(June 11, 2019 / JNS) U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) is expected to introduce a bill this week stipulating U.S. military assistance to Lebanon in order to counter the terrorist group Hezbollah’s control in the nation.
If enacted, the Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019 would consist of conditions associated with “20 percent of American military assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” or (LAF), according to Jewish Insider, which first reported the development.
“To comply, it must show that the government and military are working to limit Hezbollah’s role in the Lebanese army, with the U.S. secretaries of state and defense expected to ‘actively engage’ in discussions to keep officials from the terrorist organization out of key leadership roles in the military,” continued the article.
As of 2005, the United States has given the LAF at least $2.29 billion in military aid.
Jewish Policy Center senior director Shoshana Bryen, who has written before about how the LAF has been working with Hezbollah, told JNS that “Zeldin is right to be worried about the role of the LAF in relation to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
“Something has been happening over the past year or more—either the LAF simply didn’t know Hezbollah was building large, lined, reinforced tunnels from southern Lebanon into Israel, which makes them incompetent even with our help, or they knew and didn’t do anything about it, which makes them complicit,” she continued. “It should be asked if the LAF knew what Hezbollah was doing in the south, which even the U.N. admits was a violation of all the rules, what would we have expected it to do about the problem? Does the U.S. think the LAF will attack Hezbollah on behalf of U.N. resolutions or on behalf of Israel?
“Probably not,” she answered rhetorically, “but then how does Washington continue the fiction that the LAF is somehow a protector of the international border and the ‘sole legitimate defender of Lebanon?’
“Zeldin isn’t punishing the LAF,” said Bryen. “All he’s doing is asking it to talk to us about keeping Hezbollah out of LAF ranks.”