US Special Forces Working In Close Proximity To Terrorist Hezbollah

The Pentagon has just confirmed deployment of US Special Forces in Lebanon to support the Lebanese Army in an upcoming coordinated military campaign aimed to clean out an ISIS border pocket in the country's northwest. Regional media outlets are describing the coming major new offensive as "imminent". But awkwardly for the US, the fight will necessitate some level of coordination with Hezbollah, which the US considers a terrorist organization.

On July 21st the Lebanese Army in cooperation with Hezbollah intensified operations to root out ISIS from the environs of the Sunni border town of Arsal, while at the same time the Syrian Army attacked from the Syrian side in the western Qalaman mountains. The region's mountainous terrain and dozen or more refugee camps has made it an ideal place for ISIS and other jihadists to embed themselves throughout much of the Syrian war.

The first major ISIS assault on Arsal came in 2014, which resulted in significant Lebanese troop casualties and kidnappings. Since then the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah have effectively contained ISIS and allied jihadist groups to a barren border zone which includes refugee camps. Syrian refugee presence in and around Arsal numbers in the tens of thousands - many of which have scrambled to flee the area over the past weeks.

The Pentagon announcement came as the US-backed Lebanese Army ramps up efforts to permanently dislodge ISIS presence along its border. “I can confirm the presence of US Special Forces in Lebanon,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told the US-funded Arabic channel Al-Hurra TV last Thursday. He added further that:

Our special forces are providing training and support to the Lebanese Armed Forces. That not only concentrates on operational type missions, but also tactical and strategic type missions. We also have a presence with Lebanese Special Forces in all aspects of training and special operations.

Situation map of Jaroud Arsal and Qalamoun in early August (03/08/2017 = August 3, 2017 in Western date format):


Map source: Islamic World News.

But Hezbollah has also been an integral part of the Lebanese Army's Arsal campaign. The two have worked in close coordination with one another as Hezbollah has sealed and contained ISIS expansion on the southern side and the most northerly corner of the border area. On Friday night, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave a speech acknowledging the army's capability but noting that, "we are at the service of the Lebanese army and under its command… if they ask for any help we will help." Hezbollah is the only militia regularly coordinating with both the Syrian and Lebanese armies and is expected to join the new assault against ISIS mostly from the Syrian side of the border. 

Meanwhile, in border campaigns along the Qalaman region the Lebanese Army has often taken a back seat to the more effective Hezbollah fighters. The US has given the Lebanese military more than $1 billion in security assistance over the past decade. The Pentagon spokesman would not comment on the size of US special operations forces in Lebanon and attempted to distance the US mission from Hezbollah activities along the border. He said that assisting the army "advances a wide range of US interests in the region," but added the following:

This not only includes countering ISIS, which we are focused on right now, but also other violent extremist groups, and countering Iran's and Hizballah's actions.

In spite of what the Pentagon might claim about "countering Hezbollah" the mission will inevitably put US Special Forces advisers in close proximity with the group loyal to Hassan Nasrallah, and which over the past years has been the most effective irregular force defending the Assad government. 

But it is yet a further sign that White House priorities have shifted drastically in the Levant. As we reported last week, President Trump was increasingly disgusted with the CIA program to support anti-Assad jihadists, especially after seeing the gruesome video of a CIA vetted group beheading a child. It's further been widely reported that the United States now sees ISIS as the exclusive target in Syria, and no longer the Syrian Army and its allies. As ISIS front lines now primarily lie with the Syrian Army, the Kurds, and Hezbollah, future American military action against the group will likely involve some level of de facto coordination with pro-Assad factions. Going back to the Bush and Obama administrations, the break up of the so-called "Shia crescent" of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah had always been the stated long term strategic priority. US Special Forces coordination with Hezbollah, even if through intermediaries, would certainly signify a monumental shift. 

While it's increasingly looking like Trump has no problem working with anti-ISIS Hezbollah, US ally Israel is sure to balk. Israel has unleashed over a dozen missile attacks on Syrian targets since 2013 frequently claiming to strike Hezbollah weapons arsenals and positions in Syria. It rallied hard for the Obama administration to initiate regime change in Syria, and current and former Israeli officials have long been on record saying they would favor ISIS to Hezbollah.

It is unclear to what extent American forces will participate in the upcoming major offensive. But no matter how the Pentagon tries to spin it, US soldiers will be advising fighters who themselves will work shoulder to shoulder alongside Hezbollah.

Comments

veritas semper… J S Bach Sun, 08/06/2017 - 20:40 Permalink

Yes.What a bunch of high level BS.Hezbollah wiped out ISIS/Alqaeda between Syria/Lebanon ,in 5 days. Now the Lebanese army is only cleaning the area. The work was done.Remember a few days ago the PM of Lebanon ,Hariri,who is an Israhell stooge,was summoned to WH ? he was told to denigrate Hezbollah after its victory against the terrorists.He could not do too much,except a few stupid comments,that were laughed at by the Lebanese.Jewmerica is very good to come after the work is done and claim victory.Now it seems we have the See Eye Ayy/state department script at ZH

In reply to by J S Bach

War Machine Son of Captain Nemo Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:26 Permalink

They will never, ever give up on the basic strategy on the Yinon/Clean Break line of plans when they can rely on Vichy DC to provide the money and blood for it.

Bill Kristol is running around trying to get Republicans to go with anyone but Trump.... does Bill have any issues other than war with Iran and Russia? The fact Kristol can walk around fat and happy after Iraq with his fellow chickenhawk Israel Firsters tells you Americans are too timid and propagandized to resist the wars Kristol wants for World Jewry (which is a thing...) and Israel.

In reply to by Son of Captain Nemo

Son of Captain Nemo War Machine Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:28 Permalink

They WILL because the MUST!... After East Aleppo was a forgone conclusion it became just a matter of time to kill some more Zio-proxies... The Kurds will capitulate because they have no future with "Yankee-Jewdle"!

The host that nourishes them is financially destitute and that means survival for the Kike parasitic "tick"!

Back to the Eastern neighborhood where they were banished and always lose... Because the Russian knows the Khazar the BEST!!!

In reply to by War Machine

War Machine cossack55 Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:20 Permalink

Hezbollah is not a 'terrorist' organization and that they are so brandedhas more to do with the Israel Lobby and a heavily 'Zionist' media than the facts.

On the other habd, Al Qaeda, the US/UK/Saudi/Israeli proxy is, like isis, a group of intel-agency backed terror cells and irregulars.

And Israeli assistance to Al Qaeda has been open and obvious for years.

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/06/israeli-fire-support-for-its-al-qa…

The idea Hez. is a 'terror group' has everything to do with Jewish/Israeli power and influence than anything. Hezbollah defended Christians as the US, Saudis and Israelis directly aided the takfiri mercs targeting them.

Interesting DNA study on Lebanese population came out very recently for anyone interested. Jews/Israelis never had any cognizable claim to Lebanon regardless, but the Zionist right has craved Lebanese water and gas (and farmland) for 100 years.

In reply to by cossack55

AurorusBorealus New_Meat Sun, 08/06/2017 - 23:33 Permalink

Where was the attack?  Beirut?  Do you know where Beirut is?  It is not in Kentucky, and Hezbollah was not trying to terrorize anyone.  Who was killed?  U.S. soldiers were killed, while occupying a foreign country.  Why were U.S. soldiers in a foreign country?  They were invading it.  It is generally not called  "terrorism" when the people of that country defend their nation against a foreign occupying army.  Of course, you should be free to redefine words however you like.  Just do not expect to converse intelligibly with other people after you have invented your own language.  It is probably best for you to just talk to yourself. 

In reply to by New_Meat

Collectivism Killz Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:06 Permalink

Working with terrorists to fight a "War on Terror." It's what the US does. And BTW, Hezbollah are only terrorists to ISIS and Israeli invaders. Unless there is some recent Shia attack in Europe, Canada or the US that I am unaware of.

Doom Porn Star Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:16 Permalink

"Our special forces are providing training and support to the Lebanese Armed Forces." Does this include providing armaments and munitions to them?When US Special Forces are done training ( and arming? ) them, will they be giving the military training ( and armaments? ) back??

Xredsx Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:15 Permalink

Even after 9/11, in which was a key in itsslf which led to this path. No shame and only greed.... The American empire wont be forgotten. Who is going to be held responsible for all of this?

Collectivism Killz Gen. Ripper Sun, 08/06/2017 - 19:32 Permalink

Truth hurts, doesn't it? Go back to Fox if you want a bunch of blind troop worship. I was with 10th Grp at BIAP in 2004 and 2005. Back then, I felt comfortable saying we really were trying to fight terrorists. Given the state of Iraq and what has since happened in Libya and Syria, I am saddened to have to say that we have and likely will continue to work with terrorists when needed or convenient.

In reply to by Gen. Ripper

Collectivism Killz Gen. Ripper Sun, 08/06/2017 - 23:37 Permalink

Not Antifa. You aren't even making an argument. Are you special forces and pissed at being labeled a certain way? Israeli? Hate Hezbollah? I can't even see what point you are trying to make. I would guess you are just another breitbart Jew or Jew devotee who found their way to zerohedge due to the temporary merger of ancaps, alt-right, paleo-conservatives and angry neo-cons who just so happen to be in the same social space until we realize we have even less in common with each other than we do with the so called demtards.

In reply to by Gen. Ripper

Gen. Ripper Collectivism Killz Mon, 08/07/2017 - 00:34 Permalink

The only point to make is, American volunteers in uniform, for the most part, perform their duties honorably. Uniformed service members have little leeway on deciding who to fight and where. They can't decide to enter into Lebanon, they can only do what their told. I'll bust anyone's balls who call our guys terrorists like John F'ing Kerry did. Idiot politicians are the ones who deserve the name calling, not American troops. And all this Jew business sounds like a lot of projection to me.

In reply to by Collectivism Killz