J.E.Dyer’s analysis on this is excellent, as it is on any subject that she weighs in on.
And it’s clear that the Obama administration’s priority was not to, shall we say, degrade and defeat Hezbollah; i.e., the goals Obama announced for going after ISIS in 2014.
That made all the difference. Team Obama had no intention of weakening Hezbollah, and no vision for a Middle East without it.
The larger meaning of Obama letting Hezbollah off the hook
A very great deal will be written about this piece by Josh Meyer for Politico in the coming days. It’s an article that deserves consideration and extensive analysis. Although there was much that we already knew before it was published, its central point – that the Obama administration actively blocked law enforcement efforts to take down Hezbollah networks – has not previously been made by insiders, with that focus and level of explicit clarity.
Meyer has talked to the DEA agents who painstakingly spent years making the case to go after high-level Hezbollah criminal operatives, only to find their appeals for Justice Department action turned down. Eventually, over the eight years of the Obama administration, their own operations were starved off and shut down as well.
Yet what they had on the Hezbollah networks around the world shows how dangerous the terror syndicate is. Again, we have known this all along. What we didn’t know was that, for a handful of reasons, including its desperation to conclude a “deal” with Iran, the Obama administration refused at key points to move against Hezbollah, when the evidence was indisputable, and the danger of doing nothing high.
In writing this post, I want to do one thing in particular. There will be, as I said, a great deal written, on many topics, as the punditry chews over Meyer’s article. But here I want to focus on one main point: that the origin of the Obama administration’s attitude was not solely related to the desire for an “Iran deal.”
That was no doubt a major part of it, especially in Obama’s second term. But there’s a key event in his first term that has been almost entirely overlooked, and that illuminates the more systemic perspective on international security that seems to have driven all of the administration’s decisions on these matters.