Prime Minister of Lebanon on Weathering the Regional Storm

Posted July 27, 2017

Hezbollah's role in the Syrian conflict has drawn criticism from its Lebanese political opponents, including Sunni leader and Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri. Analysts said Trump's decision indicated his administration's diminishing desire to force Assad to step down. "I certainly think that what he's done to that country and to humanity is awful".

There's only one problem: Hezbollah is in the Lebanese government.

Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hezbollah.

Hezbollah's "true interests are those of itself and its sponsor, Iran", he added.

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Recalling that he had ordered cruise missile attacks on Assad for using chemical weapons, Trump said: "I am not somebody that will stand by and let him get away with what he tried to do".

The operation commander of Hezbollah has declared in a statement that fighting al-Nusra elements is ending and it urged all terrorists to disarm and surrender to save their lifes. Earlier this month, the United States shut the door on refugees, as the country reached the limit set by the president, and Trump has sought to target Syrian refugees in particular. Lebanon is an important USA ally in the fight against Islamic State.

"It doesn't work, and it only reinforces a pro-Iranian configuration, partly because the previous administration reconfigured its Lebanon policy to be part of its broader regional policy of realignment with Iran", Badran explained, adding "and partly because Hezbollah controls Lebanon, its strategic orientation, and its security policy and apparatuses".

Mr Nerguizian said that Mr Hariri will make the case for a narrative that "Lebanon is not defined by Hizbollah and that the LAF is not subordinated to the party".

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Trump praised the Lebanese army for "fighting continually to guard Lebanon's border and prevent ISIS and other terrorists. from gaining a foothold inside their country".

Lebanese officials, however, have expressed concern that the broadening of U.S. sanctions on the group will damage the country's banking industry due to Hizballah's influence in the sector. In 2015, General Lloyd Austin, CENTCOM commander at the time, told Congress that only four or five US-trained fighters had actually gone to Syria to battle IS, out of the 5,000 the Pentagon had envisaged.

Trump demurred when asked to comment on possible additional sanctions against Hezbollah. "I want to congratulate American people because we're going to give you great health care".

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