The Lebanon Deal Israel Must Refuse

Backed by Iran and deeply entrenched in Lebanon, Hizballah possesses military capabilities far greater than Hamas’s. Israeli officials have made clear, on and off the record, that they will no longer tolerate the terrorist group’s existence on their northern border. To this end, French and American diplomats have been working on a negotiated solution that involves Hizballah’s withdrawal north of the Litani river, which divides the southernmost tip of Lebanon from the rest of the country. Israel in exchange would cede Har Dov and few other small parcels of land—based on Hizballah’s extremely tenuous claims that these are in fact Lebanese territories. David Wurmser explains why the deal should be a nonstarter:

Hizballah has been in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701—the resolution that terminated the 2006 Second Lebanon War—since its signing. . . . In many ways, the U.S. proposal only asks of Hizballah to implement one part of UNSCR 1701 and completely ignores [the others, along with previous resolutions]. This itself constitutes a major victory for Hizballah. [Moreover], under the plan proposed by the U.S. and France, Hizballah is rewarded—and its resistance validated and continued existence as an armed militia legitimized—by a full Israeli withdrawal in all of the areas in addition to other disputed parcels.

The U.S. and France have also proposed under this agreement that the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) secure the border and the buffer zone south of the Litani River. Indeed, UNSCR 1701 had called for that, but [the LAF] has long been proven to be an entirely dysfunctional fiction as a sovereign force. It cannot in any way cross Hizballah, and to believe it can . . . is simply delusional.

The U.S. and France are pushing for an agreement to avoid escalation on Israel’s northern border which must be understood in effect as part of a larger effort to appease Iran on substance and strategy while giving Israel hollow tactical scraps. It is a deal Israel must refuse.

Read more at Institute for a Secure America

More about: France, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S.-Israel relationship


How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy