A Lebanese supporter of Hezbollah holds a picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, September 2017.
Hassan Abdallah / Reuters

Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia and political party, is now the most powerful actor in Lebanon. Since 2006, Hezbollah’s last declared conflict with Israel, the group has amassed military hardware to rival that of a formal standing army and evolved into Lebanon’s most important political power broker. For those who view Hezbollah as a destabilizing force, with links both to terrorism and to Iran, the question is how best to counter this rise. 

In the United States, Congress has taken the debate up in earnest. There are those who wonder whether it is still in the U.S. interest to fund the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), traditionally seen as a check on Hezbollah, given the latter’s dominance of Lebanon’s financial, military, and political affairs. But cutting off Lebanon means ceding it to Iran—a grave diplomatic and tactical error. Instead, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will soon mark

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  • JONATHAN SCHANZER, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury, is Senior Vice President for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD). ORDE KITTRIE, a Professor of Law at Arizona State University and former State Department official, is Senior Fellow at FDD. ALEX ENTZ is Research Analyst at FDD.
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