Hezbollah Military Against Israel

Clashes between Lebanese protesters and supporters of the Shiite militant Hezbollah group are putting Lebanon’s military and security forces in a delicate position, threatening to crack open the country’s dangerous fault lines amid a political deadlock. For weeks, the Lebanese security forces have taken pains to protect anti-government protesters, in stark contrast to Iraq, where police have killed more than 340 people over the past month in a bloody response to similar protests. The overnight violence — some of the worst since protests against the country’s ruling elite began last month — gave a preview into a worst-case scenario for Lebanon’s crisis, with the country’s U.S.-trained military increasingly in the middle between pro- and anti-Hezbollah factions. By attacking protesters Sunday night, Hezbollah sent a message that it is willing to use force to protect its political power. Confronting the powerful Iranian-backed Hezbollah, however, is out of the question for the military as doing so would wreck the neutral position it seeks to maintain and could split its ranks. “The army is in a difficult position facing multiple challenges and moving cautiously between the lines,” said Fadia Kiwan, professor of political science at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. She said the military has sought to protect the protesters and freedom of expression but is increasingly grappling with how to deal with road closures and violence. The U.N. Security Council urged all actors in Lebanon on Monday to engage in “intensive national dialogue and to maintain the peaceful character of the protests”Continue reading

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Hezbollah (Hizbullah) Military Precision Guided Missile Capability

The Trump administration is withholding more than $100 million in U.S. military assistance to Lebanon that has been approved by Congress and is favored by his national security team, an assertion of executive control of foreign aid that is similar to the delay in support for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday congratulated Lebanon as the country marked its independence day but made no mention of the hold-up in aid that State Department and Pentagon officials have complained about for weeks. It came up in impeachment testimony by David Hale, the No. 3 official in the State Department, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing released this week. He described growing consternation among diplomats as the administration would neither release the aid nor provide an explanation for the hold. “People started asking: What’s the problem?” Hale told the impeachment investigators. The White House and the Office of Management and Budget have declined to comment on the matter. The $105 million in Foreign Military Funding for the Lebanese Armed Forces has languished for months, awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget despite congressional approval, an early September notification to lawmakers that it would be spent and overwhelming support for it from the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council. As with the Ukraine assistance, OMB has not explained the reason for the delay. However, unlike Ukraine, there is no suggestion that President Donald Trump is seeking “a favor” fromContinue reading

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Lebanese Troops and Riot Police Deployed

“We’ve been on the streets for 14 days. The politicians have been taking this as if nothing’s happening,” said Simon Nehme, a protester at the Ring Bridge in Beirut. “They’re stalling to get us bored and tell us to leave the streets. This won’t happen.”Continue reading

Nizar Zakka - Lebanese - Lebanon

“We have received a request filed by the accused and other Lebanese officials to grant amnesty and release him. We are looking into this request as a special case,” Gholamhossein Esmaili, a judiciary spokesman, was quoted as saying by Fars news agency.Continue reading