Lebanon Is Fighting A Group That Has Seats In Its Government

Trump pledged continued USA military aid to Lebanon following his Oval Office meeting with Hariri.

"We have an understanding with Hezbollah", Hariri said.

The two leaders are expected to discuss issues relating to Hezbollah, Lebanon's autonomous Shiite militia which the United States identifies as a terrorist organization.

Following Trump's comments, Hariri, who leads the Sunni March 14 party in Lebanon's sectarian-based political system, pointed out that Hezbollah was in the government. However, "My job as the prime minister of Lebanon is how to best shield Lebanon from any problems inside the country". But in Lebanon, it's part of the ruling government. "We have good dialogue with Hezbollah". NPR's Jackie Northam has reported that the USA response to the crisis has been confused, "You have President Trump. publicly siding with Saudi Arabia".

The US has long struggled with its narrative on Hezbollah, presenting them as straightforward terrorists while simultaneously coping with the reality that they're a powerful political movement. He said he had stressed Lebanon's role in combating terrorism throughout his meetings with administration officials.

As the Al-Monitor notes, the State Department's 2018 budget plan cuts military assistant to Lebanon and other vulnerable Middle East countries by 80 percent compared to the 2016 fiscal year. In 2015, General Lloyd Austin, CENTCOM commander at the time, told Congress that only four or five US-trained fighters had actually gone to Syria to battle IS, out of the 5,000 the Pentagon had envisaged. Further, Lebanon faces threats from neighboring Syria such as the involvement of the Islamic State terror group in the Syrian Civil War. "So it's very crucial". Syrian refugees make up about 25 percent of Lebanon's population of some 6 million people. Rather, the cuts are part of Trump's across-the-board effort to reduce United States foreign aid.

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The border offensive had been in the works for months and Hezbollah asked the Syrian army to help after deciding to launch the battle, he said.

"America's assistance can help ensure that the Lebanese army is the only defender Lebanon needs". "It's a very effective fighting force". "The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel, constantly fighting them back". "With the support of Iran, the organisation is also fueling humanitarian catastrophe in Syria". Hezbollah also holds considerable influence in the country's parliament. The sanctions would expand previous congressional sanctions from 2015 by blocking the assets of any individual or entity that supports Hezbollah or its affiliates.

Despite Hariri's concerns, Gebeily downplayed the risk that the legislation could destabilize Iran's banking industry, noting that the impact from the first round of Hezbollah sanctions in 2015 "was really nil".

Trump also said he believed there might not be any Russian or Iranian involvement in Syria today had former President Barack Obama taken action against Assad.

Hariri is visiting the White House for talks with Trump and their respective delegations.

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