament accord for a free Lebanon, which stated for the first time, that the Syrian occupier of land of Cedar standing in the way of a true democratic process in Lebanon, focusing on resolution 520 and the release of all Lebanese detainees, and free election.
All has released many statements in regard to the illegitimate presence of the Syrian army in Lebanon, and the unification of the Lebanese under on central government with equal representation. It also focused on the Palestinian issue and the sovereignty of Lebanon, with emphasis on the suffering inflicted on the Lebanese people in general.
The agony of the Lebanese people is well known around the world today, no one can hide it or deny it. However, all Lebanese are asking how come the world community does land a helping hand since they are fully aware of the situation. The argument is legitimate, but as we all witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union and the regaining of freedom around Eastern Europe was done by the inhabitants of those country after they endured years of suffering and hunger under the communist regimes which changed history of years to come.
Long Live Free Lebanon