January 3, 2024
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy calls for American aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces to be curtailed after Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri and two other Hamas leaders were located by the Israeli Defense Force and assassinated via drone attack in a suburb of Beirut.
Arouri has been described as an architect of the October 7 massacre and has been involved in terrorism since the early 1990s. He was imprisoned by Israel but released in 2010 after which he traveled to Jordan, Syria and Turkey, where he recruited and directed attacks by Hamas before Ankara forced him out. He then set up shop in Lebanon in cooperation with Hezbollah. He played a role in getting one-thousand terrorists, including Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, released from Israeli prison in exchange for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011. In 2015, the United States placed a $5 million bounty on his head, and he was elected as deputy head of Hamas in 2017.
“There are only two scenarios here,” began AMCD co-Chair John Hajjar. “Either the Lebanese Armed Forces did not know al-Arouri was active in Beirut, in which case, they are incompetent; or, they knew of al Arouri’s activities and whereabouts and did nothing, in which case, the LAF is thoroughly corrupted and infiltrated by Hezbollah. Either way, the U.S. taxpayer should not be funding them.”
Former Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called on the IDF to reoccupy southern Lebanon and re-establish a security zone between the Litani River and the Israel border to eliminate Hezbollah’s ability to attack Israel. Hezbollah’s chief Hasan Nasrallah called the rocket attacks launched from this territory a “support front” for Hamas. Tens of thousands of Israelis in northern Israel have been displaced and had their homes and businesses destroyed by rockets fired from Lebanon. More than 64,000 Lebanese have also been displaced due to the ongoing fighting in the south.
“If Israel is forced back into Lebanon, it will be entirely due to the perfidy of Hezbollah,” said AMCD co-Chair Tom Harb. “Hezbollah has defied the United Nations and international community for years (especially UNSCR 1559 and 1701), thumbing their noses at repeated Security Council resolutions calling for their disarmament. They have shown over and again their contempt and disregard for Lebanese civilians by using them as human shields and by placing dangerous weaponry in the neighborhoods of southern Lebanon and throughout the country as well as storing bomb-making chemicals in the port of Beirut which led to the explosion of 2020, killing and injuring hundreds of innocent civilians. The Lebanese people will never know peace as long as Hezbollah lives and hides among them.”
AMCD calls on Congress to pause the flow of aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces until they can demonstrate their independence from Hezbollah by rooting out the terrorists in their ranks and cooperating in the removal of Hezbollah’s installations throughout Lebanon, including tunnels and rocket batteries, and be forced to comply with UNSCR 1559 and 1701.