Secretary Of State Pompeo Apparently Believes Spanish Is Spoken In Lebanon
In addressing Lebanon’s new government, a slip of the tongue suggested Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believes Spanish is spoken in the middle eastern country, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Pompeo withheld support for Lebanon’s new government, a coalition dominated by Iranian ally Hezbollah and its Christian allies, as it met for the first time. Pompeo was asked in a Bloomberg News interview if the U.S. would work with a government dominated by one of Iran’s most important allies in the Middle East.
“I don’t know the answer to that yet,” he said. “We’re prepared to engage, provide support, but only to a government that’s committed to reform.”
Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was supported by Saudi Arabia and the U.S., stepped down after weeks of nationwide protests, allowing a relatively unknown university professor backed by Hezbollah, Hassan Diab, to lead the new government.
As the currency is collapsing, power outages are increasing, and businesses are closing, the Trump administration has been considering cutting off aid to the new government amid concerns about Hezbollah’s influence.
Last year, without public announcement, the U.S. temporarily suspended more than $200 million in military and economic aid to Lebanon as it pushed the previous government to sideline Hezbollah, a dominant military and political force with grassroots support in Lebanon.
Demonstrations across Lebanon have called for an overhaul of the fractured political system, which Pompeo views as a reason to be wary of working with the new government.
“The protests taking place today in Lebanon are saying to Hezbollah ‘No Mas.’ No more,” he said. “We want a noncorrupt government that reflects the will of the people of Lebanon.”
“The test of Lebanon’s new government will be its actions and its responsiveness to the demands of the Lebanese people to implement reforms and to fight corruption,” Pompeo said in a statement that did not specifically mention Hezbollah. “Only a government that is capable of and committed to undertaking real and tangible reforms will restore investor confidence and unlock international assistance for Lebanon.”