While Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri visited the US and received audience with President Trump, in order to discuss issues of mutual concern including the fight against terror, the state department, journalists and analysts highlighted the major role that the Hezbollah plays in global terrorism. The same Hezbollah that receives legitimacy by serving in Hariri’s government.
The state department released in July its country reports on terrorism, marking Iran as the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, mainly due to its support of Hezbollah. The report states: “Iran has supplied Hezbollah with thousands of rockets, missiles, and small arms, in direct violation of UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR) 1701. Iran provides the majority of financial support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and has trained thousands of its fighters at camps in Iran. Hezbollah fighters have been used extensively in Syria to support the Assad regime and in support of operations against ISIS in Iraq” (pg. 304).
The Hill, in an article noting the 23rd anniversary of the bombing of the AMIA complex in Buenos Aires, describes the vast terrorist activity of the Hezbollah, including the AMIA bombing (which killed 85 and wounded more than 300), plots in Peru, surveillance activity in Panama, illicit smuggling in the tri-border area and even suspected Hezbollah operatives arrested in the US.
The Wall Street Journal, marked five years since the terrorist attack in Bulgaria, perpetrated by Hezbollah affiliated operatives. The two men on trial for the attack are allegedly members of unit 910 which coordinates Hezbollah terrorist activity outside of Lebanon. The article calls for the EU to get tougher on Hezbollah.
The Newsweek described the Hezbollah as the biggest obstacle to peace in Lebanon, labelling the Hezbollah as “the most powerful non-state actor in the world, serving as the westernmost projection of Iranian power in the region”. Hariri himself is quoted in that article accusing the Hezbollah of “imposing a devastating gridlock on the country’s government in order to blackmail the citizenry into accepting its demands”.
Hezbollah was even on the list of the Arab State’s 13 demands, in order to end the Qatar-Gulf crisis. As reported in aljazeera and in gulfnews, Qatar was requested to sever all ties with various terrorist organizations, among them the Hezbollah.
It would seem that the journalists and analysts are more on the ball. Ceremonial diplomatic visits will not bring a better future for Lebanon and not aid the fight against terrorism, unless there is some action. If Hariri really wants to improve things, perhaps he should start with dealing with the Hezbollah, instead of endowing it with legitimacy.