WASHINGTON (Mar. 5)
The United States was urged by the largest American Lebanese organization to eliminate aid to Syria and bring Lebanon into “an alliance of Egypt and Israel firmly in the U.S. camp.” Syria has wrecked” the Camp David initiative, Robert Basil, president of the American-Lebanese League, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee several days ago which was considering the new foreign aid program.
The proposed $60 million in aid to Syria, he testified, “is unjustifiable in light of its destructive role to U.S. and Lebanese national interests and goals.” The $32 million in proposed credits to Lebanon, he said, are “insufficient to rebuild a strong central army essential to restoring Lebanese sovereignty and control over its own territory.”
Lebanon is “an occupied state,” Basil said. At present, he said, 35,000 Syrian troops and 500,000 Palestinians, of which 50,000 are heavily armed, are “controlling huge areas of Lebanon.”
The “real combatants” for the Middle East, he testified in a prepared statement, are the U.S. and the Soviet Union. “Consequently, it is necessary to begin with a nucleus of Arab-Israeli accommodation tied to the West, namely an alliance of Egypt and firmly in the U.S. camp. Lebanon is, by any measure, the first logical add-on to the Camp David beachhead, once established.” Basil said that Syria’s objective in its military operations is to “displace the Christian population from east Beirut, thus controlling the entire city.”