NYT: US Assisting Hezbollah in Its Efforts to Oust ISIS From Lebanon

This article appeared on Monday, 22 Sep. 2014
By Jennifer G. Hickey in Newmax

In its campaign to prevent The Islamic State (ISIS) from securing territory in Lebanon, the United States is finding itself allied with some unsavory groups, even sending indirect military aid to the terrorist group Hezbollah, reports The New York Times.

The aid, which came in the form of new weapons, was channeled via the Lebanese Army, which closely coordinates with the Hezbollah terrorist group, according to Mohammad Afif, Hezbollah’s newly appointed head of public relations.

In addition, U.S. intelligence is being channeled to Hezbollah as well, according to Lebanese sources.

This would explain how the terrorist organization was able to pinpoint its first UAV bombing so precisely against the al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, which is not associated with ISIS and which in fact currently is fighting against the organization.

Al-Qaida has denounced ISIS as “too brutal.”

According to experts who spoke to The Times, American and weapons intelligence have been shared with the Lebanese army, which has aided Hezbollah’s efforts to deter suicide attacks in areas of southern Beirut that are controlled by the group.

“The international community has an interest in isolating the Syria crisis,” said Afif . “All have an interest to keep the peace” in Lebanon and Afif added that “everyone has their own ways.”

Kamel Wazne, an analyst who studies Hezbollah and American politics, told The Times that by engaging in a battle against ISIS could bring both de facto American collaboration with Hezbollah, as well as covert coordination through intermediaries.

Walid Phares, a Lebanese analyst, warns we should learn the lessons of history calling any cooperation with Hezbollah a “serious mistake.”

“The problem is that Hezbollah is omnipresent in the Lebanese government and has a lot of influence within the Lebanese Army, including the intelligence services,” Phares said in an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).

Hezbollah, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization, is using the fight against ISIS as a means to boost its legitimacy and to claim it is necessary to have the group remain in Syria.

“Day after day, it is becoming clear to Lebanon, the Arab, Muslim and international communities that there is a great need for Hezbollah to remain in Syria. The current situation today imposes on Hezbollah to stay in Syria more than any other time,” said Nabil Qaouk, the deputy head of the party’s executive council, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star.

But, the rise of ISIS also has Lebanese reconsidering their opposition to Hezbollah possessing weapons.

“I used to be against Hezbollah keeping weapons and wanted them to hand them to the Lebanese army,” says Rita Sfeir, a Christian woman from north Lebanon, told The Christian Science Monitor. “Now I am more concerned about the Islamic State and I’m thinking at least Hezbollah has weapons to defend us from those butchers.”

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