Calling Hizballah a “menace to the Lebanese state, to the Lebanese people, and the entire region,” President Trump held a news conference with Lebanese President Saad al-Hariri in the White House’s Rose Garden one week ago, pledging the United States’ continued support to help the Lebanese army in its fight to stop Islamic State and other militant groups from gaining a foothold inside the country.
This was just days before he would sign an executive order on Saturday to continue to support the nation of Lebanon under an extension of the national emergency declaration proclaimed in 2007, basically promising to supply military and arms to aid in their fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hizballah.
Two days prior to its expiration, President Trump signed and forwarded the National Emergency Act, Section 202(d), to Congress via a memo that states details within the Executive Order that will, in effect, extend the emergency status of the nation of Lebanon. Former President Obama did exactly the same thing in 2013, extending the original order, which was signed by former President George W. Bush on August 1, 2007.
This highlights the fact that nothing has changed in Lebanon since 2007; if anything, the state of the country is markedly worse than it was even a decade ago, despite the fact that the U.S. has been trying to “help” them with guns and money.
Inundated with at least 1.5 million Syrian refugees who have fled the more than six-year conflict, Lebanon finds itself in an ongoing humanitarian crisis, as those refugees now make up about a quarter of the country’s population. In response, the United States has pledged to give Lebanon an extra $140 million to help the Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them, the State Department said during the Prime Minister’s visit.
This latest grant means the United States has given Lebanon more than $1.5 billion in humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict in 2012, the State Department said.
In its 2017-2020 Crisis Response Plan, the Lebanese government said it needed $2.8 billion to address the challenges of hosting refugees.
The U.S. money will be used for food, shelter and medical assistance for Syrian refugees and the Lebanese communities that host them. It will also support water and wastewater infrastructure projects, according to the State Department.
“We encourage other donors to join us in providing additional humanitarian assistance for those affected by the crisis in Syria, including fulfilling not yet funded previously made pledges,” the State Department said.
Here’s a copy of the letter, which has been unchanged since 2013:
TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days of the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to Lebanon that was declared in Executive Order 13441 of August 1, 2007, is to continue in effect beyond August 1, 2017.
Certain ongoing activities, such as continuing arms transfers to Hizballah that include increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, undermine Lebanese sovereignty, contribute to political and economic instability in the region, and continue 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.