A few months ago, Lebanon arrested Amer Fakhoury, a former senior officer in the South Lebanese Army, the Israeli-backed force that served as a bulwark against terrorist groups based in that country from 1979 until 2000. Fakhoury was arrested at the behest of Hizballah, which had hoped to exchange him for one of its financiers who is currently in U.S. custody. Thanks to pressure from the Trump administration, and the threat of sanctions from the Senate, Fakhoury was released two weeks ago—without any reciprocation by Washington. Yoni Ben Menachem explains why this matters:
Hizballah objected to the release of Fakhoury and tried to torpedo it, but in the end the Lebanese surrendered to American pressure. In Lebanon and the Arab world there is much criticism of both Beirut and Hizballah on social media, alleging that [both] made a deal with the American president to release Fakhoury. As a result of this harsh criticism, the head of the military court in Lebanon resigned.
The Lebanese government is keeping quiet and the head of Hizballah, Hassan Nasrallah, denied that there was a deal between Hizballah and the American administration. Nasrallah called for setting up a committee to investigate how Fakhoury was released. In a television interview, he admitted . . . that there was a great deal of pressure put on the Lebanese government and that Hizballah strongly opposed Fakhoury’s release.
The bottom line is that this is a tremendous achievement and victory for President Trump over Hizballah and over the Lebanese government. Nasrallah is trying to cover up his failure, but he will not succeed because it is obvious that both Hizballah and the Lebanese government surrendered to American pressure.
As for the charges of torturing and killing prisoners on which Fakhoury was arrested, although they have been repeated uncritically in the American press, they rest on the shakiest of foundations.
Read more on Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: https://jcpa.org/trumps-victory-in-lebanon/