US Congress Members in Lebanon Urge New President ‘As Soon as Possible’ Hezbollah Sets Out to Conquer the Sunni Scene Khamenei Puts Lebanon Back at the Heart of a Regional Tug of War
US Congress Members in Lebanon Urge New President ‘As Soon as Possible’
According to the L’Orient Today, “California representatives Mark Takano and Katie Porter, as well as Colin Allred of Texas — all three of them members of the Democratic Party — visited caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib Monday morning, the Grand Serail stated. They were accompanied by the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea. The group went to Ain al-Tineh in early Monday afternoon to speak with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.” [L’Orient Today]
Time is running out for Lebanon. It is time for Lebanon’s elected leaders to get their act together and show their readiness to enact needed reforms. The IMF is being tasked with challenges around the world as it addresses international turmoil and world-wide inflation. Countries are signing up with the IMF to address financial reform issues and take advantage of IMF help while it is being offered. The US, for its part, is focused on the war between Russia and Ukraine (and especially aid to Ukraine), potential instability in Asia, and energy price impacts on countries worldwide. US attention will turn away from Lebanon if its leadership cannot serve as a serious partner to address the country’s multiple problems and make needed reforms.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Hezbollah Sets Out to Conquer the Sunni Scene
Hezbollah has been working hard to recruit support from Lebanon’s Sunni community. They are looking at improving their own image within the community as well as gaining support from its elected leaders and politicians. It is even possible they could create their own 10 member Sunni bloc in Lebanon’s parliament. [L’Orient Today]
In the absence of any real plan to consolidate the reformist camp in Lebanon, Hezbollah is wasting no time in creating momentum to support its goal of controlling Lebanon through a compliant Parliament. The appointment of a Sunni figurehead as a potential leader of a pro-Hezbollah Sunni group amplifies Hezbollah’s opportunities of reaching its goal as political overlord as the presidential vacuum and the posturing among rival blocs continues. If anyone thinks the political landscape is changing with the recent arrival of the “Change” MPs, they may have to hold their breath until the next parliamentary election when the youth vote will be instrumental in the outcome, if Lebanon can hold on that long.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Khamenei Puts Lebanon Back at the Heart of a Regional Tug of War
Last week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei remarked that, “the policy of the Islamic Republic in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon is to defeat American influence.” Around the same time, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad expressed “fear for Lebanon and its future” and referred to Lebanon as “Syria’s main flank.” [L’Orient Today]
Recent statements by Syrian President Assad and Hezbollah’s Secretary General Nasrallah leave no doubt that Lebanon continues to be viewed as their pawn in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Lebanon has no room to maneuver if these two leaders have their way and Lebanon is pulled along a path of rejection rather than neutrality. All of this reinforces the need for a new president in Lebanon who will stand for neutrality and sovereignty in the country’s foreign policy. With Turkey and Saudi Arabia just over the horizon vying for leadership among the Sunni community, the pressure on local Sunni leaders must be intense. Sectarian politics will not support Lebanon’s future. Time for a change.