What Happened: Lebanese officials have warned the United States that sanctions against Hezbollah are threatening to destabilize the country's fragile economic situation as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Beirut, Reuters reported March 22.
Why It Matters: Hezbollah-aligned politicians in Lebanon are attempting to convince the United States to refrain from sanctions and reduce Washington's pressure on Beirut as part of the U.S. strategy to counter Iran. At the same time, however, Hezbollah retains a significant amount of influence in Lebanon and is attempting to bring the country further into Iran's sphere of influence.
Background: Lebanon is preparing to implement structural reforms to its financial system to maintain much-needed external funding. However, many of the required reforms are clashing with the country's entrenched patronage networks, including Hezbollah's long-standing channels of influence.
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