Foreign Policy’s Middle East Channel blog has published an article I’ve written on the ongoing holdup of U.S. military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Lebanon last week showcased both the increasing importance of empowering the LAF and the deep misunderstanding and impatience exhibited by those in Washington who have put military aid to the LAF on hold since August.
My Middle East Channel piece concludes:
Ultimately, ongoing U.S. military support for the LAF will require an understanding of the deeply embedded Hezbollah position in southern Lebanon and a realistic understanding of what stability the LAF is capable of delivering in both the short and long term, as peace initiatives — either Israel-Syria or broader Arab peace agreements — take root. The LAF is unlikely to engage in direct confrontation with Hezbollah, if for no other reason than Hezbollah has succeeded to a considerable extent in depicting itself as Lebanon’s primary defense against Israel. But an LAF which takes on greater security and infrastructure building responsibilities, with a membership which includes Sunnis, Shias and Christians, could serve as an increasingly important stabilizing force in years to come.
The full article can be read here.