Wednesday I mentioned that the US was giving $150 million of a planned total of about $740 million (including US funding of UNRWA) to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Much of this money will be spent in Gaza, even though Gaza is under Hamas control. $102.5 Million is going to ‘security’ forces — which Israeli military planners are assuming will likely be turned against the IDF at some point. And some undetermined amount is escaping through the leaky pipes of the PA to arrive at Fatah’s own terrorist militia, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
But there is an even more dangerous enemy that is also receiving US funds:
WASHINGTON – Two key members of Congress have decided to lift their holds on aid to the Lebanese military on Friday, clearing the way for $100 million to be transferred to the force.
The money has been tied up since August after the members expressed concern about American funds ending up in the hands of Hizballah, particularly after a deadly incident in which Lebanese Armed Forces soldiers shot at IDF soldiers along the border.
Nita Lowey (D-New York), chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the appropriations committee, and Howard Berman (D-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had both requested reassurances from the State Department concerning oversight for the money, which helps train and equip the military.
“The administration gave detailed briefings and provided thorough written responses to Congresswoman Lowey’s questions and concerns about the assistance and safeguards in place to prevent it from falling into terrorists’ hands,” a Democratic Congressional staffer said of Lowey’s decision to lift the hold Friday. “Improving Lebanon’s ability to defend its borders, stop arms trafficking, build institutions and fight terrorist elements is imperative to the security and stability of the region.”
The State Department, which lobbied to reverse the holds, has long argued that the funds are an important counter-weight to Hizballah’s growing influence and military might.
As always, the State Department is on the wrong side of an issue that is critical to Israel’s security. Even if it were possible to ensure that US-provided weapons will not be used to cold-bloodedly murder Israelis as happened this August, the political influence of Hizballah and its patron, Iran, in Lebanon has become so great that the control of the army can’t be assumed to be in the hands of pro-Western forces, especially in the event of war. And the probability of a war between Israel and Hizballah remains high, although it’s impossible to predict exactly when it will occur.
Indeed, in 2006, the Lebanese army allowed its facilities to be used in a missile attack against an Israeli Navy vessel. And that was when Hizballah had far less power in the country. Further, I don’t trust the State Department’s promises that equipment will not be transferred to Hizballah. After all, the Lebanese army and the UN have been completely unable or unwilling to stop Hizballah from receiving an astronomical quantity of arms smuggled through Syria, reasserting its control on the ground in South Lebanon, and rebuilding its fortifications there ahead of the next war. Many army units and personnel are sympathetic to Hizballah.
What credible assurances could there be? What leverage does the US have, after standing by and watching Iran and Syria support the emasculation of the March 14 movement and Hizballah’s assertion of control — just short of an actual takeover — in Lebanon?
We are also selling large quantities of the most sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, ostensibly to help them defend themselves against Iran. Although the weapons are truly dangerous and the size of the sales are large, the buyers don’t have the technical skills or military infrastructure to utilize or maintain this stuff effectively. They will therefore not protect them against Iran, but neither will they menace Israel. It’s been suggested that such arms deals happen primarily to provide profitable commissions for well-connected Arabs and an opportunity for the West to get back some of its oil money.
Hizballah and the Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, are the point of the spear, and represent a very immediate and local threat.
If our president is as firmly committed to Israel’s security as he claims, why is he helping to arm some of her most dangerous enemies?