Tuesday, April 25, 2017

William B Quandt on my review of James Stoker's Spheres of Influence: on US role in arming the Phalanges

On US role in arming the right-wing militias of Lebanon: "As`ad AbuKhalil treats Stocker’s book as a “welcome addition” to the literature on Lebanon, but believes the author is too cautious in some of his conclusions. The main point that he insists on is that the U.S. role was more intentionally destabilizing in Lebanon than Stocker is willing to acknowledge. In his view, the lack of archival evidence for a U.S. role in arming some of the right-wing Christian militias does not mean that such arms transfers did not happen. AbuKhalil is correct that such transfers, if they took place, would have been handled by the CIA, and those archives have not been made available. My sense is that a modest supply of arms did go to some of the Christian militias in the early 1970s, although the dominant view in the State Department was to be very wary of getting close to the more militant of the militia leaders. It will probably remain an unanswerable question for some time as to the magnitude and significance of U.S. aid to former Lebanese President Camille Chamoun and the Phalangists. By the time I was in a position to know the details of such transactions in the Carter Administration, such aid had come to an end."