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The "House:" Syria Must Evacuate Lebanon

by Gad Nahshon

(Hartford, CT) -- The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation to impose sanctions on Syria for its continued support of terrorism worldwide. Known as the "Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003", H.R. 1828 requests that Syrian halt support for terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil and illegal shipments of weapons and other military items to Iraq, and by so doing hold Syria accountable for the serious international security problems it has caused in the Middle East, and for other purposes.

On the floor, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay stated that "Syria is a textbook example of what a terrorist state is all about. Despite every olive branch, Syria has continued with its terrorist ways. The times have changed. The United States will not tolerate terrorism and will send that message to Syria through this bill," said DeLay.

"I'm very happy with the Administration's decision to back this bill and send it through the Congress. Let's just remember, Congressman Eliot Engel introduced this legislation last year during the 107th Congress. After Secretary Colin Powell's visit to Syria and several other Congressmen, the Administration finally saw the destabilizing influence that Syria has in the Middle East. This is definitely a productive piece of legislation that will hopefully lead to a regional solution. It's also time to let the Lebanese run Lebanon. This bill addresses the issue of the 17,000-plus Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon," said Ron Dresner, executive director of the Defense USA Coalition, a Connecticut based political action group.

The Four Congressmen that voted against the bill were Representatives Ron Paul (R-TX), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Nick Rahall (D-WV), and Neil Abercrombie (D-HI). Traditionally, Congressmen Flake, Rahall and Paul have consistently voted against any legislation helping Israel and eliminating terrorism in the region.

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