It was aimed at “modernizing” a fighting force that has mostly stayed on the sidelines in the nation’s recent wars, but the US military aid to Lebanon has proven more of a political football for officials to pull away every time the Lebanese do anything the US doesn’t like.
The US pulled all military aid from Lebanon in August to “punish” them for a brief border clash with Israel, then threatened to pull it again in October to punish them for allowing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit. The second time, however, officials apparently didn’t realize that they still hadn’t restored it from the first time (which they did in mid-November).
Now, officials are all riled up to do it again, with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen citing the “overthrow” of the Hariri government as the primary justification. By overthrow, of course, she means the shift in ruling blocs that is common in a parliamentary system of government.
The Council on Foreign Relations termed the situation an “emergency” and insisted that the new Lebanese govenrment was “a menace to Lebanon and to American interests.” The military aid football, it seems, will be pulled out again soon.