Indirectly Aiding Hezbollah?

Is the United States indirectly helping Hezbollah by providing aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF)? US assistance—in excess of $1 billion since 2006—has been directed towards building the capacity of the Lebanese military as an independent institution, moderating the tension between the Shia militant group Hezbollah and Sunni rivals. But the aid relationship is based on the myth of LAF neutrality.

Faysal Itani, resident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center argues in his latest article that the Lebanese military has demonstrated its lack of neutrality through repeated violations of international law, resulting from a political context rife with coersion and patronage:

He describes how LAF in fact provides cover to Hezbollah’s flank, allowing Hezbollah the space to devote its attention to the conflict in Syria. The support for the militant group has resulted in growing resentment towards the LAF that threatens national cohesiveness.

Read Faysal Itani’s article “Is the US inadvertently helping Hezbollah?” on The Hill, originally published May 30, 2014.

Image: Four Soldiers from Calhoun’s 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, conduct an urban operations seminar with two ranger brigades of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) in Beirut, Lebanon,May 2011. (Photo: Flickr/Georgia National Guard)