Monday, October 30, 2006



before the


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Time: 9:30 AM
Place: 419 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Presiding: Senator Lugar
Senator Lugar's Opening Statement
    Panel 1
+The Honorable C. David Welch
   Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
   Department of State
   Washington, DC
   Panel 2
+The Honorable Carlos Pascual
   Vice President and Director of Foreign Policy Studies
   Brookings Institution
   Washington, DC
+Paul Salem
   Carnegie Middle East Center
   Beirut, Lebanon
+Augustus Richard Norton
   Professor of International Relations and Anthropology
   Boston University
   Boston, MA

Friday, October 27, 2006

United States Announces Start of Reconstruction on Mudeirej Bridge


October 27, 2006

Media Notice
For Immediate Release

U.S. Department of State Director of Foreign Assistance Randall L. Tobias
announced that the United States will begin reconstruction on the Mudeirej
Bridge in the Sofar-Mudeirej region of Lebanon during a visit to the site,
October 27, 2006. Ambassador Tobias, who also carries the title of
Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development
(USAID), noted that work on the bridge is tangible proof that the United
States that its pledges of assistance "amount to more than just words."
Ambassador Tobias' two-day visit to Lebanon underscores the commitment of
the United States to work in partnership with the Government of Lebanon to
support full recovery for the Lebanese people after this summer's tragic
Over 70 meters high and nearly half a kilometer long, the two-span Mudeirej
Bridge is one of tallest bridges in the Middle East region. This
reconstruction effort will restore one of Lebanon's most vital commercial
links between Beirut and Chtoura, toward Lebanon's eastern border, and will
stimulate trade and economic growth essential for Lebanon's financial
After a preliminary assessment, it is estimated that repairs and
rehabilitation to the bridge will cost about $20 Million. A more accurate
estimate will be made once a full assessment is complete. Prime Minister
Fouad Siniora, stated on behalf of the Lebanese Government and people, "I
would like to extend our deepest gratitude and appreciation for this offer
put forward by the United States Government."
Funding for this contribution is part of the U.S. commitment of $230 million
for humanitarian, reconstruction and security assistance to Lebanon
announced by President Bush on August 21, 2006.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

US House of Representatives Resolution on Lebanon September 26,2006

H. Res. 1017

In the House of Representatives, U. S.,

September 26, 2006.

Whereas Lebanon's remarkable Cedar Revolution led to the withdrawal of Syrian occupation troops in April 2005, the most significant step toward true Lebanese independence and sovereignty since the outbreak of civil war in 1975;

Whereas the Cedar Revolution reached a dramatic crescendo on March 14, 2005, when one million Lebanese demonstrated in Beirut's Martyrs Square demanding freedom and independence and an end to the Syrian occupation;

Whereas true Lebanese independence and sovereignty was not fully achieved even after the Syrian troop withdrawal for many reasons, including especially the apparent ongoing presence of Syrian security personnel in Lebanon, an ongoing assassination campaign against Lebanese public figures who oppose appeasement of Syria, and Hizballah's control and militarization of southern Lebanon;

Whereas, on August 12, 2006, during the fighting between Israel and Hizballah, the Government of Lebanon for the first time in decades called for the deployment of the Lebanese armed forces throughout Lebanese territory `such that there will be no weapons or authority other than that of the Lebanese state';

Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the fighting, authorizes an enhanced United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to `accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the (Lebanese) South', a process which is currently underway;

Whereas UNSCR 1701 also calls for the enhanced UNIFIL force, at the `request' of the Government of Lebanon, to assist the Government of Lebanon `to secure its borders and other entry points to prevent the entry in Lebanon without its consent of arms or related materiel';

Whereas the Lebanese armed forces are inadequate to the task of interdicting arms-smuggling along the Syrian border without the assistance of an international force;

Whereas the Government of Lebanon has not yet requested the assistance of the enhanced UNIFIL force on the Syrian border;

Whereas Syria is trying to intimidate Lebanon from requesting UNIFIL assistance on the border, with threatening statements such as the Syrian leader's warning that such deployment would be deemed `hostile'; and

Whereas it is manifestly in the interests of the international community, which seeks peace and stability in the Middle East, to support the full sovereignty and security of Lebanon: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

      (1) commends the many Lebanese who continue to adhere steadfastly to the principles of the Cedar Revolution;

      (2) commends the democratically-elected Government of Lebanon for its critical and courageous decision to deploy the Lebanese armed forces, for the first time in decades, to Lebanon's border with Israel;

      (3) affirms that the clear intention of the international community, as expressed in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, is that the flow of weapons to Hizballah should cease and that Hizballah should be disarmed;

      (4) calls on all countries, and particularly countries through which Iranian-supplied materiel passes en route from Iran to Hizballah, to take every possible measure to prevent the transfer of arms to Hizballah, so as to contribute to the stability of Lebanon and of the region and to the enforcement of the sovereignty of the Government of Lebanon over its own territory, as required by UNSCR 1701;

      (5) calls on the international community to monitor the compliance of Iran and Syria with the arms embargo on Hizballah, as these two countries are the principal suppliers of weaponry to Hizballah;

      (6) calls on Iran and Syria to cease supporting Hizballah with funds and arms;

      (7) condemns Syria's ongoing overt and covert campaign of intimidation against Lebanon;

      (8) condemns the Syrian leader's outrageous claim that the deployment of international peace-keeping forces on the Lebanese-Syrian border would be `hostile' against Syria;

      (9) urges the Government of Lebanon to request without delay international assistance including, but not limited to, military forces, as needed, on the Lebanese border with Syria so as to prevent the re-supply of weapons to Hizballah and to ensure the full implementation of all aspects of UNSCR 1701 in spirit and intent, as well as in letter;

      (10) urges that such international assistance not impede commercial, non-military trade between civilians on both sides of the border;

      (11) believes that without such international assistance on the Lebanese border with Syria another Hizballah-provoked war will break out with horrendous consequences for the people of Lebanon, Israel and the entire region;

      (12) pledges support for the democratically-elected Government of Lebanon and the Lebanese people against Syria's campaign of intimidation; and

      (13) re-affirms its strong support for Lebanon's independence and for the full sovereignty of the Government of Lebanon over Lebanese territory, through the instrument of the Lebanese armed forces.




Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Assistant Secretary of State Dina Habib Powell discusses trip to Lebanon on ask the White House


The White House, President George W. Bush

September 29, 2006

Dina Habib Powell
This past weekend, President Bush sent a delegation of private sector leaders. I was honored to be part of the delegation with John Chambers from Cisco, Dr. Ray Irani from Occidental Petroleum and Yousif Ghafari from the Ghafari Companies. Although he was not able to come on the trip, Craig Barrett from Intel is also part of this effort.
During our brief visit to Lebanon, we were able to meet with students, business leaders, NGOs and senior government officials including Prime Minister Siniora. It was really inspirational to see the resilience and determination of the Lebanese people.
On Monday this week, President Bush met with our delegation to talk about the trip. The President reiterated his commitment to the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Siniora, and commended these business executives for their leadership in finding ways for the American people to partner with the people of Lebanon. John Chambers announced a major $10 million commitment from Cisco to create jobs and provide venture capital for Lebanese entrepreneurs. This is just the beginning of a larger effort to create jobs, sponsor scholarships, and create internship opportunities for the people in Lebanon.
We all agreed that there is an urgent need to support this young democracy in the Middle East and a real window of opportunity to make a positive difference.
On Monday the business leaders and I also announced the US-Lebanon Partnership Fund, a place where Americans can go to get involved in these efforts. This fund is a public-private partnership that will focus on economic opportunities and education. You can find out more by visiting
This fund is an additional effort to the already $230 million pledged by the US Government for relief and reconstruction needs. I’m proud that the US government and Americas business leaders are working together to ensure that Lebanon is a stabilizing presence in the Middle East.
I’m looking forward to your questions.

Michael, from Powell, TN writes:
What are the President's goals in the reconstruction?
Dina Habib Powell
It is important to President Bush that the US reconstruction efforts respond to Prime Minister Siniora's goals for rebuilding Lebanon. On August 21, President Bush announced over $230 million in humanitarian reconstruction and security assistance to Lebanon. The aim of this assistance is to strengthen Lebanon's sovereign, democratic government, help the Lebanese people rebuild, and ensure a lasting peace.
As part of the US-Lebanon Partnership Fund, Cisco Systems is investing $10 million to provide venture capital and expertise with the specific goal of creating good jobs. President Bush unveiled earlier this week a loan facility program sponsored by Citigroup and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) that will mobilize $160 million in private capital through Lebanese banks to finance small and medium-sized enterprises, home repair and reconstruction, and long-term mortgages.
In our meetings with Lebanese business leaders, we discussed ways in which US business interests to encourage investment and entrepreneurialism. We encourage US corporations, small business, citizens and government agencies to assist in this effort by giving to the US – Lebanon Partnership Fund (

Yusuf, from Boston, MA writes:
The US government has not taken swift adequate measures to ameliorate the condition of the citizens of Lebanon after the repressive Israeli bombardment. What is the aid process so meager and so slow Thank you.
Dina Habib Powell
On August 21, President Bush pledged $230 million for humanitarian aid, reconstruction, and security assistance, which is already in use to help the Lebanese people. We are already working to help the Lebanese people by rebuilding the Fidar Bridge in Jbail, repairing roads from Marjeyoun to Nabatyeh, reconstructing residences, restoring and repairing schools, and working on environmental cleanup projects.
The US-Lebanon Partnership Fund will deliver financial support to Lebanon to rebuild infrastructure, modernize the education system and ensure access to capital for small and medium businesses. The President has made a long-term commitment to the people of Lebanon and we are working as quickly as possible to help the Lebanese people rebuild.
I encourage you to visit USAID’s website to keep informed about reconstruction on the ground. I also encourage you to monitor the US-Lebanon Partnership Fund website at

Jamie, from Virginia Beach VA writes:
How important do you think education of women is to the inculcation of democracy in the Middle East?
Dina Habib Powell
Jamie - thank you for your question. It is an excellent one. Year after year, Arab scholars who write the Arab Human Development report states that gender inequality is recognized as one of the main obstacles to development in the Arab world.
We know that by investing in women, we are investing in a better, more hopeful and more peaceful world. When women are educated, they share that knowledge with their children, families and communities, so when you invest in the education of women, almost every other statistic in a society improves.
During my tenure as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, I have made a priority to create opportunities for women through our exchange programs. For example, we have created a mentoring partnership with American women business leaders, which offers an opportunity for women from all over the world to develop their management and business skills while gaining experience in the cutting-edge U.S. business environment. They gain awareness of civic rights and responsibilities, as well as skills they need to become effective business and community leaders.
These outstanding American business women have donated their time, talent and resources to this initiative. Ann Moore, of Time, Inc., Anne Mulcahy of Xerox, Gerri Elliot from Microsoft, and many other women have participated.
The Department of State offers a broad range of educational exchange programs, which offer women an opportunity to increase their English language skills to help them in a global environment.
Mrs. Bush's Global Literacy Conference in New York last week illustrated the vital importance of promoting literacy around the world.

Jill, from Covington, KY writes:
What did you learn on your trip to Lebanon that you didn't know before?
Dina Habib Powell
Jill – Thank you for your question. I realized that building the hope and confidence of the Lebanese people is critical. Lebanon is a proud country – and a democracy – whose people have shown tremendous resilience in the face of decades of civil war and foreign intervention. The Lebanese people are well-educated, Western-oriented and entrepreneurial. Last year’s “Cedar Revolution” – backed by people of diverse religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds – offered the hope of freedom and democracy for the Lebanese people.
However, visiting with Lebanese students at the American University Beirut and the Lebanon American University we heard many times how many of these students consider leaving Lebanon to seek employment. Now more than ever, it is important that the US and other democracies help the Lebanese people build a system that promotes educational opportunities, jobs and hope.

Hal, from San Jose, California writes:
Just curious about your cultural background. Are you a first generation American? Does your heritage help you do your job? Thank you for your service to our country.
Dina Habib Powell
Hal – thank you very much for your kind words. I am honored that President Bush and Secretary Rice have asked me serve as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. I have been asked many times why I chose to take a role in the Public Diplomacy effort of the United States. It has much to do with my own personal history. I was born in Egypt and immigrated to the US at the age of 5. As can only happen in America, I was able, after extraordinary work and sacrifice by my parents, to receive a good education, move to Washington to pursue my dreams, eventually serve at the White House, and to have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as an Assistant Secretary of State.
I will never forget the day I first introduced my parents to the President nearly six years ago. As you can imagine they were beside themselves with excitement. The President approached - he welcomed them warmly to the White House and told them he was glad that their daughter was a part of his team.
I turned to see what I expected would be giant smiles on both their faces -- instead I saw tears. When I asked my father -- a tough Middle Eastern man not known for showing much emotion -- about his reaction, he explained that he couldn't believe that the young daughter he brought to the U.S. from Egypt so many years ago -- not speaking a word of English -- could one day serve the President of his adopted country.
While that is a meaningful story to my family -- it is also a story of hope and opportunity that is repeated over and over again across our nation -- a place where anyone from anywhere can succeed.
Many Americans answer the call to service. I was reminded of that this week when I traveled with two proud Lebanese Americans – Mr. Ghafari and Dr. Irani – who love both America as well as their place of birth. They are doing all they can to work for peace and prosperity in both countries.

Elie, from Little Rock, AR writes:
How can I as a Lebanese-American help with the efforts to bring peace and democracy to Lebanon? Thank you.
Dina Habib Powell
Elie – I am heartened to hear that you, like so many Americans, want to help. You are one of our important citizen ambassadors, representing the diversity that makes our country so strong.
I encourage you to visit the website for the fund to learn more about ways to help through the US-Lebanon Partnership Fund. I also encourage you to find other ways to get involved in our public diplomacy efforts. People to people interaction is the best way to build bridges of understanding.
The Department of State, through the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, works with 80,000 volunteers across the Unites States, who host high school exchange students in their homes or serve as mentors to young business and government leaders from around the world. There are many ways to get involved in our efforts to connect the people of United States with the people of other countries.
I encourage you to visit our website at to learn more about these exchange programs.

Dina Habib Powell
In closing, I just want to emphasize that public diplomacy is not the work of the US Government alone. We are forging new partnerships to increase exchanges and other public diplomacy programs to expand our reach and to promote an international dialogue with our country and people around the world. I want to thank all of you for participating today, particularly Elie from Little Rock and other citizens who want to help the people of Lebanon.
We encourage you to visit the US-Lebanon Partnership Fund website at

Bush announces Presidential Delegation to Lebanon to Discuss Rebuilding Priorities

The White House, President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 23, 2006

President George W. Bush today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Beirut, Lebanon, to visit areas affected by the recent conflict and to meet with Prime Minister Siniora and business leaders to discuss rebuilding priorities.

Four distinguished private-sector leaders - Dr. Craig Barrett, chairman, Intel Corporation; Mr. John Chambers, president and CEO, Cisco Systems; Mr. Yousif Ghafari, chairman, GHAFARI, Inc.; Dr. Ray Irani, chairman, CEO and president, Occidental Petroleum Corporation - will launch a nationwide effort to encourage private donations for reconstruction as a result of this conflict. In the coming days, they will ask Americans to donate directly to a fund set up to provide help to the Lebanese people.

The Honorable Dina Powell, Assistant Secretary of State, will lead the delegation.

Accompanying members of the Presidential Delegation:

The Honorable Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon

Mr. John Chambers, President and CEO, Cisco Systems

Mr. Yousif Ghafari, Chairman, GHAFARI, Inc.

Dr. Ray Irani, Chairman, CEO and President, Occidental Petroleum Corporation


Secretary Rice on Lebanon from Jeddah

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

October 3, 2006


We have talked about the need to support the young states of Lebanon and Iraq, young democracies that are under considerable pressure, Lebanon in particular, after the war to support its reconstruction, to support its rearming and reform of its armed forces, which now are being used to extend Lebanese authority throughout the country.

We talked about the need for resolution for the United Nations relating to Lebanon to be fully implemented. And that includes for there to be respect for the arms embargo that the UN has recognized so that there will be no arms to any group, and that includes Hezbollah, any group except to the authorized Lebanese security forces.        

The Syrian regime has not been one of the regimes that is supporting those moderate forces, in fact, quite the opposite. Syria has been a major transshipment point for weapons from Iran to Hezbollah. Syria’s negative role in Lebanon is well known. Fortunately, Syrian forces were forced to leave Lebanon under international pressure and the pressure of the Lebanese people last year, but Syria continues to be a force that could stabilize Lebanon and that engages in continued intimidation of those leaders.

And so it’s extremely important that Syria make a choice. This is not a choice for the United States to make; it’s a choice for Syria to make. And that is does it intend to be a part of the consensus that is represented by states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and others that the Middle East should be a place in which the Palestinian Authority is supported not those like Palestinian Islamic Jihad or the Hamas based in Damascus that continues to frustrate the hopes of the Palestinian people or the -- those who would destabilize Lebanon. It’s a choice for Syria to make. Thank you.

Secretary Rice on Lebanon-Interview With Al Arabiya TV

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Cairo, Egypt
October 3, 2006


QUESTION: If I may ask this question about Lebanon with the Lebanese -- I mean some (inaudible) voices have come out lately saying that war can erupt or may erupt again in three to four months. So how do you view this fragile situation in Lebanon?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh it is indeed fragile, but it is a far better situation than we had a few months ago, a couple of months ago. We have to support the Lebanese Government as it extends its authority throughout the country. We have to support the Lebanese armed forces as they are reformed and strengthened. We have to make sure that Resolution 1701 is fully implemented, that Hezbollah does not become a state within a state again. These are the things that will prevent an outbreak of war again.