- The American Conservative - https://www.theamericanconservative.com -

Hezbollah is Not a Threat to America

Western-backed militants are in retreat, Bashar al-Assad remains president, Hezbollah has stretched its wings regionally, Israeli power is in decline [1], and Iran is on the rise. Not a pretty result for Washington’s multi-billion dollar investment in the Syrian conflict, especially if it was intended to change the map of the region to favor U.S. interests.

The Trump administration is therefore moving to hit its regional adversaries on alternative, non-military fronts—mainly, employing the sanctions tool that can cripple economies, besiege communities, and stir up public discontent.

The first step was to decertify the nuclear agreement struck between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), which would open up a pathway to further U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The second step is to resuscitate the Hezbollah “threat” and isolate the organization using legal maneuvers and financial sanctions—what one pro-U.S. Lebanese Central Bank official calls “the new tools of imperialism.”

Advertisement

The U.S. listed Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization” [2] 20 years ago this month. Most other states, as well as the United Nations Security Council, have not.

Two weeks ago, at a State Department briefing on the Hezbollah “threat,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas J. Rasmussen tried to paint a picture [3] of an organization that was directing “terrorism acts worldwide” and posing a threat “to U.S. interests” including “here in the homeland.”

“Prior to September 11,” Rasmussen claimed, “I think everybody knows Hezbollah was responsible for the terrorism-related deaths of more U.S. citizens than any other foreign terrorist organization.”

This was news indeed.

change_me

A check with a State Department spokesperson confirmed that the “deaths of more U.S. citizens than any other foreign terrorist organization” claim was in reference to the following incidents:

“Hezbollah is responsible for multiple large scale terrorist attacks, including the 1983 suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut; the 1984 attack on the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut; and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, during which U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem was murdered,” explained the spokesperson in an email.

The 1983 attack on the Beirut barracks took the lives of 241 Americans. The 1983 U.S. embassy bombing killed 17 Americans, and the 1984 attack on the relocated embassy facilities killed two Americans.

Hezbollah has officially and consistently denied involvement in these suicide bombings and was not even established as an organization until 1985. Some write off this important discrepancy by arguing that the bombings would have been conducted by one of Hezbollah’s “precursor organizations,” albeit without providing evidence to prove the point. The U.S. secretary of defense at the time of the bombings, Caspar Weinberger, told PBS almost two decades later [4], in 2001: “We still do not have the actual knowledge of who did the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport… and we certainly didn’t then.”

What was the U.S. reaction to the Beirut bombings in 1982? Did it retaliate against this phantom Hezbollah or its “precursor” organizations? No. In what was the heaviest shore bombardment by a U.S. naval vessel since the Korean war, the Americans retreating from Lebanon launched 300 missiles inland, killing hundreds of Druze and Shia non-combatants. In their book Best Laid Plans: The Inside Story of America’s War Against Terrorism, David C. Martin and John Walcott write about the incident:

In a nine-hour period, the U.S.S. New Jersey fired 288 16-inch rounds, each one weighing as much as a Volkswagen Beetle. In those nine-hours, the ship consumed 40 percent of the 16-inch ammunition available in the entire European theater…in one burst of wretched excess.

It wasn’t until 2003 that Hezbollah was officially fingered in the embassy bombing. In a 30-page decision that resulted from a lawsuit filed by the victims’ families, U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said Hezbollah carried out the attack [5] at the behest of Iran and its Ministry of Information and Security. This was based in part on claims that an alleged Hezbollah bomber who said he was directed “to go forward with attacks” in Lebanon at that time. Critics have called this a “show trial,” comparing it to the 2016 U.S. trial that blamed Iran for the September 11 terrorist attacks [6], despite the fact that 15 Saudis (and no Iranians) were among the hijackers and the U.S. intelligence community has identified links [7] between Saudi officials and some of the perpetrators.

Meanwhile, the Beirut barracks bombing targeted servicemen from the U.S. and France. This was in the context of Israel’s invasion and occupation of Lebanon in 1982. The Israeli military at the time had been heavily armed and outfitted by the United States. The victims were not non-combatants—they were military forces belonging to governments that were perceived by Lebanese as aiding the aggression against sovereign Lebanon.

Whatever the case and whomever the perpetrator, you don’t get to call such an action “terrorism.” It’s an irrational American narrative that time and time again confounds the Middle East: If the U.S. kills you, you are collateral damage. But if you shoot back, you are a terrorist.

Not Hezbollah

“It’s not really Hezbollah’s modus operandi,” mused former UK Ambassador Frances Guy about the massive car bomb that killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri along Beirut’s seafront. We were discussing likely perpetrators during my visit to Beirut in 2010, and Guy told me that the Lebanese resistance group doesn’t really “do” high-octane car bombings in public spaces.

Nonetheless, four Hezbollah operatives stand accused [8] of assassinating Hariri by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL), a highly politicized UN investigative body that shifted its focus from one western political adversary to another, until finally settling on Hezbollah.

A revealing Wikileaks [9] cable from 2008 shows the STL’s chief investigator begging the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon to provide the names of “leads” to pursue in Syria. “You are the key player,” he implores Ambassador Michele Sison, adding that the U.S. has “a big investment in the Tribunal.”

In a rare candid moment during an off-the-record meeting in 2011, another senior British official dropped this bombshell: “The [UN] Tribunal is useful for us to keep the Iranians in line. We don’t have too many tools left to do that.”

Shortly after my meeting with Ambassador Guy in 2010, she was raked over the coals for a blog she posted [10] on the passing of Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah—a Lebanese Shia cleric the U.S. has consistently, and incorrectly, called “Hezbollah’s spiritual leader.” She wrote:

When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person…The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints. May he rest in peace.

Israelis were incensed by Guy’s admiration for the Hezbollah-supporting cleric, and her blog post was scrubbed. But the UK nevertheless sent an official to pay condolences at Fadlallah’s Hassanein mosque, followed by a procession of ambassadors from France, Belgium, Poland, and Denmark. The French and Spanish ambassadors and the UN secretary general sent condolences to Hezbollah too.

Foreign Policy [11] magazine published a piece upon Fadlallah’s death, subtitled: “How the United States got Lebanon’s leading Shiite cleric dead wrong—and missed a chance to change the Middle East forever.” That cryptic sentence refers, of course, to the monumentally misguided off-the-books assassination attempt against Ayatollah Fadlallah organized by CIA Director William Casey in the aftermath of the barracks and embassy bombings—despite the fact that the U.S., per Weinberger’s claims, had no clue who did it.

According to an interview [12] Casey gave to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, the CIA chief arranged for Saudi funding for the covert operation using Lebanese militias to do the dirty work. Fadlallah escaped death, but 80 others died in the southern Beirut suburb that day, including the brother of a young Imad Mughniyeh, who went on to become a leader of Hezbollah’s security operations.

He had been only nine years old in July 1972, when the Israelis set off Beirut’s first car bomb near the southern suburb where he lived, killing Palestinian poet Ghassan Kanafani [13] and others.

Mughniyeh, you may recall, was himself killed in a car bomb in Damascus in February 2008. In the immediate aftermath of that assassination, U.S. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell seemed to misdirect reporters: [14] “There’s some evidence that it may have been internal Hezbollah. It may have been Syria. We don’t know yet, and we’re trying to sort that out.”

No, it wasn’t Hezbollah and it wasn’t Syria. Seven years later, a series of orchestrated leaks to Newsweek [15] and the Washington Post [16] revealed that the Mughniyeh car bombing came courtesy of a joint operation by the CIA and Mossad.

No Threat to Americans

“Hezbollah is not plotting against us,” former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a small group of anti-government Syrians on the sidelines of the UN’s General Assembly plenary session a year ago.

Kerry’s comments were caught on an audio tape acquired by the New York Times [17]. Asked why the U.S. fights extremist Sunni groups and not Shia ones, he replied [18]:

The reason for [airstrikes against the Sunni Extremists] is because they have basically declared war on us, and are plotting against us, and Hezbollah is not plotting against us— Hezbollah is exclusively focused on Israel, who they’re not attacking now, and on Syria, where they are attacking in support of Assad.

Now, a mere year later, Rasmussen wants us to believe: “We in the Intelligence Community do, in fact, see continued activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland.”

So which is it? Is Hezbollah targeting Americans or not? The evidence of this is extremely slim [19] and is peppered with more use of qualifying terms—-“allegedly,” “reportedly,” “assessments,” “linkages”—than any objective journalist can comfortably swallow. So too are U.S. reports of Hezbollah’s “international terrorist activities.”

American investigative reporter Gareth Porter has done deep dives on various allegations of Hezbollah-linked “terrorism” in Argentina [20], Bulgaria [21], Washington, DC [22], India [23], Saudi Arabia [24] and other places. The State Department lists many of these incidents as evidence of the “global threat” Hezbollah poses, but always, upon further scrutiny, the accusations ring hollow.

If there was compelling evidence of the Lebanese resistance group’s involvement in all these attacks, then why have so few nations clamored onto the Hezbollah-is-a-terrorist-organization bandwagon? Until the conflict in Syria kicked off, it was restricted to a smattering of western states and Israel. But relentless U.S. pressure [25], and the seismic battle currently underway in the Middle East between pro-U.S. states and pro-Iran states vying for hegemony, have produced a few recent additions.

In early 2016, the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council [26] (GCC) designated Hezbollah a terrorist group, followed a few days later by the 21-member Arab League [27], with Lebanon and Iraq voting against the measure.

Both organizations are heavily dominated by the immensely wealthy and sectarian (read: anti-Shia) Saudis, financial patrons to many Sunni leaders in the region, and a country entrenched in existential proxy battles in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Bahrain (against Hezbollah ally and U.S. foe, Iran).

What stands out, instead, is the European Union’s fuzzy position on Hezbollah. Despite U.S. insistence that the group in its entirely is a terrorist organization, the EU lists only Hezbollah’s “military wing” as such—and that designation was made only in 2013, when the Syrian conflict exploded and nations started taking hard sides in the Middle East. The “military wing” caveat is a critical distinction that reveals there are more layers to this onion than we see in State Department sound bites.

For Lebanon, Hezbollah is more than just the first Arab force to militarily expel the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) from its territory permanently. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is a political party too, with members of parliament and seats in the cabinet. The group runs a remarkable array of social services across the country, from subsidized schools, hospitals and clinics, to agricultural centers and environmental programs.

Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan introduced a more nuanced image of the group to a Washington think tank audience in 2009:

Hezbollah started out as purely a terrorist organization in the early ’80s and has evolved significantly over time. And now it has members of parliament, in the cabinet; there are lawyers, doctors, others who are part of the Hezbollah organization … And so, quite frankly, I’m pleased to see that a lot of Hezbollah individuals are in fact renouncing that type of terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion.

Furthermore, Hezbollah’s appeal is not limited to Lebanon’s Shia community. Since 2006, Hezbollah has been in a political alliance with the country’s largest Christian-based political party, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), whose leader, General Michel Aoun, is currently president of Lebanon.

Aoun’s close association with Hezbollah is an irritant to Washington, and so the Trump administration is pushing to tighten the sanctions noose on Lebanon, too. In September, the U.S. House of Representatives voted [28] to strengthen the 2015 Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act [29]. Congressmen claim the new measures won’t harm regular Lebanese civilians, but there is a dangerous trend underway to punish anyone who supports Hezbollah’s civic, social, and religious initiatives.

This concern by the Lebanese is fully justified if you listen to State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan A. Sales, who insists:

Money given to a terrorist organization, even for purportedly non-terroristic purposes, ends up assisting the group’s terroristic activities. If you give money to the so-called peaceful side of an organization, money is fungible. And so that frees up resources that can then be used for malign activities that have nothing to do with charitable work or other purposes that we might regard as legitimate. And so it’s important for us to maintain that distinction as false. The distinction between political and terroristic is false.

The Lebanese resistance was formed in reaction to Israel’s illegal invasion and occupation of Lebanon. As Kerry says, that’s where Hezbollah’s real fight is—with Israel.  

Washington should leave it to the two to duke it out. This is not America’s fight. Hezbollah has saved Lebanon—and much of the Levant—not once, but twice, from bloody aggressions. In fact, maybe I’ll take them out to lunch in Beirut and pay the bill. I daresay that could be regarded as a financial contribution to Hezbollah, and that would make me a “terrorist,” too.

Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Mideast geopolitics, based in Beirut.

81 Comments (Open | Close)

81 Comments To "Hezbollah is Not a Threat to America"

#1 Comment By GaryH On November 4, 2017 @ 6:32 pm

Iran is our current mid east Enemy Du Jour because we are allied with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis hate the Iranians for religious reasons (Saudis are Wahhabi Sunnis while the Iranians are Shiite) and for ethnic and linguistic reasons (Arabs are Semites and Iranians are Indo-European).

We should be neutral. If we have to back one, it should be the Iranians. They easily are the lesser of 2 mid-east evils.

#2 Comment By ross On November 4, 2017 @ 7:49 pm

Even the title of this publication is Orwellian.

#3 Comment By Clev On November 4, 2017 @ 8:21 pm

What Sharmine fails to mention is the murder of the AUB President. Precursor or what. (islamic Jihad was a Shia militi in West Beirut that’s member became Hezbollah) It was done by Hezbollah members, against an American Civilian. That is terrorist.

The Lebanese Christians do not have a militia. The Druze do not have a militia. Why are the Shia still armed? The Lebanese Army contain people of all sects represented. Why doesn’t Iran arm the Lebanese Army instead of a sectarian militia ?

#4 Comment By Joe On November 4, 2017 @ 9:28 pm

Why did the Lraise t of Lebanon just resign over Iranian influence?

#5 Comment By Jim Radulski On November 5, 2017 @ 5:34 am

One more “Talking Head” who hasn’t got the faintest idea of what the scum who are running Hezbollah are really like.

#6 Comment By David Wilmsen On November 5, 2017 @ 10:01 am

“The only democracy in the Middle East” is a hollow justification. The US has alliances and agreements with many non-democratic regimes throughout the world. It’s also false. Lebanon itself is a parliamentary democracy with regular elections (I’ve witnessed many of them first hand, including the re-election of my landlord as the local magistrate, one’s true people’s representative and mediator with the government in Lebanon). What is more, Lebanon has been a democracy since it’s independence in 1943, five years before the declaration of the state of Israel, and it had democratic institutions in place since 1920 or 1922.

#7 Comment By Gary On November 5, 2017 @ 1:40 pm

Mossad knew about the Beirut truck bomb, but failed to warn the CIA. By now you might think someone would have asked them who did it. See “Gideon’s Spies” by Gordon Thomas.

#8 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 5, 2017 @ 2:41 pm

“The U.S. secretary of defense at the time of the bombings, Caspar Weinberger, told PBS almost two decades later, in 2001: “We still do not have the actual knowledge of who did the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut Airport… and we certainly didn’t then.”

I was unable to locate my copy of the Long Commission report which eves as the after action report of the incident, there i also a Marine Corps report if one can locate it.

Both reports make it the attack were in direst response of the US (perceived) support of french operations in the region. I think especially earlier that week, the French caught in a gun battle with group in a neighborhood got support from the Marines.

If Hezbollah had been responsible they would do what groups who take such action do — they would have taken responsibility and stated why. This was mist likely a local faction in retaliation for the perceived notion that the US supported one side over the other.
_____________________

Just a note: when the reference is made that a group is not a threat to the US, it means that said group or state has neither the aims or potential to damage the US’ territory or state orchestrated policy objectives.

It does not mean that in the course of operations in another state, in this case “a peace keeping mission” will not be subject to possible harm. Hezbollah i primarily concerned with their state of Lebanon. And while they harbor deep feelings concerning the Palestinians, it is unlikely that the US agenda can be undermined by the Hezbollah.

I think it it would be disingenuous to ignore that the Hezbollah has a long standing relationship with Iran in providing various means of support, including military. That doe not by definition make them a threat to the US. As tragic as the Marine Barracks incident is, it was not part of an overall agenda to destroy the US.

#9 Comment By John G On November 5, 2017 @ 6:22 pm

ALLEN: That is a load of utter nonsense. Lebanon was invaded by Israel BEFORE Hezbollah was even thought of.
I don’t believe you have a Lebanese friend. I do believe you are spreading hasbara for another country though.

#10 Comment By Christian Chuba On November 5, 2017 @ 8:14 pm

@Allen

“He says it was a beautiful, peaceful country welcoming all religions until Hezbollah came in. They promised roads and hospitals and schools and threw a lot of money around”

I am going to guess that your friend is a Sunni Arab.
1. Lebanon was in an endless, civil war from hell, from 1975 to 1990. I was in college in 1981 and my roommate was Lebanese and as a result, I heard about the endless stream of car bombings in Beirut. He was a nice guy, didn’t really blame any one group, his attitude was that it was FUBAR and he was glad to be in the U.S.

2. Hezbollah didn’t form until about 1985, five years before the civil war ended. They didn’t throw any money around because they are native born Lebanese Shiites representing about 25% of the population. The only people throwing money around were the Saudis at the Sunni factions. Iran does support them and if anything, Iran helped them to seek a political means to end that God awful civil war.

Look at the timeline, what your friend is saying doesn’t make any sense.

#11 Comment By rayra On November 5, 2017 @ 8:28 pm

Taqqiyah by any other name is just as foul, Mr Narwani.
241 dead Marines in Beirut prove your lie.
Many jewish-american citizens killed in Israel by Hezballah prove your lie.
Our embassy sacked and 52 Americans held hostage by Iran for 444 days prove your lie.
Hundreds of American troops killed and maimed in northwest Iraq via Iran-supplied self-forging warhead IEDs prove you lie.

#12 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 5, 2017 @ 11:37 pm

““Israel is the world leader in the War against Terror, the US should listen more, try to learn something and follow Tel Aviv’s lead in this struggle. Maybe a few less Marines will get murdered in the future perhaps??”

We followed Israeli . . .

into Iraq . . . Afghanistan, Syria, Libya . . . I am note sure the Israeli example of raising the homes of defenseless civilians is working any better than violating international law by the continued encroachments of small cities in the ‘occupied territory’ is all that effective.

#13 Comment By RudyM On November 6, 2017 @ 12:05 am

Narwani is too good for TAC. Maybe Unz.com could rescue her.

#14 Comment By Sch4123 On November 6, 2017 @ 6:54 am

Hezbollah is not a threat to America? The recently released bin Laden documents prove that Iran was one of al Qaeda’s main sources of logistical support after 2001. Iran arranged for al Qaeda to receive training in Lebanon. And Hezbollah controls Lebanon. Iran’s long term goal is not only to destroy Israel- which would be a moral, psychological and strategic catastrophe for what remains of the decaying West, but also to achieve hegemony in the Islamic world and then crush us- the United States of America. Hezbollah is one of their tools. Don’t underestimate the Persians- a historically imperial people. As for those of you here who think we can just throw Israel to the wolves and sit this one out- we have never been able to remain aloof from the wars for world power. And we won’t be able to detach itself from Islam’s ambition to crush everyone else. This is a world war. We are in it whether we like it or not. We have to conduct it strategically and intelligently. Israel is a small but nonetheless significant ally in that war. The Jews in Israel are not the cause of the war but simply one of the main targets. A dynamic expansive force like Islam wouldn’t stop if it were to defeat the Jews in the Middle East. How many allies are we going to throw away? Should we give up Italy, Britain and France too as they come under attack from within? Also- understand why this article was written no and sent to an American site- war between Israel and the Hezbollah/Iran/Syria axis- possibly with Russian support- is now inevitable and in some respects had already started. Everybody over there is preparing for it. Obama facilitated it with the Iran deal. This article is a cunning, deceptive piece of propaganda designed to neutralize American support for Israel when the war begins. The Israeli’s don’t need our forces to intervene but they do need our diplomatic support, access to our defense products and backing if the Russians threaten to intervene. I agree though that Israel no longer needs our financial support so we should cut that and pay off our own debt. I say all this not only as a patriotic American but also as a man of the West- and we of the West are all in this together- not for the first time.

#15 Comment By raymond On November 6, 2017 @ 9:06 am

It seems like there is nobody disputing that Hezbollah is a threat to the USA itself. (Glad we seem to agree on that).

Most of the comments here seem to be about Israel and whether or not it’s enmity with Hezbollah justifies US hatred of that organization.

But it doesn’t really matter whether or not US total support for Israel is a good idea. (I believe that its not. Even General Petraeus testified that it endangers US troops). Even if it IS a good idea, Hezbollah is not much of a threat to Israel either.

Yes, they can lob a few rockets into Israel (just as the Israelis shell Lebanon) but unless you live right on the border, that about the extent of Hezbollah’s danger to Israel.

Israel is the strongest military power in the Middle East. The only nuclear power. Israel has an air forces, effective spy agencies, advanced technology, the diplomatic tools available to a recognized state, and a strong economy.

Hezbollah has some tough experienced fighters, but they are essentially infantry. They are capable of fighting back if Israel invades them, but not of invading Israel itself.

So no, Israel is not seriously threatened either.

#16 Comment By raymond On November 6, 2017 @ 9:08 am

Erm.. that would be:

It seems like there is nobody disputing that Hezbollah is Not a threat to the USA itself.

ouch!

#17 Comment By raymond On November 6, 2017 @ 1:02 pm

Sch4123

Iran has never helped Al Qaeda. They are deadly enemies. Al Qaeda is a radical Sunni group that considers Shia to be heretics. They hate each other.

Which is one reason why Iran and the US were effectively allied during the recent campaign to defeat the Islamic State – which is an offshoot of Al Qaeda. The US provided most of the air power, but Iranian proxies provided most of the land power.

Iran and the US may not like each other but they both hate Al Qaeda more. As the Arab saying goes – the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

On the other hand, America’s ‘friend’ Saudi Arabia is a rival of Iran, so the Saudis actually DO quietly support Al Qaeda and similar groups. Recall that Bin Laden and the 9-11 attackers were all Saudis. In fact, even Israel was quietly supporting the Al Nusra Front in Syria with supplies and medical aid. Al Nusra was another Al Qaeda offshoot. Israel does this because they worry about Syria more than Al Qaeda.

So its not at all simple or easy.

This is why Americans have such a hard time winning wars now: Reality is way more complicated than “Israel is good and Iran is bad”. You cant win if you don’t even know the basics about the situation.

#18 Comment By raymond On November 6, 2017 @ 1:12 pm

Jim Radulski

The author is a graduate of Oxford and Columbia. More to the point, she speaks Arabic and lives in Beirut. There is no doubt that she knows far more about Lebanon and Hezbollah than you or I do.

#19 Comment By John Mann On November 6, 2017 @ 3:21 pm

Further to my comment of 3 days ago, when I wrote:

“I would be love to see a dispassionate, objective observer do some research, and then tell us the total number of non-combatant women and children killed in the Middle East, and in the world as a whole, over both the last 20 years and last 10 years by each of
a) Hezbollah,
b) the Israeli Defense Forces, &
c) the USA’s armed forces.”

I have just stumbled over the startling fact that 32 children were killed by Israeli forces in 2016 in East Jerusalem and the West Bank an article in the Intercept.
[30]

I must say that I am startled.

#20 Comment By a spencer On November 6, 2017 @ 6:58 pm

Well, Anne, what can I say? I was in Marjeyoun recently – lovely town – and didn’t experience anything like that. Quite the contrary, I drank with the Christians, ate with the Shia. I guess we just had different experiences.

Everyone involved in this conversation knows Hezbollah has neither an air force nor a navy, right?

#21 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 6, 2017 @ 7:06 pm

Mexico is more of a threat to the US than Hezbollah.

#22 Comment By Hariri’s Resignation On November 6, 2017 @ 10:30 pm

Joe asks “Why did the Lraise t of Lebanon just resign over Iranian influence?”

The answer, Joe, is “because Muhammed Bin Salman told him to resign”. The same Muhammed bin Salman who is Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who is committing atrocities in Yemen, and of course who just killed two of his own cousins to consolidate his grip on power. On the bright side, he’s a good friend of the Israelis, and he had a long chat with Jared Kushner a few weeks ago.

#23 Comment By a spencer On November 7, 2017 @ 1:42 am

This might excite you:
the highest ranking US government official to make a distinction between the Party of God’s administrative, political and paramilitary wings was: Sect. of State Rodham Clinton.

This part you might hate:
She was correct. France makes the same distinction. Most countries do.

Things you thought you’d never see again:
[31]

#24 Comment By EliteCommInc. On November 7, 2017 @ 4:08 am

“And we won’t be able to detach itself from Islam’s ambition to crush everyone else. This is a world war. We are in it whether we like it or not. We have to conduct it strategically and intelligently.”

There are plenty of reason to be distrustful of Iran. I don’t buy the contention that merely want to mind their own affairs minus some larger hegemony. But strategic intelligence requires more astute content than what is currently on display. Backing out of the deal with Iran, doesn’t sound all that advantageous, but merely makes a quagmire of accountability. The more vague the agreement, the less room for accountability. Ok it no secret that Hezbollah and Iran are friends. That’s not a violation of international law.

While I have not read the ‘released documents’. I don’t have a hard time buying that Osama Bin Laden had a relationship with Iran as part of the greater struggle of the Islamic revolution. I won’t be shocked if other states did as well. I have long suggested that the issue is not the Royal family with respect to Al Qaeda. But we have blown the mart move by invading Iraq. And unless we have real cause, not manufactured speculation, we won’t be operating intelligently.

#25 Comment By KM On November 7, 2017 @ 5:04 am

Isreal knows very well it’s only the Hezbollah who can resist them from stealing Arab lands and that’s the reason why they influence US and other coward Arabs countries to brand them as terrorist so that they can be removed.

#26 Comment By David Wilmsen On November 7, 2017 @ 9:33 am

Anne M Lewis, funny, I lived in Lebanon, too, for nine of the past ten years, in a Shia neighborhood no less. I heard just the opposite from you. Welcoming, warm, friendly. They do hate Israel, but who wouldn’t hate a neighboring nation that had invaded one’s own country repeatedly? Wouldn’t you?

#27 Comment By peace through joy On November 7, 2017 @ 11:35 am

@rayra : “Taqqiyah by any other name is just as foul, Mr Narwani. [blah blah blah blah]”

Sharmine Narwani is a woman. Generally speaking, disinformation is much more convincing when you get the author’s sex right.

#28 Comment By jk On November 7, 2017 @ 12:45 pm

Blaming Iran (and Russia) for everything is the geo-political equivalent of ‘my dog ate my homework.’

Occam’s Razor points to Saudi Arabia and Israel as the source of America’s woes in the ME.

#29 Comment By Dan On November 20, 2017 @ 1:52 am

I’ve never understood the American obsession with the US Marine barracks attack as terrorism.

Lebanese CIVIL WAR has been raging since 1975, Israel has invaded twice 1978-9 and again 1982 (they don’t fully leave for decades), the massacre of civilians at Sabra and Chatilla is only a few months ago. The Americans and French start supporting one of the sides in the civil war and are “shocked, shocked, I tell you” that someone shoots back.

These were wartime casualties in a war which the US took a small part in.

The present crisis seems to be because after a 5 year civil war in Syria it seems to be coming to an end with Assad still in charge. From a US point of view no big deal, the Assad’s have run Syria since the 1970’s and have long been allies of Russia and Iran. For the Saudis this seems to be seen as an existential threat and something must be done.

#30 Comment By Aussie On November 20, 2017 @ 3:12 am

You Americans are delusional! Saudi Arabia should be your enemy not Iran!

#31 Comment By James Dwight On September 5, 2018 @ 6:20 pm

The idea that Hezbollah poses no threat to America and Americans just isn’t the case. Although they’re too smart to attack America directly (not for lack of plotting, however), there are many other ways Hezbollah has found to kill Americans.

Exhibit A is Hezbollah’s drug trade in Cocaine (which it uses to finance its operations in Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere) which fuels the ongoing drug epidemic in the U.S.

Exhibit B is Hezbollah’s weapon trade. In the Iraq war, Hezbollah’s trafficking of sophisticated Iranian IEDs caused the deaths of at least 500 U.S. soldiers according to the Pentagon.

Hezbollah isn’t something to be ignored, and it’s not “not our problem.” Although that’s what Hezbollah wants you to believe, that’s simply not the case. That’s the mistake Obama made (failing to crush Hezbollah when they were weak), and it allowed them to grow into the billion dollar terror group and criminal syndicate they are today.

Now there are some cases in which U.S. intervention is a complete mistake and a waste of money, but joining other allies in dealing with Hezbollah is not one of them.