American policy in Lebanon is creating a dangerous situation that, in essence, is seeing U.S. dollars help and aid the likes of Hezbollah and Iran, a new report reveals.
Right now, America is deploying special forces to Lebanon to help the Lebanese Armed Forces, LAF, with ground training.
But LAF missions typically partner with Hezbollah, Iran’s most valuable aid in terror.
The Weekly Standard has the story:
The U.S. is deploying special forces on the ground in Lebanon to provide training for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) for missions that partner with Hezbollah—Iran’s most valuable terrorist ally—against ISIS. Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told the U.S.-based Al-Hurra Arabic TV network that American troops are there to provide assistance for the upcoming offensive against ISIS in the northeast border region in which the LAF will attack from from inside Lebanon while Hezbollah advances from Syria to the east.
Pursuing the twin Middle East objectives of destroying ISIS and pushing back against Iran was always a dicey proposition. Even with meticulous military and political planning, ensuring that one doesn’t gain strength at the expense of the other was bound to be a task fraught with difficulties. That’s what makes the decision to boost Iran and its proxies in order to finish off ISIS in Syria so confounding.
Military sources also told the London-based Arabic daily, Asharq al-Awsat, that the American presence is “to monitor the U.S. military aid delivered to the army,” a reference to the $1.4 billion in security assistance the U.S. has provided Lebanon since 2005, $80 million of which the LAF received last year in equipment and training.
Putting an exclamation point on the matter, on Monday the U.S. delivered eight M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles (the first of 32 total) and armored field artillery ammunition supply vehicles to the LAF. The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon, Elizabeth Richard, explained in a statement how the United States “has intensified its engagement and support to the Lebanese Army over the past few years,” and went on to provide an impressive list of weapons, munitions, and vehicles delivered in the past 12 months alone. “America’s support for Lebanon,” she concluded, “is based on the shared interests of the American people and the Lebanese people.”
The problem with the policy expansion in Lebanon is that the LAF today is simply another arm of Hezbollah, the terrorist group that runs Lebanon. Even Sunni politicians like Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who visited President Trump at the White House in July, are forced to play by the Shiite proxy’s rules. That means U.S. support for the LAF is helping Iran, which spawned Hezbollah in Lebanon in 1982. That news should be concerning because until 9/11, Hezbollah held the distinction of being the terrorist group responsible for killing the most Americans.
The genesis of this backward U.S. policy has its roots in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, which was passed in the wake of the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war. As Levant specialist, Tony Badran of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies explained, the resolution was later reinterpreted by the Obama administration during the negotiations to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program. That shift in focus remains the policy of the Trump administration today.
In the wake of the 2006 war, UNSCR 1701 was designed to disarm Hezbollah and prevent their resupply and illegal smuggling of weapons from Iran and Syria. It also called for the deployment of the LAF throughout Lebanon to assert its sovereignty. Back then, “the extension of the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory” referred to its independence from Syria, whose soldiers finally left Lebanon after a 30-year occupation a year earlier.
“The theory then was that Hezbollah had really taken it on the chin,” a senior White House official explained to me at the end of June. “General John Abizaid, the CENTCOM commander, really got this going because he thought now is the time to build up the Lebanese state so that it can be a counter-weight to Hezbollah’s power throughout the country and that over time, the LAF would eclipse Hezbollah as the main military power.”
“Well, that hasn’t happened,” he admitted with raised eyebrows and a shake of his head, “but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have done it. It means what we did we probably could have done better.”
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