Washington, DC– In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and Africa, calls for the international community, especially France and the United States, to prevent Lebanon from becoming a failed state.
On February 19, IDC hosted a policy briefing entitled “The U.S. Needs a Better Lebanon Policy.” The event was convened by IDC President Toufic Baaklini and moderated by IDC Board Member and former South Carolina State Senator Vincent Sheheen. It featured remarks from the following leaders:
- Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R-TX)
- Congressman Lou Correa (D-CA)
- Congressman Ron Estes (R-KS)
- Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC)
- Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project
- Bishop Elias Zaidan of the Maronite Catholic Eparchy of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles
- Neemat Frem, IDC Board Member and Resigned Member of the Lebanese Parliament
- Melhem Khalaf, Head of the Beirut Bar Association
- Danielle Pletka, Senior Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute
Highlights from the event include remarks from Robert Nicholson, who stated that “only dramatic action from inside and outside of [Lebanon] will save it.” Rep. Dan Crenshaw added that “the mosaic that makes Lebanon unique is under threat” and Rep. Lou Correa noted that he would “forcefully advocate” for U.S. foreign policy that promotes religious freedom and pluralism.
Many of the panelists focused their remarks on the threat that Iran and Hezbollah pose to Lebanon’s stability. Rep. Ron Estes stated that Lebanon’s “unique identity” is under threat from countries such as Iran and Rep. Joe Wilson added that the “terrorist organization Hezbollah continues to wreak havoc across the region.”
“Today’s briefing highlighted that the only way Lebanon can be saved is for Hezbollah to be stopped,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini. “We believe in a Lebanon where Christians, Druze, Shia Muslims, and Sunni Muslims can live together in a sovereign country that peacefully coexists with its neighbors,” he added.
A replay of the event is available here.