Key Points

Although the current political climate in the United States makes additional financial support to Europe challenging, it is not altogether impossible. U.S. President Donald Trump has signaled that exporting gas to Europe is a priority, and the administration should work with European partners to operationalize that goal and thwart Moscow’s Middle East energy land bridge. Europe’s energy security and America’s influence in the Middle East are too important to cede to Russia.

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Such an approach will require the US to finally move away from counterterrorism and state-building as a guiding strategic concept in the Middle East.

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On Friday, a Miami court sentenced Ali Nasreeddine Kassir, a Miami-based Lebanese businessman and suspected Hezbollah facilitator, who pleaded guilty to passport fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering totaling over $70 million. Kassir’s conviction is the opening salvo in a string of interconnected cases implicating alleged Hezbollah financiers Nader Mohamad Farhat and Mahmoud Ali Barakat, and their U.S.-based business counterparts. When combined, these cases involve money transfers worth hundreds of millions of dollars through the U.S. financial system, allegedly for laundering criminal proceeds, including from drug trafficking, and terror finance.

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