Democrats Gutted Anti-Hezbollah Legislation Days Before Attack on Israel
[Free Beacon] Just days before the Iranian-funded terror group Hezbollah waged a terrorist attack on Israel’s northern border, congressional Democrats gutted legislation that would have halted U.S. funding to the Lebanese military, which is almost entirely controlled by the terror group.
Congress has been working on legislation that would slash millions in American taxpayer funding to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which has long been under Hezbollah’s thumb. Republican lawmakers in both the House and Senate have been pushing to cut this funding for some time, arguing that U.S. aid should not be sent to an institution known to conduct attacks against Israel on Iran’s behalf.
While the original bill had bipartisan support in both chambers, House Democrats recently attached an amendment to their version of the legislation that nixed the funding cut. Other GOP amendments that would have strengthened the legislation and pushed the LAF to isolate Hezbollah from its forces were also struck down by the Democrat-led House.
The House last week passed a watered-down version of the bill that leaves the LAF funding fully intact. The wrangling over the legislation came just days before Hezbollah launched a foiled attack on Israel from southern Lebanon, where the LAF and international forces have been tasked with stopping such terror strikes. Republican congressional sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon accused House Democrats of standing in the way of a major reform effort that could have forced the LAF to eradicate Hezbollah from its ranks or face a cutoff in U.S. aid dollars.
U.S. funding to the LAF has been a flashpoint for some time. As Hezbollah increases its force presence on Israel’s northern border and stockpiles sophisticated Iranian-made arms, GOP leaders in Congress have pressured the Trump administration to take action. The State Department, like congressional Democrats, has championed the aid, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling the Free Beacon earlier this year that funding to the LAF remains a priority. Republicans, however, view the aid as a tool to force Lebanon into ridding itself of Hezbollah’s influence.
Posted by: Besoeker 2020-08-06