Washington, DC – Congressman Howard L. Berman, Ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement condemning the emergence of a Hezbollah-backed candidate as Lebanon's prime minister-designate

“Terrorist Hezbollah’s emergence as kingmaker of Lebanon’s politics – in addition to its well-established military dominance – marks a sad day for Lebanon, for the Middle East, and for humanity. Through its hold on the reins of government, Hezbollah will have the means to end whatever remains of autonomous and semi-autonomous institutions in Lebanon, including the Lebanese Armed Forces, and render Lebanon a satellite of Iran. I call on President Obama immediately to suspend all weapons transfers to Lebanon and to review carefully all economic assistance programs in order to ensure that they are not inadvertently strengthening Hezbollah.

“Whatever government rules Lebanon, it is obligated to continue its political and financial support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. If it does not – and surely it is Hezbollah’s intent that it will not – I call on the international community to pick up any financial slack and ensure that the work of the Tribunal continues without interruption. The STL’s successful investigation and prosecution of the murderers of Hariri and other innocents are vital to Lebanon’s future. Appeasement of Hezbollah may bring short-term stability, but long-term sovereignty and independence, as well as stability, depend on ending the culture of impunity that has allowed Hezbollah and others to get away with murder.”