The United States will supply Lebanon with weapons for its battle against ISIS, which was only recently driven out of a Lebanese border town, announced U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon David Hale. Lebanon’s Daily Star reports:
“U.S. military assistance will begin arriving in the next few weeks and will continue in the months to follow,” Hale said after meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam and Defense Minister Samir Moqbel ahead of a Cabinet meeting Thursday morning. “This assistance will enhance the Lebanese Army’s ability to secure Lebanon’s borders, protect Lebanon’s people and fight extremist groups.”Hale said the coming deliveries, made in response to a request from Lebanon for emergency assistance, would include munitions and ordnance, of a defensive and offensive nature.The envoy highlighted Washington’s commitment to the stability of Lebanon, saying the U.S. had donated $1 billion to the Lebanese Army since 2006.
According to the Star, the UK Ambassador made a similar promise of arms only a few days earlier.These pledges are dwarfed by Saudi Arabia’s all-in commitment to strengthening Lebanon’s defense. The Kingdom has financed a $3 billion arms deal, later followed by a gift of $1 billion outright to be administered by the returning Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s former Prime Minister and a Saudi ally. In a recent interview, the Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon reiterated that securing Lebanon is a Saudi priority, saying, “Lebanon’s security and stability should be a red line.”The Saudis are looking to raise their own profile in Lebanese politics while reducing the clout of Hezbollah, a client of Iran and friend of Assad. But they are also backing moderate Sunnis against extremists like ISIS, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood at a time when Sunni states are in or near a state of collapse. That’s not only in their own interest; it’s in America’s as well.