Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun meets with U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon June 11, 2020.

DALATI NOHRA/Reuters

Lebanon’s foreign minister summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beirut over comments she made recently in which she criticized the militant Hezbollah group, state-run National News Agency reported Sunday.

In Hezbollah’s stronghold south of Beirut, some 500 protesters marched on foot and motorcycles through the streets chanting: “Oh America, you are the Great Satan.”

The agency gave no further details other than saying that the meeting between Foreign Minister Nassif Hitti and Ambassador Dorothy Shea is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Story continues below advertisement

Local media said the minister will tell the ambassador that, according to the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, an ambassador has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of another country and should not incite the Lebanese people against one another.

On Saturday, a Lebanese judge banned local and foreign media outlets in the country from interviewing the U.S. ambassador for a year, saying that her criticism of Hezbollah was seditious and a threat to social peace.

The judge’s ruling came a day after Shea told Saudi-owned TV station Al-Hadath that Washington has “great concerns” over Hezbollah’s role in the government.

The move was harshly criticized by many in Lebanon, which enjoys one of the more freer media landscapes in the Arab world. Others, however, criticized Shea for comments deemed an interference in Lebanon’s internal affairs.

Since the ban by the judge was imposed Saturday, several local TV stations aired fresh comments from Shea in which she described the judge’s decision as “unfortunate.” She added that a senior Lebanese government official, whom she did not name, apologized to her.

“I was contacted yesterday afternoon by a very high-ranking and a well-placed official in the Lebanese government and this official expressed apologies, conveyed that this ruling did not have proper standing,” Shea told the local MTV station on Sunday. Shea added that the official told her that the government “will take the necessary step to reverse it.”

The court decision reflected the rising tension between the U.S. and Hezbollah. It also revealed a widening rift among groups in Lebanon, which is facing the worst economic crisis in its modern history.

Story continues below advertisement

Hezbollah legislator Hassan Fadlallah on Sunday called Shea’s comments “a flagrant aggression on the sovereignty of our country and its national dignity.” He called on the foreign ministry to force the ambassador to “respect international law.”

Lebanon is gripped by a deepening financial crisis, and talks with the International Monetary Fund for assistance has been complicated by political infighting. The local currency has lost more than 80% of its value in recent months.

Shea said Lebanon is reeling from years of corruption of successive governments and accused Hezbollah of siphoning off government funds for its own purposes and of obstructing needed economic reforms.

In southern Beirut, some protesters blamed American sanctions on Hezbollah and neighbouring Syria for the crash of the currency, which is throwing more Lebanese into poverty.

“No matter how hungry we are, and how much in need we are, at least we have dignity,” said protester Ahmad Jawad referring to Hezbollah’s defiance of the U.S.

Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite group, and its allies are dominant in parliament and back the current government. It is designated by Washington as a terrorist group and the U.S. has continued to expand sanctions against it.

Story continues below advertisement

However, Washington is one of the largest donors to the Lebanese army, making for one of the more complicated diplomatic balancing acts in the region.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies