Home > Iran, Lebanon, United States of America > No change in US stance toward Hezbollah, says top official

No change in US stance toward Hezbollah, says top official

(WJC)–The Obama administration will not treat Hezbollah as being divided into political and military factions, a senior official has told the US Senate’s Middle East subcommittee. “Despite the group’s rhetoric and political campaigning, there remains today no meaningful distinction between the military and political wings of Hezbollah,” Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of state in charge of the Middle East, said.

Feltman’s remarks appeared to be aimed at ending a controversy started last month when President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, suggested that the United States should cultivate Hezbollah “moderates” in the Lebanese government, as opposed to the militants who run the terrorist group. Feltman said the United States would deal with the group should it leave behind its terrorism, but added that he believed it to be unlikely.

“Should Hezbollah truly desire to join the ranks of Lebanon’s other political groups in its democratic system, its path would be clear: It would fully disarm, like all other militias, renounce terrorism and political intimidation, and acknowledge the authority of the government of Lebanon and that government’s right, like other governments, to a monopoly on the use of force,” he said. “Under those circumstances we could reconsider the group’s status. Make no mistake, these are significant hurdles, and we have seen no indication to date that Hezbollah is ready to take these steps.”

The Iranian-backed Shiite group, Feltman said, remained “the most technically capable terrorist group in the world and a continued security threat to the United States.”


Preceding provided by World Jewish Congress

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