Caroline Glick: Trump’s Urgent Lebanon Problem

Anwar Amro / AFP / Getty

Since visiting Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon late last month, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has been sounding the alarm about the growing danger of a devastating war between Israel and Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah

Ahead of his meeting Monday with President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters that Iran and its rapidly expanding regional power, as well as its nuclear program, would be the major focus of their discussions.

Speaking Sunday on Fox News, Graham warned?that the U.S. has no policy to push back Iran’s gains in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

Specifically regarding Lebanon, Graham warned, “Southern Lebanon is a nightmare. It makes Gaza look stable. The IDF, the Israel Defense Force, says there are over a hundred thousand rockets and missiles in the hands of Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.”

Graham continued, “Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon years ago, the United Nations was supposed to police the area. The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] has sat on the sidelines and watched Hezbollah dominate southern Lebanon with missile technology that now threatens every part of Israel. So it’s a matter of time until Israel strikes southern Lebanon.”

Last month, officers in UNIFIL — the 10,300-strong multinational force charged with preventing Hezbollah from deploying in southern Lebanon —?told a French newspaper that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) blocks UNIFIL from fulfilling its mission. The officers explained that in undermining UNIFIL’s operations, the LAF is acting as Hezbollah’s agent.

As the Jerusalem Post reported, speaking to the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, a warrant officer from UNIFIL’s French contingent said, “In the evening we never leave the barracks because the Lebanese forces are not friendly.”

“We are caught in the aggressor’s grip. Doing the bare minimum has become a political choice,” he added.

A liaison officer with UNIFIL who recently completed his tour of duty with the force told?the French newspaper cited by the Post, “When we would detect military activities in our area, especially near the Blue Line [border with Israel], the Lebanese Army would prevent us from posting observers. It is as if those decisions did not come from them. Everyone knows that Hezbollah is using the area for the next war.”

A Finnish officer serving with UNIFIL said that some of the UNIFIL forces spy for Hezbollah.

“I can assure you that Indonesian peacekeepers are constantly reporting Israeli movements to various Lebanese actors,” he said.

He also said?that some of UNIFIL’s 585 local employees “do not hide their Hezbollah membership.”

The LAF routinely pays homage to, and publicizes its ties with, Hezbollah. For instance, last July, 150 LAF officer cadets visited the Hezbollah museum in the southern Lebanese town of Mleeta. The museum features bombed-out IDF tanks and helmets, and replicas of Hezbollah’s underground bunkers and command posts.

The LAF cadets’ visit to the Hezbollah museum occurred a week after LAF forces participated in a Hezbollah-commanded military operation against a militant group in Syria formerly known as the Nusra Front. As Tony Badran from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote at the time, “It was Hezbollah that laid out the battle plans … including what role the LAF would play in it. And it was Hezbollah’s chief, Hassan Nasrallah who announced the impending start of the joint operation with the LAF during a televised appearance.”

Last April, the LAF accompanied armed Hezbollah forces along the border with Israel.

And last week, LAF Commander General Joseph Aoun threatened to go to war against Israel. Aoun said the LAF “maintains its readiness on the southern border to confront any Israeli military aggression or any attempt to encroach on parts of the territorial and maritime borders.”...

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