Please let us know if the following facts make you feel queasy when put together:
The US on Tuesday pledged to send Lebanon six MD 530G light attack helicopters. The MD 530G is a next-generation armed scout attack helicopter made by McDonnell Douglas. According to the US Army, it provides comprehensive battlefield command-and-control coordination for the successful execution of attack, reconnaissance and security missions.
Here’s another fact: as of 2005, Hezbollah—condemned as a terror organization by the majority of Arab states, never mind the rest of the world—has been part of Lebanon’s government, with at least two ministers in each cabinet. They enjoy a veto power in government. This while controlling its own private army in Beirut and south Lebanon, an army which bullies political rivals at home and wages a war in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East, as a loyal proxy of the Ayatollahs in Tehran.
This is no news to the Americans, naturally. President Donald Trump has called Hezbollah a threat to the Middle East: “Hezbollah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people and the entire region,” Trump said in a joint news conference in July with Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri, whose father, Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, was assassinated by Hezbollah in 2005.
“The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel,” Trump continued. “With the support of Iran, the organization is also fuelling humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.”
On Tuesday, Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri withdrew his resignation, which he had announced from Saudi Arabia on November 4. Back then, Hariri accused Iran and Hezbollah of taking over Lebanon, adding that he feared for his life. For the son of the late Rafic Hariri, this is no idle chat.
Finally, this fact: Israel is convinced that the Lebanese army is controlled by Hezbollah. In October, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) suggested “the Lebanese army has become an integral part of the Hezbollah apparatus under its command.”
Now, with all of the above in mind, here is what the Obama-appointed US ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Holzhall Richard said on Wednesday: the US government will give the Lebanese army $120 million in aid to boost border security and counter-terrorism work. Lebanon will receive six MD 530G light attack helicopters, six Scan Eagle drones and communication and night vision equipment under the new programs.
The US, which has given the Lebanese Armed Forces more than $1.5 billion in assistance over the past 10 years, hopes to strengthen the army to stop the spread of violence over the border from neighboring Syria and help it become the sole military force defending the country.
Unless, some time in the future, say should it become engaged in a shooting war with Israel, Hezbollah orders its men inside the Lebanese army to take over those useful choppers and fly them down south to help the war effort against the Zionist enemy.
We should be clear on at least one crucial point: PM Hariri has no plan to use his new US military equipment to launch a war against Hezbollah, nor will he engage in an effort to stop this terror army from moving in and out of Syria. The only force that can order Hezbollah around is Iran, which continues to do whatever it wants in Syria and, through Hezbollah, in Lebanon.
As has been the case too many times in the past (see: How US Weapons Fall Into the Hands of Terrorists – The perils of shipping arms to Iraq and Syria), this new move is more likely to end up arming Hezbollah than aiding a laughably feeble Lebanese Army “boost border security and counter-terrorism work.”
Related article: Hezbollah Army Video Shows Off US Army Equipment