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Congress blocks U.S. military aid to Lebanon


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ss_military0762_08_10.aspWorld Tribune:


House and Senate leaders said Congress has halted military and security allocations to Lebanon in wake of its battle with Israel on Aug. 3. The leaders blamed the Lebanon Army for opening fire toward an Israeli force in which a commander was killed"Until we know more about this incident and the nature of Hizbullah 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," House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Rep. Howard Berman said.

The United States has relayed $725 million in military and security aid to Lebanon since 2006. The administration has proposed another $100 million of such aid to Lebanon for fiscal 2011, which begins in October.

In a statement on Aug. 9, Berman said the Lebanese Army has come under the control of the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. He said he ordered a hold on all funding to Lebanon on Aug. 3, the day after the deadly clash in which five Lebanese were killed in Israeli counter-fire.


"I have been concerned for some time about reported Hizbullah influence on the Lebanese armed forces and its implications for our military assistance program for Lebanon," Berman, a California Democrat, said. "For that reason, on Aug. 2, I placed a hold on a $100 million dollar security assistance package to the LAF. The incident on the Israel-Lebanon border only one day after my hold was placed simply reinforces the critical need for the United States to conduct an in-depth policy review of its relationship with the Lebanese military."


Rep. Nita Lowey, chair of the House Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, confirmed that $100 million in U.S. military aid to Lebanon was frozen. Ms. Lowey said the purpose of U.S. aid to Lebanon's military, said to have fired American assault rifles, was not to harm Israel.


"U.S. assistance is intended to enhance our safety and that of our allies," Ms. Lowey said.


Officials said the State Department, which has overseen U.S. military aid to Lebanon, was examining the Aug. 3 border clash between Lebanon and Israel. They said the department was investigating reports that Lebanese troops fired U.S. weapons toward the Israeli force.


In 2010, the administration had planned to ship a range of surplus U.S. combat platforms to Lebanon, including main battle tanks, helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and artillery. Several leading members of Congress were said to have privately expressed their concern even before the Lebanese attack on the Israeli border.



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Is this the FIRST thing that the Dim-controlled Congress has gotten right since 2007?!?!?!


Read elsewhere that Lebanon officials replied by basically telling the US to "shove it" and that the US was stupid if they thought the dollars and equipment would not be used to destroy Israel.


If the US would just stop funding about 25% of the Unitied Nations and stop giving away taxpayers' dollars in foreign aid, we MIGHT be able to reduce the budget deficit a bit, reduce taxes, encourage business growth and employment, and eventually get this country out of the deep hole that it's now in.

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