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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

Trump’s Victory in Lebanon

Filed under: Lebanon, U.S. Policy

Trump’s Victory in Lebanon

President Trump won a victory over the Lebanese government and Hizbullah. Last Thursday an American helicopter landed in Beirut and brought Amer Fakhoury, a former senior South Lebanese Army (SLA) officer and the commander of Khiam prison, to Cyprus. He was released from a Lebanese prison based on the decision of a military court.

Fakhoury has American and Israeli citizenship. He was arrested in Lebanon a few months ago, after continuous pressure from Hizbullah, and charged with killing and torturing Lebanese prisoners. The Trump administration applied a lot of pressure on the Lebanese government to release Fakhoury from custody. The Trump administration threatened to impose economic sanctions on Lebanon, stopping military aid the Lebanese army. Hizbullah objected to the release of Fakhoury and tried to torpedo his release, but in the end the Lebanese surrendered to American pressure.

In Lebanon and the Arab world there is much criticism of the Lebanese government and Hizbullah in social media, where there are allegations that Hizbullah and the Lebanese government made a deal with the American president to release Fakhoury. As a result of this harsh criticism, the head of the military court in Lebanon resigned. The Lebanese government is keeping quiet and the head of Hizbullah, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, denied that there was a deal between Hizbullah and the American administration. Nasrallah called for setting up a committee to investigate how Fakhoury was released from prison. In a television interview, he admitted that there was a great deal of pressure put on the Lebanese government and that Hizbullah strongly opposed Fakhoury’s release.

He also admitted that Hizbullah did not want to intercept the American helicopter that transferred Fakhoury from Beirut to Cyprus, nor to bring down the Lebanese government, because of the very difficult economic situation in Lebanon. The bottom line is that this is a tremendous achievement and victory for President Trump over Hizbullah and over the Lebanese government.  Nasrallah is trying to cover up his failure, but he will not succeed because it is obvious that both Hizbullah and the Lebanese government surrendered to American pressure.