Arming Lebanon is arming Hizballah

A few days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, on July 14, 2006, Hizballah fired an Iranian copy of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile, making a direct hit on the Israeli Navy’s corvette Hanit. The ship was seriously damaged; four sailors were killed and several others injured.  It was remarkable that the Hanit managed to stay afloat, and even returned to Ashdod under its own power. Although the ship had sophisticated anti-missile capabilities, the systems were turned off, either because the crew did not believe that Hizballah had such a missile, or because they wanted to reduce the chance of accidentally firing at nearby Israeli aircraft. Several officers were disciplined as a result of the affair.

The damaged INS Hanit, at Ashdod.

The damaged INS Hanit, at Ashdod.

A short time later, the IAF bombed several coastal radar stations belonging to the Lebanese army. It’s thought that they provided tracking data to Hizballah. In 2006, Hizballah had far less power and control in Lebanon than it does today. Nevertheless, probably one-third of the Lebanese Army in 2006 consisted of Shiites who might be sympathetic at least to Hizballah.

Today Hizballah has complete freedom of action in Lebanon, and all but controls the government — and the army. It is hard to believe that arms supplied to the Lebanese army could be kept from Hizballah:

In early December, the Lebanese parliament gave a vote of confidence to the government of Saad Hariri and approved a government platform that allowed Hizbullah to maintain its arms in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.

From that time, which also included a declaration that Hizbullah had a mandate to defend Lebanon from Israel, “there has been a great deal of concern here,” one [Israeli] official said.

The main concern, the official said, is weaponry being provided or pledged by the US. The issue is likely to be raised during the expected meetings here Tuesday with US National Security Advisor James Jones.

The US has long provided military assistance to Lebanon. Over the past years this military assistance has included aircraft, tanks, artillery, small boats, infantry weapons, ammunition, Humvees and cargo trucks. The US is expected to provide the Lebanese army with 12 Raven unmanned reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft in the coming months. — Jerusalem Post [my emphasis]

Since 2006, under the worthless nose of the UN, Hizballah has been rebuilding and rearming with weapons supplied by Iran through Syria. Most analysts believe that Hizballah is far stronger, both in its short, medium and long-range rocket forces and in its ground fortifications, than it was in 2006 (of course Israel has learned lessons from that conflict too).

Barring an unforeseen stroke of luck, like a revolution in Iran which would pull the rug out from under her proxies, a further conflict between Israel and Hizballah is inevitable (if you think Hizballah will become moderate in middle age, see Barry Rubin’s argument to the contrary here).

So it would behoove the US administration, if its protestations about caring for Israel’s security are actually meaningful, to find another market for military hardware than Lebanon.

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One Response to “Arming Lebanon is arming Hizballah”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    The U.S. should not be supplying weapons to terrorists. It should not be supplying weapons to enemies of Israel. Unfortunately the problem goes well- beyond Hizbollah and includes the whole pattern of U.S. relations with ‘friendly’Arab regimes. The advanced weaponry the U.S. has supplied to Egypt and Saudi Arabia have according to Israeli sources, diminished the qualitative edge so important to Israel’s defense.
    Here however there is also a strong moral element. Hizbollah terrorists have not only attacked Israel, they have murdered Americans. It is both absurd and obscene for the U.S. to supply weapons which Hizbollah will have access to.