Hold on US security aid for Lebanon lifted


(CNN) The Trump administration has lifted the mysterious hold on security assistance to Lebanon, which includes a $105 million package to support the Lebanese armed forces, according to a congressional aide.

Lebanese army soldiers position the Lebanese flag on top of a hill in the town of Ras Baalbek that the army recaptured from ISIS , Lebanon August 21, 2017.

The hold was put in place about a month ago.

The money had been held up by officials at the Office of Management and Budget since September, beven though it had been approved by Congress and had strong backing from the State Department, Pentagon and officials at the White House’s National Security Council.

Agency officials and national security experts said the aid, which covers the cost of US-made military equipment supplied to the Lebanese army, was crucial for pushing back against Iran and maintaining stability in the country.

David Schenker, the assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs, told reporters last week that the review was working its way “through the bureaucratic process.” He never gave an explanation for the hold.

David Hale, a senior State Department official who testified on Capitol Hill as part of the Ukraine impeachment inquiry, said last month that the decision to release the aid rested in the hands of OMB.




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