U.S. wants to build up Hezbollah moderates: adviser

WASHINGTON Tue May 18, 2010 11:17pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration is looking for ways to build up "moderate elements" within the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla movement and to diminish the influence of hard-liners, a top White House official said on Tuesday.

John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, met with Lebanese leaders during a recent visit.

"Hezbollah is a very interesting organization," Brennan told a Washington conference, citing its evolution from "purely a terrorist organization" to a militia to an organization that now has members within the parliament and the cabinet.

"There is certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they're doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements," Brennan said.

He did not spell out how Washington hoped to promote "moderate elements" given that the organization is branded a "foreign terrorist organization" by the United States.

"We don't deal with them," he acknowledged.

Last month, the United States and Israel accused Syria of arming Hezbollah with increasingly powerful missiles and weapons technology. Brennan said he raised those concerns during his recent visit to the region.

(Reporting by Adam Entous; Editing by Will Dunham)

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Comments (2)
HoosierDONK wrote:
P.S. They have already forgotten about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. They built them up to fight a proxy with Russia and look where we are now… I should be President I have just as much of a chance to bring about peace in the Middle East as all of these fools….

May 19, 2010 3:33pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
I heard there were some moderate Nazis. Maybe we should have worked with them to persuade Hitler to be a nicer guy.

There are probably even a few moderates within Al Qaeda. You know, they believe there are only 12 or 13 virgins in Heaven, not 72 as most of the suicide bombers think. Maybe we can persuade them to use smaller, less powerful bomb belts. Kill one or two babies, instead of 5-10.

Yup, our genius State Department hard at work.

May 20, 2010 9:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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