Washington, DC – In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East and North Africa, applauds the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, and Chairman Ted Deutch (D-FL), for their continued support of the Lebanese Armed Forces, and calls for urgent humanitarian relief to Lebanon.
The Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing on Thursday, July 29, 2021, titled “Lebanon: Assessing Political Paralysis, Economic Crisis and Challenges for U.S. Policy.”
Testimony was offered by Ms. Mona Yacoubian, Senior Advisor to the Vice President of Middle East & North Africa; Dr. Randa Slim, Director of Conflict Resolution and Track II Dialogues Program at the Middle East Institute; and The Honorable David Schenker, Taube Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, and former Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
“Despite its deficiencies, the Lebanese Armed Forces remains a vitally important counterweight to Hezbollah and is extremely reliable,” said Representative Detuch.“The United States must continue to meet Lebanon’s humanitarian needs,” he added.
All subcommittee members, and participating witnesses, strongly concurred that the most critical step toward rescuing Lebanon from the brink of state failure is sweeping political reform. In so doing, Lebanon must secure a credible, responsible, and technocratic government, free of the status quo systemic corruption.
“In Defense of Christians welcomes the bipartisan congressional support for Lebanon. As the country continues to face great economic and political challenges, the LAF has proven itself to be the only legitimate peacekeeping force in the country,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini. “A credible, corruption-free government, and a capable Lebanese Armed Forces, is the only way to effectively safeguard the Lebanese system,” he continued.