May 12, 2020
U.S. Aid to Lebanon Funds Hezbollah Terrorists—Time to Stop It
Dear Friend of FLAME:
While the U.S.-designated terror group Hezbollah has denied any direct connection to the government of Lebanon, that flimsy charade is about to end if a group of U.S. lawmakers gets its way.
Likewise, while the 2006 U.N Security Council Resolution 1701 creates “a buffer zone free of ‘any armed personnel’” in southern Lebanon—and since Hezbollah now has more than a hundred thousand missiles aimed at Israel, stored in the southern part of Lebanon—that travesty should also end if Israel and the U.S. get their way.
In short, it’s time for world powers to increase sanctions on Hezbollah and any entities that do business with the group—starting with the United States and the European Union, both of which financially support the Lebanese government . . . and thus indirectly fund the terrorists of Hezbollah.
Here are some astonishing facts about the relationship of Shi’ite Hezbollah to Lebanon:
• Hezbollah maintains a huge standing army (a so-called militia) of some 40,000 men under arms in Lebanon.
• Hezbollah has created an arsenal of 130,000-150,000 rockets, mostly concentrated near Lebanon’s southern border with Israel.
• Hezbollah forces are extremely active in Syria, especially in trying to establish military installations along Israel’s border with Syria, especially near the Golan Heights.
• Iran is Hezbollah’s largest financial and strategic benefactor by far, qualifying the Lebanese group as a veritable arm of the Islamic Republic.
• Hezbollah controls two major Lebanese governmental ministries, and while Lebanon prohibits a Shi’ite Muslim prime minister, the current Sunni Lebanese PM was nominated by Hezbollah.
• The Lebanese Army has provided thousands of uniforms to Hezbollah forces, and the two groups conduct joint vehicle patrols. Photos on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) website show Hezbollah fighters driving American-made armored vehicles bearing flags of both Hezbollah and the LAF.
Bear in mind that the United Nations maintains an international peacekeeping force of about 9,400 ground troops and 850 naval personnel to enforce U.N. strictures—at an annual cost of $474 million.
Since Hezbollah operates freely in southern Lebanon and prevents UNIFIL access to broad swaths of Lebanese territory, it’s clear that UNIFIL is not only useless, it’s a huge waste of money.
Indeed, just last year Israel discovered a series of Hezbollah military attack tunnels dug from southern Lebanon into northern Israel—right under the noses of the U.N.’s nearly half-billion-dollar-a-year “peacekeepers.”
No wonder Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N., Danny Danon, is demanding that UNIFIL stop playing games and do its job—which is to keep the U.N.-designated buffer zone free of weapons and armed forces. For starters, Danon is calling for “full freedom of movement” for the peacekeeping force. His efforts are supported by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Kelly Craft.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a report recently saying the both Lebanese and non-Lebanese militias continue to operate outside of Lebanese governmental control in violation of a 2004 U.N. resolution prohibiting such activity.
Guterres, who obviously has no power in these matters, said he continues to urge the Lebanese government and the LAF “to take all measures necessary to prohibit Hezbollah and other armed groups from acquiring weapons and building paramilitary capacity outside the authority of the state.”
How about ordering UNIFIL to fulfill its responsibilities, Mr. Guterres?
Note also that the United States has dumped more than $1.82 billion in “security assistance” into the LAF in the last ten years. The U.S. currently gives Lebanon about $224 million a year in combined Department of State and Department of Defense military grants.
No wonder, too, that a group of four U.S. Representatives has sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding that the U.S. re-evaluate and suspend security assistance to the state of Lebanon.
In their letter, the Congress members note that Hezbollah and the LAF “are no longer separate entities.” This fact establishes the logical conclusion that “by continuing to provide this assistance we are contravening U.S. law by funding a terrorist organization .”
Germany delivered a major bit of good news last week, by banning activities of Hezbollah in its territory. Germany’s Supreme Court ruled that Hezbollah is an organization that “disrupted global peace. ”
Germany’s move shatters a long-held distinction among European nations, which against all evidence hold that Hezbollah’s military wing is a terrorist group, while its political wing is not, and is therefore permitted. Even Hezbollah denies that its two divisions are separate entities, but the E.U. so far clings to its excuse in order to maintain friendly relations with the terrorists.
Clearly it’s time for the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense to cut their ties—and funding—to the Lebanese government and the terrorists embedded in it. We should also put pressure on the U.N. to force UNIFIL to fulfill its mission . . . or disband (or defund) it completely. Obviously, U.S. taxpayer dollars sent to Lebanon are either directly or indirectly aiding Hezbollah.
Hezbollah’s toxic influence in Lebanon—and increasingly in Syria—is only growing. The U.S. administration should show leadership on this issue, as it has in cutting funding to Iran and other Middle East entities that work contrary to U.S. interests.
We can hope that Germany’s lead, followed by additional sanctions enacted by the U.S., might even bring E.U. nations to their senses, so that they, too, begin isolating Lebanon for its embrace of Iranian proxies.
I hope that as you discuss the U.S. relationship to Lebanon—and our quarter-billion-dollar contribution to its military—you’ll emphasize that every dollar we taxpayers send to Lebanon supports Hezbollah terrorists, Iranian imperialism, and military threats to Israel.
I hope you’ll also take a minute, while you have this material front and center, to visit FLAME’s lively new Facebook page and review the P.S. immediately below. It describes FLAME’s new hasbarah campaign—which argues for maintaining strong sanctions against our enemy, Iran.
President, Facts and Logic About the Middle East (FLAME)
|P.S.||Some leftist European and American politicians have recently proposed easing sanctions on Iran as a humanitarian gesture in the face of Covid-19’s devastating attack on the Islamic Republic. However, this would be an egregious mistake, just as tough U.S. sanctions are pressuring Iran to back off its imperialistic adventures across the Middle East—especially since U.S. sanctions do not restrict Iran from acquiring humanitarian medical supplies. That’s why FLAME has created a new hasbarah message called “Keep the Pressure on Iran” I hope you’ll review this convincing, fact-based paid editorial, which ran in the Sunday New York Times and Washington Post. It lays out the many dangers that Iran poses to the U.S., Israel and our other allies in the region and spells out why in fact we should consider increasing sanctions on Iran. This piece will also be sent to all members of Congress, Vice President Pence and President Trump. If you agree that this kind of public relations effort on Israel’s behalf is critical, I urge you to support us. Remember: FLAME’s powerful ability to influence public opinion—and U.S. support of Israel—comes from individuals like you, one by one. I hope you’ll consider giving a donation now, as you’re able—with $500, $250, $100, or even $18. (Remember, your donation to FLAME is tax deductible.) To donate online, just go to donate now. Now, more than ever, we need your support to ensure that the American people, the U.S. Congress and President Trump stay committed to realistic policies in relation to Israel, Iran and the entire Middle East.
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