House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) today issued the following statement regarding Lebanon and the Lebanese Armed Forces' (LAF) relationship with Hezbollah:
"Since 2006, America has provided the Lebanese army with $720 million in aid. This includes stocks of M16 rifles, missile launchers, grenade launchers and night-vision devices. The purpose of the assistance was to build up a Lebanese fighting force that would serve as a check on the growing power of the radical Islamist Hezbollah movement.
"For the past few years, the U.S. and the international community looked the other way as the lines between Hezbollah and the Lebanese military and government became blurred. But the days of ignoring the LAF's provocations against Israel and protection of Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon are over. The LAF's unprovoked attack on the Israeli defense forces in undisputed Israeli territory demands a sweeping reassessment of how we distribute our foreign aid.
"Lebanon cannot have it both ways. If it wants to align itself with Hezbollah against the forces of democracy, stability and moderation, there will be consequences. Congress must convey that message by blocking the roughly $100 million in 2011 assistance to the LAF until we find out the details of last week's attack and can certify that the Lebanese army is not cooperating with Hezbollah."