US special operations forces are teaming with the Lebanese Army to coordinate a strike against Daesh from Lebanon as the paramilitary group Hezbollah is reportedly engaging Daesh from the Syrian flank, Haaretz reported Monday.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed that US Special Forces personnel were presently “providing training and support to the Lebanese Armed Forces that not only concentrates on operational type missions, but also tactical and strategic type missions.”
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said “the Syrian front line against ISIS will be opened,” during a speech that aired on television Friday, adding that while Lebanese forces advanced against Daesh from Lebanon, the Syrian Army and Hezbollah would coordinate efforts to swarm Daesh from the south.
Hezbollah began an offensive against Daesh along the Lebanon-Syria border Friday, the group’s War Media Center reported.
This would appear to be in the interests of US President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration has been rather “confused” on its policy toward Iran, which has long been considered an essential backer of Hezbollah, Max Abrahms of the Council on Foreign Relations told Sputnik International. “On one hand, the administration campaigned against the nuclear deal and favors sanctions. On the other hand, Trump also campaigned against regime change in Syria and surely sees that Hezbollah is on our side when it comes to fighting Salafist terrorists.”
In any event, any cooperation between the US and Hezbollah “will disappear” once Daesh is ousted and “Hezbollah and the Israel Defense Forces return to battle,” Abrahms said. The PhD researcher at Northeastern University in Boston has been a staunch opponent of the “moderate rebel” program in the Middle East. Trump shut down the multi-billion dollar CIA program down on July 20 despite its support from the Washington think tank community.
The relationship between Hezbollah and the state of Lebanon is frequently misunderstood, the Atlantic Council’s Faysal Itani told Haaretz on Monday. “Lebanon isn’t really a state, and Hezbollah isn’t a terrorist group – or isn’t only a terrorist group, depending on your view … the American tendency is either to treat Hezbollah as controlling the state of Lebanon, or to see Lebanon as a sovereign entity fighting a terrorist group. Both are false.”