Today, Tablet Magazine Mideast columnist Lee Smith explored the future of U.S. military aid to Lebanon, in light of last week’s border skirmish—provoked by the Lebanese Armed Forces—and now two prominent congresspersons’ blocking of a planned $100 million. Lebanon’s first response to this block was to call it “unwarranted,” but pretty soon—and particularly after Iran pledged to compensate for the funding shortfall (which the United States in turn blasted)—Lebanon changed its tune: The country’s defense minister said it would reject U.S. military aid if it came on the condition that it could not be used against Israel (the sniper rifle responsible for the death last week of an Israeli reserves officer was almost certainly bought with American money).
Think it’s bad? Things may get even crazier when the United Nations issues its indictments for the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria was generally thought to be behind it, with Hezbollah’s aid; of course, they are now cozier with the Lebanese leadership, including the current prime minister, Saad Hariri—Rafik’s son. As they say, Developing … .
Lebanon: We’ll Reject U.S. Military Aid if Weapons Can’t Be Used Against Israel [Haaretz]
Lebanon Crisis Feared As Indictments Near in Assassination of Rafiq Hariri [WP]
Cinders of Lebanon [Tablet Magazine]
Earlier: What Happened in Lebanon