Whilst the world is understandably distracted by the brinkmanship of the North Korean dictator, it is worth noting that the real threat comes from Iran and its proxies, notably Hezbollah. One might say that is so for Israel, but not so for the US or even Europe. But wait, one matter has been forgotten. Iran and Hezbollah have equally threatened the US, not just Israel.
Recently, President Donald J. Trump hosted the Lebanese leader Saad Hariri and promised US assistance if firm action was taken against the Shiite terrorist organisation, to which Mr. Hariri politely accepted. However, it is a fact that Hezbollah is a state within a state, which not only controls its own territory but also that of the Lebanese government. Since then, though Mr. Hariri has distanced himself from those remarks and is claiming the US is putting undue pressure on Lebanon regarding continued foreign assistance to his country’s army. According to the Lebanese daily Le Orient le Jour “Saad Hariri avait aussi déploré le fait « que tout le monde avait abandonné le Liban », selon le ministre.”
It seems though that the Trump Administration is willing to send military forces to join in the attack on “Islamic State,” which will mean that despite the rhetoric emanating from the White House, it would appear that US forces could actually be fighting alongside Hezbollah and soldiers of the murderous Assad regime, all in the name of defeating the dying “Caliphate.” The article asserted that UNIFIL, whose mandate must be renewed at the end of the month is being held hostage to demands from Washington that rightly it should be doing more especially as terrorist groups have not been demilitarised nor pushed away from the border areas with Israel. Ambassador Nikki Haley is correct in that context but she is very critical of Iran, unlike the White House where Iran critics seem to be disappearing.
The emphasis brought about in the article does relate to weapons to Hezbollah in that “le renouvellement du mandat de la Finul devient une carte de pression que les États-Unis semblent déterminés à employer au Palais de Verre.” But again, it is not really viewed as legitimate to link the Government of Lebanon to Hezbollah in official Washington officalspeak, though in Jerusalem they are viewed as one and the same.
From Israel’s perspective this is a dangerous development in that not only Russia, which promised that the terrorist organisation will not benefit from any arms transfers from Iran, but now the US will have forces in the southern part of Lebanon , which will further hamper the IDF’s ability to respond to threats.
There is historical precedent: the brief introduction of US forces under the supposedly friendly Reagan Administration also pitted the US army against Israel’s Army (though that was not the mission and Reagan and his former Secretary of State General Alexander Haig were very pro-Israel; in fact, it was Haig who told an astonished PM Menachem Begin that the IDF could go deeper into Lebanon than the Litani River, as originally envisaged). This confrontation was made possible by the anti-Israel Secretary of Defence Casper Weinberger. In fact, the American soldier whose tank blocked the IDF prevented the IDF from doing its job there, received a purple heart from Weinberger!
Ever since the establishment of the State of Israel, governments from Ben Gurion on rejected the idea of assistance of foreign armies, even those deemed friendly, due to this fear the IDF’s wings could be clipped. It is for this reason that Israel did not accept Bundeskanzler Konrad Adenauer’s invitation to join the European Union, then known as the Common Market, nor join NATO or CENTO.
In any case, the US and Europe have been threatened by Iran and Hezbollah on a routine basis. Any attempt to stifle debate about these two entities and bury there influence by overestimating ISIS amounts to ostriches putting there heads in the sand. Also Iran has been involved with North Korea and their Axis of Evil has not been publicised sufficiently in the Free World’s media.
More to come….