Today, the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) would like to express our profound gratitude to President Trump for his decision to suspend more than $100 million in annual U.S. military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The LAF, and Lebanon itself, have been increasingly dominated by the Shiite, Islamist terrorist group Hezbollah. So much so, that Sheik Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah has called the Lebanese Armed Forces, a “partner” and a “pillar in the golden age of people, army and resistance.”
(Washington, D.C., November 4, 2019) Over the past year, EMET has been on Capitol Hill, educating Congressional staff about the dangers of continuing this aid to the LAF because of its increasingly cozy relationship with Hezbollah.
The reason that this American aid had been appropriated to the LAF in the first place, was to act as a counterweight against Hezbollah. However, over the years, we have seen that Hezbollah has increasingly encroached more and more control over the Lebanese Armed Forces, to such a degree that the line between them has become almost completely blurred.
As General Michael Herzog (retired) of the IDF had said recently on an EMET Conference Call, “Lebanese President Michael Aoun is an ally of Hezbollah. Aoun has stated officially that ‘Hezbollah’s military capabilities complement the military capabilities of the state of Lebanon, so the state embraces Lebanon as a military actor. We have seen the coordination of the state military, the LAF and Hezbollah. We have seen this recently when Israel discovered cross-border tunnels from Lebanon into Israel and the LAF resisted attempts to prevent this.’”
On Friday, November 1, the Trump administration placed an “indefinite implementation hold” on security assistance to Lebanon, including the $105 million package to support the LAF. Since 2005, the U.S. has given $2.3 billion to the LAF, on top of more than $1.2 billion in US economic assistance since 2006. In 2018, the U.S. sent more than $90 million worth of military equipment to help the Lebanese army protect its borders and said it would complete the delivery of a $340 million aid package. In 2019, the U.S. provided more than $100 million in upgrades to tanks and helicopters. The U.S. has given Lebanon A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, MD530G light attack helicopters, M2A2 Bradley’s, night vision devices, radios and more. The U.S. has also provided millions of dollars’ worth of laser-guided precision missiles and drones. There has been documentation of American made, M113 armored personnel carriers, being driven by Hezbollah
The Hezbollah militia, a designated foreign terrorist organization has effectively taken over the Lebanese government” and “controls” the LAF. As a result, the U.S. State Department has listed Lebanon as a terrorist safe haven. Examples of Hezbollah’s domination over the Lebanon/LAF include: Hezbollah controls sites that are off limits to Lebanese security and army forces; its members are immune from judiciary and security agencies; Hezbollah has a free hand in bringing in goods and people through Lebanese ports, border crossings and Beirut airport — no taxes paid, no questions asked; Hezbollah is capable of preventing elections from taking place in Lebanon and imposing its own candidate, and it can shut down the government. UN sources allege that the LAF are sharing information 100% with Hezbollah. U.S. military aid seems likely to have been given by the LAF to Hezbollah.
For the past few years, EMET has been educating Congressional staff regarding the dangers of Hezbollah control over Lebanon and the LAF. EMET has had frequent meetings on the Hill about it, had multiple seminars on the subject, and has written numerous articles and fact sheets about it.
“EMET would like to thank President Trump for his decision to suspend military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces,” EMET founder and president Sarah Stern said. She continued, “The LAF is dominated by Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that has the blood of hundreds of Americas on its hands; was responsible for the massacre of 241 marines as they were asleep in their beds in marine barracks in Beirut; was responsible for the roadside bombs and IED’s that killed and maimed American soldiers in Iraq; has slaughtered thousands of Syrians during their civil war; and threatens Israel daily, with over 150,000 rockets. Anything the U.S. supplies to the LAF, including attack helicopters and drones, may be used by Hezbollah in its terrorist attacks or military strikes against U.S. allies. We at EMET have been on Capitol Hill daily, educating Congressional staff on this problem and are profoundly grateful to President Trump for this critically important decision.”