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November 21, 2016

Analyst: The U.S. Should Cut Aid to Lebanese Armed Forces

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The U.S. Congress should “immediately defund the Lebanese Armed Forces,” a recent Weekly Standard article argues (“The Lebanese Army Is Misusing U.S. Aid,” Nov. 14, 2016).

In his commentary, Lee Smith, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard and a senior fellow at the Washington D.C.-based think tank, Hudson Institute, stated that U.S. aid may be winding up in the hands of Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

Smith cited “pictures of a Hezbollah parade in the Syrian city of Qusayr [that] showed Hezbollah fighters using American-made armored personnel carriers (APCS). If the vehicles were transferred by the Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF], a recipient of U.S. aid and equipment, to Hezbollah, as some analysts have speculated, the consequences could be significant.”

The purpose of U.S. aid to the LAF according to the most recent Congressional appropriations bill, is to “professionalize the LAF and to strengthen border security and combat terrorism, including training and equipping the LAF to secure Lebanon’s borders, interdicting arms shipments, [and] preventing the use of Lebanon as a safe haven for terrorist groups.”

Yet, Lebanon itself remains a state that is, to a great extent, controlled by Hezbollah. In many important respects, the country is a vassal state of the mullahs in Tehran, a trend that is perhaps likely to continue with the recent election of Hezbollah ally Michel Aon to the presidency.

As CAMERA’s backgrounder on Hezbollah pointed out, several United Nations Security Council resolutions have called for the terror group to disarm. Despite this fact, Hezbollah has dramatically increased its weaponry and capabilities and continues to routinely call for the destruction of Israel and the West.

According to Smith:

“Lebanon is the fifth largest recipient of American military aid, receiving $220 million in 2016, including an August shipment that included 50 armored vehicles.” Smith noted if any U.S.-made weapons are transferred from the LAF to Hezbollah, the U.S. State Department is required to notify Congress.

Smith noted that although Washington believes funding and supporting the LAF is one of its few options in Lebanon, “it is no longer possible to see the army as anything but a Hezbollah asset.”

Hezbollah, as CAMERA has written, was, until the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks by al-Qaeda, responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization.

Despite this, one is far more likely to encounter an Op-Ed calling for cutting U.S. aid to Israel—a key U.S. ally.

Lee Smith’s Weekly Standard article can be found here.

Posted by SD at November 21, 2016 03:36 PM

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