In January of this year, Hizballah and its allies brought down the coalition of Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri. A new PM, Najib Mikati, was designated, but he had not been able to put together a coalition until yesterday.
The new Lebanese cabinet of 30 ministers includes 18 members of the Hizballah-led “March 8 Alliance,” (the name refers to an anti-Western demonstration held in 2005). That’s a majority, folks, and it includes the justice and defense ministries.
This means that Iranian-Syrian proxy Hizballah has even more power over Lebanon than before.
Is it time for the US to stop sending aid, particularly military aid, to Lebanon?
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said in response that Washington should cut off the funding for Lebanon.
Hezbollah led the toppling of the government of Saad Hariri while the former prime minister was on a visit to Washington in January. The group was upset with Hariri’s support for a U.N.-backed tribunal investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister’s father.
Hezbollah had two Cabinet positions in the Hariri government [there still are only two ministers who are members of the party, but their ‘alliance’ partners have grown from 11 to 18]. U.S. lawmakers last year mulled withholding the roughly $100 million in military aid to Lebanon because of Hezbollah concerns but reversed course after classified briefings indicated the Lebanese military was able to handle the assistance responsibly. — UPI
Here’s an example of the way the Lebanese Army has acted “responsibly:”
On August 3rd, 2010, Lebanese Army snipers shot and killed an Israeli officer who was directing a routine tree-clearing operation on the Israeli side of the border. Another officer was seriously wounded.
There is no doubt that this was a deliberate provocation by Hizballah to divert attention from the indictments that were shortly expected (they are still ‘expected’) of the UN Special Tribunal looking into the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
In the next war, Hizballah rockets from Lebanon will kill Israelis. There’s no doubt about this either.
Now it is even more important that the US stop supporting the Lebanese Army, which — far from checking Hizballah in accordance with UN resolution 1701 — acts on its behalf.