Lebanon shouldn’t take Washington’s backing

An interesting editorial in Arab News that highlights the growing desire in the Middle East to shake off American bullying:

The Lebanese government is absolutely right to have turned down $100 million of US arms aid because of the malign conditions that were attached to it at the last moment by the House of Representatives in Washington.

In essence, the aid was to be offered on the condition that the arms it would have bought, from US suppliers naturally, could not be used against Israelis. The condition, moved by the chairman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Howard Berman is as muddle-headed as it is unjust. It illustrates the blinkers that continue to be worn by senior US legislators. The Lebanese armed forces are woefully underequipped and need the new weapons that the aid would have bought. Their record, however, is hardly one of aggression against Lebanon’s southern neighbor. Lebanese troops have never invaded and occupied a huge swathe of northern Israel. Lebanese warplanes have never sped into Israel and bombed in detail power stations, oil supply depots, bridges and roads. Lebanese artillery has never conduct long-range bombardments of Israeli towns and cities.

Yet the Berman amendment made the ludicrous stipulation that any arms for which the US paid could not be used against Israel. Thus we could have had the situation that when Israel chooses again to wreak devastation in Lebanon the Lebanese defense forces could not fire on the attackers with any of their new armaments. Berman would have effectively ensured that Israel would be free to behave as outrageously and illegally as it liked without the Lebanese defense forces being able to defend themselves.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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