The spotlight on Syria
By Joseph Farah
What do the following members of the House of Representatives and U.S.Senate have in common?Dick Armey, R-Texas; Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.; Rick Santorum, R-Pa.I'm sure you agree this group represents some very diverse political thinking €“ the full spectrum from left and right in U.S. Congress.But besides all being members of the elite club in Washington, what do they share?
The answer is they represent the major forces behind the "Syrian Accountability Act 2002" €“ bills in the House and Senate calling for the liberation of Lebanon from Syrian occupation. "As a state sponsor of terrorism, Syria has supported and provided safe haven to several terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine," said Boxer in introducing S. 2215. "This is in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions that call on U.N.
member states to refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons in terrorist acts."
Boxer continued, on behalf of herself and Santorum, "Syria is also in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolutions that call for the sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon. More than 20,000 Syrian troops and security personnel occupy much of the sovereign territory of Lebanon and it is time for them to leave."
I can't remember the last time I agreed with Barbara Boxer on anything, but when she is right, I stand with her. And on this issue, I am happy she is taking the lead. In the Middle East debate, we often hear about "occupied territory" being at issue. However, to be accurate, there is only one Middle East nation occupied by a foreign country. That country is Lebanon. And I believe solving this problem and freeing Lebanon may well be the key to peace in the region.
Why is Lebanon the key?
As I keep saying, the achievement of peace is futile without the achievement of justice and freedom. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the former U.N. ambassador, said back in the 1980s that free nations seldom attack one another. This is an important and profound point that has been completely obscured in discussions about the Middle East. The Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East, which comprise 99.9 percent of the landmass of the region and populations in the hundreds of millions, are uniformly totalitarian dictatorships. The only free nation in the region is the Jewish state of Israel, representing one-tenth of 1 percent of the landmass and a few million people now living under virtual siege, surrounded by a sea of human hostility.
What chance is there for meaningful peace under such circumstances? None. Which is why Lebanon is the key.
Of all the Arab nations, Lebanon alone has a recent history with responsible self-government, the rule of law and genuine freedom. Thus, there is an excellent chance of restoring liberty there if only it can be freed from the oppression and domination of its ruthless neighbor Syria.
What an opportunity we have to restore freedom and self-government to a state now known more for its terrorist bases than for the rule of law. When President Bush declared his war on international terrorism, he told the world that "every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make ... either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists ... from this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." Syria more than fills that bill. Not only does Damascus harbor and support terrorism, it has turned its smaller neighbor into perhaps the biggest base of operations for dozens of terror groups.
Lebanon was once a showplace of freedom in the Middle East. It can be again. But not without help. The "Syria Accountability Act of 2002" could be the start. If you would like to show your support of this legislation, here's how:
Call, fax, or e-mail your representative and your senators.
Contact the following officials in the executive branch:
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1414
Fax: (202) 456-2461

Vice-President Dick Cheney
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Phone: (202) 456-1111
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Switchboard: (202) 456-1414

The Honorable Colin Powell
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20520
Phone: (202) 647-4000
Fax: (202) 261-8577

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
The National Security Council
Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg.
17th St. & Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20504
Phone: (202) 456-9491

***Joseph Farah is editor and chief executive officer of and writes a daily column. Get an autographed, first-edition copy of Joseph Farah's 1996 book, "This Land Is Our Land," published by St. Martin's Press.