On eve of parliamentary elections in Lebanon, David Schenker, former United States Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, made remarks on the dangerous role played by the former US administration to fasten the economic collapse in Lebanon and to maintain the siege on the country.
During The Washington Institute’s virtual Policy Forum entitled “Hezbollah-Shia Dynamics and Lebanon’s Election: Challenges, Opportunities, and Policy Implications,” Schenker acknowledged that the former US administration of Donald Trump exploited the 2019 protests in a bid to defame and weaken Hezbollah along with its allies.
The US official said that former US administration imposed sanctions on financial organizations affiliated with Hezbollah and on Jammal Trust Bank, noting that the step was directly after Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Lebanon’s issuer rating to C from Ca.
The US was behind downgrading Lebanon’s rating and the Trump administration was keen to synchronize this move with sanctioning Jammal Trust Bank, Schenker told the forum.
In this context, the US official said that Washington also sanctioned Hezbollah’s major ally Gebran Bassil as part of efforts aimed at laying siege on Hezbollah and its allies.
He noted that while he was in his post he visited Lebanon for two or three times, adding that during these visits he met anti-Hezbollah Shiite businessmen and journalists.
Furthermore, Schenker said he was not optimistic about 2022 elections and that he did not think the results will sway the current political situation in the country, noting that the US administration should not bet on these elections.
In an assessment of Hezbollah rival candidates, Schenker described them as “individualistic, self-centered and narcissistic leaders.”
He claimed that they are mostly seeking to obtain titles and the benefits of leadership rather than creating actual change in the political composition of the country.
Source: Al-Manar English Website