Across the Bay

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Ackerman Introduces Resolution to Back the Lebanese Government

Heartening news about the enduring, bipartisan support in the US for Lebanon and the Lebanese government against the terrorist onslaught by Syria and its allies, regardless of the change of leadership in Congress.

Rep. Ackerman's statements are absolutely on the mark (compare to Bill Harris' piece). Kudos to him. Note who co-sponsored the resolution: Tom Lantos and Darrel Issa, both of whom had visited Damascus.

U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, today introduced a bipartisan resolution expressing the support of the House of Representatives for Lebanon's government, and affirming continued U.S. readiness to provide material and economic assistance in order to help protect Lebanese sovereignty and independence. Condemning Syria and Iran for their ongoing roles in providing arms to Lebanese militias, particularly Hezbollah, and Palestinian factions, the resolution calls for "prompt action" by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon established by the UN Security Council to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005.

"What's been happening in Lebanon is aggression in the classic sense of the word" said Ackerman. "What we have been seeing is not an ordinary political stand-off, but rather a concerted effort by Syria, Iran and their Lebanese proxies to prevent the creation of a genuinely sovereign, democratically governed and non-confrontational Lebanon."

"The current Lebanese government is both legitimate and representative of the majority of Lebanese” Ackerman added. “The attempts to undermine it through a campaign of assassinations, rioting and demonstrations, bombings in public places, threats to establish an alternative extra-constitutional government, and the instigation of a jihadi insurgency are not responses to anything the Lebanese government has done. Lebanon's government is being systematically attacked only because it is unwilling to subordinate its authority and sovereignty to external and extra-legal demands."

"Quite simply, Lebanon is being bullied” said Ackerman. “And in light of this, I think the United States and the entire international community are obliged to come to its aid. The resolution I've introduced today is intended to show support for Lebanon and for all those fighting to preserve its sovereignty and the independence of its government."

The resolution is co-sponsored by Representatives Mike Pence (R-IN), the ranking Republican on the Middle East and South Asia Subcommittee, Tom Lantos (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Charles Boustany (R-LA).

Noting the growing prospects for a political crisis, or even the return of civil war, Ackerman has scheduled a hearing in two weeks to bring more attention to events in Lebanon.