US Suspends Military Asisstance to Lebanon



By: REBECCA BITTON  
Published: August 11th 2010
in News » World

Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri
Pic: wikimedia commons

U.S. lawmakers decided to suspend $100 million in aid to the Lebanese Army on Wednesday, due to the fact that that the weapons might be used against Israel, according to Haaretz. Lebanese Defence Minister Elias Murr said he would reject any U.S. military assistance to Lebanon’s army if it is under the conditions that it should not be used against Israel. This comment made Wednesday, along with a clash that occurred after a Lebanese soldier opened fire on the Israel-Lebanon border, has pushed the decision to suspend any U.S.  military assistance to Lebanon’s army.

 

Murr was quoted in Haaretz stating that those who want to help the Lebanese army but place conditions on how their funds or weapons are used should keep the money.

 

This move comes one week after the incident at the Israel-Lebanon border that resulted in the death of Israeli Lt. Col. Dov Harari. Howard Berman, Chairman of the U.S. Foreign Affairs Committee, called for the suspension of the $100 million in military assistance. Berman has reported Hezbollah influence on the Lebanese armed forces and states that Washington requires further investigation before the U.S. is prepared to provide additional weapons or financial assistance.

 

He told Haaretz: "Until we know more about this incident and the nature of Hezbollah influence on the LAF [Lebanese armed forces] - and can assure that the LAF is a responsible actor - I cannot in good conscience allow the United States to continue sending weapons to Lebanon."

 

Even though the announcement was made Wednesday, a week after the incident on the Israel-Lebanon border, Congress has reportedly stated that the decision to suspend military assistance was in place before the incident occurred. The United States further noted that there has been no evidence found to support whether American weapons were used by the Lebanese soldiers in the border crossfire last week.

 

Israel has called upon Washington to re-evaluate its relationship with Lebanon. However, according to reports, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the U.S. no intention of doing so despite Israel.

 

The move to halt assistance to the Lebanese armed forces has brought much criticism from the country’s Prime Minister, Saad Hariri, and adviser Mohamed Chatah. Chatah called the move an act of injustice.

 

However, the suspension of weaponry given to Lebanese military may help slow down the development of weapons in the region given that Hezbollah has reportedly been developing new arms to use against Israel since the 2006 Lebanon war.



Related articles: (lebanon, hezbollah, military assisstance, berman, harrir, murr)




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