The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

The Symbiotic Truce between Hezbollah, the EU and the US in Lebanon

From: http://www.ecfr.eu/content/entry/commentary_the_islamic_state_effect_lebanons_new_security_symbiosis302

“…The third ingredient in any effective reinforcement of the current arrangement must focus on improving the LAF’s capabilities and expanding its presence farther along the Lebanon-Syria border. Unfortunately, even though Saudi Arabia and the US have both announced substantial promises of unspecified aid, expectations are understandably extremely low in Beirut that anything meaningful will come of such announcements, save a few more Hellfire missiles that can be launched from the LAF’s hopelessly out-dated Cessna Aircraft. Although the LAF has made clear over the years exactly what it needs, longstanding US concerns over Israeli objections to any qualitative arming of an enemy state have repeatedly stood in the way of meaningful progress. In this regard, the US and Europe should finally recognise that, despite Hezbollah’s growing closeness to the army’s MI, the LAF remains the most formidable, neutral actor in Lebanon – one that can uniquely accomplish an array of security-related tasks beneficial to Lebanon’s stability and Israel’s security as well. The LAF is also the only actor that could reasonably contain Hezbollah’s power overtime by peacefully displacing its political argument that it is the only true defender of the country’s security.

If these paths are pursued, then the distinct prospect exists that Lebanon could be a rare example of an Arab state, rankled by sectarian conflict and the metastasising threat of violent Sunni extremism, that can maintain relative stability and political compromise, even if it involves a symbiotic truce with actors long regarded by the US and some European states as both hostile and brutal. Either way, Hezbollah is now playing a lead role in the emerging regional containment strategy for IS, despite its terrorist labelling by some.

In fact, the bottom line that has emerged is a particularly frustrating one for Hezbollah’s longstanding opponents, large and small: whatever its actions were in the past, and even if one believes that Hezbollah is wholly at fault for attracting the spectre of violent Sunni extremism to bear on Lebanon through its direct support for the Assad regime, historical arguments have lost much of their rallying power on the ground. Gone, too, are the days when there was at least a discussion about Hezbollah’s independent weaponry or its alleged role in the assassination of Rafik al-Hariri. Instead, this has all been subsumed (for the moment) by a commonly held, greater threat hammered home by the Islamic State and its fellow travellers.

Nicholas Noe is a visiting fellow with ECFR. He is the co-founder of the Beirut-based Mideastwire.com and the editor of Voice of Hezbollah: The Statements of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

August 31, 2014 at 7:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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