US President Is Extending Lebanon’s National Emergency

US President Is Extending Lebanon's National Emergency
Instagram/The White House

US President Donald Trump has extended the national emergency with respect to Lebanon, mentioning factors that undermine Lebanese sovereignty.

In a Wednesday statement announcing the extension, the White House cited “certain ongoing activities,” such Iran’s transfer of arms to Hezbollah – which include “increasingly sophisticated weapons systems.”

The statement also invoked “politically motivated violence and intimidation; to reassert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian interference in Lebanon,” as an additional incentive for the extension.

These acts “serve to undermine Lebanese sovereignty, [and] contribute to economic and political instability in the region,” according to the White House.

This, in turn, continues to constitute “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

“For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13441 with respect to Lebanon,” President Trump said in a Wednesday message to Congress regarding this matter.

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The said order, effected by former President George W. Bush on August 1st, 2007, declared a national emergency concerning Lebanon, titled “Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions.”

It initially imposed sanctions intended as a warning to Syria and Hezbollah, during widespread unrest in Lebanon, and out of concern over rifts between then-Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and President Émile Lahoud.

This instance represents the 14th consecutive time the national emergency has been extended by the US, and it comes as the country is exhausted by an economic crisis that is unprecedented in its modern history.

The prevailing state of anxiety sparked by the crisis was exacerbated when an alleged “security incident” started by Hezbollah provoked Israel to shell certain areas in South Lebanon.

After denying its involvement in the incident, Hezbollah promised retaliation for the killing of one of its soldiers in Syria by a recent Israeli airstrike, sparking fears of a new Lebanon-Israel conflict amid devastating living conditions in the former.