Diplomat: US to End Lebanon Aid if Hezbollah Forms Govt

Analysts Warn of Economic Fallout From Losing $246 Million

A top, though unnamed US diplomat has warned that the Obama Administration will revoke all aid to the Lebanese government if, as seems to be increasingly likely, the March 8 coalition manages to form a government.

The US had been vigorously backing the March 14 bloc and outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to the extent that Vice President Biden made a high profile state visit just to campaign for the Hariri faction ahead of the last election. They narrowly won, but their unity government collapsed just over a week ago.

With Hariri on the way out, the Hezbollah dominated March 8 faction is moving close to forming its own government, with the endorsement of the Progressive Socialist Party giving them the majority they need.

Already analysts are concerned that the loss of the $246 million in US aid could have a major impact on Lebanon’s economy, but with $100 million of that going to the military, and that only on the rare occasions Congress isn’t trying to score political points with some faction or other by revoking it, the threat may be overstated. Indeed, some say the US probably wouldn’t revoke the non-military aid at any rate because it would damage their influence.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.