A New U.S. Law Can Combat the Use of Human Shields

March 19 2019

A key part of the strategy behind Hamas’s weekly border protests—made explicit by its leader Yahya Sinwar—is to mix its fighters among peaceful demonstrators, so that there is a high likelihood of civilian casualties if the IDF returns fire. Similarly, Hizballah has positioned its military installations and supply depots so that nearly one-third of Lebanese Shiites are serving as de-facto human shields. In December, Congress passed a law sanctioning such activities, mentioning both organizations by name. Mark Dubowitz and Orde Kittrie discuss the extent of the problem posed by the use of human shields—which are employed by Islamic State, the Taliban, and other terrorist groups—and how the new law can make a difference. (Interview by Clifford May. Audio, 38 minutes.)

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More about: Hamas, Hizballah, International Law, Israeli Security, Laws of war, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy


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.

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