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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal 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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid