Trump Freezes Lebanon Military Aid Against Wishes From State Dept, Congress

Officials are declining comment on the move

According to Congressional officials familiar with the situation, President Trump has frozen a $105 million military aid package for the Lebanese Army, money which had been authorized by both the State Department and Congress, and called for by the Pentagon.

Officials had argued in favor of the aid in several ways, saying that the money was meant to make the Lebanese Army less reliant of Hezbollah’s military wings, and also that they need to keep up a bulwark against Islamist groups.

The freeze was decided recently by the White House, and both the State and Defense Departments only learned in the past few days. They say they are unclear if anyone has actually told Lebanon yet.

What few officials offered a comment just reiterated their department’s existing position. The State Department referred the matter to the budget office, which had no comment. The Pentagon referred all questions to the White House, and the White House similarly refused to comment.

Though Trump has been keen to cut foreign aid, there had been no previous indication Lebanon might be among those facing a cut, nor has there been any suggestion as to why they would be the next hit.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.