Thursday, February 14, 2008

Secretary Rice on Anniversary of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri's Assassination

Anniversary of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri's Assassination

Statement by Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
February 14, 2008

Three years ago today, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was brutally assassinated in a massive bombing in downtown Beirut. One month later, on March 14, 2005, the Lebanese people took to the streets to demand Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon. In many ways, this marked a second independence for Lebanon. Ever since the "Cedar Revolution," the United States has stood in solidarity with the Lebanese people, echoing their calls for peace, justice, and freedom from foreign domination.

In response to these calls, the United Nations adopted Security Council resolution 1757 on May 30, 2007, bringing the Agreement to establish the Special Tribunal for Lebanon into force. The Special Tribunal will try those responsible for the assassination of Rafiq Hariri and 22 others. We hope the Tribunal will help deter further political assassinations, end an era of fear for Lebanese citizens and impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes, and help protect the sovereignty of Lebanon. The UN International Independent Investigation Commission continues its investigations into the deaths of Mr. Hariri and numerous other journalists, parliamentarians, government ministers, and security officials who shared his dream of a strong and sovereign Lebanon.

To demonstrate our commitment to promote justice in Lebanon, I am pleased to announce that the United States intends to double its pledge to the Tribunal's year one budget from $7 million to $14 million, subject to the necessary congressional notification procedures. As UN Secretary General Ban noted yesterday, the UN has reached decisive landmarks in establishing the Tribunal, which will soon be fully functional.

Lebanon, on this day of remembrance for former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and all those killed, injured, or persecuted in the service of the Lebanese nation, the United States shares your sorrow, but also your hope. Our commitment to you and your chosen government is unshakeable. We and the international community will not rest until your calls for peace, justice, and freedom have been answered.

Released on February 14, 2008

Ros-Lehtinen Statement

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen Comments on Third Anniversary of Hariri Assassination

February 14, 2008

(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) commented Thursday on the third anniversary of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, who was killed together with 22 others in a terrorist bombing in Beirut on February 14, 2005. 

An independent international investigation, commissioned by the UN, has found that "there is converging evidence pointing at both Lebanese and Syrian involvement in this terrorist act."

Ros-Lehtinen, Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is the sponsor of H.R. 2332, the Syria Accountability and Liberation Act, which holds the regime in Damascus accountable for its destructive policies by, among other provisions, strengthening sanctions targeting Syria's energy infrastructure.

Statement of Ros-Lehtinen:

    Three years after Prime Minister Hariri's murder, those responsible remain at large; the Syrian Government continues to obstruct the assassination inquiry; the investigating commission has yet to name or charge a single suspect; and several other anti-Syrian politicians, journalists and activists have been killed in the interim. 

    Troublingly, the Government of Syria, through its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, continues to undermine the Government of Lebanon.  The status quo is unacceptable for all those who seek an end to Syrian attempts to dominate Lebanon.

    In dealing with Syria's menacing behavior we are not without options.  I urge all responsible nations, independently and through the United Nations, to take further action to ensure that the Syrian regime is held accountable for behavior that threatens global peace and security.

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Ackerman on the Third Anniversary of Rafiq Hariri's Assassination

Rep. Gary L. Ackerman, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, issued the following statement today, which will be printed in the Congressional Record:

Remembering Rafiq Hariri and the Importance of Lebanon

February 14, 2008

Madam Speaker, I rise today in a mixture of sadness and outrage to commemorate the third anniversary of Rafiq Hariri's assassination.  Sadness because the former Prime Minister, a man of vision and courage, was cut down in his prime as he stood up for the idea of Lebanon as a nation free from external control, a sovereign, united and independent Lebanon that would regain its rightful place among the nations of the Middle East. 

Three years ago a massive car bomb deprived the Hariri family of a husband and father, and deprived the Lebanese people of a leader.  It would prove to be the first in a dozen political assassinations that have plagued that nation for the last three years orchestrated by the enemies of a free and democratic Lebanon.

And it is this fact, Madam Speaker that fills me with outrage and should fill all our colleagues with outrage as well.  Lebanon's future continues to be strangled by Iran and Syria whose agents, Hezbollah, Amal and Michel Aoun, are trying to take through violence and intimidation what they cannot achieve at the ballot box.  The slow strangulation of the state has left Lebanon without a President for almost three months, paralyzing the nation and raising the specter of renewed civil war.

On the third anniversary of former Prime Minister Hariri's murder the international community must renew its commitment to the people of Lebanon and again speak out against the campaign of naked aggression that has left the March 14 movement only two parliamentarians away from losing their hard won majority.  We must renew our demand that Damascus and Tehran lift their boots off Lebanon's neck.  And we must ensure that justice is done in the case of Rafiq Hariri and all the other victims of the 3 year campaign to deny Lebanon its rightful place among free and independent nations. 

Toward that end, the United States and the rest of the international community must make it crystal clear to Syria that the Special Tribunal established by the United Nations Security Council to investigate the terrorist attack on February 14, 2005, is not a bargaining chip to be traded away.  The interests of justice in this case far outweigh any concession that the government of Syria might hope to offer.  The guilty must be held accountable for their crimes.

The international community has spoken frequently and eloquently through United Nations Security Council resolutions in support of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Government of Lebanon, and has demanded the disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon.  These goals and this unity of purpose must not be abandoned or allowed to wither either from self-interest or distraction.  The enemies of Lebanon believe they have time on their side -- that they merely need to wait us out and Lebanon will once again be theirs to control. 

The conflict in Lebanon is not a sideshow in the Middle East, it is the main event.  Lebanon is where Tehran intends to fulfill its aspirations for regional hegemony and Shiite dominance.  There is too much at stake for Lebanon, and for the entire region, for the world to leave the Lebanese to the mercies of the radical mullahs in Tehran, the thugs in Damascus and their terrorist allies, Hezbollah.

I urge all my colleagues to not only remember Rafiq Hariri and his sacrifice but to speak out in support of the legitimate democratic aspirations of the people of Lebanon.  They want only what we enjoy every day, -- a free, sovereign and democratic state, the servant only of its own people and the master of its own destiny.  It's worth fighting for.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

President's Exec Order regarding additional sanctions against the Syrian Regime


Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release                    February 13, 2008 


Today the President signed an Executive Order that takes additional steps with respect to the Syrian regime's continued engagement in certain conduct that formed the basis of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004. 

This order expands sanctions to block the property of senior Syrian Government officials and their associates who are determined to be responsible for, to have engaged in, or to have benefited from public corruption.  The order also revises a provision in Executive Order 13338 to block the property of persons determined to be responsible for actions or decisions of the Syrian regime that undermine efforts to stabilize Iraq, or allow Syrian territory to be used for this purpose. 

In addition to these policies targeted by this Executive Order, the Syrian regime continues to pursue other activities that deny the Syrian people the political freedoms and economic prosperity they deserve, and that undercut the peace and stability of the region.  Syria continues to undermine Lebanon's sovereignty and democracy, imprison democracy activists, curtail human rights, and sponsor and harbor terrorists.  The United States will continue to stand with the people of Syria and the region as they seek to exercise their rights peacefully and to build a brighter future. 


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The White House, President George W. Bush

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 13, 2008

Executive Order: Blocking Property of Additional Persons in Connection with the National Emergency with Respect to Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.)(IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code,

I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the Government of Syria continues to engage in certain conduct that formed the basis for the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, including but not limited to undermining efforts with respect to the stabilization of Iraq. I further find that the conduct of certain members of the Government of Syria and other persons contributing to public corruption related to Syria, including by misusing Syrian public assets or by misusing public authority, entrenches and enriches the Government of Syria and its supporters and thereby enables the Government of Syria to continue to engage in certain conduct that formed the basis for the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338. In light of these findings, and to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, I hereby order:

Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3) and (4)), the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (title IX, Public Law 106 387), or regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order, all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Secretary of State, to be responsible for, to have engaged in, to have facilitated, or to have secured improper advantage as a result of, public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Syria.

(b) The prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this section include, but are not limited to, (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person designated pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

Sec. 2. Section 3(a)(iv) of Executive Order 13338 is hereby amended to read as follows:

"(iv) to be or to have been responsible for or otherwise significantly contributing to actions taken or decisions made by the Government of Syria that have the purpose or effect of undermining efforts to stabilize Iraq or of allowing the use of Syrian territory or facilities to undermine efforts to stabilize Iraq; or".

Sec. 3. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.

Sec. 4. For purposes of this order:

(a) the term "person" means any individual or entity;

(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization; and

(c) the term "United States person" means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States.

Sec. 5. I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of, persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399 of April 25, 2006, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.

Sec. 6. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13399, there need be no prior notice of a determination made pursuant to this order.

Sec. 7. The Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government, consistent with applicable law. All executive agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order and, where appropriate, to advise the Secretary of the Treasury in a timely manner of the measures taken.

Sec. 8. Nothing in this order is intended to affect the continued effectiveness of any rules, regulations, orders, licenses, or other forms of administrative action issued, taken, or continued in effect heretofore or hereafter under 31 C.F.R. chapter V, except as expressly terminated, modified, or suspended by or pursuant to this order.

Sec. 9. This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers or employees, or any other person.



February 13, 2008.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

State Department on Arab intiative

Daily Press Briefing
Tom Casey, Deputy Spokesman, Department of State

Washington, DC
February 6, 2008

QUESTION: What's your position toward the Arab initiative in Lebanon to elect a new president, General Sleiman, as the new president?

MR. CASEY: Well, you know, we, first of all, want to see a resolution to this longstanding political dispute, but we wish it to be done in a way that represents the wishes of the Lebanese people. Certainly, we're supportive of efforts to help resolve that. But again, I want to emphasize that this needs to be a Lebanese solution and shouldn't be imposed by us or by the Arab League or by anyone outside.

QUESTION: That means – do you – are you still backing the Arab initiative or not?

MR. CASEY: It means we want to continue to work with the Arab League and the Arab initiative to try and help the Lebanese work through this problem.