What if I told you we were sending military hardware to ISIS? Would you march on Washington with an outpouring of righteous indignation?
Well, we are now arming Hezbollah, which is worse than arming ISIS, given that the caliphate is on the decline and Hezbollah and Iran are gaining more power by the day. Oh, and by the way, the last time I checked, we have a Republican in the White House.
On Monday, the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon announced the planned shipment of 32 M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles from America to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), at an “investment” of $100 million.
Meanwhile, our soldiers have been working with them and training them on how to use a number of other weapons systems that have been transferred to the Lebanese army over the past year. They include howitzers, grenade launchers, machine guns, mortars, hellfire missiles, night vision devices, and thermal sights technology.
At this point, any thinking person should be asking that, given that Lebanon is controlled by Hezbollah, and is a client state of Iran, doesn’t this mean that we are essentially arming Hezbollah?
Everyone knows that the Lebanese government is completely at the mercy of Hezbollah and Iran. Given that Hezbollah is much stronger than the LAF, is comprised of many Shiites, and is subject to the direction and veto power of its Iranian masters, it defies logic to think that they could possibly maintain control over U.S. aid without Hezbollah confiscating it.
As Tony Badran of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies observes, “Hezbollah, of course, controls the Lebanese government and dictates the operations of its armed forces. Indeed, it was Hezbollah that laid out the battle plans for the current operation in northeastern Lebanon, including what role the LAF would play in it.” This is why Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned that “the Lebanese army is a subsidiary unit of Hezbollah” and that Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, “is another Nasrallah operative.”
Yet, Trump embraced Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, in a recent visit to the White House and praised him as a partner in the war against terrorists. It’s yet another example of where the nuances of alliances and policy are lost on the president, which prompts him to support action that repudiates his campaign promises and stated objectives on Iran.
We were told by apologists of the Saudi arms deal that a complete embrace of Saudi Arabia was needed to combat Iran. Yet, here we are helping their strongest proxy that is directly controlled by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) figures on the ground.
This is a symptom of a broader disease inherent in our Middle East strategy over the past decade, whereby we arm multiple sides of Islamic civil wars, and often, fight ourselves and our own weapons by proxy. Aside from the immorality of ensuring that arms fall into the hands of Hezbollah, such a move has two distinct policy outcomes: It further muddles our involvement in Syria, and strengthens Hezbollah’s desire to open a second front against Israel on its eastern border.
According to the State Department, there are approximately 7,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria. They are fighting alongside the IRGC and the Assad regime against other Islamic insurgents including ISIS. The irony is that our own military is fighting ISIS as well.
Yet, at the same time, we are launching air strikes against Shiite militias allied with Hezbollah, but now we are also almost directly arming Hezbollah. Oh, and we happen to be assisting some of the very same Shiite militias in Iraq! The Hezbollah Brigades, along with fellow Shiite militias, such as the Sayyid al Shuhada Brigades and the Imam Ali Brigades, are benefiting from our support in Iraq, even though they are controlled by the Iranian Quds Force.
Is your head spinning yet? Rather than enable our enemies to fight with each other to the benefit of our security interests, we have them play ourselves against our own interests by supporting the worst elements of all sides by placing our weapons and special forces into the hands of our enemies. Two more soldiers died earlier this week in Iraq, very likely engaged in a mission that at least indirectly buttresses Iranian hegemony.
Welcome to the world of Islamic civil wars and our wrongheaded involvement on multiple and conflicting sides in each given theater, where there is no discernable strategic objective that places our interests first.
Instead, the sum of our actions is that we are directly aiding Iran in most theaters. Unlike Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, Iran is the one country in the Middle East that poses a direct threat to our interests. And if the Iranians are allowed to continue expanding their wealth and reach, they will succeed in threatening our homeland, just like North Korea.
More worrisome is that fact that Hezbollah, in its own right, poses a greater homeland security threat than the major Sunni terror groups, because it has a vast network inside our country and in Latin America. Several operatives have been arrested in recent months. Why in the world would we help them in the Middle East on numerous fronts, arm them … and then fight against them on other fronts?
One could not possibly conjure up a more convoluted “America-last” foreign policy than what we have been doing the past few years in the Middle East. Unfortunately, as is the case with many other policies, there is no sign of this changing under Trump. Much of this has to do with personnel decisions, such as the placement of H.R. McMaster, Dina Habib Powell, and Rex Tillerson in top foreign policy positions.
The other major problem with empowering Hezbollah is that, in addition to helping Iran, it is now controlling territory in its own right. Hezbollah control in eastern Syria now extends as far south as the Syrian Golan, bordering the Israeli Golan. Everyone now anticipates that Hezbollah is using its resources and expanded territory to plan far beyond winning the Syrian civil war but launching its next attack on Israel.
At what point will our foreign policy “smart set” finally take a Hippocratic oath and pledge to do no harm? Just stay out of the Middle East if we will just give arms to terrorists and have our soldiers die in Islamic civil wars. Moreover, by bogging us down in the Middle East, we are depleting our capital, hardware, and resolve to fight the true threats of North Korea and Iran. And, in fact, we are downright helping Iran with these policies.
And speaking of North Korea, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called Kim Jong Un, the man who threatened us directly with nuclear warfare, to wish him well on a national holiday. Yes, we give this man hundreds of millions of dollars and herald him as a peace partner as well. As Mr. Orwell would say, “war is peace.”
Before we allow virtue signaling to tear down statues of those who died 150 years ago, we can start assuaging our desire for moral clarity by not arming living Islamic supremacists and terrorists throughout the world.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.