Rai to Connelly: U.S. Influence Waning, Iran’s Role is Rising


Metransparent Exclusive

The U.S. Ambassador to Beirut meeting with the Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai, last Monday, was at best a failure, sources told Metransparent.

Sources said the Maronite Patriarch was “arrogant” in his statements to U.S. Ambassador, Maura Connelly, while reiterating his declarations made in Paris two weeks ago regarding the syrian crisis and the Hezbullah’s militia.

Rai told Connelly that the U.S. has lost its credibility and cannot give any guarantees whatsoever, pointing out that Washington’s policy has no leverage in the Middle East, based on the Patriarch’s view of the developments in Iraq, sources added.

Rai also assured Connelly that the U.S. influence in the Middle East is waning compared to Iran’s rising influence, adding that the Christians’ interests call for alliance with what he called “strong minorities” in the region, meaning Alaouites and the Shias, in order to preserve their presence in the face of what he called the “Sunni Salafist tide” which, he said, “threatens the Christians’ existence in the Middle East”.

The Maronite Patriarch also expressed his lack of enthusiasm to meet president Barrack Obama or any Administration official, pointing out that his visit to the U.S. shall be “a pastoral visit” to Maronite congregations in the US adding that he did not expect the U.S. to deny him a visa.

Conelly responded to Rai’s arrogance by pointing out that the diplomatic protocol in the U.S. prohibited receiving religious leaders at the White House, and added that Assad’s regime in Damascus is finished and that it was meaningless to link the Christians’ fate to a tumbling dictatorship.

One of the Maronite church dignitaries commented on the meeting between Rai and Connelly by expressing his sadness that “the Christians just lost the sympathy of the U.S.”.

In a related context, sources revealed that a Church dignitary with close connections to the Vatican hierarchy later paid a visit to the U.S. Chargé d’affaires in Beirut to assure him that “things in Bkerki are going to change”, without giving further explanations on the means of such a change.

Informed sources in Bkirki said a meeting between Rai and the French Ambassador to Lebanon, Denis Pietton, did not differ in form or in substance from the meeting with the U.S. ambassador. Rai restated his “Parisian positions” against the Arab Spring, expressing his discontent over Ambassador Pietton’s statements to the lebanese press, which he described as “interference in ecclesiastical and Lebanese affairs”.

Translation by: Aline Karim

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12 years ago

Rai to Connelly: U.S. Influence Waning, Iran’s Role is Rising It is interesting to know that “diplomatic protocol in the U.S. prohibited receiving religious leaders at the White House”. What did you think of this protocol when Patriarch Sfeir was recieved?????????????? We wish the USA could listen to reason for once instead of being stubborn. Their Cuba embargo never worked. Their Iraq policy is a failure. Afganistan is a shambles. Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain are simmering volcanoes. All this creates additional enemies for the American people when in reality they are some of the nicest people on the planet.… Read more »


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