U.S. lawmakers to block aid to Lebanese Army


Key U.S. lawmakers are moving to block aid to the Lebanese army, citing last week’s deadly border clash between Israeli and Lebanese units and Israeli allegations that the Lebanese force has growing ties to the militant group Hezbollah.

Senior Israeli officials have sent conflicting messages about the degree to which they suspect Hezbollah’s involvement in last Tuesday’s skirmish, which left one Israeli commander and three Lebanese dead.

Israeli officials have said publicly that they don’t suspect Hezbollah’s direct involvement in the incident, but have also alleged that the Lebanese Army is increasingly infiltrated by Hezbollah sympathizers.

Israel has seized on the border incident to raise questions about growing U.S. support for the Lebanese army, and about the army’s alleged ties to Hezbollah, the Shiite political and military organization that has been Israel’s main foe in southern Lebanon and which is shunned by the U.S. as a terrorist organization.

Washington has ramped up support for the Lebanese army in recent years as a counterweight to Hezbollah and Iran, which backs the group.

U.S. assistance to the Lebanese Army, which lawmakers estimate at $720 million since 2006, has included armored personnel carriers, helicopters, M-16 rifles, night-vision scopes and advanced training.

Lawmakers friendly to Israel say they want assurances that U.S. aid won’t fall into Hezbollah’s hands.

Rep. Nita Lowey (D., N.Y.), the chairwoman of the House subcommittee responsible for foreign aid, placed a hold on funding that is already in the pipeline for fiscal year 2010, which totals roughly $100 million, a Democratic aide said.

“U.S. assistance is intended to enhance our security and that of our allies,” Ms. Lowey said, calling the border clash “outrageous” and “entirely avoidable.”

Ms. Lowey has yet to outline any particular steps that she wants taken before lifting her hold on the funds.

The No. 2 ranking Republican in the House, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, said Congress should also block $100 million in 2011 assistance until Washington can be sure that the Lebanese army isn’t “cooperating” with Hezbollah.

“For the past few years, the U.S. and the international community looked the other way as the lines between Hezbollah and the Lebanese military and government became blurred,” Mr. Cantor said.

The White House had no immediate comment.

Hezbollah fired waves of short-range Katyusha rockets into Israel in a 34-day war that ended in August 2006, and U.S. intelligence reports say the group has fully replenished its arsenal despite U.N.-backed efforts to curb weapon shipments to the group.

In addition to arms, Iran provides about $100 million to $200 million per year to support Hezbollah, according to U.S. intelligence estimates.

Some officials say they believe that as Hezbollah’s political clout within the Lebanese government has increased in recent years, so too has its say over some appointments of commanders within the Lebanese military. It is also unlikely that a Lebanese army unit would have carried out a pre-planned border attack on Israeli soldiers without Hezbollah’s knowledge, the officials said.

“We definitely believe it was a targeted shooting, not sporadic or accidental,” an Israeli official said.

Israeli battalion commander Lt. Col. Dov Harari was killed with a single round between the eyes at a probable range of several hundred yards, according to Israeli military officials. A second officer was hit squarely in the chest and, thanks to his body armor, only wounded.

Some experts say it is unlikely a Lebanese soldier with a standard M-16 rifle would be able to make such an accurate shot from that range. Hezbollah has used trained snipers to pick off Israeli soldiers along the border.

Last week’s border clash came amid an unusual damage-control effort by Hezbollah. The group said late last month that it expected some members to be indicted in a United Nations-backed tribunal into the 2005 death of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.WSJ

Photo: This is the tree that caused the clashes . An Israeli military bulldozer removes the tree a day after the clashes between the Lebanese army and the Israeli army at al-Adaisseh on the Lebanese-Israeli border.



27 responses to “U.S. lawmakers to block aid to Lebanese Army”

  1. Fadi Abboud Avatar
    Fadi Abboud

    so after the us gave $720 million to the Lebanese army since 2006 ,they have now stopped since there is fear it will go into Hezbollah hands?

    Isn’t that too late?

    it seems like they only allowed Hezbollah to get stronger, but why?..

  2. Constantin Avatar

    What a shame, the US is the army’s biggest supporter and it took a stupid incident because of a tree to cause the loss of lives and this reaction from the US. We need an immediate public relations with the US to assure the US that acts like these won’t be repeated. There is a difference between defending our country and acting stupid. Hizbullah’s stupid mentality is being forced on the lebanese army unfortunately.

    1. peter gates Avatar
      peter gates

      I always wonder who are Lebanon’s enemies? Syria does not fight. Israel only attacks when attacked. the turks are quiet. why do we need an army?

  3. $hit, no more harleys or bibi guns 🙁

    1. Anti-zio Avatar

      lol maria 🙂 I also heared that the US wont even supply the Sling shots that they promised lebanon. But they did agree to send up the new iphone 4, “that has really bad reception” 🙂

  4. Anti-zio Avatar

    All seriousness Lebanon has so many highly intelligent individuals, apart from VOR, Tarie and ASI, I wonder why the LAF doesn’t use some of is financial aid to build itsnown weapons? LAF probably gets little if any financial aid 🙁 Its a shame because we have so many talented individuals.

  5. They don’t want a strong army and they sure don’t want Hezbollah maybe we should just open our borders and let our friendly neighbors in,hey I’ve got an idea maybe well serve them coffee and biscuits it has been done before by our Lebanese brothers.WAKE UP! all AMERICA wants is Hezbollah out of power ,a weak army and LEBANON READY for the kill!UNITY is the only answer for Lebanon anyone working against that is not working for his country but for his own gain.

  6. Walid Khouri Avatar
    Walid Khouri

    You all forgot to say ONE thing…

    eh la tiizna


    1. Anti-zio Avatar

      No walid la tizna is not the right attitude in this circumstance & not a time to be funny. The zionists that allowed te US congress to originally agree to send us weapons was not to defend our borders from aggressors, as we have just witnessed by the reaction coming from the US when god forbid we shoot back at intruders entering lebanons borders, they only approved weapons for lebanon so we can use them against each other, to kill our own Muslim, Christian and Druze brothers and sisters. This is shocking and appalling.

      1. Walid Khouri Avatar
        Walid Khouri

        The U.S. is under the zionists’ thumb. There is nothing you can do about it unless the U.S. citizens claim their independence from them that is not going to change any time soon. Other countries have weapons and are willing to arm us. We have money (albeit in the pockets of the oligarchs and politicians), use the money to purchase Russian, Chinese and European weapons. They are all eager to sell.

        Therefore la miit mallyuun tiizna… 🙂

      2. Anti-zio Avatar

        You know what reading what you just posted makes sense, so I therefore agree with your mantra La Tizna 🙂

    2. walid you know i’m always in agreement with what you say.

      ay zee you too bro.

  7. Anti-zio Avatar

    just to be clear here, I have great respect for the american people its just their government has always had such double standards. And its foreign policies have always been so one sided. Hey I don’t even resent the entire jewish population only the zionists because I know there are a lot of jews who are also appalled at the way the israel government is conducting itself with regards to the palestinian people and its neighboring countries.

    1. ay zee another thing is th ti like the fact that you’re flexible. many posters here talk about democracy and they cant understand how people like s can actually like and hate ALL parties.

      the fact that i understand HA doesnt mean i’m with them ALL the way just like the fact that i understand why hariri does certain things.

      i like your flexibility and i like the fact that you’re for ALL lebanon.

      you got snobby ASI there and israeli fan-airie who think that there hard line talks against HA will actually bring peace to lebanon.

      i was actualy disappointed with nasrallah’s speech.

      but i guess ASI and israeli fan-airie will not understand how thats possible that i can understand certain things about the HA and not others.

      anywyay bro, i’m all for one lebanon, one army, one people and ASI and israeli fan-airie are for 18 lebanons with israel as a friend and HA and the shiites wiped out so that the iranians and al qaeda and whoever wants to come and enjoy fighting on our land can come in and continue destroying it.

      HA will eventually be absorbed into the army so be patient morons cos its gonna happen eventually.

      go somewhere else for the weapons. like walid said: la teezna

      1. that i like the fact…..

  8. Youssef Avatar

    No big loss, the weapons were outdated and the LAF had to beg the americans everytime they needed to stock up on rockets, bullets, parts etc.

    Iran along with many other countries have indicated their willingness to assist the LAF.

    Surely this is a positive, however i’m certain some will turn this into a negative and say that Iran is trying to take over the LAF by being its main arms supplier.

    Remember the old saying “an enemy of your enemy is your friend”.

    Lebanon united forever.

  9. So if the LAF turn the weapons on the resistance America will keep pouring Aid in and uses them to fight internal no problem. But were not allowed to defend our country from any other force outside the country what crap is this and now people with there comments are upset that US is stopping Us the Bullshit Aid. To hell with the Aid and anything that can stop us our freedom to defend. There are already reports USA has send a High ranking offical to warn The army commander on purchasing weapons from Iran. IF Iran offers us good weapons when our allies dont I say go ahead and get the weapons from them. So we have military aid stopped and god forbid us to buy from anywhere else.

  10. The government statement of (1) we respect the blue line, and (2) we will defend our country, is contradictory given what the UN is saying. Whether we like it or not, the pro-israelies will look at shots fired south of the blue line as a provocation of Israel. Arguing about how unfair the US reaction is, does nothing when they see it as someone they gave money to using it to attack a friend. Our helpless politicians powerless to call the incident a mistake are not making it any better.

  11. Constantin Avatar

    Don’t forget guys that most of the arms received from the US are gemerally free of charge. Ok sometimes outdated but still functional and better than nothing. You say we will buy from somebody else, Oh yeah with whose money? Our budget is $50 billion dollars in debt and growing. We cannot keep on borrowing and buying here and there. It is ALWAYS better to have the US on our side and the army’s side, it is not a good idea AT ALL to be blacklisted by the US more than we already are…

    GOD Bless America for all its GOOD DEEDS around the world. If it were not of America most of you would not be even here…so please don’t bite the hand that is helping you…because of an extremely stupid incident in the south between the army and the Isrelis.

  12. The US will help LAF on the condition that the LAF do not defend Lebanon against Israel, and Iran will help the LAF as long as they obey HA rules……do you get the message????

    Only the Lebanese will help the LAF unconditionally. I call again for some sort of donation mechanism to help our heroes in uniform.

    Just as an example, the Lebanese successful business in the US such as Debaiki Heart Centers and Medical Schools, Behanie Hospitals, Tayoun’s Mediterranean Restaurants, Phoenicia Imports and Whole Sales and so many others pay more that 10 Million in taxes each year. The US tax law allows contributions charities, and if we set-up the LAF funding account as a charity just like the “Salvation Army” here, then these Lebanese money will be directly going to the LAF and can be deduct it from their taxes to the US.

    It is our responsibly as Lebanese to provide to our army; those who can volunteer they should, and those who can’t but can donate money and perishable items, they should, and those who can’t do neither they can at least designate time for special prayers to protect the Lebanese army.

    Our dignity should not be up for sale or bidding.

    1. Charity for weapons?

      1. if used to equiped the army, then yes.

        Where do you think some of our tax money goes?

      2. The army will be using the weapns to defend Lebanon, and that is a good cause, don’t you think?

      3. It is a good cause. But, my only point was that I’d find it surprising if US (or anyone else) allowed (1) a charity to raise money for weapons and (2) allow this money to be written off on tax returns. I could be wrong.

  13. Tony Smith Avatar
    Tony Smith

    It is amazing what 5% of the US population can influence..Are the arab leadres not ashamed of this ?

    We know it is all about money and who has most the money around the world?

    Why can’t we spend some of our oil money on trying to take over the media in this country.Majority of the US citizens are not in love with the jewish community here.

    So what is stopping us?Let us admit they much smarter than our leaders.

  14. Donations will have “Charity Label” just like “The Salvation Army” donations’ are tax deductabile, then once in the right hands, it can be used for whatever the army needs.

    I am not an expert either, but can imagine that it is possible.

    1. Tony Smith Avatar
      Tony Smith

      Only donations to Israel is tax deductable but not to Lebanon..

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