Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry Summons US Envoy over Hizbullah Comments
US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea has been summoned to appear at the Foreign Ministry in Beirut on Monday to explain comments she made to a media outlet about Hizbullah, an Iran-backed militia that is also represented in the Lebanese parliament. Appearing on the Saudi-owned TV station Al-Hadath, Shea on Friday said the United States had “great concerns” over Hizbullah, saying it was responsible for some of the country’s deep financial crisis. The group has been accused of using government funds to pay for its presence in Syria, where, along with Iran, it has been fighting behalf of President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s lengthy civil war. On Saturday, a Lebanese judge barred the press – both domestic and foreign – from speaking to Shea for a year, maintaining that her comments amounted to sedition and threatened social harmony. Nonetheless, at least one media outlet flouted the judge’s order, hearing from Shea that “a very high-ranking and a well-placed official in the Lebanese government” had called her to apologize.