Published: Fri, July 28, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Lebanese PM: We Took in Refugees, Now Keep the Aid Flowing

Lebanese PM: We Took in Refugees, Now Keep the Aid Flowing

Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote that Trump's praise for and encouragement of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) as a counter-force to Hezbollah is misplaced because Hezbollah controls Lebanon. He added, "We have done more than we are able to bear in this conflict".

Lebanon's prime minister said at the White House Tuesday he was committed to a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for Hezbollah's disarmament - but back home his government's failure to rein in the Iranian-backed group is being starkly illustrated by a fierce terrorist-versus-terrorist battle underway along the Lebanon-Syria border.

Earlier this month, the United States shut the door on refugees, as the country reached the limit set by the president, and Trump has sought to target Syrian refugees in particular.

"I will be going to the Congress tomorrow and talking to both parties and I believe that there are already enough sanctions on Lebanon and in the banking sector", Hariri told Al-Monitor today following his remarks at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "The United States military has been proud to help in that fight and will continue to do so". In fact, Hezbollah, which is fighting ISIS in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime, enjoys broad support in Lebanon.

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

Describing Lebanon as a model for coexistence, the prime minister said: "In a region fraught with religious and sectarian violence, in a world where coexistence between Islam and Christianity is increasingly portrayed as impossible, Lebanon offers a model; a model of coexistence, of dialogue and of political solution".

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Negotiations began on Tuesday between Lebanese officials and the Nusra Front over the withdrawal of remaining militants to insurgent-held territory in Syria, he also said. ISIS in Syria, ISIS in Iraq, we have made tremendous strides, our military is an incredible fighting force.

On Friday, Hezbollah worked with Syrian forces to push Islamist radicals off the Lebanese border.

Trump also called Hezbollah a "menace" to the Middle East during a joint press conference with Lebanon's PM Saad Hariri.

Hariri's late father, who also served as Lebanon's prime minister, was assassinated by Hezbollah in 2005.

Trump responded, "We will do that". Neither he nor Mr Trump were in office at the time and, while the Obama administration received its share of criticism over its handling of the Syrian conflict, U.S. support was for the last eight years steadily flowing to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

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