Pan-Arab Newspaper Reports Hizbullah Chief Bolsters his Ranks with Shiite Fighters from Iraq
Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah has worked closely with Syrian-based Iranian forces to work out a deal that has so far brought more than 1,000 Iraqi Shiite fighters to bolster Hizbullah’s ranks in Lebanon. In an editorial, the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat was critical of the Tehran-backed terrorist group for “placing its own interests above those of the Lebanese people.” The article charged that the Iraqis have been resettled in Hizbullah installations in the southern part of the country, apparently in areas where United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibits Hizbullah’s presence. Since US President Donald Trump took office, the long ignored issue of Lebanon’s flouting of Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, and which prohibits armed forces other than the Lebanese army and bans Hizbullah military actions in southern Lebanon, has been – in-part – on the table. American UN envoy Nikki Haley has led the diplomatic fight to curb the abuses, but has been undermined by US policy to support the Lebanese army which is increasingly subservient to the Hizbullah terrorist forces. In Friday’s edition of the French daily Le Figaro, Lebanese President Michel Aoun praised Hizbullah, at the same time confessing to his nation’s breach of the UNSC resolution. He said, “Hezbollah are not using their weapons in internal politics. They only ensure our resistance against the State of Israel, which continues to occupy part of our territory and which refuses to apply UN resolutions regarding the Palestinians’ right to return.” It was not the first time Aoun defended the arming of Hizbullah and was not taken to task by the international community. In February, Aoun told the CBC that, “as long as the army is not powerful enough to fight Israel, we feel the need to maintain the weapons of the resistance [Hizbullah] to complement the army.” For the US it’s particularly problematic since Washington provides military aid that few doubt wind up in Hizbullah’s hands. It’s also a legal quagmire since US law prohibits giving aid to entities such as Hizbullah that are found on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.