LETTER TO EDITOR: Israel is America’s key ally
The article “Iran’s regional influence grows despite U.S., allies” (Nation, Friday) describes Hezbollah as “the Lebanese Shi’ite political/paramilitary/social organization that is trained and financed by Iran.” This omits a more basic description.
Hezbollah, the “Party of God” (supported by Syria as well as by Iran) is a terrorist organization, so designated by countries including the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands.
Until al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, Hezbollah was responsible for the terrorist murders of more Americans – including the 1983 embassy and Marine Corps barracks bombings in Lebanon – than any other group.
The article also states incorrectly that “since the end of the civil war in 1990 … the multitude of armed militias that proliferated in the country were asked to hand in their armaments, while Hezbollah faced no such restrictions.”
In fact, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1583 (2005), Item 4, calls on the Lebanese government “to fully extend and exercise its sole and effective authority throughout the south… and to exert control over the use of force on its territory and from it.” This is aimed directly at Hezbollah, the principal party obstructing the Lebanese government’s sole, effective authority and using armed force outside government control.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) calls, among other things, for the disarming of nongovernmental forces in Lebanon. This too is aimed at Hezbollah, the one remaining armed extragovernmental group.
Finally, the article asserts that “recent developments in the Middle East have not unfolded entirely in favor of the United States or its other ally in the region, Lebanon.” Perhaps a typographical error led to the omission of the main U.S. ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Overtly and covertly, Israel has been America’s key Middle Eastern ally, including military support for Jordan in the face of Syrian and Palestinian threats in 1970, the provision of intelligence on captured Soviet arms, the early development of remotely piloted vehicles, upgrades of U.S. avionics, shared anti-terrorism intelligence and its role as an example of Western-style democracy.
Lebanon, riven by sectarian divisions exacerbated by more than three decades of Syrian manipulation and nearly that many years of Iranian infiltration, has been less an ally than a concern, a small country with important Western-oriented constituencies needing support and protection.
The following letter was published in the Sept. 16, 2008 Washington Times: