Nov 20 2019 - 12:45

Feltman testifies on Lebanon, protests and Hezbollah

Jeffrey Feltman testified before the House Foreign Affairs Lebanon, news ,lbci ,أخبار Protests, Lebanon,US,Jeffrey Feltman testified before the House Foreign Affairs
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Lebanon News
Jeffrey Feltman testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism  on the implications of the current protests sweeping Lebanon.
Feltman noted that Lebanon “is a venue for global strategic competition.”
“Others will happily fill the vacuum if we cede ground,” he said.
On another note, the US official noted that “Russia also eyes Lebanon as a venue to continue its aggressive expansion of its regional and Mediterranean role.”
“As frustrating, needy, and complicated as Lebanon can be, we need to play the long game and not allow Iran, Syria, China, or Russia to exploit our absence,” he added.
Feltman stressed that Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah’s speeches hoping to discredit the demonstrations “have undermined Hezbollah’s carefully cultivated narrative more effectively than years of U.S. efforts to do so.”
“Some in Washington may ask if the LAF should now prepare to confront Hezbollah kinetically and disarm Hezbollah by force.  That would be a recipe for civil war, and, as noted above, Iran and its proxies as well as Al-Qaida tend to thrive in civil war situations.  We need to think more long term,” he went on saying.
Meanwhile, Feltman said that “Lebanese voters may not be able to strip Hezbollah of its arsenal overnight, but they can seize the next electoral opportunity to strip Hezbollah of the parliamentary partners it uses as force multipliers to assert its will politically:  thus, Nasrallah’s red line against early elections.”
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