The WORLD LEBANESE ORGANIZATION
P.O.Box 977 New York, NY:10185-0977
www.wlo-usa.org e-mail: email@example.com
November 16, 2000
Madam Madeleine Albright,
Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington DC 20520
Dear Madam Albright,
In follow up to our meeting at the State Department , we would like to draw your attention to the fact that several political and spiritual forces within the Lebanese civil society have openly demonstrated their opposition to the continuing occupation of Lebanon by the Syrian forces.
* An appeal issued by the Council of Maronite Bishops last month in which a clear call for the redeployment of the Syrian forces was made public. The Maronite Church, one of Lebanon's most important spiritual components, clearly stated that the continuation of the Syrian military presence in Lebanon was in violation of the Taif agreement. The Council of Bishop also
defined those forces as "occupation forces," indicating that a major component of the Lebanese civil society was in opposition to the de facto situation.
* Several prominent speeches by members of the newly elected Lebanese parliament, including Dr Albert Mukhaiber, Mr Boutros Harb and Pierre Amin Gemayel, have openly asked for the redeployment of the Syrian forces and for the containment of their roles. Dr Mukhaiber radically accused the Syrian army and intelligence of occupying the country and oppressing its population, while Mr Gemayel feared that the Syrian role is denying the Lebanese their rights for freedom and political development.
* However a very important statement made by Druse leader, member of Parliament Walid Joumblatt created a wave shock among the Lebanese population , when he officially asked the Lebanese Government to redefine Syria's military role in Lebanon, to seek a redeployment of its forces and to call for a democratization of the Arab authoritarian regimes. The statement of the leader of the Socialist Progressive Party is historic as it declares for the first time since 1976 a clear position as to the presence of the Syrian forces in Lebanon. His statement was endorsed by dozens of Christian, Druse
and Muslim intellectuals who appeared in the Lebanese press. Furthermore, left wing parties such as the Communist Party,
Nationalist parties such as the National Liberal Party, the Aounist Movement and the Lebanese Forces Party, and centrist Christian parties such as the Christian Social-Democratic Party also endorsed Mr Joumblatt speech.
* In addition to the parliamentary, spiritual and political spectrum, several main stream student organizations on most Lebanon's campuses have not only endorsed the cited releases, but also vividly criticized the Syrian occupation and the political suppression created by its ramification. Furthermore, Lebanon's human rights groups and particularly the Associations for the Lebanese detainee in Syria have also accused Syria of illegally detaining hundred Lebanese citizens and torturing them.
* Finally, a second statement by the Council of Maronite Bishops issued yesterday reconfirm the rejection by a growing coalition of Lebanese communities of the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. We would like to underline that the opposition to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon is growing deeper, and stronger. Today this occupation has acquired the following characteristics.
1) From exiles, it has reached large domestic segments of the Lebanese society.
2) From exclusively former resistance forces, it has reached spiritual, parliamentary and student segments of the society.
3) From mainly Christian, its has encompassed Druse and other Muslim elements of the society
4) From right wing, it has widened to encompass center, liberal and left wing forces.
5) From political and partisan, it has the endorsement of human rights and civil society groups.
Therefore, the World Lebanese Organization (WLO), believes that the Lebanese opposition to Syria has developed a national, popular, political, and democratic dimensions which should be considered as legitimate by the international community. The WLO calls on the United States Government to consider the claim by many Lebanese that Syrian occupies Lebanon, as legitimate and deserving international support. We urge the US Government to seize the international institutions and start the process of pressuring Syria out of Lebanon.