Visiting Beirut today, Vice President Joe Biden said that he “did not come here to back any institution or political party” ahead of the nation’s upcoming elections, yet he made it very clear that this was exactly the reason for his visit.
Biden linked US aid to the nation with the outcome of the election, cheered the current ruling parties and cautioned the nation against electing what he called “the spoilers of peace,” presumably referring to Hezbollah.
Recent polls suggest that the Hezbollah-led opposition has a very good chance of winning the June 7 poll. Hezbollah opposition faction includes a significant portion of the nation’s Christian voters. Contrary to its international image as a hawkish, Shi’ite Islamist faction, Hezbollah’s campaign has emphasized support for Lebanon’s diverse religious character.
Biden’s visit is the highest profile US visit to the nation since October 1983, when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, who visited just days after the massive Beirut barracks bombing, which killed nearly 300.