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The Lebanese Army received on Tuesday a shipment of U.S. military assistance, Lebanon’s National News Agency reported

NNA said the shipment, delivered at the Port of Beirut, involved sixteen containers of various calibers of ammunition as part of a U.S. grant.

The grant is part of the U.S. military assistance program for Lebanon, the agency added.

This development comes after the Trump administration lifted on December 2 the mysterious hold on security assistance to Lebanon, which includes a $105 million package after months of unexplained delay.

The United States is the biggest provider of military aid to Lebanon. Since 2006, the United States has provided over $1.7 billion to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). These funds have equipped the LAF with American aircraft, artillery, small arms and ammunition, and provided training and advisory support to Lebanese troops.

The LAF is one of the few Lebanese state institutions regarded by most citizens as a truly national entity. It is Lebanon’s most representative institution and highly popular across sectarian lines.

Lebanon’s ongoing street protests against its political class highlight the importance of an effective LAF to internal stability. While there have been isolated cases of the army using excessive force against demonstrations, the LAF has so far exhibited a high level of professionalism in its treatment of protesters, most recently forming a human chain near the presidential palace to separate rival rallies. The LAF also continues to resist efforts by political leaders to engage in more repressive tactics.

More than 80 percent of LAF equipment comes from the U.S. government, which requires a steady level of funding to maintain. The country’s ongoing budgetary crisis and potential cuts to military spending make U.S. military assistance all the more critical to the LAF’s continued operations.

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