U.S. Security Assistance to Lebanon [September 20, 2010]   [open pdf - 252KB]

"The United States has provided security assistance to Lebanon in various forms since the 1980s, and the program has expanded considerably in recent years. Since fiscal year 2007, the United States has provided more than $700 million in security assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF) to equip those forces to combat terrorism and secure Lebanon's borders against weapons smuggling to Hezbollah and other armed groups. [...] For Congress, there are broader political questions about the purpose and potential limits of U.S. assistance to Lebanon. Some lawmakers are concerned that U.S.-provided equipment will be channeled to Hezbollah, while others suggest that it could be used by the LAF against Israel. [...] On August 3, 2010, the LAF opened fire on an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) unit engaged in routine maintenance along the Blue Line, alleging that it had crossed into Lebanese territory. Two Lebanese soldiers, a journalist, and an Israeli officer were killed. Soon after the incident, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) issued a report confirming that the IDF had not been in Lebanese territory. In response, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, chair of the State Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations placed a hold on the FY2010 $100 million FMF [Foreign Military Financing] appropriation for Lebanon citing the need to 'determine whether equipment that the United States provided to the Lebanese Armed Forces was used against our ally, Israel.' It is unclear how current concerns will impact Congressional consideration of the Administration's FY2011 request for Lebanon."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R40485
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