Lebanon Policy in the Incoming US Administration

Position Statement by the Lebanese Information Center

November 1, 2016

Before its occupation by Syria and the subsequent emergence of Hezbollah as a dominant force in its domestic and foreign affairs, Lebanon was a reliable ally of the United States in the Middle East.  Most Lebanese are steadfast in their affection for the US and keen on maintaining and expanding Lebanonís ties with it.  Moreover, it is estimated that of the approximately 3.5 million Americans with roots from Arabic speaking countries, 60% are of Lebanese descent.  Lebanese-Americans are proud of and loyal to their new nation and would defend it with their lives if the need arises.

The strategic significance of Lebanon to the US cannot be overstated.   The US stands to benefit a great deal from a Lebanon that would stand shoulder to shoulder with it in its fight against radicalism and terrorism; support its continued efforts to mitigate the impact of regional tensions and the increasingly sharp divide among Muslims, which has serious ramifications on regional and global stability; and assist in its efforts to curb Iranís and its croniesí expanding influence in the region.

It is our hope that the incoming administration would protect US interests in the Middle East while supporting Lebanon by:

  1. Continuing and increasing its much-appreciated financial and military support to the Lebanese armed forces.

  2. Working to ensure non-interference in Lebanese affairs by regional powers and to disengage Lebanon from all regional conflicts.

  3. Supporting the upholding of a consensual democracy that guarantees the rights of individuals and communities in a pluralistic society that is inherently composed of minorities.

  4. Continuing to demand the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions such as 1559, 1680 and 1701, which call for the disarmament of Hezbollah and of armed groups in Palestinian camps as well as the cessation of military aid from any state to militias within Lebanon.

  5. Ensuring the monitoring of the Syrian-Lebanese borders to stop the flow of Iranian and other military material and personnel from Syria to Lebanese militias.

  6. Supporting the enactment of a reformed and equitable legislative election law to achieve true representation of the various components of the Lebanese population

  7. Rejecting any notion of a permanent settlement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon since Lebanonís particular religious and demographic considerations exclude the viability of naturalizing these refugees.

  8. Continuing to engage, empower and assist Lebanonís political leaders, non-governmental agencies and individuals in Lebanon who genuinely share our principles and unequivocally support the freedom and democracy of Lebanon.

  9. Defending basic rights and individual freedoms in Lebanon and addressing the humanitarian issues of those Lebanese who were displaced during the civil war, were forcefully exiled from Lebanon into Israel and other countries, and those still detained in Syrian jails.

We believe that it is imperative that the US remains steadfast in its support for a free and democratic Lebanon and sincerely hope that the incoming administration will address the obstacles hindering Lebanonís recovery.    We also believe that, in supporting this cause, the next President will be able to count on: (1) the congruous international positions and numerous UNSC Resolutions, (2) the solid bipartisan support and multiple resolutions and Acts in Congress vis a vis Lebanon, and (3) the backing of a very appreciative and widespread Lebanese-American community. 

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