Aoun calls majority cowards for not waging war on Syria
Hezbollah ally and opposition leader Michel Aoun called the Lebanese government weak for not waging war with Syria, prior to the occupiers withdrawal in 2005, highlighting his previous “brave” attempt which resulted in surrender and exile.
In a statement to his political news channel on Friday, Aoun said the March 14 majority alliance “declared war on Syria when it left Lebanon. Had they been brave they would have confronted Syria on Lebanese terrain.”
Aoun, in a statement to his Orange Television, said: “When I called for a war of liberation it was aimed at liberating Lebanon”s land and I said that by achieving this goal the war would end.”
“The goal has been achieved. So what is the reason for proceeding with the battle?” Aoun asked.
“We have no interest but in building future relations, and we shouldn”t be in collision with them. The relationship between the two nations should be neighborly and brotherly,” he stressed.
Aoun said Premier Fouad Saniora”s Government “rejects calls to look for those missing in their land (buried in mass graves), that is why we cannot hold Syria responsible first” for the Lebanese missing in its jails.
“The government should find those buried in its land and the government is capable of doing this because there is no village that does not know the location of its mass grave and who is responsible for it, be they Palestinians or Lebanese militias. The government knows, The intelligence agencies know and many journalists know where the mass graves are,” Aoun added.
He said a “minority” of those held in Syria had been held directly by the Syrian forces. The majority were either arrested by Lebanese police or held by pro-Syrian factions and turned on to the Syrians.
Aoun”s Liberation Resulted in Exile
On March 14, 1989, after a Syrian attack on the Baabda presidential palace and on the Lebanese Ministry of Defense in Yarze, Aoun declared war against the Syrian army which was better armed then. The Syrians were supported by the US government led by George H. Bush in exchange for their support against Saddam Hussein.
Over the next few months Aoun”s army and the Syrians exchanged artillery fire in Beirut until only 100,000 people remained from the original 1 million, the rest fled the area. During this period Aoun became critical of American support for Syria and moved closer to Iraq, accepting arms supplies from Saddam Hussein.
On October 13 Syrian forces attacked the presidential palace in Baabda, where Aoun was holed up. Aoun was forced to leave Lebanon for exile in France, where he surrendered to Syrians via a radio address, leaving his troops at the mercy of the Syrian forces.