Rabid Congressional warmongering that places Syria and Saudi Arabia in the crosshairs of the U.S. and Zionist Israel, was the main issue on the agenda of a public forum sponsored by the (CNI) Council on the National Interest (http://www.cnionline.org/), and the Institute for Research for Middle East Policy, a think tank (http://www.irmep.org/). The affair was held on March 17, 2004, in Washington, D.C., in the Holeman Lounge of the National Press Club, not far from the White House.
Panel members for the program included former Congressional candidate, Dr. E. Faye Williams; H. E. Imad Moustapha, Syrian Arab Republic Ambassador to the U.S.; Grant F. Smith, Research Director of the IRmep; Author Steven Zunes, who is a professor at the U. of San Francisco; Robert V. Keeley, an ex-Ambassador to Greece; and Eugene Bird, President of the CNI, a grassroots organization that is dedicated to promoting a “just solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The program was entitled, “Accountability Acts: Implication for U.S. Policy.” It dealt with two Congressional items: First, the ramifications of a law, that was recently signed by President George W. Bush. It was pushed in the Congress by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY). It attempts to impose draconian U.S. sanctions on Syria for allegedly manufacturing WMD and for supporting “global terrorism,” unless the president can certify to the Congress that Syria is in strict compliance. This is the same M.O. used by the Bush-Cheney Gang to justify its invasion of Iraq (“Ten Appalling Lies We Were Told About Iraq,” Christopher Scheer, AlterNet, 07/27/03).
Secondly, a new Congressional Bill was also debated at the Forum. It looks to impose U.S. sanctions on Saudi Arabia, for allegedly “promoting terrorism.” Its leading authors in the Congress are Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Rep. Anthony D. Weiner (D-NY).
Dr. Williams said that the Congressional initiatives were wrong. She advocated a “balance policy” for the U.S. in the Middle East. CNI’s Bird underscored how the Israeli Lobby has a “vise hold on Capitol Hill” and how the country desperately need “an Israeli Accountability and Security Act.”
Professor Zunes sharply criticized the co-sponsors of the law aimed at the Syrians, for their “double standard.” He pointed out how Sen. Boxer, and others in the Congress “had failed to call Israel to account, when for over 18 years it had illegally occupied parts of Lebanon.” He reminded the large, standing room only audience that “Israel was the only nuclear power in the area.”
Syrian Ambassador Moustapha was very indignant over the fact that the U.S. Congress had passed such “a bad law…It is bad for Syria, bad for the U.S. and bad for Israel.” He added, “This law will further weaken Syria in the face of a bullying Israel…It will hold the Middle East hostage to the ‘War Camp’ in Israel…which also has the largest stockpile of WMD in the entire region.” He said that he wanted the American people to know that “Syria was not an enemy of the U.S.”
One of the reasons that I believe Syria has been targeted by the Congress is that it is a champion of the unshakable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Syria has dared to oppose the violence-producing Israeli occupation. Since 1967, Israel stands in defiant violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, and more UNGA Resolutions than any other country on earth, provisions of the Geneva Convention, Human Rights Standards and settled principles of International Law.
Mr. Keeley indicated the two Congressional actions would be counter-productive. He said, “The U.S. should be an honest broker in the Middle East and that it is elementary that we should be even-handed and not take sides.” He continued, “An independent Palestine is within the national interests of the U.S.” He roundly condemned Israel for its barbarous human rights abuses “of the Palestinians” and its so-called, “Separation Wall.” He also demanded “an independent investigation into the Israelis’ killing of peace and justice activist, Rachel Corrie.”
Director Smith of the IRmep spotlighted the fact that the proposed “Saudi Accountability Act” was introduced in the Congress based on the worst kind of weak, heavily biased, and “unverifiable evidence.” He cautioned that if this Act were passed into law, and fully implemented, that it could seriously “cut U.S. exports to Saudi Arabia, cause significant job losses in the U.S., and, possibly, have a severe economic impact on our faltering economy.”
The Saudis, I feel, are being unfairly scapegoated for the 9/11 terrorist attack by the Congressional maneuver. The Saudi-bashers are forgetting about those five suspicious Israelis, who were caught over in New Jersey on 9/11, applauding and photographing the collapse of the WTC (http://antiwar.com/israeli-files.php). After a cursory investigation, the Justice Department permitted them to return to Israel (“The Terror Enigma: 9/11 and the Israeli Connection,” Justin Raimondo).
In 2002, two other ultra hawkish members of the Congress, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT) and Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), who like Specter, Weiner, Boxer and Engel, are suspected of being card carrying Zionists, forced through the notorious “Iraq War Resolution.” It gave a “blank check” to the Bush-Cheney Gang to launch, on March 20, 2003, that blood stained and unconstitutional conflict. It has already cost the nation 567 of its bravest sons and daughters, $107 billion, and caused the deaths of an estimated 10,430 innocent Iraqi civilians (iraqbodycount.net).
The intellectual foundation for these provocative anti-Arab schemes is the now infamous 1996 Middle East policy paper, entitled, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm.” That document was originally prepared for Israel’s Right Wing Benjamin Netanyahu’s regime, by a clique of Neocons, led by Pentagon-insider, Richard Perle. After 9/11, their paper became a huge part of the Bush-Cheney Gang’s militant Middle East policy. It urged, inter alia, a pre-emptive strike against Iraq; “rolling back” Syria and Iran; isolating Palestinian Chairman,Yassar Arafat; and eventually, the toppling of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (See, for more details, “A Bush-Sharon Doctrine,” 02/12/03, Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI, Editor at Large).
In conclusion, it is clear, that a powerful Likud Cabal, in the U.S. Congress, moved by the above mentioned House and Senate members, is hell bent on using their public offices, (which is suppose to be a public trust), and the military and economic might of the U.S., to further destabilize the Middle East and to enhance the hegemony in the area of the Israeli regime of Ariel Sharon. I’m convinced, as was the panel today, that their insidious conduct, into a diplomatic arena traditionally reserved to the Executive Branch, is not in the interest of our Republic.
The only question left is this: Will the American people wake up in time to stop this Israel-First Brigade of mischief makers before they drag the U.S. into yet another immoral, illegal and costly Middle East quagmire?