"Prohibition on Financial Transactions With Countries Supporting Terrorism Act"
Tuesday, June 10, 1997, 10:00am
Room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building
Crescent Investment Management, LP
450 Lexington Avenue, Suite 1820
New York, New York 10017
The time has come for the American legislative and foreign policy establishments to develop a new set of policy tools for dealing with the growing problem of terrorism. Unilateral economic and political sanctions have slowly eroded America's leadership role and relevancy in either containing or controlling the proliferation of terrorist activities. There is no point in imposing sanctions in cases where our unilateral actions have no impact, or worse, are flouted by our allies in a manner that sends a message of inconsistency and lack of common resolve. Holding the moral high ground is useless when our allies are repeatedly prepared to fill the very gaps we seek to create in the operational framework of terrorism's advocate governments.
Terrorism is used by its advocates because it is a cheap and effective form of expressing a challenge to what is perceived as western hegemony and imperialism. Yet, the governments that support terrorist activities need only enough resources to survive, and survive they have - in Iran, Iraq, Libya and other countries - despite our often unilateral actions aimed at containing them. What would happen if instead of containing, we engaged states that demonstrate some willingness to re-join the family of nations and possibly even use their moral suasion over other rogue states to bring them in line? What would happen if we flooded their markets with our western technologies and forced their systems to become ever more dependent on our form of capitalism and economic livelihood? Would potential young Iranian mullahs not become more willing Conoco oil and gas capitalists? Would Sudanese farmers now accused of harboring and training Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists not become the consummate employees of American food giant Archer-Daniels Midland?
Let me narrow the focus of my remaining remarks to the Sudan. I have visited the Sudan on
a half dozen occasions over the past year to better understand whether its economic potential
outweighs its role in the region as a purveyor of Islamic radicalism. Driven by my overarching
that America is coming dangerously close in its foreign policy paradigms to demonizing Islam, I
have found the US-Sudan bilateral relationship an interesting case study of the failures inherent
our post Cold War strategy to contain problems we have little desire and fewer resources to better
understand. Permit me to make the following observations about the Sudan:
Institutional Governance. The post 1996 election government of President Omer El Bashir is dramatically different from previous Sudanese regimes in two important ways. First, virtually all critical posts are now held by young, western-educated minds who understand our fears and concerns regarding terrorism, democracy and the preservation of civil liberties. More importantly, they are prepared to take tangible steps to rectify the sins of previous regimes. Second, there is a much more institutionalized process of governance that did not exist in prior Sudanese governments. Decisions can no longer be made or implemented unilaterally or without due process. With permission of the Chairman, I attach as Exhibit A the recent letter sent by President Bashir to Representative Hamilton regarding Sudan's institutionally determined offer of full bilateral cooperation on the terrorism issue. Modernizing Islam. The political experiment to modernize Islam in a manner that places the highest degree of importance on citizenship rather than religious beliefs is now irreversibly developed in the Sudan. The recently signed Peace Agreement provides a federalist system of statehood for southern Sudan's Christian and Animist minorities and guarantees the right to self-determination along with basic civil liberties such as the freedom of religious practice - all based on citizenship, not religion. While not perfected yet, the agreement is a sign that Islam can be modernized without collaterally damaging others.
Regional Peace Efforts. One of America's key policy stipulations to improved US-Sudan relations has been the repair of Khartoum's relationship with its neighbors, particularly Ethiopia, Egypt and Uganda (due to the assassination attempt on President Mubarak in Ethiopia). Much progress has been made on the Ethiopian and Ugandan fronts in recent weeks, to the point where SPLA leader John Garang is now expected to attend the upcoming IGAD summit at Kenya's invitation to discuss how the recent Sudanese Peace Agreement can be extended to meet SPLA demands. In addition to this pan-African effort to achieve peace between Sudan and its African neighbors, efforts are simultaneously underway by Sheikh Zayed, president of the United Arab Emirates, to bring together the Arab-African constituents that have not yet reconciled their differences with the Khartoum regime. This effort is aimed at reconciling Egyptian concerns through former president Nimieri, and at lowering tensions with Eritrea through the inclusion of Sudanese opposition leader Sadiq Al Mahdi. American support of these external efforts would likely make them successful.
Resource Development. It is unlikely that further American sanctions will have anything more than psychological impact. There are no major American firms doing business in the Sudan at present. China and Malaysia have acquired, through their respective national oil companies, large stakes in the southern oil fields, with estimated reserves of some 3.5-4.5 billion barrels, and will build the 900 km pipeline to transport oil to Port Sudan on the Red Sea. Given China's growing oil needs for the 21st century, it is likely that any American effort at the United Nations to sanction Sudan over terrorism issues or to block oil sales will be met with a certain Chinese Security Council veto. It is my understanding that second stage oil field development will include Russian and French partners, further bolstering Sudan's UN position and ability to thwart unilateral US efforts to impose UN sanctions.
Christian Persecution. Along with my efforts to extract concrete working positions from the
present regime on the issues of terrorism and regional peace, Tony Sullivan of the Earhart
Foundation and I have appealed to the Sudanese leadership to stop the persecution of Sudan's
Christians. The policy prohibiting sale of land for the purposes of building churches and other
institutions of Christian worship is now under review for legislative change as a result.
Fighting Islamic Extremism. One of the more important dimensions of engaging Sudan's
Islamic movement is the concept of tasking the senior leadership to develop internal control
mechanisms over the radical elements of groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Dr. Hassan
Turabi, the de-facto Islamic force of the Sudan, has demonstrated his effectiveness in
constructively dealing with radical Islamic groups - effectiveness which has been acknowledged
by the American and French governments. The two most important examples of his tangible
intervention were the 1992 Algerian election where he persuaded the Islamic radical groups that
had their election victory overturned to stop their bombing campaigns in Paris, and his
between Hamas and Yasser Arafat at the height of the Mid-East peace process when Arafat
needed Hamas' support to move the process forward. Clearly, Turabi could just as easily be a
negative force, and perhaps has been in the past, in dealing with these groups. But properly
tasked, I believe his political instincts are to move the Sudanese Islamic movement away from
radical forces because he has determined that modernizing Islam is the only viable course.
In summary, I would observe that America has precious little leverage left to influence events
in the Sudan with any strategy that involves unilateral sanctions, or closing of so-called
While I do not advocate offering any carrots to the present regime until they demonstrate through
actions what they have indicated in words over the past year, neither do I believe the use of
America's considerable stick will have any impact if not employed more strategically.
Mr. Chairman, I make concrete proposals for constructive engagement in my full remarks and am prepared to discuss some of the issues I have outlined here in more detail with members in closed session, since some of the highly specific efforts the Sudanese government is making at my behest to address past problems are not appropriate for public dissemination. I would respectfully ask that the balance of my written statement be entered into the record in its entirety with appendices. I have attached a brief biographical sketch as Exhibit B. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I come before the subcommittee first and foremost as a born American equally concerned about the proliferation of terrorism and extremism, regardless of its ideological form, throughout the world today. As an adherent of the Islamic faith, I am even more concerned about the potentially debilitating consequences for American-Muslims from America's increasingly hostile and standardized policy response of economic sanctions and containment towards problem areas in the Islamic world. We must take great care to avoid demonizing adherents of a religion which is the fastest growing geopolitical force in the world today, a religion that is also the faith of over 7 million Americans who are contributing greatly to the social, economic and political fabric of the United States. We must take great care not to stigmatize the children of American-Muslims whose heritage is Pakistani, Afghani, Syrian, Sudanese, Algerian, Palestinian, Iranian or Iraqi because of the actions of a few whose motives are born of hatred that has less to do with ideological differences than with their own internal failures and shortcomings.
Again and again, we have witnessed America's failure to cope with the many faces of Islam in the aftermath of the Cold War. Whether in Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, the Sudan and perhaps in the future even oil powers such as Saudi Arabia, America's inability to effectively deal with Islam's many dimensions represents one of the most serious vacuums in our ability to provide for our own national security. In fact, my appearance here today is demonstrable evidence that Americans of the Islamic faith can play an integral role in defining solutions which might reduce rather than increase tensions with those in the Islamic world we see as a threat to our national interests.
In re-shaping America's terrorism policy, particularly where countries of the Islamic world are concerned, we should use our considerable economic powers to raise up disaffected Muslims so they are not as desperate to tear us down. We, a nation born of religiously persecuted immigrants, often forget that terrorism is born of trampled egos. The failure of America to cope with Islamic rage stems from our inability to understand that the rage is as much directed at Islam's internal failures (tyranny and corruption, to name two) as it is against foreign oppression and western contempt for Islam's traditions and ways of life. Furthermore, we fail to see that Islam's extremists are no different than America's extremists. Both seek to correct what they rightly or wrongly see as society's deviation from their often misguided vision of the pure message. Islam's fundamentalist movements, in fact, are capable of producing widely differing results, from the medieval experiment in Afghanistan to the modern, competitive state in Malaysia.
Islamists have even tried their hand at democracy. Take Algeria, for example. In 1992, Islamists legitimately attained power in fairly held elections only to see their victory overturned by the secular military regime after it received a wink from Washington. Had the Islamists been allowed to assume power, one of two outcomes would have occurred: their skepticism of democracy as a legitimate mechanism to express ideas would have been silenced and America's argument that only democracy can provide the necessary framework for economic and social prosperity would have been strengthened; or they might have failed, much as the Iranian revolution has, to deliver anything but empty rhetoric. Failure would have demonstrated that democracy as an organizing principle was not at fault. The fault lay in the quality of their ideas. In a secular western world where separation of church and state are the norm, it is logical to understand our mistrust of a religion that wants to deeply influence matters of state. More logical, however, would be for us to maintain a principled neutrality in all cases where Islamists are trying to use democracy, no matter how poorly, as a mechanism to express their ideas, not just those in which our mortgage interest rates are at stake and where democracy doesn't exist anyway. Failure to implement this policy change is to not see that the aberrant behavior of an Islamist spurned is as dangerous to our national security as the threat of $50/ bbl oil.
With America's post Cold War propensity to define the world in terms of benefit to our economic interests, permit me to offer a definition of Islamic radicalism in these terms. The world has some one trillion barrels of proven and recoverable oil reserves. 72% of these reserves are controlled by 12 countries whose predominant religious beliefs, system of government or philosophical tendencies are Islamic, while the remaining 28% are controlled by non-Islamic countries, such as the United States, Russia, Venezuela and China. But the criticality of this statistic lies in the fact that the 72% controlled by Islamic producers, of which Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia represent over two-thirds, will last for some 100 years at current rates of production and rising rates of consumption. The 28% controlled by non-Islamic countries has a pumping lifetime of at most 30 years.
For Islamic extremists, this is their trump card. Our failure to engage and modify their behavior results in a potential waiting game that could dramatically affect our entire economic system - one highly dependent on the cost of money - in little more than a generation. The mullahs and Islamic extremists whom we treat with disdain and contempt today are mocking our policies because they are prepared to live in economic straight-jackets, if need be, until such time as we are forced to come, oil cup in hand, to ask them for more reasonably priced energy resources in order to avoid the unfavorable consequences of inflation and rising interest rates to our economy. Even our most trusted oil allies, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, cannot be counted on to resist the internal pressures of Islamists. One need only keep in mind Saudi Arabia's recent rapprochement with Iran - a reconciliation that in no small part had the silent hand of Sudan's enigmatic Islamic force, Dr. Hassan Al Turabi. I trust it is not necessary to elaborate on the ramifications for American economic interests of Saudi Arabia's sharp turn to the right of the Islamic spectrum - an eventuality that is now all but assured once Crown Prince Abdullah formally assumes the reigns of power.
With my overarching concern about the ramifications of America's failure to deal effectively with the problem areas of Islam as background, permit me to narrow my remarks to the subcommittee's focus on the issue of Sudan's support for radical and extremist Islamic groups that has, until recently, characterized the Islamic movement there. My interest in the Sudan as a comprehensive case study for re-defining our anti-terrorism policies is consistent with my political activism on the issue of how America deals with situations where Islamic countries and their non-Islamic neighbors don't get along. Hence my interest in Kashmir, where Muslim Pakistan is pitted against Hindu India; Nagorno-Karabakh, which pits Muslim Azerbaijan against Christian Armenia; and the Sudan, where the fundamentalist Islamic regime is struggling with internal Christian and Animist minorities and surrounding Christian and Muslim neighbor relations are poor. It should be noted here for the record that while I strongly support American efforts to isolate and contain the regimes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muhammar Gadafi in Libya, two cases that amply demonstrate why America's apprehension of Muslim leaders with the "God complex" (i.e., those who use Islam's monotheism for inappropriate political motives) is justified, we must find more creative ways that do not also punish the people of Iraq and Libya for their frailty and inability to rise up against these dictatorial forces.
The Sudan, however, represents a case where in our zealousness to contain Islamic fanaticism, and its by-product of terrorism, we may have overplayed our hand. We have failed to see the potential benefits from engaging Sudan's Islamists on three different levels: first, the value of their efforts to modernize Islam; second, enlisting Sudan's Islamic movement to help us in our fight against global extremism, in particular where it relates to Islamic extremism and terrorism in countries vital to our geo-political interests; and third, the value of Sudan's relationships going forward with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Afghanistan and other countries that are now and will be in the not-so-distant future vital to our economic interests.
Most disturbingly, we have failed to realize that, short of declaring outright war on the Sudan for its various transgressions (or any other state trying to revive Islamic fervor), there is little we can do to stop the Islamic revival underway there now for the past decade. China and Malaysia are helping, at an official level, to develop their oil reserves (estimated at 40-50% of the oil found in Alaska's Prudhoe Bay) that will ensure the economic resources to maintain the revivalist movement. Anyone who believes China will not use its UN Security Council veto to block American efforts to sanction Sudanese oil sales is not fully cognizant of the massive energy need China has for the 21st century, and how dearly 200,000 barrels a day from Sudan's oil fields will serve those needs. Anyone who does not fully appreciate the nature of the relationship between Dr. Turabi and Saudi Prince Abdulla, or President Bashir and Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, or the growing ties between Sudan and our most stable Mid-East peace ally, Jordan, fails to see how far the purist influence of the Sudanese Islamic movement already reaches.
All this, of course, begs the question whether the present Sudanese regime is an innocent bunch of school boys constantly being accused of crimes they feign ignorance on. In my judgment, after many long meetings with Sudanese government and opposition leaders, independent assessments of controversial events and verification of the most disturbing aspects of the Bashir regime's record, I have come to the conclusion they clearly are not innocent school boys. I have read in great detail the terrorism reports produced by the House Republican Task Force on Terrorism and admire the tenacity with which Sudan's alleged terrorism activities are described. Much of what is described is accurate, some is overstated, some is over-dramatized beyond recognition of what is fact and what is fiction.
One of the key areas of past controversy has been the activities of Sudan's External Intelligence Department. The unbridled flow of Afghan Arabs and other undesirable characters into and out of the Sudan took place in large measure under the guidance of the External Intelligence Department - until its director was replaced in the wholesale house-cleaning of senior government ministers and technocrats that took place last year. In fact, there is now high-level cooperation between the Sudan and many Islamic countries to stop, or at least properly track, the movements of a significant number of radical and revivalist Muslims.
Yet, the real danger for the West lies in revivalist Islamic movements disintegrating into unguided, genuinely radical states, pushing terrorist networks underground where they can only be seen at a sidewalk caf‚ with a bomb strapped to the body of a fanatic. This is why the success of any Islamic experiment that proposes to modernize the framework within which Sharia (Islamic law) exists as the guiding principle of governance is so critical to long-term American security interests. Furthermore, our East African allies' fears that Sudan's Islamic model is being exported in an unwanted manner should design a better model to meet the needs of their people if they are so fearful of models like "Turabism".
Where, for example, does representation exist for the Muslim majority in Eritrea and Ethiopia? Where is there legitimate opposition in Saudi Arabia or Egypt? Where is there democracy in Uganda? Why is America so willing to apply double standards when it comes to the most fundamental of our organizing principles, and why is it that the application of the double standard appears to have an anti-Islamist tendency?
Would it not be better for Islam as a governing principle to succeed or fail on the merit of its ideas than for America to demonize Islam and give her detractors ammunition to bring their unholy war to our shores? The Sudan case study smacks of America's worst qualities: arrogance, bullying, cynical misinterpretation and believing what we want to hear rather than looking at the hard facts. America has a choice; this legislative body has a choice; we can continue to sanction and ratchet up pressure on countries where we have little leverage and run the risk of demonizing Islam as a religion. In that case, we may have more to worry about with American-Muslims rising up to have their voices heard en-masse and creating an environment in which the funding for radical Islamic movements will occur right in our own backyard. Or we can try a more engaging approach that does not compromise our principles but seeks to draw out elements that genuinely want to contain radical Islam from within the revivalist Islamic movements of the world. Whether the Sudan represents such potential, or whether they are the engine of radical Islam, I am not qualified to judge. But I am convinced after a year-long study of the situation that America can design a more creative policy approach if we have the political courage to break with the mentality of unilateral economic sanctions as the only deployable "stick".
We should engage Dr. Turabi to be our bridge to the radical fringe of Islam, to explain to them that we are not the demons they seek to portray us as this would show American vision. We should send our FBI teams to Khartoum at their invitation to sift through and analyze the data on terrorism and then make objective recommendations to the Sudanese on how best to atone for the sins of the past this would show American fairness. We should send Ambassador Bill Richardson to see SPLA opposition leader John Garang and persuade him that making peace and sharing in the oil and grain wealth of the country, something Khartoum would be willing to do if America brought him to the table, would be far better than endlessly and purposelessly carrying on civil war - this would demonstrate America's power in the only way it should, creating peace and prosperity for those who have never known it.
April 5th, 1997 Representative Lee H. Hamilton Ranking Democrat, House Foreign Affairs Committee U.S. House of Representatives 2314 Rayburn Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Congressman Hamilton,
It was with pleasure that I received the report of your constructive meeting with my aide, Dr. Abubaker Shingiati, on February 21, 1997. As you are well aware, U.S.-Sudan bilateral relations remain severely strained, and we welcome any channel of communication that can better enable both sides to formulate solutions for issues of importance to both our countries. We here in the Sudan remain confused and perplexed at the continuing efforts of your government to collaborate with our neighboring countries in order to effect a "coup d'etat" in Khartoum at the very moment we are making our most serious efforts to address the various outstanding bilateral concerns.
Perhaps the American people are unaware of the serious dialogue initiated by my government to improve relations with not only our neighboring countries, but most importantly with the minority segments of our own Sudanese population. These efforts have culminated with a comprehensive Peace Treaty that will be signed in Khartoum on April 21st, 1997 by virtually all the major Christian and Animist tribal leaders from Sudan's southern provinces, including many important members of the SPLA. Each of the critical concerns raised by our minority segments, including the right to self-determination, are addressed in the Peace Treaty. I would like to take this opportunity, apologizing in advance for the short notice, to formally extend an invitation to you to attend the Peace Treaty's signing ceremony on April 21st in Khartoum as my special guest so you may witness the progress towards a lasting peace we are making here in the Sudan.
As I am sure you can appreciate, being the largest country by land mass in Africa with porous borders and a largely tribal community make-up, we face unique difficulties in formulating and implementing policies centrally. We concede that not everything which has taken place during the past seven years of rule under my government was desirable, but we ask that the American people also take into consideration the circumstances surrounding our difficulties. Nevertheless, in an effort to avoid the empty rhetoric that so often defines relations between African nations and the United States, we would like to suggest and offer the following confidence building measures as steps towards improving our bilateral relationship:
A. To improve communications at the working level, we would urge that future visits to Khartoum of your capable ambassador, Mr. Timothy Carney, include meetings with a wider array of people, including key policy-makers in my government, in order that he might make a more complete evaluation of the ground realities in Sudan. In the spirit of openness and cooperation, we will gladly provide him with access to our leadership at all levels, both political and societal, and facilitate whatever meetings or visits he may wish to conduct.
B. We extend an offer to the FBI's Counter-terrorism units and any other official delegations which your government may deem appropriate, to come to the Sudan and work with our External Intelligence Department in order to assess the data in our possession and help us counter the forces your government, and ours, seek to contain. For example, we would welcome academics specializing in counter-terrorism methods to give seminars in Khartoum. It is patently unfair for the United States to continue its policy of accusing the Sudan of various terrorism complicities, then answering our queries about what specifically the U.S. would like us to do to correct matters with ambiguous responses that hide behind the veil of "classified methods, sources, etc."
We are open to all constructive ideas for resolving once and for all the issue that Sudan continues to harbor terrorists and is acting as an agent for the Islamic Republic of Iran. These accusations are simply not true, and we are prepared to stand behind our words with concrete actions - but only if such actions are taken in the spirit of engagement and reconciliation, not as reason for further punishments in the international community.
C. We invite you and your staff, as well as other members of Congress that may wish to objectively verify the realities of our situation to come to the Sudan for a first-hand accounting. We would also urge you to visit with the strongest critics of my government's policies in order to insure the most balanced view. Find out how many minorities have been and will continue to be a part of the national government, that the distribution of power within the National Assembly is not different from the distribution of our population, that women are treated equally and that Islamic Sharia laws are only applicable in the Northern parts of Sudan. Come and see for yourself who is violating human rights. We believe you will be surprised by the answers.
D. We strongly urge appropriate authorities of the U.S. Government to help us bring those elements in our population who have not yet agreed to terms of peace and reconciliation to the negotiating table. Would it not be in the greater interests of peace and stability in the region for the United States to play a constructive role in supporting the Peace Treaty that we have reached recently, rather than the role of military aide supplier to rebel forces?
Congressman Hamilton, as a foreign policy expert, you inevitably understand the need for stability in a region that has Nile waters, billions of barrels of crude oil reserves and the potential to become a major agricultural center producing food for the Horn of Africa. We are committed to making stability and improved external relations with our neighbors, protection of basic rights and countering the forces of terrorism the cornerstones of our foreign policy in the region. We are grateful for your offer to take these serious issues to the appropriate levels of your government. Your sense of fairness is an example we can carry to the Sudanese people as the beacon of American ideals.
As we undertake this process, may I suggest regular communication with our State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mustafa Osman Ismaeli. Our embassy in Washington can provide you with his details. You are, of course, welcome to communicate directly with me at any time you wish. We look forward to a new era of dialogue with America and to your visit here in Khartoum.
Omer Hassan Ahmed El Bashir
President of the Republic of Sudan
Mansoor has been featured twice in BARRON'S Currency Roundtable discussions, and has appeared on CNN's "Inside Business", "Business Asia" and "Washington Unwrapped" programs to provide insights on topics ranging from hedge-funds to U.S.-China relations to key elements of Pakistan's economic policies to Sudan's oil politics. He has contributed to the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, where his op-ed pieces appeared in June and October 1996 and in March 1997. He was also honored as the Endowment for Democracy's 1995 Humanitarian of the Year in recognition of his efforts to aid poor and disaffected people in Bosnia, South Africa, Hungary and his father's native Pakistan. In October 1996, Mansoor served as a Plenary Session speaker on nuclear proliferation at the State of the World Forum in San Francisco, along with General Lee Butler, Senator Alan Cranston, nobel laureate Joseph Rotblat and others.
Much of Mansoor's time away from Crescent's daily affairs is spent in designing, funding and implementing projects for the people of third-world countries under the direction of his private foundation, The Ijaz Group. His current projects include structuring the asset management systems for the governments of the CIS and designing models for low-income housing in poor African countries. He derives much of his philanthropic motivation from his father and mother who emigrated to the United States in 1960. Mansoor's parents were both physicists. His father was one of the early contributors of the Pakistani nuclear program.
Mansoor has devoted much time to broadening the knowledge base and understanding of American policy-makers to reach more informed positions where the countries of South Asia, East Africa and the CIS are concerned. He has advised the Unity Government of President Nelson Mandela on low-income housing programs, President Sam Nujoma of Namibia on global investment programs for domestic pension plans, and President Haidar Aliev of Azerbaijan on investment of the revenues from Caspian oil reserves. He also meets regularly with the economic and political leaders of Russia, China, Israel, Pakistan, the Sudan and Persian Gulf states on economic and political issues related to his investment management business.
Mansoor is active in Democratic Party politics in the United States. He also earned All-American weightlifting status while attending the University of Virginia. Born in Florida in 1961 and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, Mansoor divides his time between his homes in New York, Toronto and France today.