Trump pledges United States aid in Lebanon fight against IS

Trump pledges United States aid in Lebanon fight against IS

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri came to Washington with a message: In taking in 1.5 million refugees from Syria, Lebanon is performing "a public service for the worldwide community", one for which the community should thank it with sustained support.

Trump met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House on Tuesday with security top of the agenda. They both smiled broadly for the assembled press and photographers form both countries. "I outlined to President Trump my government vision for dealing with this crisis with the support of the global community".

While the USA has condemned Hezbollah as a terrorist group, and Congress is considering stepping up sanctions, its political wing is the most powerful entity in Lebanon's deeply divided coalition government. Earlier this month, the USA reached its 50,000-refugee limit for the year, a threshold Trump lowered from 100,000 as part of his travel ban that will be heard in the Supreme Court later this year.

Trump on Tuesday praised the LAF for "fighting continually to guard Lebanon's border and prevent ISIS and other terrorists - of which there are many - from gaining a foothold inside their country".

Through mistakenly saying that Lebanon was on the front lines in the fight against Hezbollah - when in fact the terrorist group is part of the Lebanese government - Trump noted that the group is "fueling the humanitarian catastrophe" in Syria.

In the long term, this means "if one is truly hawkish about Lebanon, then one must support the LAF [in spite] of Hizbollah", the expert said.

"It doesn't work, and it only reinforces a pro-Iranian configuration, partly because the previous administration reconfigured its Lebanon policy to be part of its broader regional policy of realignment with Iran", Badran explained, adding "and partly because Hezbollah controls Lebanon, its strategic orientation, and its security policy and apparatuses".

When asked about his position on the group, who has constantly faced US sanctions and condemnation, Trump's responses were quite puzzling, to say the least. He called the group a "menace" to the Lebanese people and to the entire region, which is in keeping with congressional efforts.

At the end of the end of the leaders' prepared remarks, they took reporters' questions and were asked about the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.

Summary⎙ Print Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is fighting back against aid cuts and new sanctions.

"'The United States military has been proud to help in that fight and will continue to do so", he said.

Trump did not comment on the ongoing feud.

The prime minister is also urging Trump to reconsider his aid cuts. It will also support water and wastewater infrastructure projects, the State Department said in a statement. "I certainly think that what he's done to that country and to humanity is disgusting", Trump said.

"Had president Obama gone across that line and done what he should have done, I don't believe you'd have Russian Federation, and I don't believe you'd have Iran, anywhere near the extent and maybe not at all, in Syria today", he said.

Obama did seek congressional approval to launch airstrikes in Syria in 2013, following the use of chemical weapons, but was rebuffed.

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