News / Middle East

US: Hezbollah, Syria, Iran Threaten Lebanon's Stability

The United States expressed its growing frustration with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and its patrons Iran and Syria on Thursday. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said actions by the three to escalate sectarian tensions so they can assert their own authority over Lebanon only serve to destabilize the tiny Mediterranean nation and the region.

US: Hezbollah, Syria, Iran Threaten Lebanon's Stability
US: Hezbollah, Syria, Iran Threaten Lebanon's Stability

There has been growing rhetoric between the United States and Syria in recent days about each other's actions in Lebanon and the greater Middle East.

Earlier this week, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat that the United States has "created chaos" in every place it has entered. He cited Somalia and Afghanistan, as well as the U.S. intervention in Lebanon in the early 1980s.

In response, Washington accused Syria of destabilizing Lebanon by supplying arms to Hezbollah and issuing arrest warrants for senior Lebanese officials.

On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told reporters that Washington continues to have "deep concerns about Hezbollah's destructive and destabilizing influence in the region." She also accused Syria and Iran of trying to undermine Lebanon's independence and endanger its stability.

"We understand that certain actors within and outside Lebanon - including Syria, Hezbollah, and Iran - may believe that escalating sectarian tensions will help them assert their own authority over Lebanon. However, these actors serve only to destabilize Lebanon and the region," said Rice.

She singled out Syria for further rebuke.

"Syria, especially, has displayed flagrant disregard for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity, and political independence of Lebanon under the sole and exclusive authority of the Lebanese government, as affirmed in resolution 1559," Rice said.

U.N. Resolution 1559 was adopted in 2004, and called for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon - which at the time were primarily Syrian -- and reaffirmed its support for the country's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. It also called for the disbanding and disarming of all Lebanese and Palestinian militias in the country.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari dismissed the U.S. ambassador's comments, saying they were based on "wrong facts and information" in the U.N. Secretary-General's recent report on the implementation of Resolution 1559.

The U.N. diplomat in charge of implementing Resolution 1559, Terje Roed-Larsen, briefed the Security Council on its progress. Roed-Larsen, a veteran of Middle East crises, said after the closed door meeting that the region is at a critical juncture.

"I believe we are now seeing a region where we have crosswinds and a hurricane blowing up," said Roed-Larsen. "And in the middle of the cross winds there is a tent standing, and that tent is critically upheld by two poles - one is the Palestinian one and the other one is the Lebanese. If one of those poles crack, the whole tent will go down. In other words, if the Lebanese situation is destabilized, I am afraid that it will have rippling effects across the region."

A Hezbollah fighter fixes the beret of a fellow member during a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in the southern suburb of Beirut (File)
A Hezbollah fighter fixes the beret of a fellow member during a speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in the southern suburb of Beirut (File)

In the U.N. Secretary-General's report, he warns that "Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias continue to operate in the country" beyond the government's control. He said the armed wing of Hezbollah remains "the most significant and most heavily armed" of the groups and that its military capabilities may exceed those of the Lebanese Armed Forces. He said Hezbollah's arsenal creates an "atmosphere of intimidation" and called on the group to disarm and become solely a political party.

The situation has grown more tense in recent months, as Lebanon awaits possible indictments soon by the U.N. tribunal investigating the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others in a massive truck bombing in 2005.

Syria has denied widely-held suspicions it was involved in the blast. Many observers expect the court to indict members of Hezbollah, which has the potential to throw the country back into violence.  

On Wednesday, in a Beirut suburb that is a stronghold of Hezbollah, three members of the U.N. court were attacked and threatened by a mob of women at a doctor's office where they had gone to examine evidence.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More