Alliance With Bin Laden
NEW YORK – Syria has again declared its support for the Hezbollah terrorist group, in defiance of President Bushs recent public appeal to Syria to stop supporting terrorist groups.
In his Mideast policy speech on June 24, 2002, President Bush said: Syria must choose the right side in the war on terror by closing terrorist camps and expelling terrorist organizations.
According to the State Departments May 2002 report, Patterns of Global Terrorism, numerous groups that are on the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations have facilities in Syria and Syrian-occupied Lebanon, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the PFLP-General Command, the Abu Musa group, and Hezbollah. Syria continues to provide safe haven and logistics support to these groups, the report stated.
Hezbollah has been responsible for numerous attacks on Israelis and Americans, including the car-bomb massacre of 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut in 1983. In addition, Bush administration officials recently revealed that Hezbollah increasingly teaming up with [Osama Bin Ladens] Al Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations including coordination on explosives and tactics training, money laundering, weapons smuggling and acquiring forged documents [this] will enable a hobbled Al Qaeda network to increase its ability to launch attacks against American targets. (Washington Post, June 30, 2002) There have also been media reports that Al Qaeda terrorists fleeing Afghanistan have been given sanctuary in Hezbollah camps in Lebanon.
Nevertheless, Syria has again declared its support for Hezbollah. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (July 2, 2002) reports that in defiance of President Bushs plea, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad rejected U.S. calls to stop supporting Hezbollah gunmen in Lebanon. Syria supports the Lebanese national resistance, including Hezbollah, Assad said in an interview Monday. He also rejected U.S. pressure to expel Palestinian terrorist groups based in Damascus
Morton A. Klein, National President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), said: President Bushs appropriate appeal to Syria must be followed up with action; when it comes to terrorist regimes such as Syria, words are not enough. The administration should respond to Syrias embrace of Hezbollah by declaring its support for the Syria Accountability Act, which would impose diplomatic and economic sanctions on Syria until it stops supporting terrorists and ends its illegal occupation of Lebanon.