A Message of Understanding, not of Challenge
By: Minister Issam Abu-Jamra
(Translated from Arabic by Dr. Joseph Hitti)
04 April 2003

No sooner has the war neared its end that a few countries, parties, and individuals began switching sides. And as soon as Baghdad falls, many more of the remaining countries, parties and individuals will belatedly come crawling. For victory could be achieved at any moment, and a post-victory switching of sides would be useless because the America of after September 11, 2001, is an altogether different America.

The weapons of mass destruction are one of the causes of the war, but are certainly not the only cause. Oil is one of the causes of the war, but is certainly not the only cause. The security of Israel is one of the causes of the war, but is certainly not the only cause.

The principal cause for this war in the Middle East is the axis of evil and America’s first objective today is to decimate it. America’s security in the world and the security of its interests across the globe are some of the causes, but the security of America in America is all the cause.

It is for this single reason that the axis of evil, the countries that gave it birth, and the countries that sustain it, are the targets of the wars that were waged after September 11, 2001, those that are waged today, and those that will be waged tomorrow. These wars are waged for the purpose of changing the regimes of these countries, for changing how these countries deal with their peoples, and for pushing the political and social customs of these peoples forward so that they come to be founded on secular democracy. The foundation of secular democracy is the freedom of the individual, and one’s respect for the security of others, the least of which is one’s security in one’s own country.

The axis of evil is not only in Afghanistan, and Iraq is not the first or the last country to give it sustenance and support. And if Iraq is strategically important because of its geographic location in this war, there are countries next door where cells of the axis of evil and other fanatical and near-hysterical movements abound. And I mean Syria and Iran, both of which have never stopped helping these movements to grow and spread and commit criminal acts that kill innocent civilians in their homes and offices and wherever else they may be. These civilians have nothing to do with the events that prompt these axis of evil movements to terrorize others for the purpose of leveraging some influence or proving their worth within the international community.

Why doesn’t Iran get the message and cease its support to Hezbollah in Lebanon so that it becomes a political party like all other parties? Hezbollah has become ineffectual against Israel and there is no need for it to be under arms in Lebanon.

And why doesn’t Syria get the message? Obviously not through its mouthpiece Ghazi Aridi who declared yesterday “ We and Syria have seen through the new imperialist scheme, and Syria plans to fight against this scheme as it fought the May 17 Accord and the Israeli occupation of South Lebanon.”

In contrast, we will know that Syria got the message when it begins to reform itself, starting in Lebanon which it should evacuate completely, along with all the weapons that are present with Syria’s knowledge and means in the hands of the militias, the religious gangs, and the Palestinian camps.

We will know that Syria got the message when all those who were forced into exile from Lebanon because of the Syrian occupation are called upon to return. When all those it imprisoned to achieve its stability are released so they participate in free elections on the basis of the small electoral district, so that true representatives of the Lebanese people can form a government to rule Lebanon on behalf of the Lebanese people.

We will know that Syria got the message when it acts to move beyond its totalitarian system of government inside Syria and replace it with a democratic form of government. To give the Syrian people its freedom in Syria and to develop Syria and move it forward within its environment. To keep away the specter of war that is now knocking at its door.

All of this we say before it is too late. And may the aware realize that this message is to help understand, and not to challenge.

N.B: General Issam Abu Jamra is a minister in the Lebanese military legitimate transitional government that was forced out of office and out of Lebanon by the Syrian occupation army in 1990. Minister Abu Jamra has been living since 1990 in exile (Paris-France)