by Mark Silverberg
With each passing day, it is becoming increasing difficult to determine where Hezbollah's control of
The deadly clash in early August along the Lebanon-Israel border that left a senior IDF officer dead and another seriously wounded highlighted the problem, and has raised questions about future
Hezbollah's influence has gradually seeped into state institutions, especially the Lebanese army. The LAF's profound weaknesses, and the level of penetration by Hezbollah, is one of the main reasons why the LAF seeks to avoid a confrontation. There is a very real danger that, in such an eventuality, the LAF's Shiite contingent (numbering approximately a third of the Lebanese army) would desert and join the terrorist group, leading to another Lebanese civil war.
Of concern to members of Congress is the knowledge that the LAF not only provides Hezbollah with intelligence information gathered through the use of U.S. and French high-tech signals equipment (as noted below), but that it has high-ranking LAF officers closely associated with Hezbollah. According to STRATFOR analyst Reva Bhalla, this is by design. Hezbollah discharges a portion of its recruits after they serve two years in its military wing, and then enlists them in the LAF. This has allowed Hezbollah to control both the composition of the LAF's ranking officers, and influence its specific operations. Given Hezbollah's increasing numbers in the 58,000-strong Lebanese army, a natural bond has developed between Shiites in the LAF and their co-religionists in Hezbollah. The not-always reliable Debka reports that shortly after the border attack on
In 2006, the
In fact, this equipment and the intelligence information gathered through its use is being directed against
What was overlooked in the decision to provide this multi-million dollar military aid package to the LAF was that the Lebanese and
While both are hostile to al Qaeda-sponsored groups,
It is this difference in perception of "the enemy" that concerns members of Congress who have oversight on the allocation of funds to the Lebanese Army, and who have grown increasingly unhappy with the military assistance program to
The international community cannot plead ignorance in the face of incontrovertible evidence of
In the Second Lebanon War,
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