Prompted by last week’s Lebanon-provoked skirmish, which left dead two Lebanese soldiers, a Lebanese journalist, and an Israeli reserves officer, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), the second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives and the only Jewish Republican federal lawmaker, announced that he will seek to block $100 million in planned U.S. funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces. Noting the $720 million in military aid since 2006, Cantor said, “The days of ignoring the LAF’s provocations against Israel and protection of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon are over. Lebanon cannot have it both ways.”
Last week, in Tablet Magazine, Maariv columnist Yoav Fromer made much the same argument: That the “calculated risk” of U.S. military aid to Lebanon—it is intended to shore up the central government, bring stability to the tenuous multiethnic nation, and tamp down Hezbollah’s influence—is being used against Israel. “About 60 percent of the Lebanese army and a third of its officer corps are Shiites,” Fromer wrote,
whose communal champion is Hezbollah. In case of another Hezbollah war with Israel—an ever-increasing possibility—it seems highly improbable that thousands of Shiite soldiers deployed throughout southern Lebanon and well equipped with brand-new U.S. weapons will sit still, as U.S. policymakers have assumed. Instead, what Tuesday’s events suggest is that they will pick up their U.S. weapons, and turn them against one of the closest U.S. allies.
Congressman Cantor Backs Halt to U.S. Military Aid to Lebanon [Arutz Sheva]
Earlier: What Happened in the North