Pompeo tells Lebanon to choose Hezbollah or independence

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Lebanon's President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda on March 22, 2019. Pompeo is on a regional tour to build a united front against Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in Baabda on March 22, 2019. Pompeo is on a regional tour to build a united front against Iran.

A seven-minute media address by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday was dominated by his country’s preoccupation with Hezbollah and, in effect, its patron Iran.

Pompeo read out his statement during his visit to Beirut as his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil watched with an unwavering gaze.

The top US diplomat minced no words while declaring the intentions of President Donald Trump’s administration to take on Hezbollah for its “criminal activities and terrorist network” albeit by “peaceful means”.

Referring to a recent televised speech by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, Pompeo claimed success of US sanctions against the group, saying “Nasrallah begged for contributions”

Trump has reversed his predecessor Barack Obama’s Middle East policy, abandoning the much-hailed 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reimposing sanctions. The US has since imposed additional sanctions on Hezbollah as well.

Bassil’s address took on a different tone to Pompeo’s, however, with the foreign minister reaffirming that Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation, has a large support base and is part of Lebanon’s national unity government.

Political and military growth

In October, the US designated Hezbollah as a transnational crime threat, alleging that the group’s network spans across West Africa and South America and is involved in money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorism.

However, Thanassis Cambanis, a fellow with The Century Foundation and author of a book on Hezbollah, said that while the sanctions made life harder for Hezbollah, they have done nothing to stop its political or military growth.

“American efforts to weaken and isolate Hezbollah have created myriad practical problems for the organisation but do nothing to accomplish the fundamental United States goal of containing Hezbollah politically and militarily,” Cambanis told Al Jazeera.

“Terror-listing and sanctions make it difficult for Hezbollah’s non-military operations. They do nothing, however, to reduce Hezbollah’s reach as a military power,” he added.

Hezbollah has grown from being an Iranian proxy inside Lebanon to a regional armed force over the last decade. It has sent fighters in thousands to the Syrian war. Those who survived have returned battle-hardened.

The group has also aided Shia militias in Iraq and backed the Houthis in Yemen. Hezbollah has been forming a bloc against Israel in South Lebanon but now it is also present in southern Syria in the part of Golan Heights still under Syrian control.

The group has also gained power politically and dominates the Lebanese parliament. Along with its allies, Hezbollah has over 70 of the 128 parliamentary seats and three ministers in the cabinet.

Preserving unity

Lebanese politicians, including President Michelle Aoun, base their support for Hezbollah on the need to preserve unity among the different factions represented in Lebanon’s sectarian divisions of power.

Alain Aoun, an MP with President Aoun and Gebran Basil’s Free Patriotic Movement, told Al Jazeera that while the US was free to limit whatever it deemed to be Hezbollah’s external acts, within Lebanon, Hezbollah was a legitimate part of the society.

“The US must not take punitive measures against Lebanese people,” said Aoun. “We are Hezbollah’s political allies, as it represents a major Lebanese community, but this does not mean that we know what is happening outside.”

Although many had feared Pompeo would announce further sanctions, he promised that the US would continue to support Lebanese state institutions, including financially. His words were underlaid with veiled warnings that continued reliance on Hezbollah would risk Lebanon’s economic prospects.

“Lebanon faces a choice; bravely move forward as an independent and proud nation or allow the dark ambitions of Iran and Hezbollah to dictate your future,” Pompeo said in his address.

He also reminded the Lebanese people of the $800m the US provided to Lebanon in pecuniary support just last year. “How much has Hezbollah or Iran provided,” asked Pompeo, adding that Iran gives Hezbollah $700m a year.

Interestingly, and perhaps not coincidentally, he visited Lebanon after Israel, just as President Trump recognised Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

The Trump administration has already moved its embassy to disputed Jerusalem and is preparing a deal to resolve the conflict with Palestine that will reportedly mirror many of Israel’s demands.

The lasting effect of US policy is yet to be seen. However, Cambanis of The Century Foundation believes the US should adopt a more nuanced approach towards Hezbollah.

“Sanctions against Hezbollah have already ensued a siege mentality among its followers. This is unlikely to weaken the group and instead give it more control, more supporters.”

AL JAZEERA

  • Hannibal

    Hezbollah AND Independence.

    • vs

      Dependence from HA and mullahs

    • Y K

      All hail the toilet CEO and his profound comments!
      Long time, no bullsh*t from you, my friend. Have you managed to place your offspring into that community college you were ranting about? 🙂
      Hezbollah, love, and a bucket of pi$$ on your wise head, bro!

      • Hannibal

        DCP? Let me spell it out for you… Devil Chosen People. The ugliest, meanest, low life gene pool ever created. Except for Gal Gadot that is. She has the beauty of Jesus not the ugliness of the temple vipers.

        Israeli actress and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot on Monday pushed back after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country belongs only to the Jewish people.

        “Love thy neighbor,” Gadot said Sunday on Instagram, as first reported by NBC News.

        “It is not a matter of right or left, Arabs or Jews, secular or religious,” she added. “It is a matter of dialogue, of dialogue for peace, and of our tolerance for each other. It is our responsibility to shine hope and light for a better future for our children.”

        • Y K

          So you jerk off to Gal Gadot? One more piece of the world’s most boring puzzle falls into place. 🙂

          Do keep us updated about your mast#rbatory preferences, pal, as well as about other aspects of your fascinating life.

          • Hannibal

            No way… How can I let go of your whore mother… pal 😉
            My only regret is I did not pay enough attention to her, being too busy as a toilet CEO, she ended up committing adultery with a scum to bear another scum. Honestly LMAO.
            Good comeback heh 😉 ???

          • Y K

            “How can I let go of your whore mother…”

            A moron, a Nazi, AND a gerontophiliac? Wow, buddy, you truly are a gift that keeps on giving. 🙂

          • Hannibal

            I thought we Arabs were next after you Jews on the list of Nazis… How can I be a Nazi?
            Wow, buddy, you truly are a gift that keeps on giving. 🙂 – You’re welcome – Pal

          • Y K

            “I thought we Arabs were next after you Jews on the list of Nazis”

            If you thought that, that’s only because you are a clinical moron.

          • Hind Abyad
          • Y K

            “On the list of Nazis non looks Arab” (sic).

            Can you at least occasionally write one-liners that are not completely garbled?

          • Hind Abyad

            Not interested in you cretin

          • Y K

            Bullsh*t. Being a lowlife, a clinical moron, a welfare parasite and generally a piece of genetic garbage, you actually crave the attention and acceptance of civilized people. 🙂

          • Niemals

            Yes Dumbyad crave the attention and acceptance of civilized people, and when she don’t gets it she complains to her soulmates…
            https://twitter.com/wherepond/status/1112049253839458305
            When it doesn’t help, than she takes this action…
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a6c61eb3642a58b1d739d6a039d75bb9acd14576885a3deb412b8a1ac870e587.jpg

          • Hind Abyad

            I did this so you get the hell out of my face loser uses me to get attention ‘and acceptance’ of uncivilized blog with no readers no moderators no people, the only place in on Mother Earth you get attention fom freaks.
            So you manipulate, add, edit, make collages, with my tweets, completaly Illegal, fraudulous low IQ, low life, loser.. now mocking Niemals with 2 followers? Haha..sorry that’s you there.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/72157a3765dd6bbe2caa086b3800e574820d62f763bba814fa063d180b934a66.png

            Blocked @niemals
            niemals @niemals
            Tweets 37
            Following
            2
            Followers
            0

          • Niemals

            @MforMICHAL is blocked by Ron Hughes!
            “Racist anti-Semite @MforMICHAL already blocked. Zionists are racists. Apartheid = racism. Palestinians are Semites”▪that is why he blocked – he don’t like the video on @MforMICHAL tweet 🤔🤫
            https://twitter.com/MforMICHAL/status/1093288302726316033

          • Hannibal

            Two things in common: Ugly and Nasty (or is it NAZI?) 😉

          • Hind Abyad
          • vs

            Infosharmuta, Jews stolen Holly Book from Egyptian Muslim Kuran

          • Hind Abyad

            There was no Egyptian Moslem Kuran or Bible in 3,000 BC Mickey Mouse!

          • vs

            sarcasm is above your understanding, my friend Hind?

          • Hind Abyad

            Not timing for sarcasm but a poor excuse ..;-)))

          • Hind Abyad

            Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the first five books of the Bible and the entirety of the Torah) were all written by Moses in about 1,300 B.C.
            Myths..

          • Y K

            Yeah, moron: Jooz have “frozen brain genes” (sic; do you even know what a “gene” is, ret@rd?). Convincingly proven by Sigmund Freud. 🙂

          • Hind Abyad

            Exactly what he says about the myths of the Hebrew Bible.
            Albert Einstein said; “Bible are stories for children”

          • Y K

            A piece of friendly advice, ret@rd: don’t ever try sarcasm. You’re way too d^mb (and subliterate) for it. Better stick to the “I f^kked your mother” comebacks – those look like your cup of pi$$-diluted tea. 🙂

          • Hind Abyad

            Scradj on a leach and Niemals “like”. This is the most violent post i’ve read on line, alarming violence, words can be as violent as physical agression abnormal behaviour of a criminal man

          • Y K

            “Scradj on a leach” (sic).

            It’s “leash”, you illiterate degenerate, “leash”. As different from “leech” – which perfectly describes a pathetic, moronic welfare parasite like yourself.

            Don’t they offer free English lessons to ”enrichisseurs de culture” of your ilk in Canada?

          • Hind Abyad

            I never went to school in English. Yakov.
            How many books have you read in French YaKov?
            I read all Dostoyevsky in English.
            Hamlet was at 15 years, Steinbeck. Evelyn Vaugh, Truman Capote, the list goes on… all classic French authors, my
            avatar is young Arthur Rainbaud.
            You’re just a Fascist.

          • Y K

            You never went to school, period.

            All you read is illiterate conspiracy nonsense about Jooz, composed by people only marginally smarter than you.

            Which does nothing to improve your already clinical iduocy.

            If you actually read the classics instead of the Nazi cr@p you’re obsessed with, you probably wouldn’t be as malevolently stupid as you are.

          • Niemals

            The only litteratur that is interesting her, she finds on tweeter posts like Ron Hughes رون هيوز @parallelpond or was it Ron Hughes رون هيوز @wherepond, H e b a @HKX07….

            She will never explain why didn’t the Palestinians go after Gaza when it was occupied by Egypt?
            She will never explain why didn’t the Palestinians go after the West Bank when it was occupied by the Jordan?
            https://twitter.com/MforMICHAL/status/1093288302726316033

            See the antisemite Ariyana Love interview with a Palestinian that goes horribly wrong for Ariyana Love https://vimeo.com/328645604

          • Hind Abyad

            Do you have other interests in life?

          • Hind Abyad

            OK ;-()))

          • Hind Abyad

            Kep you Joz and f* ov

          • Hind Abyad

            Thats the language American neo Nazis understand

          • Hind Abyad
          • vs

            sharing

          • Hannibal

            They know that… Do they have anything original? Yes wait… Ugliness LMAO

          • Hind Abyad

            Inside out…;-))

          • Hind Abyad
          • vs

            BS

      • Hind Abyad
      • Hind Abyad

        What else they copied from Egypt?

        The Cherubim was copied from the Egyptians

        “One of the most perplexing ancient Jewish articles is the Ark of the Covenant that tradition states contained both the shattered and whole Decalogue (Ten Commandments). The Ark had two poles that were never removed from the box. No reason is given for this practice. The cover of the Ark contained two winged figures called cherubim. No explanation was offered in the Bible for their presence, leaving us with only speculation. What is most bothersome is that the presence of two winged creatures seems to violate the biblical law prohibiting the building of such figures.”

        http://booksnthoughts.com/the-cherubim-was-copied-from-the-egyptians/

        • Y K

          A mental patient having long and tedious conversations with the voices (echoes?) in her empty head. 🙂

          • Hind Abyad

            Tedious, soporipic, boring, broken record.. Moron, janitor, welfare check, genetic garbage, Yeah, Jooz, Arab Nazi YaK YaK YaK…….

          • Y K

            What do you say to a person (creature?) who can’t even copypaste “soporific” from an online dictionary correctly?

          • Hind Abyad

            Lebanese second official Language is French Christians in M.E. lean French since 1,000 yrs. Deal with it.. Yak Yak

            “SOPORIFIC | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
            https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/soporific
            soporific definition: causing sleep or making a person want to sleep:”

          • Y K

            You ain’t really Lebanese. Welfare parasites have no Fatherland, as that Joo Marx so succinctly put it. Not sure you’re even human. 🙂

            In any case, being a functionally illiterate mental patient you s^ck at communicating in any language.

            Needless to say, you also have no clue about the status of French in Lebanon (“special”, not official). But then you don’t know sh#t about Lebanon – or anything else, for that matter. 🙂

          • Niemals

            She ain’t really Lebanese, she once tweeted that she is an Arab.
            In other words she is just a full time working complaining TROL 🚮https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ef9893da2dbdc1a808da07c533de4841d4d65db4f32156c9089b485a04f50b79.jpg you ate right, this disturbed Hindler don’t know anything except all the conspiracy theories. 🤫

          • Hind Abyad

            CuI de sac déja vu..my Name is Arabic on line. Real name is French ;-p

          • Hind Abyad

            So entertaining Zionists know sh#t about Lebanon – ignorance of the whole Middle East..The Internet is your pay Job.

          • Hind Abyad
          • Hind Abyad

            Wow you’re a very sick man ..a killer

          • Y K

            I’ve only ever killed cockroaches – and I pity them, too. Not sure you’re on the same intellectual level with a cockroach, though.

            You are a murderer of brain cells. 🙂

          • Niemals

            Indeed this “intellectual Lebanese” Arab is completely deranged – always chosing the most violent photos in her Twitter comments.
            Her brain cells are filled with cruelty like in her comments about the murderer in Christchurch mosque shooting.

            She ain’t no better than this H e b a @HKX07 👹 that has potentially offensive content, with offensive images and languages ​​in her Tweets.

          • Hind Abyad

            Rafi Eytan said when wer’re finished with the Palestinians they will be turning in circles like drugged cockroach inside a bottle.”

            “This checklist identifies the following as the symptoms and signs of psychopathy:
            Superficial charm and glibness.
            Inflated sense of self-worth.
            Constant need for stimulation.
            Lying pathologically.
            Conning others; being manipulative.
            Lack of remorse or guilt.
            Shallow emotions.
            Callousness; lack of empathy.”

          • Hind Abyad

            The only thing as infinite as the Universe is Human stupidity, AE.

          • Hind Abyad

            “SOPORIFIC | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
            https://dictionary.cambridg
            soporific definition: causing sleep or making a person want to sleep:

      • Hind Abyad
      • Hind Abyad

        Hezbollah, love, and a bucket of pi$$ on your wise head, bro!

  • Hind Abyad
    • vs

      Infosharmutism. Christians are O.K. in Israel, no war, yes coexistance. How many Christians, no, in general, people killed by Muslims? By Jews? Abyad is mental masturbator on Jews