What Happened: The United States is considering sanctioning Lebanese parliamentary speaker Nabih Berri for his ties to Hezbollah and Iran, according to anonymous sources, The National reported April 6.
Why It Matters: Sanctions on the Lebanese government would significantly damage investor confidence in the country and undermine its much-needed economic reforms to stabilize its shaky finances and receive additional Western aid. Increased U.S. pressure may also lead Beirut to seek closer ties with Tehran, which has regularly offered military support to Lebanon.
Background: Berri's Shiite Amal party served as the forerunner of Hezbollah during Lebanon's civil war in the 1980s and has retained close ties with the group developed into an independent entity. Washington has thus far attempted to avoid upsetting Lebanon's delicate domestic balance as it pursues its anti-Iran strategy.
- What to Watch for in Lebanon's Elections (May 5, 2018)
- Hezbollah in South America: The Threat to Businesses (Feb. 5, 2018)
- How Do Terrorists Measure Success? (Sept. 22, 2017)