As lawmakers became aware that the White House administration was actually withholding aid sanctioned to Lebanon, the hold has suddenly been lifted and funds have been released.
US President Donald Trump’s administration had been holding funds of more than $100 million in security aid for Lebanon for close to a month. No explanation had been given as to why the fund was being withheld. This incident seems to be recalling a similar instance with Ukraine where fully approved funds worth $400 million had been withheld over personal favors expected to be given to the US President.
Lebanon is also grappling with regional conflict. Members of Congress and US diplomats had strongly opposed withhold aid to Beirut, saying it was crucial to support Lebanon’s military as it grappled with instability within the country and the region.
Political analysts would be right in saying that Trump’s misjudgment could have helped strengthen the Iranian and Russian position. This is because, in the absence of military aid, Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) would have found it extremely challenging to sustain operations amid mass civilian protests, something that would have encouraged Iran backed Hezbollah group to work on freely in its corrupt handling for Lebanese governance.
Lebanon is fighting civil disobedience against the current government which terms as corrupt and self-serving. The LAF is seen is one of the only buffers against an anti-Israel and Iran backed Hezbollah group. The group has made a huge mistake of discrediting the grievances of the common public over rampant corruption, government mismanagement, and a system dominated by sectarianism.
There are reasons to believe that Trump could have done so just to favor Russia towards the forthcoming 2020 elections. Moscow has already been implicated in the tampering of election polls through social media influencing for Trump’s win in the 2016 elections.
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