The High-Ranking Nazi Who Schooled Arab Regimes in Torture and Repression

Growing up in Damascus in the 1980s, Ziad Khoury would sometimes see a mysterious European coming in and out of a well-guarded, upscale apartment:

We eventually learned that he was “Hitler’s man” and that he was “good, not bad,” having “killed the Jews during World War II.” One of our friends, trying to be funny, raised the Nazi salute at a distance and barked: “Heil Hitler.” The man didn’t see him and neither did the security-service personnel who were standing nearby. This came as a relief to me at the time, not because admiring Hitler in Syria was a crime. It wasn’t. But because we knew the secret identity of a man whom the regime was protecting.

The man’s name was Alois Brunner, and he had worked closely with Adolf Eichmann and served as the director of Drancy, the transit camp where French Jews were imprisoned before being sent to Auschwitz. After the war, Brunner eluded capture by the Allies, and slipped out of Germany in 1954 to embark on the next phase of his bloodstained career:

He first landed in Rome and from there made his way to Egypt, where he found himself the guest of then-president Gamal Abdel Nasser. The details of how he met the Egyptian leader remain unclear, but Nasser was looking for ways to get back at the West in light of an Israeli raid on Gaza in February 1955 that left 38 Egyptian soldiers dead. . . . Brunner ended up being hired by the Egyptian military regime, which had been in power since 1952, as a “consultant” at its security apparatus, working closely with its security chief, Salah Nasser. During the short-lived Syrian-Egyptian union (1958-1961), Brunner was sent to Damascus to train police dogs, a talent he had developed at Hitler’s prisons.

In exchange for protection, Brunner [remained in Syria to] train Syrian troops in interrogation methods, espionage, and torture.

It is impossible to know to what extent Brunner saw the legacy of his brutal tactics bear fruit. But there is little doubt that Syrian and Egyptian interrogators today—all too young to remember Brunner or even know who he was—apply some of the same methods against their own compatriots that the Nazis used against the Jews.

Read more at Newlines

More about: Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Nazis, Syria

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy