Report: U.S. Warns Lebanon of Isolation Risk

The U.S. is upping pressure on Lebanon to reduce its ties to Syria and is warning Lebanese officials that they risk being isolated, diplomats and officials told the Los Angeles Times.

A Western diplomat and Lebanese officials said that during his visit to Beirut last week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman bluntly warned Lebanese officials that the tide had turned against Syria’s Assad regime and urged them to distance themselves from it.

"There is no return back to the bad old days. Syria is going to change," a source with knowledge of the talks told the U.S. newspaper, characterizing Feltman’s message to Lebanon.

Also seeking to influence the cast of a new government in Beirut, Feltman warned that Lebanese leaders "risk being as isolated as Syria," which he characterized as "potentially the North Korea of the Middle East," said the source.

A Western diplomat said that the U.S. effort in Lebanon was one prong in a larger campaign to push the Arab world to stand against Syria's crackdown on protesters.

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