An aid approval by the Congress for Lebanon has been withheld by the Trump administration on the behest of the Israeli government.
Sources have confirmed that the security aid worth $105 million was withheld due to reasons that show conflicting points of view in the White House.
Israel has apparently, asked the US to withhold aid on the pretext that the Lebanese army has done nothing significant to control the movement of militia within the country and also ignoring its intention of arming themselves with precision-guided missiles, a program which Jerusalem has vowed to thwart.
Lebanon was supposed to receive aid including the supply of night vision goggles and weapons needed for border security But the Trump administration seems to support Israel’s stand over the growing role of Hezbollah in the Beirut government, armed Iran backed Shi’ite group that the US has listed as a terrorist organization.
On its part, the Congress had approved the security aid, with an understanding, that it was important for Lebanon to guard its borders as its internal strife would take the focus off its ‘fragile’ positioning as a refuge for thousands of displaced Syrians as well.
This thought has been second by two US officials who spoke to a prominent media agency in a condition of anonymity, just two days after the Lebanon PM resigned.
It is worth noting that Lebanon has been seeking foreign donors over international aid for months.
Before he resigned, Hariri failed to convince foreign donors to release $11 billion in assistance pledged at a Paris conference last year.
Heightened levels of corruption and no accountability of funds seemed to have closed doors for Lebanon, at the moment.
The same official has also indicated that drawing aid away from Lebanon could pave the way for Russia to move in.
Russia has expanded its influence in Syria by assuring Turkey of establishing the safe zone and ridding the area of Kurdish forces.
In May, the administration has pushed for aid on the pretext that Lebanon was US’ key Middle East partner and should be given assistance, in whichever way deemed appropriate. The stance now remains changed.
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