Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are fighting side by side against ISIS in northeastern Lebanon, further demonstrating the control the Iranian-backed terror group exerts over its host country.
Though some public statements denied that the two forces were coordinating their efforts, Reuters reported that one commander representing the forces involved in the fighting said that “naturally” there was coordination.
Last month, the Long War Journal reported that Hezbollah and LAF were involved in joint operations fighting ISIS in the area surrounding the Lebanese town of Arsal.
Specifically, the Long War Journal reported, “Lebanese troops are said to be positioned on the outskirts of Arsal to prevent the flow of jihadists into the city. The Shiite forces appear to be undertaking the brunt of the military operation.”
A week later, a reporter for The Washington Post observed that in areas that had been taken over by Hezbollah “nowhere was there any evidence of the Lebanese state.”
The new joint operation between Hezbollah and the LAF comes just after the United States delivered M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles to the LAF. In addition, Tony Badran reported that U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard said that the U.S. had delivered heavy weapons, M4 rifles, and night vision goggles to the LAF.
Badran, a research fellow specializing in Lebanon at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, observed that the items the U.S. delivered to the LAF “as it happens, these precise items have been on Hezbollah’s shopping list consistently for almost a decade,” and went on to cite arrests of multiple suspect trying to smuggle the same items to Hezbollah over recent years.
“The bottom line,” Badran concluded, “is current US policy is feeding an army that operates in a political configuration entirely dominated and directed by Hezbollah and its commanders in Iran.”
2/ Hezbollah, for all practical purposes, is the “state.” To strengthen state strengthens Hezbollah. Thus, US should cut losses re LAF. https://t.co/HDWkt44UV0
— Lee Smith (@LeeSmithTWS) August 21, 2017
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