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(Washington, D.C., August 3, 2020) For months, EMET has been educating Capitol Hill on the dangers of the increasingly cozy relationship between the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and terrorist organization Hezbollah. The U.S. provides the LAF with approximately $220 million annually in military aid. Many intelligence reports suggest that Hezbollah has benefitted from this aid, directly and indirectly, and from closely cooperating with the LAF. On July 29th, legislation introduced by Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) and Congresswoman Elaine Luria (D, VA-2) was officially passed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The legislation requires the President to outline a report regarding the ties between the LAF and Hezbollah. This legislation would ensure the enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, and combat the appropriation of funds and transferring of arms from the LAF to Hezbollah.

“I have stood at the Israel-Lebanon border and know what is at stake for our strongest ally in the region if we permit Hezbollah—an Iranian proxy— to freely amass weapons and influence within the Lebanese Armed Forces,” said Congresswoman Luria. “I am proud to work alongside Congressman Zeldin to advance the Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act to ensure the security of Israel and our other partners in the Middle East.” After months of education and conversations with members of Congress and their staff, EMET is heartened to see the House treating this security threat to America and its allies with the seriousness it deserves.

EMET applauds Representatives Zeldin and Luria for taking this important and brave step towards ensuring that American taxpayers’ money is serving and protecting them instead of falling into the hands of those who seek to destroy us and our allies. We look forward to similarly positive results with Senator Ted Cruz’s identical bill on the Senate side. Additionally, in the weeks leading up to the vote on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA FY21), EMET has spoken to numerous offices on Capitol Hill and educated the staffers on the cozy relationship between Hezbollah and the LAF. EMET’s efforts have led to a few suggested amendments to the NDAA FY21 which would tackle this issue.

Says Sarah Stern, Founder and President of EMET, “The United States began giving the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) military assistance shortly after the 2006 war with Hezbollah. The entire reason for our American taxpayers’ dollars going to the LAF is in order for them to act as a bulwark, or as leverage against Hezbollah. However, over the years, we have noticed an increasingly intimate relationship between the LAF and Hezbollah, to the extent that we have actually seen footage of armored vehicles, given to the LAF by the United States, driven by Hezbollah terrorists. We have also seen that the LAF shares their uniforms with Hezbollah; and we have even seen that on the Lebanese Armed Forces own website, there are photos of fighters flanked by the flags of both Hezbollah and the LAF, on either side. According to UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which came about at the end of the 2006 Israeli war with Hezbollah, all foreign forces were demanded to be out of Lebanon, south of the Litani River. Israel immediately complied with this demand, while Lebanon has become an occupied country, occupied by Iranian backed Hezbollah. Southern Lebanon now has approximately 130,000 to 150,000 Hezbollah missiles, the size of a regular army, pointed directly at Israel. This is under the watchful eye of the LAF, that has willingly allowed itself to be totally enmeshed with and overcome by Hezbollah.

No American citizen, would ever want our taxpayers’ dollars to end up in the hands of Hezbollah, whether wittingly or unwittingly, which is on our State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. As Islamic Republic of Iran has created a land bridge throughout much of the Middle East, Hezbollah has served as the external army of Iran. We are extremely grateful to Representative Lee Zeldin and Representative Elaine Luria for leading this effort in the House of Representatives, as we are to the vast majority of members of the US Congress for its successful passage in the House of Representatives; and are fully confident  that the bill will also pass in the US Senate.”

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The Endowment for Middle East Truth
Founded in 2005, The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) is a Washington, D.C. based think tank and policy center with an unabashedly pro-America and pro-Israel stance. EMET (which means truth in Hebrew) prides itself on challenging the falsehoods and misrepresentations that abound in U.S. Middle East policy.

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