Last week, Democrats in Congress canceled an effort to cut the funds the United States is currently providing to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), an organization heavily influenced by the terrorist group Hezbollah. 

According to a report published by Washington Free, the Democrats boycotted a bill presented by Republicans that aimed precisely at cutting such funding. This happened just days before the terrorists launched a thwarted attack on July 27, on Israel’s border.

The bill introduced by the Republicans sought to pressure the LAF into cutting relations with Hezbollah by conditioning any kind of U.S. funding to rid its ranks of the terrorist group. The legislation would have cut millions in funding to the Lebanese army, which for the past 30 years has been under the influence of the terrorist group.

Lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been working on legislation to cut millions of dollars in funds currently provided by U.S. taxpayers to the LAF, arguing that the United States should not cooperate with an institution known for its relations with a terrorist group.  

The original bill was supported by Democrats in both chambers. In short, the contributions to the LAF are aimed precisely at strengthening an army independent of any kind of terrorist group such as Hezbollah. The reforms proposed by the Republicans aim to finally achieve that independence by putting even more pressure on the LAF to cut off relations with Hezbollah once and for all. 

Inexplicably, House Democrats recently attached an amendment to their version of the legislation that rejected the funding cut. According to the Free Beacon report, the Democrats also rejected other Republican amendments to the bill that would have strengthened the legislation and pushed the LAF to isolate Hezbollah from its forces.

The dispute over the law came a few days before the Hezbollah terrorist group launched a thwarted attack on Israel from southern Lebanon, where the LAF and international cooperation forces are tasked with stopping such terrorist attacks.

That is why, last week, the House passed a version of the bill that leaves the funds provided by the United States to the LAF intact for the time being. Republican sources in Congress who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon accused the Democrats of standing in the way of a major reform effort that could have forced the LAF to eradicate Hezbollah from its ranks.

The final version now requires the State Department to issue a report detailing ways the United States can stop Hezbollah’s arms smuggling along its border with Israel.

In an official message to Congress, President Donald Trump agreed to continue to maintain the state of national emergency with respect to Lebanon declared in August 2007, noting that Hezbollah continues to be active in the region, constituting a constant threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy.  

Hezbollah

It is a Shiite Islamist group that includes a para-military army based in Lebanon. Its political wing is represented by the political party “Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc” in the Lebanese Parliament, where it won 11 of 33 seats. 

Its military wing is considered a terrorist organization by 18 countries and different supranational organizations such as the EU and NATO. 

The organization was founded in 1985 mainly by an Iranian effort, which through funding and sending war instructors managed to group a large number of Lebanese Shiite groups into a unified organization to resist the Israeli occupation and improve the position and status of the Shiite community in the country.