Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Speculation continues to swirl around ‘what’s next?’ after Prime Minister Hariri’s
return to Lebanon and the ongoing discussions among key players in and outside
Lebanon. So it may be worthwhile to take stock of what’s at stake if Lebanon, as
imperfectly as it operates, would become a failed state, i.e. looks more like Libya
without even a modicum of central government authority and returns to a civil war
with outside parties holding their contests for regional power inside Lebanon.

Of course the first question is survival as what? The status quo is certainly
untenable with Hezbollah acting as a state within a state, Parliament divided among
those who support an independent and secure country and those who welcome
outside intervention, and those reluctant to stand for fear of losing their...

Monday, November 20, 2017

The American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) is an independent US not-for-profit organization working to support strong US-Lebanon relations. ATFL welcomes statements from the White House, State Department, and prominent US Senators, including Senators McCain and Shaheen, in support of Lebanon during the current crisis following the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Saad Hariri while visiting Saudi Arabia. These statements reiterate support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, its political institutions, and America’s strong support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, as well as underscoring US respect for PM Hariri as a partner of the US and the legitimate head of the government for the Republic of Lebanon....

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Washington, DC – Today (Nov 13), U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in light of the growing crisis in Lebanon:

“I’m very concerned by Saudi Arabia and Iran’s attempts to drag Lebanon into their long-standing battle for influence. This is a dangerous game that could have devastating consequences. I urge all actors involved to cease the unhelpful rhetoric of war and present the circumstances behind the sudden resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri as soon as possible,” said Senator Shaheen. “I am hopeful that a diplomatic solution can be found to this crisis and urge the White House to allow the State Department to lead on the Administration’s engagement efforts so that we can respond appropriately to this fast-changing situation.”

Senator Shahee...

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Since Michael Hudson penned his opus on Lebanon, “The Precarious Republic,” I have been addicted to looking behind the curtain to try and understand goings-on in that sliver of a country, endowed with incredible beauty, and multiples of people who claim it as home. The book was written in 1968, that’s 50 years ago, yet the core facts resonate today – Lebanon is a multi-sectarian home to affinity groups that lack a central defining identity as Lebanese without adding a hyphen for their sect, tribe, or religion.

When I first went to Lebanon in the early 70s, this was apparent in the Palestinian, Armenian, Syrian, and other peoples one routinely met in the cabarets and alleyways of Beirut. The World Lebanese Cultural Union was pushing to have Lebanese abroad included in the political life of t...

Thursday, November 9, 2017

ATFL is concerned that cross-border and internal tensions are placing even greater burdens on Lebanon’s stability and independence. There is no mistaking that the deepening challenges engulfing Lebanon are due to its unique political composition and preferred policy of “disassociation” from regional conflicts, unfortunately more observed in the breach than in reality.

These tensions are real and numerous, including:

  •   Internal concerns with refugees and Hezbollah’s military dominance,

  •   Domestic issues surrounding the government’s performance and upcoming elections,

  •   Israel’s increasing pressures on Lebanon to rein in Hezbollah,

  •   Israel and the GCC’s hate-fest with Iran,

  •   Iran’s manipulations in Iraq, Syria, and with Hezbollah,

  •   And now, Saudi Arabia’s push t...

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