Sources to Al-Hadath claim that the United States is on the verge of declaring Lebanon a “paralyzed failed state” and that the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden will only deal with a Lebanese government that is free of Hezbollah.
“The Biden administration will deal with a government formed by the Lebanese, on a condition that it does not include Hezbollah,” said the sources, adding that the administration is “reviewing the Lebanese file with frustration.”
The crises in Lebanon are like nothing the country has experienced before. Internal efforts to form a new government capable of implementing reforms to rescue the country have been futile.
Biden's new condition will make the already impossible task of government formation even more difficult. However, the position of his administration on the matter mirrors that of a vast majority of Lebanese.
Iran-backed Hezbollah is a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) since 1997. Many countries have since joined the U.S. in categorizing it as a terrorist organization.
Hezbollah holds seats in Lebanon’s parliament and has a strong alliance with Lebanese President Michel Aoun and the Free Patriotic Movement, headed by Gebran Bassil, which makes the Iran-backed party an influential force in Lebanon’s current government.
Aside from its political activities, Hezbollah is also heavily armed and engages in military activity on the southern border, as well as in Syria and in other countries. Its armament is one of the major concerns surrounding the subject of Hezbollah’s presence in the government.
The Biden administration is in the midst of nuclear deal negotiations with Iran, but progress seems stagnant. Iran's ties to Lebanon’s Hezbollah could influence these talks.