WASHINGTON (JNS) — Following a months-long delay, the United States quietly released $105 million in military assistance last week to the Lebanese Armed Forces, despite concerns from Israel that the LAF has worked with the U.S.-designated terrorist group and Iranian proxy Hezbollah.
The Associated Press first reported the development on Monday, citing a Trump administration official and two congressional staffers.
A senior U.S. State Department official told JNS on Nov. 21 that regarding the LAF-Hezbollah partnership, the administration is “acutely aware and sensitive to the need to put some parameters and monitoring of how those funds are expended and applied to disrupt activities that would fall into the category of threat and terrorism.”
Reportedly, the U.S. State and U.S. Defense Departments had been for continuing the aid, while many in the White House advocated halting it.
Israel has called for Lebanon to shut down Hezbollah’s precision-missile manufacturing, in addition to cutting ties with the group.
The Countering Hezbollah in Lebanon’s Military Act of 2019 was introduced in June in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) that, if enacted, would condition 20 percent on the LAF taking “measurable steps in the last year to limit the influence or expel anyone” tied to Hezbollah. It includes a presidential waiver of the contingency if the president “certifies to Congress that it is in the national security interests of the United States.”