“For the past few years, the US and the international community looked the other way as the lines between Hezbollah and the Lebanese military and government became blurred,” in a phenomenon we like to call Hizballebanon. “Top US lawmaker: Block aid to Lebanese military,” from the Associated Press, August 9:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Congress should block roughly 100 million dollars in aid to Lebanon’s military until it can be sure the country’s armed forces are not working with Hezbollah, a top lawmaker said Monday.
Pointing to last week’s deadly clash between Israeli and Lebanese troops along the countries’ shared border, Representative Eric Cantor warned the lines between the Shiite movement and Lebanon’s armed forces had become “blurred.”
“The days of ignoring the LAF’s (Lebanese Armed Forces’) provocations against Israel and protection of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon are over,” said Cantor, the number two Republican in the House of Representatives.
“Lebanon cannot have it both ways. If it wants to align itself with Hezbollah against the forces of democracy, stability and moderation, there will be consequences,” said Cantor, a fierce defender of Israel.
“Congress must convey that message by blocking the roughly 100 million dollars in 2011 assistance to the LAF until we find out the details of last week’s attack and can certify that the Lebanese army is not cooperating with Hezbollah,” said Cantor.
Cantor said the United States had provided roughly 720 million dollars since 2006 in military aid “to build up a Lebanese fighting force that would serve as a check on the growing power of the radical Islamist Hezbollah movement.
But “for the past few years, the US and the international community looked the other way as the lines between Hezbollah and the Lebanese military and government became blurred,” he warned…
More: “US suspends military aid to Lebanon,” by Yitzhak Benhorin for YNet News, August 10:
WASHINGTON – Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman announced a hold has been placed on military aid to Lebanon and asserted that Hezbollah’s involvement in Lebanese military affairs must be thoroughly investigated. […]
“The incident on the Israel-Lebanon border only one day after my hold was placed simply reinforces the critical need for the United States to conduct an in-depth policy review of its relationship with the Lebanese military,” explained Berman. […]
Berman said in the statement he issued, “I have been concerned for sometime about reported Hizballah influence on the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and its implications for our military assistance program for Lebanon. For that reason, on August 2, I placed a hold on a $100 million dollar security assistance package to the LAF.”
Berman continued, “I strongly condemn the unprovoked attacked by the Lebanese Army that resulted in the death of an Israeli officer. Until we know more about this incident and the nature of Hizballah influence on the LAF — and can assure that the LAF is a responsible actor — I cannot in good conscience allow the United States to continue sending weapons to Lebanon.”…