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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Congress lifts hold on weapons sales to Lebanon

I mentioned in an earlier post that Representatives Howard Berman (D-Cal) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) lifted their holds on the provision of military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces on Friday.
Congressman Howard L. Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today released the following statement on lifting a hold on military assistance to Lebanon:

"On August 2, I placed a hold on a $100 million spending plan for military assistance for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) out of concern that this plan did not reflect changing political realities in Lebanon. The following day, August 3, a shooting initiated by the LAF on its southern border, resulting in the needless death of an Israeli soldier, further complicated the situation; Israeli restraint prevented that situation from getting out of hand.

"In response to our hold, the Administration initiated a thorough, inter-agency review of its military assistance program for Lebanon. I have been fully briefed, in a classified setting, on the results of that review. As a result, I am convinced that implementation of the spending plan will now have greater focus, and I am re-assured as to the nature and purposes of the proposed package. I also understand that the LAF has taken important steps to prevent recurrence of dangerous and provocative actions like that which occurred August 3. I have also been given reason for confidence that assistance to the LAF has not fallen into the hands of Hezbollah and that every possible measure is being taken by Lebanese and American authorities to prevent that from happening. As a result of these assurances, I am lifting the hold on the $100 million spending plan for the LAF.

"I continue to be concerned about developments in Lebanon, and I will continue my ongoing discussions with State regarding the optimal contours of future military assistance for Lebanon. Some of the key elements of the current package are not yet ready for actual delivery to the LAF and will be further notified to Congress prior to actual delivery. We will, of course, further assess the situation at that time."
The Jerusalem Post has a statement from Lowey's staff:
“The administration gave detailed briefings and provided thorough, written responses to Congresswoman Lowey’s questions and concerns about the assistance and safeguards in place to prevent it from falling into terrorists’ hands,” a Democratic congressional staffer said of Lowey’s decision to lift the hold on Friday.

“Improving Lebanon’s ability to defend its borders, stop arms trafficking, build institutions and fight terrorist elements is imperative to the security and stability of the region.”
And the Wall Street Journal adds this statement from the State Department.
"We reviewed our assistance to Lebanon and concluded that it is vital, given ongoing challenges to the Lebanese state from Hezbollah and others," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Friday.
Remember what happened to all the weapons that the US supplied to Fatah when Hamas took over in 2007? Look for the same thing to happen in Lebanon between the LAF and Hezbullah. Trust me on this.

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At 8:09 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

I wonder whether the U.S. govt obtained any sort of a statement from the combined Leb Army, Hezbullah, and UN force that assassinated an Israeli work crew chief who was well back from the Leb/IL border... I'm going to send this to a former Congressman (er, ...woman) I know and ask her. And I think we should make sure Lt. Col. West and Marco Rubio see this. I wonder whether the consulate people took Marco to see this border site so he could see for himself what the U.S. is funding as regards attacks on Israel...

At 11:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carl wrote: "Remember what happened to all the weapons that the US supplied to Fatah when Hamas took over in 2007?" ----------------- Was exactly what I was thinking while reading the report.


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