Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani writes for The Hill on how well-intentioned policy by the United States may actually be harming the situation in Syria:
America’s financial and material support for Lebanon’s security forces aims to strengthen them as a national institution and counterpart to Hezbollah’s militia. While well-intentioned, this policy is indirectly aiding Hezbollah and ignoring the armed forces’ repeated violation of international law.
Lebanon’s security forces portray themselves as neutral peacekeepers between the Shia group Hezbollah and its Sunni-led Lebanese rivals, and as apolitical defenders of state sovereignty amid deep domestic political polarization. This narrative has helped the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) access nearly $1 billion in U.S. support since 2006. Unfortunately, this narrative is largely a myth. Lebanese security forces have repeatedly violated international refugee law and protected Hezbollah’s rear flank from rivals in Lebanon, allowing the militia to concentrate on fighting in Syria. They have not served as neutral arbiters between rival Lebanese factions, or even as agents of the elected Lebanese government.