| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

Investing in army is key for Washington’s policy towards Lebanon

United State’s interest in supporting the Lebanese Army arises, at a time other countries are looking for how officials and rulers will act to revive Lebanon, in order to provide the required assistance. America’s support aims at preserving stability due to the various emerging risks on Lebanon.

Diplomatic sources told Sawt Beirut International (SBI) that there isn’t imminent visit for the Army Commander, General Joseph Aoun, to Washington, but it is rather expected next fall in October. The visit will take place after completing appointments in the US administration, especially in the Ministry of Defense, as well as in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as before that the visit will be unfeasible.

Sources reveal that there is US-French coordination for supporting the army, and Lebanon in general. Attention is directed towards the results of the international conference that was held to support the army and the government.

Communications are undertaken to set the assistance required in terms of humanitarian aid and equipment, noting that Washington has decided to grant the army about $120 million for 2021, $15 million more than the aid provided in previous years. The annual aid for the army hems around $300 million. The total aid provided by Washington to the army since 2006 is around $2.5 billion. Officers in the Lebanese Army were trained in the United States as part of an annual program, and three battleships will be provided to the Lebanese Navy.

Washington believes, according to the sources, that it is crucial to invest in the Lebanese army, which has proven its ability to protect and respect human rights, control demonstrations, and distribute aid. Therefore, it is essential to preserve its ability and strength, especially that the army has worked on files of protecting the Lebanese territorial waters, land borders, and combating terrorism, along other humanitarian issues such as the refugees, and confronting coronavirus pandemic.

The sources have pointed out that Lebanon is invited to the “The Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS” conference, which will be held on Monday in Italy, in cooperation with the United States and including Foreign Ministers. The conference, which will be chaired by the Italian Foreign Minister and attended by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, will demonstrate US administration’s policy in the region and in North Africa, mainly the countries that ISIS will escape to after its defeat.

The conference will discuss NATO’s role in defeating ISIS and its post-defeat stage, the performance of alliances in the region, ways to restore stability in areas liberated from ISIS, and ways to join efforts to combat the spread of ISIS ideology among young people.

The United States considers security assistance to the Lebanese Army a key policy towards Lebanon, as it will strengthen Lebanon’s sovereignty over its territory, protect its borders, confront internal threats, and impede the possibilities of terrorist activities.

According to the sources, the critical issues is preserving security of the land and maritime borders, as well as building a strong defense institution, combating terrorism and preventing the transmission of arms. The United States has cooperated with the Lebanese Army to boost the latter’s capabilities and to make it the legitimate defender of Lebanon’s sovereignty.

Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Foreign Affairs Zeina Aker will participate in the conference and will talk in a speech about Lebanon and the Lebanese Army’s role in defeating ISIS.

  • Sawt Beirut International