Lebanon: US boosts army as precaution against Syria spillove

Expects Assad to fall, which will affect Lebanon

09 January, 19:18

(ANSAmed) - BEIRUT, JANUARY 9 - Two hundred M113 armoured vehicles for troop transport donated by the US to Lebanon were offloaded in Beirut's port today. With this delivery, Washington's military aid to the country over the past six months has risen to 140 million dollars, while between 2006 and 2011 a total of 700 million was provided. Lebanon has thus become the tenth largest nation recipient of military aid from the United States, which is trying to ward off the danger of Lebanon getting caught up in the ongoing violence in neighbouring Syria. The supplies, underscored a US diplomat in the Lebanese capital, will improve the Lebanese armed forces' ''ability to respond to the crisis''. This is an ever more urgent need, given the clashes which in 2012 saw Shia supporters of the Syrian regime and Sunni opposition groups face off in Lebanon as well. And this did not only occur in the northern city of Tripoli, but also in Beirut's suburbs and in the southern city of Sidon. Iran's ability to influence Lebanese politics has been boosted since June 2011, when the current government under Prime Minister Najib Miqati was sworn in. Playing a dominant role in the government is Hezbollah, the Party of God close to Syria and Iran, whose militias (armed by the latter two countries) are powerful enough militarily to compete with that of the regular army. The Syrian opposition has also accused Hezbollah and Iran of taking an active part in the crackdown of the uprising. Both deny the accusations. (ANSAmed)
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