Mideast expert calls for US talks with Hezbollah


A leading U.S. expert on the Mideast has told Congress that the U.S. should break with its policy and begin talking to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed group that the U.S. calls a terrorist organization.

Ryan Crocker, who retired from the U.S. foreign service last year as the State Department’s most experienced Mideast hand, told a Senate hearing Tuesday that the U.S. stands to gain more than it would lose by talking to Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s stronghold is in southern Lebanon. It fought a war with Israel in 2006.

Jeffrey Feltman of the State Department said in response to Crocker’s recommendation that the Obama administration has no intention of talking to Hezbollah.