Monday, May 11, 2009

Our tax dollars helping Hezbollah

Ha'aretz reports:
Lebanon arrested five people over the weekend suspected of belonging to an intelligence cell transmitting information about Hezbollah to Israel, the most recent arrests in a two-month crackdown apparently aided by American training and equipment.

The United States has provided $1 billion in aid since 2006, including $410 million in security assistance to the Lebanese military and police. But U.S. officials have said they would review aid to Lebanon depending on the results of the June 7 election, which could oust the U.S.-backed government.

Israel has expressed reservations about American aid to the Lebanese army and security services, saying those organizations will ultimately be unable to contend with Hezbollah and that any aid is liable to serve Hezbollah's interests.
Let's see if we understand this: The US gives hundreds of millions to the Lebanese for security. The US presumably wants that money to be used against Hezbollah, not to help it. But in the end it is used to strengthen Hezbollah.

How exactly did this episode advance US strategic interests?

How often do we see the US or EU give money to questionable Arab regimes in order to "strengthen" them against the "radicals" only to find out that these regimes had more in common with the radicals than the Westerners had imagined?

The idea that giving money actually buys influence from people who hate you to begin with is perhaps one of the more naive aspects of Western foreign policy. And yet, the same mistakes keep repeating.