A long-awaited report on the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri shows the Syrian government to be responsible.
Prepared by Mossad, Israel's spy agency, delivered to the Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's office, and leaked to free-lance journalist Judy Miller, the report calls for the "most severe punishment" of Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking in Australia with prime minister John Howard, U.S. Secretary of State praised Judy Miller's reporting and demanded the removal of al-Assad.
"This aggression will not stand," said Rice. "Syria poses a grave threat to her neighbors, not only Lebanon, but also Iraq and particularly Israel. The Assad dictatorship funds and arms terrorists worldwide. We will present evidence to the Security Council that he has received most of Saddam Hussein's nuclear and biological weapons. If we want peace in the Middle East, we must remove Bashar Assad."
Noting the overreaction to unverified intelligence is similar to what happened before the invasion of Iraq, many legislators in Washington expressed a need for caution. "We don't want to be seen rushing into another war without suitable preparation," said Senate minority leader Harry Reid.
House minority leader Nancy Pelosi echoed Reid's concern: "The White House shouldn't come over here and expect us to just rubber stamp their wars. A yes vote in this situation would be very difficult. We would rather be left out of it."