WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump called the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah a threat to the entire Middle East on Tuesday, accusing it and Iran of fueling a humanitarian disaster in Syria.
“Hezbollah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region,” Trump said at a joint press conference alongside Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House.
“The group continues to increase its military arsenal which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel… With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling humanitarian catastrophe in Syria,” he told reporters.
Hezbollah’s “true interests are those of itself and its sponsor, Iran,” he said.
Trump demurred when asked to comment on sanctions against Hezbollah.
“I’ll be making my position very clear over the next 24 hours,” he said. “I have meetings with some of my very expert military representatives and others, so I’ll be making that decision very shortly.”
Trump also accused Syria’s leader Bashar Assad of committing “horrible” crimes against humanity, and vowed to prevent his regime from carrying out any more chemical attacks.
“I’m not a fan of Assad. I certainly think that what he’s done to that country and to humanity is horrible,” Trump said.
Recalling that he had ordered cruise missile strikes on Assad for using chemical weapons, Trump said: “I am not somebody that will stand by and let him get away with what he tried to do.”
Trump also said he believed there might not be any Russian or Iranian involvement in Syria today had former president Barack Obama taken action against Assad.
Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Iran, through Hezbollah, was seeking to replace the Islamic State terror group in the Golan Heights in order to create a new front against Israel.
“The situation here is changing rapidly, IS is in retreat, but Iran is seeking to fill the void,” Netanyahu said during a tour of the Golan Heights with Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. “Iran together with Hezbollah are creating a northern arc here, with the help of precision weapons.”
“We are dealing with these new threats to the State of Israel. We are paying close attention to a range of threats to the State of Israel,” he added.
Netanyahu has warned repeatedly of Iranian attempts to establish military infrastructure with which to threaten Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, recently telling a number of Central European leaders that Iran, via its proxies, have and are still trying to create “a terror front” against Israel there.