ATFL meets with Lebanese President Elias Hrawi in 1994.


On January 1, 1993, I took over as Executive Director of the American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) from my capable predecessor Tanya Rahall. Although the issue of the travel ban on Lebanon had previously come up, it was unthinkable that the US would remove it, even a year earlier. Lifting the travel ban was to become our primary campaign over the next four and a half years. As we learned, it is easy to impose a travel ban on a country. It is incomparably more difficult to remove it.


I want to explain what the travel ban on Lebanon was. On January 28, 1987, Secretary of State George Schultz invalidated the use of a US passport for travel to Lebanon in response to the multiple kidnapping of American citizens. Since a US passport is th...

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rep. Nick Rahall, Tanya Rahall, Pres. Ronald Reagan, and Nancy Reagan


I began working for the National Association of Arab Americans (NAAA) in 1984. NAAA was founded in 1973 and had become the preeminent Arab-American political organization, representing over 10,000 members. By 1987, I had become Director of Government Relations and Members of Congress and NAAA members indicated to me that more attention could be paid to Lebanon. That year, Col. Peter S. Tanous, an NAAA founder, recruited his nephew, Peter J. Tanous, then Executive Vice President of Bank Audi in New York, to the NAAA Board of Directors. Peter J. Tanous accepted if he could work on Lebanon issues. (Peter J. Tanous subsequently became Vice Chairman of NAAA.) Peter S., as he was known, and NAAA Executive Director, David Sadd,...

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