< Back to H.R. 2056 (106th Congress, 1999–2000)

Text of the Lebanon Independence Restoration Act of 1999

This bill was introduced on June 8, 1999, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 8, 1999 (Introduced).

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HR 2056 IH

106th CONGRESS

1st Session

H. R. 2056

To establish United States Government policy regarding the necessity of requiring the full withdrawal of all Syrian military, security, intelligence and proxy forces from Lebanon and the restoration of Lebanon’s independence.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 8, 1999

Mr. FORBES introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on International Relations, and in addition to the Committees on Ways and Means, and Banking and Financial Services, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To establish United States Government policy regarding the necessity of requiring the full withdrawal of all Syrian military, security, intelligence and proxy forces from Lebanon and the restoration of Lebanon’s independence.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Lebanon Independence Restoration Act of 1999’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) The people of Lebanon have a rich, proud, and honorable history dating from biblical times to the present, and Lebanon has been a free and democratic nation for much of its modern history.

      (2) Lebanon and the United States have enjoyed a history of friendship and cooperation which has been witnessed by the immigration of millions of Lebanese to the United States where they and their descendants have contributed greatly to the fabric of American life.

      (3) Lebanon witnessed foreign incursions and occupations during its 15-year civil war. Although that war ended in 1990, non-Lebanese forces still control much of the country. These forces include an Israeli force that controls a 9-mile wide security zone in Lebanon contiguous with Israel’s northern border, and approximately 30,000 Syrian troops, several armed Palestinian factions, and other terrorist groups that control the remainder of the country.

      (4) There is a crucial distinction between the presence of Syrian and Israeli military forces in Lebanon. Israel exercises no control over the Government of Lebanon and in 1998 offered to withdraw unilaterally from the security zone in return for security guarantees, whereas Syria has never recognized Lebanon’s independence, or exchanged ambassadors with Lebanon, and effectively dictates the major policies and actions of the Government of Lebanon.

      (5) Various Lebanese factions signed a peace settlement in Taif, Saudi Arabia, in 1989 as a step toward ending the civil war. This accord provided for the phased redeployment and withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon beginning in 1992.

      (6) The Government of Syria has refused to carry out any redeployment as envisioned by the Taif Accord. Syrian domination over Lebanese politics and political leaders is at the root of the Lebanese Government’s failure to press Syria for a withdrawal of Syria’s occupying forces.

      (7) In addition to its armed forces, Syria maintains a massive intelligence service presence in Lebanon to enforce its control over the Lebanese people.

      (8) Syrian domination is so pervasive that Lebanon has effectively become a Syrian satellite state. This relationship with Syria does not reflect the will of the majority of the Lebanese public. Moreover, Syria has sought to change Lebanon’s demographic balance by the population transfer of as many as 1,000,000 Syrian laborers to Lebanon.

      (9) Syrian domination has prevented Lebanon from developing direct contacts with Israel and participating in the multilateral track of the Middle East peace process.

      (10) Syrian domination has been associated with a deterioration in Lebanon’s human rights situation. Syria has engineered Lebanese election results to its liking, Syrian intelligence units have been implicated in the disappearance of Lebanese citizens, and the Syrian-controlled Lebanese Parliament has imposed curbs on Lebanon’s media, once the freest in the Arab world.

      (11) Syrian domination has failed to curtail international narcotics traffickers or terrorist groups, including Hizballah and the Kurdish Workers Party, that operate in Lebanon under Syrian control.

      (12) Syrian domination has prevented the Lebanese Army from entering southern Lebanon to restore order and stability in that region. Consequently, southern Lebanon has been a staging area for military provocations against Israel by terrorist groups supported by Syria and Iran.

      (13) The United States Congress is concerned about the potential for a miscalculation between Israel and Syria that could inadvertently lead to large-scale hostilities, especially in southern Lebanon. In this regard the Congress views with grave concern Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction, especially chemical and biological weapons and missile delivery systems. Syrian surface-to-surface missiles can reach major urban centers in Israel, Turkey, and Jordan.

      (14) The United States Congress has expressed itself repeatedly in resolutions that insist that Syria make good on its commitments to withdraw its military and security forces from Lebanon.

      (15) It is not in the interest of the United States that freedom and democracy depart irreversibly from Lebanon. Lebanon has a constructive role to play in the search for Middle East peace. It can only do so when it is free, sovereign, and governed by a truly representative government.

      (16) The withdrawal of Syrian and other foreign forces from Lebanon would not only promote regional stability, but also would create the necessary conditions for the restoration of Lebanon’s independence, freedom, and democracy. Truly free elections are not possible with the presence of foreign military and security forces and terrorist groups in Lebanon.

SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    The Congress calls for the following:

      (1) A complete, immediate, and unconditional withdrawal of all Syrian military, intelligence, and security forces and their proxies and all Palestinian and other terrorist forces from Lebanon, to be followed by the eventual withdrawal of Israeli forces.

      (2) Following the withdrawals described in paragraph (1) and restoration of a freely elected, democratic government in Lebanon, the deployment of the Lebanese Army to southern Lebanon to restore order and stability in that region, and for disbanding all armed groups in Lebanon with the exception of the legitimate national armed forces.

      (3) At the same time as the deployment described in paragraph (2), the assurance by the Government of Lebanon for the safety and well-being of all members of the South Lebanon Army (SLA) and their families.

SEC. 4. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS RELATING TO FUTURE PEACE AGREEMENT BETWEEN SYRIA AND ISRAEL.

    It is the sense of the Congress that the United States should not ratify or in any other way affirm, support, recognize, or participate in any peace agreement between Syria and Israel that does not provide for the full and verifiable withdrawal of Syrian military, intelligence, and security forces and their proxies from Lebanon.

SEC. 5. WITHDRAWAL OF NONDISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT FOR IMPORTS FROM SYRIA AND LEBANON.

    (a) WITHDRAWAL- Notwithstanding any other provision of law (except subsection (b)), nondiscriminatory treatment (most-favored-nation treatment) shall not apply with respect to any goods that--

      (1) are the product of Syria or Lebanon; and

      (2) are entered into the customs territory of the United States on or after the 15th day after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (b) RESTORATION OF NONDISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT- The President may restore nondiscriminatory treatment to goods that--

      (1) are the product of Lebanon beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies in Lebanon have been completely withdrawn from Lebanon and that the Government of Lebanon is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature; and

      (2) are the product of Syria beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that the requirements described in paragraph (1) have been met and that the Government of Syria is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature.

SEC. 6. PROHIBITION ON ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO SYRIA AND LEBANON.

    (a) PROHIBITION- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, economic assistance may not be provided to Syria or Lebanon.

    (b) EXCEPTION- Subsection (a) shall not apply--

      (1) with respect to Lebanon beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies in Lebanon have been completely withdrawn from Lebanon and that the Government of Lebanon is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature; and

      (2) with respect to Syria beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that the requirements described in paragraph (1) have been met and that the Government of Syria is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature.

    (c) ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE- In this section, the term ‘economic assistance’ means any assistance under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) or any related assistance under any other provision of law.

SEC. 7. PROHIBITION ON MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF LEBANON.

    (a) PROHIBITION- Notwithstanding any other provision of law, military assistance may not be provided to the Government of Lebanon.

    (b) EXCEPTION- Subsection (a) shall not apply beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies in Lebanon have been completely withdrawn from Lebanon and the Government of Lebanon is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature.

    (c) SENSE OF THE CONGRESS- It is the sense of the Congress that any assistance prohibited by reason of the application of subsection (a) should be redirected to assistance for humanitarian, democracy building, human rights and educational efforts in Lebanon.

    (d) MILITARY ASSISTANCE- In this section, the term ‘military assistance’--

      (1) means any assistance under part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) and any assistance under the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2751 et seq.); and

      (2) includes any other form of military cooperation with the Government of Lebanon.

SEC. 8. REQUIREMENT TO OPPOSE LOANS AND OTHER ASSISTANCE TO SYRIA AND LEBANON BY INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS.

    (a) REQUIREMENT- Beginning 15 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall instruct the United States representative to each international financial institution (including the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) to which the United States is a member to use the voice and vote of the United States to oppose the initiation or renewal of any loan or other form of assistance for Syria or Lebanon.

    (b) EXCEPTION- Subsection (a) shall not apply--

      (1) with respect to Lebanon beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies in Lebanon have been completely withdrawn from Lebanon and that the Government of Lebanon is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature; and

      (2) with respect to Syria beginning 30 days after the President certifies to the Congress that the requirements described in paragraph (1) have been met and that the Government of Syria is certified to have been freely elected and wholly democratic in nature.

SEC. 9. ANNUAL REPORTS.

    As part of the annual human rights report required under sections 116(d) and 502B(b) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151n(d) and 2304(b)), the Secretary of State shall pay special attention to the report on Lebanon and shall include in such report the following:

      (1) A detailed assessment of Syrian influence in the three branches of the Government of Lebanon.

      (2) An assessment of human rights abuses attributable to Syrian influence in the Government of Lebanon.

      (3) An assessment of the role played by Syrian intelligence services in Lebanon.

      (4) An estimate of the number of Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies and terrorist groups in Lebanon.

      (5) Progress made by the Government of Lebanon in disarming terrorist groups, and an assessment of the causes for the Lebanese Government’s failure to disarm such groups.

      (6) The specific steps and concrete actions taken by the Department of State to affect a withdrawal of all Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies from Lebanon.

SEC. 10. DEFINITION.

    As used in this Act, the term ‘Syrian military, security, and intelligence forces and their proxies’ includes Syrian Army regulars, paramilitary forces, and plain clothes intelligence and security officials.