News / Middle East

US: Hezbollah Dominance in Lebanon Would be 'Problematic'

Angry Sunni protesters react as they hold posters showing the slain former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad Hariri, who they support, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, 24 Jan 2011
Angry Sunni protesters react as they hold posters showing the slain former prime minister Rafik Hariri, and his son Saad Hariri, who they support, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, 24 Jan 2011

The United States warned Monday that a dominate role in the next Lebanese government for the pro-Iranian Hezbollah movement would be "problematic" for U.S.-Lebanon relations. Hezbollah has long been on the U.S. State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations.

U.S. officials are closely monitoring the political maneuvering in Beirut, and they are serving notice that the larger the role Hezbollah has in a new government, the more difficult it will be for the U.S.- Lebanon relationship.

The United States strongly supported the fallen government of the now-caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri, and the U.N.-backed international tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of his father, Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The tribunal issued a long-awaited, but still secret, indictment in the case last week and Hezbollah figures are widely expected to be named in it.

The United States has long listed the pro-Iran Shi'ite militia and political party as a terrorist organization, blaming it for two 1980s bomb attacks on the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

With a Hezbollah-backed candidate, businessman Najib Mikati, emerging as the likely successor to Saad Hariri, State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said the United States will reserve judgment until a new government is formed. He made clear, however,  U.S. apprehension about a broader Hezbollah role.

"We’ll wait to see what the government looks like, who is involved in that government, and what the policies of that government will be, and we’ll evaluate what the impact on our relationship will be," said Crowley. "All I’m saying, which is obvious, is that we have great concerns about Hezbollah. We see it as a terrorist organization. And the larger the role played by Hezbollah in this government, the more problematic it is for the relationship between the United States and Lebanon."

Crowley said it is "hard to imagine" any new Lebanese government being truly representative of the entire country if it backs away from its support of the Hariri tribunal, as Hezbollah has demanded.

He said the United States wants to see a government that serves the interests of the Lebanese people and not the government of another country - an apparent reference to Iran, which helped found and supports Hezbollah.

Crowley said there is every indication that the ongoing deliberations in Beirut are in line with the country’s constitutional process and that the United States would not want to see any factions resort to violence.

Hezbollah members, who took to the streets in previous cabinet crises in 2006 and 2008, have staged marches in recent days.  Some Hariri supporters have accused Hezbollah of, in effect, staging a coup, and have called for a "day of anger" protest Tuesday.

Because of Hezbollah’s terrorist listing by the United States, the rise of a government dominated by the group could jeopardize U.S. aid for Lebanon.

The United States has been aiding the Lebanese armed forces as a counterweight to Hezbollah, a program that is unpopular among Congressional Republicans and some Democrats.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid