LACC: Lebanon's Sovereignty, Independence, Freedom, and Unity Integral to Regional and International Security and Stability

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2023-09-29 | 02:34
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LACC: Lebanon's Sovereignty, Independence, Freedom, and Unity Integral to Regional and International Security and Stability
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LACC: Lebanon's Sovereignty, Independence, Freedom, and Unity Integral to Regional and International Security and Stability

LACC: Lebanon's Sovereignty, Independence, Freedom, and Unity Integral to Regional and International Security and StabilityThe Lebanese-American Coordinating Committee (LACC) considered the attack on the US Embassy building in Awkar deserves deep condemnation, deeming it as an "indicator of a serious security fragility." The committee emphasized the "necessity to complete the investigation with the perpetrator until its conclusion and its announcement to the public."
On another note, the committee viewed the Lebanese Parliament's failure to elect a president as stemming from the obstructive approach practiced by the Hezbollah team and its allies. They attempt to impose their candidate, obstruct the quorum, and create a pretext for the heads of parliamentary blocs to engage in dialogue in a manner inconsistent with the spirit and provisions of the Lebanese constitution.
Accusing the "Mafia-Militia alliance system" of thwarting any agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the committee considered its success leading to the "isolation of Lebanon from the Arab and international economic network, of which it has always been an integral and creative part."
The "Forces of the Existing Order in Syria," from the regime to Iran and its militias, and Russia, were urged to facilitate a safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees in coordination with the United Nations. This call aims to halt their dangerous repercussions in Lebanon, especially with the deepening presence of Palestinian refugees. The statement emphasized the continued support of the United States for the legitimate Lebanese military and security apparatus, including the Lebanese Army and internal security forces, to enhance their resilience in any path of regaining sovereignty and state-building.
The committee's statement highlighted Lebanon facing existential threats to its identity and the risk of collapse due to the depletion of its constitutional institutions. For almost a year and a half, Lebanon has suffered a presidential vacancy, with a caretaker government connected to the Iranian-Syrian axis at the sovereign diplomatic level. The governance and public policy have been affected by corruption and the fragility of legislative and oversight work in the Parliament due to obstruction tactics employed by the alliance between the widespread corruption and militia, holding the Lebanese people hostage.
The Lebanese-American Coordination Committee (LACC), comprising eight American-Lebanese organizations: the American Lebanese Policy Institute (ALPI-PAC), The Assembly for Lebanon (AFL), The Lebanese American Renaissance Partnership (LARP), Lebanese for Lebanon Foundation (LFLF), Lebanese Information Center (LIC), Our New Lebanon (ONL), Shields of United Lebanon (SOUL), World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU), and The Civic Influence Hub (CIH) as the Lebanese advisory organization to the committee, closely monitors with deep concern the ongoing collapse facing Lebanon at all levels. It emphasizes, based on the highest American and Lebanese interests, as well as the joint American-Lebanese interests, the following:
1- The shooting at the US Embassy in Lebanon is a matter of deep condemnation, indicating a serious security fragility. It calls for the security and military forces to tighten measures to protect the Lebanese people and friends of Lebanon. The Lebanese-American Coordinating Committee welcomes the Lebanese security forces apprehending the perpetrator and emphasizes the need to complete the investigation and announce it to the public to reveal the motives behind this reprehensible crime.
2- The inability of the Lebanese Parliament to elect a President for more than a year (since September 2022) is attributed to the obstructive approach practiced by the Hezbollah team and its allies. At times, they attempt to impose their candidate, and at other times, they hinder the quorum. Recently, they devised a pretext for the heads of parliamentary blocs to engage in dialogue, which does not align with the spirit and clear provisions of the Lebanese constitution. The constitution explicitly states that the election of a President should take place through a parliamentary vote within a constitutional timeframe, with the duty of the Parliament's presidency to open consecutive sessions until this task is accomplished. Therefore, it is crucial to halt the subversive actions against the constitution and return to the culture of the state, protecting Lebanon's national security and the humanitarian safety of its people.
3- The blatant violation of Lebanon's state sovereignty by the coup carried out by Hezbollah and its allies against the constitution and legitimacy, as well as Resolutions 1559, 1680, 1701, and 2650, is alarming. This includes recent attempts by Lebanese diplomacy to pressure for changes in the tasks of UNIFIL, military and security messages from the Ain al-Hilweh camp to Palestinian refugees, ongoing smuggling across the eastern border with Syria, and the organization of convoys of Syrian refugees entering Lebanon through illegal crossings. Additionally, reports of the expansion of military infrastructure for Hezbollah and Iran on Lebanese territory pose a danger to Lebanon and its people. The elimination of activists striving for Lebanon's sovereignty, freedom, and independence further necessitates an elevated examination of supporting the process of reclaiming the sovereignty of the Lebanese state using its legitimate military and security forces instead of normalizing relations with forces undermining the status quo under the guise of maintaining stability and avoiding a civil war.
4- The deepening financial gap and the commitment to the path of economic and social collapse by the mafia-militia alliance system, by obstructing any agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and persisting in the destruction of public administration, confirm that the current system is incapable of taking any reformative steps. Instead, it serves as a cover to isolate Lebanon from the Arab and international economic network, of which it has long been an integral and creative part. Consequently, this points towards an organized displacement of the Lebanese people in all their capacities, implying a programmed change in Lebanon's cultural identity. Addressing this requires intensifying pressure on the obstacles to reform in Lebanon.
5- The exacerbation of the crisis of Palestinian refugees over 75 years since 1948, and subsequently the Syrian refugee crisis since 2011, has demographically, economically, socially, and culturally impacted Lebanon. While we were seeking a solution to the crisis of Palestinian refugees in line with United Nations resolutions and the Lebanese constitution, the Syrian refugee crisis requires a broader approach beyond pure humanitarianism. This involves exerting pressure on the forces in Syria, from the regime to Iran and its militias, and Russia, to facilitate safe and voluntary return, especially considering the looming demographic change threatening Lebanon's identity. This necessitates a calm discussion with the European Union and the Arab League, with the hope of receiving support from the United States.
6- The Lebanese military and legitimate security forces, led by the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces, have become the last line of defense for the culture of the state in Lebanon. They remain obligated to fulfill their duties in defending Lebanon and its people, both territory and population, against any external or illegitimate internal aggression. This is especially crucial given the numerous attacks on Lebanese citizens, their properties, and the failure of the military and judicial forces to defend them and protect their rights. This situation may lead to a shift towards a equation of personal self-defense, taking matters into their own hands outside the state's authority. The military and security forces are also concerned with regulating border crossings, stopping smuggling, preventing the influx of Syrian refugees, and protecting public and private freedoms. The continued support of the United States and providing the necessary resources for their resilience is vital in any path towards regaining sovereignty and nation-building.
7- The entrenchment of a culture of impunity in Lebanon is dangerous, evident in the obstruction of the investigation into the Beirut port explosion on August 4, 2020, and the Lebanese diplomacy's reluctance to pursue the cases of detainees, abductees, and those hidden in Syrian prisons. It also involves preventing the pursuit of embezzlers of public funds and those responsible for squandering the deposits of the Lebanese people, both residents and expatriates. Therefore, it is crucial for the United States to support the call for the formation of an international fact-finding committee on the Beirut port explosion through the United Nations Human Rights Council. Additionally, efforts should be made to include the cases of detainees, abductees, and the hidden in Syrian prisons within the tasks of the United Nations committee responsible for that, particularly to continue exerting pressure on corrupt individuals in Lebanon and those obstructing the democratic process in the peaceful and regular transfer of power.
The committee emphasized its concern for preserving Lebanese-American relations in a way that serves the interests of both the Lebanese and American people. While closely monitoring recent leaks regarding the possibility of delineating the land borders between Lebanon and Israel, the committee is also concerned that such delineation should prioritize the Lebanese-Syrian borders to enhance Lebanon's sovereignty, independence, and unity. The committee expressed deep gratitude for the ongoing support provided by the United States to Lebanon on various levels.


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