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Lebanon

March 11, 1994

* In their article "Long a Haven for the Lawless, Beirut Declares War on Crime" (Feb. 19), Mark Fineman and Marilyn Raschka gave the impression that a new age of law, order and calm has dawned in Lebanon. Contrary to their claims, Lebanese citizens are subjected to terror, bombing, assassination, abduction and detention without charge. Torture and extortion are widespread under the shadow of Syrian occupation and Damascus continues to harbor terrorist organizations and practice the production and trafficking of drugs in Lebanon. Syria is not a helpful force in Lebanon, as claimed by the article, and Syrian dictator Hafez Assad is not a man of peace in the country.

There is enough at stake for the U.S. to put more than lip service to the issue of Syrian occupation of Lebanon. The country must restore its sovereignty, independence and freedom. The United States should withdraw its recognition of the Syrian-installed Lebanese regime and push for the formation of a provisional government of national salvation that would be charged with organizing free elections under international supervision after the complete withdrawal of the Syrian army and all other foreign forces. Decoupling Lebanon from Syria is the only way to put an end to disorder, instability and the intolerable human rights conditions.

DANIEL NASSIF

Council of Lebanese American

Organizations, Washington

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