U.S. CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie arrives in Beirut to meet Lebanese politicians and military leaders

BEIRUT – U.S. Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of U.S. Central Command, arrived in Beirut on Wednesday to meet with Lebanese political figures, most notably President of the Republic of Lebanon Michel Aoun, a Syriac Maronite.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy clarified that the visit to Lebanon included meetings with senior Lebanese political and military leaders, including representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the Lebanese Army, in addition to other meetings at the U.S. Embassy ​​and a short visit to the memorial of those who died in the service of Lebanon.

A diplomatic source commenting on the visit through Akhbar al-Youm Agency, said, “It is a sign of the U.S. insistence on confrontation from the Lebanese arena, whether through the U.S. Ambassador Dorothy Shea, her tours and stance, or through the visit of McKenzie Jr.”

The diplomatic source added that there is clearly a U.S. will to say that, “although the U.S. did not provide any aid to Lebanon that Hezbollah could benefit from, the U.S. would not allow the Lebanese arena to be like the Iranian one.”

In confirmation of this, the convoy of the U.S. General McKenzie Jr. passed through Beirut International Airport, located geographically in the southern suburbs of Beirut, the stronghold of Hezbollah. General McKenzie’s visit is seen as a first step towards additional visits by other U.S. officials to Lebanon.