LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The United States and Lebanon continue to enjoy good relations. Prominent current issues between the United States and Lebanon include progress toward a Lebanon-Israel peace treaty, U.S. aid to Lebanon, and Lebanons capacity to stop Hezbollah militia attacks on Israel. Regional tensions increased in mid-2006, however, as clashes between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza territory spread to Lebanon. In July, Hezbollah rocket attacks against Israel and capture of two Israeli soldiers prompted large-scale Israeli bombing of Hezbollah positions and Lebanese infrastructure. On August 11, the U.N. Security Council adopted Resolution 1701, which ended the fighting and created an expanded international peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Sectarian and political factionalism has continued, however, with periodic escalation of tension. The assassination in February 2005 of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri sparked a political crisis, realignments in Lebanons domestic politics, and withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon. Since June 2005, an independent U.N. commission has been investigating the circumstances of Hariris assassination, amid allegations of Syrian involvement, directly or through pro-Syrian Lebanese officials. On May 30, 2007, a divided U.N. Security Council voted to establish a special tribunal outside Lebanon to try suspects in the Hariri case. Meanwhile, in late May 2007, frictions between the Lebanese Army and a splinter Palestinian faction known as Fatah al-Islam, based in a refugee camp in northern Lebanon, led to an outbreak of fighting and exacerbated already existing internal tensions. To help Prime Minister Siniora deal with current challenges, the Bush Administration requested a large increase in U.S. assistance, ultimately contained in H.R. 2206 P.L. 110-28. Meanwhile, a radical Palestinian group mounted further challenges to the government of Prime Minister Siniora.
- Government and Political Science