Arming Hizbullah? U.S. Military Assistance to Lebanon

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) David Schenker - The August 3 fatal shooting of an Israel Defense Forces officer by a Lebanese Armed Forces soldier has sparked debate regarding the utility and wisdom of the U.S. military assistance program to Lebanon. In recent months, Syrian influence has returned to Lebanon, while Hizbullah has secured enough political power to effectively reverse many of the 2005 Cedar Revolution's gains. U.S. assistance to the LAF remains a long-term, aspirational program aimed at preparing the military to someday exert sovereignty over Lebanese territory. Ironically, when considered alongside the LAF leadership's increasingly strident rhetoric on Israel, the shooting incident appears to reflect a more aggressive posture - one more in line with Hizbullah. Indeed, Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah has laid out a vision for Lebanon that marries the LAF to Hizbullah, so that "the army defends the resistance and the resistance has the honor to be defended by the army."

2010-08-20 08:53:23

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