THE MIDDLE EAST; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 173
(Senate - October 31, 2019)

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[Pages S6310-S6311]
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                            THE MIDDLE EAST

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, now, on one final matter, I have 
spoken at length in recent weeks about the protests in Hong Kong and 
the situation in Syria. I would like to close today by recognizing 
other important developments in the Middle East that, regrettably, 
haven't received much attention.
  Massive protests are underway in Lebanon and Iraq. Millions have 
taken to the streets to demand more responsive, more transparent, and 
less sectarian governance, and an end to rampant corruption. By all 
accounts, these protests are cross-sectarian, directed at an entire 
class of political leaders who have behaved undemocratically and 
  The protests are also directed at Iran. The Islamic Republic has long 
sought, through proxies like Hezbollah and Iraqi militias, to undermine 
the sovereignty of Lebanon and Iraq. Now even Shiite communities that 
have typically been heavily influenced by Iran are demanding 
politicians represent their interests instead of Tehran's interests.

[[Page S6311]]

  Unsurprisingly, the Iranian regime is reportedly involved in 
violently suppressing peaceful protests in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and, 
of course, Iran itself. The mullahs are showing the same fear as the 
Chinese Communist Party. They are afraid of citizens demanding reform 
and speaking up for basic freedoms. The United States should stand with 
the protesters.
  The administration should use the tools at its disposal to expose 
corruption and foreign interference in these nations, impose 
consequences for violent crackdowns on peaceful protests, and work with 
the Lebanese and Iraqi leaders who are committed to doing right by 
their people.