Trump: Hezbollah a 'menace' to the Middle East

Trump hosts Lebanon's Prime Minister, blasts Hezbollah and warns that it is a threat to the entire region.

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Elad Benari,

Hariri and Trump
Hariri and Trump
Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday hosted Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House.

In a press conference with Hariri, Trump called Hezbollah a threat to the entire Middle East and accused the group and Iran of fueling a humanitarian disaster in Syria.

"Hezbollah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region," Trump said, according to AFP.

"The group continues to increase its military arsenal which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel... With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling humanitarian catastrophe in Syria," he added.

Trump also praised Lebanon's efforts to guard its borders to prevent Islamic State (ISIS) and other jihadist groups from gaining a foothold inside their country and promised continued American help.

"America's assistance can help ensure that the Lebanese army is the only defender Lebanon needs," said the President.

Hariri said in brief remarks before a meeting with aides that he hopes the partnership between the U.S. and Lebanon against terrorism will continue until terrorists are defeated, reported The Associated Press.

Trump responded, "We will do that", and then added that Hariri is winning the fight against ISIS and others and that "ultimately you will win ... we have great confidence in you."

Trump did not acknowledge the fact that Hezbollah is a member of Hariri's government.

The group is blacklisted as a terrorist group by the United States but nevertheless holds seats in parliament and has a strong political presence in Lebanon.

Hariri is the son of former prime minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005, an act blamed on Hezbollah.

The European Union has blacklisted Hezbollah's “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm.

Members of Congress in the United States have urged the EU to designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terror group – a demand which makes sense given that Hezbollah parliamentarians have been caught on camera calling for terror against Israelis.








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