Biden to Visit Beirut
By Glenn Kessler
The White House announced this afternoon that Vice President Biden will visit Beirut tomorrow as part of an effort to show support for "an independent and sovereign Lebanon" at a time when the Iran-backed Hezbollah, which the United States considers a terrorist organization, appears increasingly poised to make big gains in next month's election. Biden will also announce military assistance to Lebanon's armed forces, the White House said.
The planned visit is interesting enough, but so is the announcement. Normally, senior U.S. officials never announce in advance that they are traveling to Beirut, for security reasons. The main airport is located in the Southern part of the city and diplomatic motorcades generally have to travel through Hezbollah-controlled territory to get to Beirut's center for meetings.
Indeed, when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton traveled to Beirut last month, her trip was shrouded in secrecy. Reporters on her plane were barred from even reporting that she was going there until after she had already landed in the country.
Posted at 4:33 PM ET on May 21, 2009
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