Past efforts to uproot the militant group have failed. Obama must try a different tack and focus on Israel and Lebanon.
The US government has been trying unsuccessfully to uproot the military wing of Hezbollah for over a decade.
It continues to fail because Washington is headed in the wrong direction – the United States still does not understand Hezbollah's role or appreciate its multiple faces, and instead opts for quick solutions that add fuel to a burning Middle East.
In the recent past, the US government has opted for three courses of action that have either backfired or proved ineffective in weakening the group.
First, the US supported an Israeli attack (in 2006) that forced Lebanon back 20 years and killed innocent civilians on both sides, without achieving any military objectives against Hezbollah. Then there was an attempt to defang Hezbollah through Iran, the group's main sponsor.
When President Ahmadinejad was reelected this year, that failed as well. Most recently, Washington has tried to uproot Hezbollah through another ally, Syria. But with an international tribunal under way investigating the assassination of Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri – which may or may not evict Syrian officials – the situation could become very complex. [Editor’s note: .]