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Hizbullah Calls on Lebanon to Shun US Aid and Turn to Iran

A Lebanese Hizbullah legislator says Lebanon can do without US military aid. Iran, Syria, Russia and China can fill the gap, he advises.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/10/2010, 2:32 PM / Last Update: 8/10/2010, 3:14 PM

A senior Hizbullah terrorist organization member and member of the Lebanese parliament called on the Beirut government to forget about obtaining ”conditional” American military aid instead turn to Iran, Syria, Russia and China.

Nawwaf Moussawi, a senior Hizbullah leader and member of the Lebanese parliament, suggested the LAF look to Syria, Iran and countries like Russia and China for weapons and training. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to make his first official visit to Lebanon, at the end of the Ramadan month of daily fasting, his foreign minister announced Sunday. 

The U.S. Congress has blocked the previously authorized $100 million in military aid for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) following last week’s attack on the IDF in Israeli territory. One senior reserve officer was killed by a Lebanese soldier, and one junior officer was seriously wounded. Three Lebanese soldiers and a journalist were killed in return fire by the IDF.

The political arm of Hizbullah has been accusing Israel of looking for an excuse to attack Lebanon, and it has used the alleged threat as an excuse to beef up its own military forces. The main reason behind the American holdup of aid to Lebanon is increasing evidence that Hizbullah and the Lebanese Army are working hand-in-hand.

“All calculations from now on will be built upon the notion that the Lebanese Army is ready to engage in confrontation, backed by the embrace of the Lebanese people and the support of the Resistance [Hizbullah],” legislator Mohammed Raad said on Sunday.

Hizbullah has increased its power in the Lebanese government and now holds the ability in the Cabinet to veto major legislation. Its alliance with pro-Syrian parties has allowed Syria to exercise more influence over Lebanon without the presence of more than 15,000 soldiers that Syrian President Bashar Assad withdrew five years ago.

Assad needs closer ties with Hizbullah to re-impose tighter control over Lebanon, Beirut Daily Star opinion editor Michael Young wrote in the Wall Street Journal Monday. He said that Assad has to “show that Damascus, not Tehran, rules again in Beirut” and that the Syrian president needs Hizbullah to replace the Syrian intelligence agents and Syrian soldiers that had been deployed in Lebanon.

Young also explained that Assad is trying to sell his return to Lebanon by casting the “illusion” that he will reduce Hizbullah’s power. However, Young added, “The Syrian leader will not disarm Hezbollah, nor will he break with Iran, because that would deny him the ability to exploit regional rivalries.”