US Offers Funding for Lebanese Army in Southern Presence

FM: France actively engaged on all fronts to prevent Lebanon escalation

Reports from several outlets say that the United States is trying to incentivize diplomatic deals with Lebanon by offering funding to the Lebanese military to replace Hezbollah in the far south of the country. The US is offering to pay for “comprehensive military infrastructure” in the region, which until now has chiefly been the domain of Hezbollah forces.

The US reportedly has warned Lebanon against the escalating situation along the Lebanon-Israel border and cautioned both that the US cannot prevent a conflict if Israel decides to launch one, and that the US is reluctant to publicly oppose Israel in an invasion of Lebanon.

This incentives Lebanon to take border deal proposals seriously. These all center on replacing Hezbollah with the Lebanese Army, moving Hezbollah north of the Littani River. Hezbollah and Israel have been trading border fire in the area since October.

France’s Foreign Ministry offers a statement on the matter, saying France is actively engaged on all fronts trying to achieve commitments to prevent further escalation along the borders.

So far they haven’t secured a deal, but said they were “pleased” with Lebanon’s positive responses to their proposals. With tens of thousands displaced on both sides of the border, there is hope for a pact to end the latest round of fighting.

Lebanon’s caretaker PM Nijab Mikati says contact in recent days has been made both with the international community and the Arab world to try to preclude Israeli aggression against them. He noted that, so far, the outcome appears to be very positive.

Hezbollah has expressed doubts that Israel is going to invade Lebanon, conditioning talks on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and maintains they don’t believe Israel is prepared for a comprehensive war.

Israel, for its part, has said it is prepared to invade, with military officials repeatedly proclaiming a readiness to attack Lebanon at any time. They originally presented this as a goal to return civilians displaced to the north, but more recently is about forcing Hezbollah back from the border region.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.