General Joseph Votel is in Lebanon because the U.S. sent another batch of weapons worth $120 Millions to the Lebanese Army, in form of: six MD 530G light attack helicopters, six Scaneagle drones, communication and night vision equipment. Within the last 10 years, the U.S. donated Lebanon weapons worth $1.5 Billions but 90% of the Lebanese do not know that. 90% of Lebanese keep saying: The U.S. forbids arming the Army. (This is the Hezbollah narrative but Christians believe this narrative and repeat it, many in my country are completely brainwashed). In reality, Iran armed the terrorists in Lebanon against the Lebanese Army, and then the Army subjugated as we witnessed on May 7, 2008, but do you think Lebanese realize that? No, they don’t, they live far from true news and reality, they are brainwashed with Iran’s propaganda. And the U.S. still sends them money and weapons. My opinion on why the U.S. should continue arming the Lebanese Army despite the extremely high possibility that the U.S. weapons will (not would, but will) land into the hands of terrorists like Hezbollah as we saw during their parade in 2016. Like you and many others, I am disgusted of the fact that there aren’t many choices, but let us take a look at Iraq and Syria.
- Weapons in Iraq landed in hands of terrorists like Iran’s Shiite PMU and Sunni ISIS.
- In Syria, the U.S. weapons were found with Assad’s SAA which are Iran affiliated, Sunni ISIS and Qaeda.
The consequence was outrage, but what did the U.S. have for choices? If it had stopped supply, the U.S. would have proven it does not stand with nation building, stability and sovereignty. Besides, ISIS would have received supply by Iran and Russia to expand. Same as in case of Lebanon, it is true that weapons will basically go to Hezbollah, which infiltrated the cadres of the army by brainwashing them over three decades. Even the Lebanese Army website is merely a copy of Al-Manar, but the U.S. has two choices, either stop aids or continue aids.
What stopping aids means?
- It means the narrative of Iran and its Christian Dhimmi allies Aoun and co wins – as they claim the U.S. wants Lebanon to have a weak army so that Israel can invade it.
- Giving Russia and Iran space to complete take over.
- Allowing insurgence of Sunni extremists as witnessed through organizations like ISIS, Ahmad Al-Assir’s…
Consequences of continuing aid
Beside the advantage of collecting first-hand intelligence,the possibility to influence outcome on contracts in the business sector in favor of U.S., if the U.S. continues arming the Lebanese Army it can work on re-brainwashing army officials that the U.S. is the good guys, which will take effect in about a decade.
If weapons land in arms of terrorists Hezbollah, the U.S. will have all reasons for intervention in Lebanon.
In any case, if the U.S. stops aids, then Russia will aid and thus take over the country which I don’t think is the better choice. But the U.S. must work harder on separating the army from terrorists Hezbollah, like Macron and the U.S. did with PMU, which are now submitting their weapons. And the U.S. must work harder on the Lebanese media, and clarify that it is working on helping creating a country instead of a farm (mazraa), it is creating “Shar3iye”, a legitimate STRONG army. This must be repeated till the “golden formula” of Hezbollah
Muqawama (Islamic Resistance) – citizens – Army
appears as it is in reality:
terroristic – nation destructive – crap formula
which is not golden at all. The really golden formula is ONE LEBANESE Army defending ALL Lebanese. One Army which is LEBANESE, not IRANIAN!! Military and psychology experts in Lebanon clearly said it will take about 10 to 15 years to rehabilitate the Lebanese Army cadres to become Lebanese, far from the brainwashing Iran and his allies did to them. But the U.S. alone cannot fulfill the mission, this requires an intervention of the NATO states (except Turkey) to succeed in this mission. The major change comes by either changing the Lebanese constitution drafted post-Taef which is a catastrophe and binds Lebanon to the Syria Assad doctrine forever or by drafting a Constitution in Syria, which is anti-Assad. The latter is less possible as long as Russia has the lead.
PS: And my last note is that I can tell you I had two bad experiences with the U.S. Department of State, but many great experiences with Americans in other departments. Some U.S. embassy employees are arrogant know it all Americans, no wonder that many do not like the Americans here. They must step down from their arrogant behavior at the State Department and behave like those working in other departments so that Lebanese can begin liking and trusting them. I like General Votel for example! Joumana Gebara ~ Middle East Senior Analyst