Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mr. Ambassador - Tony, Nicole, Members of Congress, ambassadors, distinguished guests, thank you for this opportunity to represent my government as we celebrate Lebanese Independence Day. I want to convey the best wishes of the President and Secretary Kerry to Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

 

But I am also here to add my voice to the loud chorus of praise and gratitude you are already hearing as you and Nicole prepare to depart Washington.

 

Tonight, we pay tribute to you not only for your outstanding work as ambassador here in Washington for more than eight years, but also for a broader career in the diplomatic corps devoted to strengthening the bonds between our two countries.

 

In addition to the Americas desk at the Ministry back in Beirut, you've served three other assignments in this cou...

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On Wednesday evening (November 18), The Hon. Darrell Issa of California, co-chairman of the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Lebanon Relations, asked for a moment of silence on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to honor the 43 killed and the approximately 200 wounded in the ISIS-claimed twin suicide bombings in Beirut on November 12. In addition to those lost in the Russian airliner bombing and the Paris attacks, he noted that ISIS was responsible for 400 murders in a two-week period.

 

Representative Issa was joined by other members of this bipartisan caucus, including co-chair Representative Gwen Graham of Florida and Representatives Ralph Abraham of Louisiana, Charles Boustany of Louisiana, Debbie Dingell of Michigan, Trent Franks of Arizona, Richard Hanna of New York, Joe Kenned...

Friday, November 13, 2015

The American Task Force for Lebanon (ATFL) condemns the horrific bombings yesterday in Lebanon’s Southern Suburbs of Beirut. Updated reports give a rising number of at least 43 dead and 239 wounded, many with presumably traumatic injuries. The multiple suicide attacks bear the hallmark of the Islamic State, which has claimed responsibility. Tragically, the victims seem to have been civilians. The ATFL extends its deepest condolences to the families of those killed and prays for the speedy recovery of the injured.

The bombings in the Southern Suburbs in recent years seem to be related to combat in Syria.

The ATFL again urges all Lebanese to abide by the policy of disassociation of Lebanon from events in Syria, which was enshrined in the 2012 Baabda declaration and signed by all major Lebanese...

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lebanese officials are always calling the crisis du jour “existential,” yet Lebanon manages to endure. But the Syrian refugee crisis just might be existential. Lebanon’s interior minister said recently that Syrian nationals now constitute 29 percent-30 percent of Lebanon’s population. Imagine the refugee influx if Damascus and Homs implode! Since 17 years is the global average of displacement, Lebanon is rightly concerned about the refugees and the continuing burden on infrastructure, potential militarization and threat to the sectarian balance.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The streets of Beirut are once again filled with the voices of angry citizens fed up with a system increasingly incapable of addressing the basic needs of its people. More than just the visible culmination of a contractual dispute, the current garbage crisis is a symptom of the government’s deeper systemic failures that have wreaked havoc on the nation’s capacity for stability and rule of law.

For over 450 days, Lebanon has “operated” without a President because political parties in parliament, which is tasked with electing the President, cannot come to an agreement on a candidate. Parliament, a body entirely comprised of elected officials, has twice self-extended its term, through dubious constitutional means, and undermined the foundational process of democracy to legitimize the continual...

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