The Corner

Reading the Developments in Lebanon

Berlin — Lebanon’s de facto government, the Iranian proxy Hezbollah, dissolved Beirut’s coalition administration on Wednesday while Lebanon’s Western-leaning prime minister, Sa’ad Hariri, was visiting with President Obama in Washington.

Hezbollah’s timing was orchestrated to send two messages to the West. First, Hezbollah head Sheik Hassan Nasrallah seeks to torpedo the U.N. investigation into the assassination of Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri’s father, former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. The Holland-based U.N. commission, whose findings will be issued imminently, might result in indictments against a Hezbollah death squad for the murder of Rafik Hariri.

Second, Hezbollah cleverly exploited Sa’ad Hariri’s visit with President Obama and other Western leaders to show that the political Islamists rule the roost in Lebanese society.

Despite a U.N. resolution to disarm Hezbollah after the second war in Lebanon, the entity has amassed 40,000 rockets since the militia kidnapped and murdered Israeli soldiers in 2006, which sparked Israel’s defense measures and that war. That helps to explain why the dissolution of the Lebanese government prompted Israel to go on military alert yesterday on its northern border.

The good news is that President Obama’s international sanctions strategy against Iran has seen results. The Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah’s chief sponsor, has been forced to reduce its supply of military and financial aid to the Islamic fanatics by 40 percent. Over the years, the Iranian regime has pumped roughly $1 billion in military aid into Hezbollah’s arsenal.

The disturbing news is President Obama and last year’s Democratic House approved $100 million in direct military aid for Lebanon. There were assurances made that the military goods would not end up in Hezbollah’s camp, but it defies belief that Lebanon’s fragile political system can prevent a Hamas-style takeover of Lebanon by Hezbollah (think 2007 in Gaza). In 2008, the terrorist entity seized Beirut for a short period of time, to demonstrate its capability to transform Lebanon into a full-blown satellite of Iran.

Plainly said, it is time that the U.S. discontinues military funds for Lebanon and redirect monies to pro–Lebanese democracy organizations. EU countries like Germany — where Hezbollah has 900 active members and the group remains legal — ought to abandon the delusional thinking that Hezbollah is a pragmatic political party and outlaw the radical Islamic thugs.

Benjamin Weinthal is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

It’s the Stock Market, Stupid

Before going any further, I must say that I don’t believe Protectionist Donald really will go all the way with his present attempt to strangle global trade. I believe that the end run will be quite similar to what it was with the steel and aluminum tariffs — which is to say, a photo op in the Oval Office. ... Read More

Ten Things that Caught My Eye Today (March 23, 2018)

I send out a free weekly e-mail newsletter that typically goes out Saturday mornings and includes WFB flashbacks, Firing Line videos, upcoming events, and some of what I’ve been up to. Sign up here. 1. Cardinal Timothy Dolan in the Wall Street Journal: Talking about New York, he noted: 2. The Guardian on the ... Read More
National Review

Palm Sunday with WFB

The wonderful National Review Institute forum in New York City last month, held on the tenth anniversary of Bill Buckley’s death -- but truly a celebration of his life and legacy -- was captured by the good folks at C-SPAN, who now tell us that two panels of the forum will be broadcast this Sunday on C-SAN 3. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Sliming of Bari Weiss

If you follow at all the ideological war that’s erupted around the New York Times editorial page, then you know Bari Weiss. It’s too much to call Bari conservative. A better description might be heterodox. On some issues, particularly social issues and immigration, she’s a woman of the Left. On others — ... Read More
Politics & Policy

How the Nazis Used Gun Control

The perennial gun-control debate in America did not begin here. The same arguments for and against were made in the 1920s in the chaos of Germany’s Weimar Republic, which opted for gun registration. Law-abiding persons complied with the law, but the Communists and Nazis committing acts of political violence did ... Read More