by WorldTribune Staff, December 19, 2018
The U.S. State Department on Dec. 17 expressed concern over the Iran-backed Hizbullah terror organization’s rise in Lebanon’s government.
“We continue to have deep concerns regarding Hizbullah’s growing political power inside Lebanon,” a State Department official told Reuters.
Hizbullah and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member Lebanese parliament in the May election and is expected to get three ministries in the upcoming cabinet for the first time, instead of two, including the health ministry, according to Reuters.
Incumbent Prime Minister Saad Hariri was tasked with forming the next coalition despite his party’s significant losses in the vote. Hariri, who is backed by Saudi Arabia, included Hizbullah in his last cabinet as well.
Hizbullah is blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the West and even by some Arab countries, but some of those designations, most notably in the EU and in Britain, make a distinction between Hizbullah’s “military wing” and its political arm, Arutz Sheva noted in a Dec. 19 report.
Members of the U.S. Congress urged the EU to designate all branches of Hizbullah as a terror group after several Hizbullah parliamentarians in Lebanon were caught on camera calling for terror attacks against Israel.
The State Department official also told Reuters that “We hope Lebanon’s next government will build a stable and secure Lebanon that is committed to peace, responsive to the needs of the Lebanese people, and working with the United States on areas of mutual interest.”