Thursday, 19 June 2008

Arms struggle

Nicholas Noe writes in the New York Times that the US is still refusing to supply the Lebanese army with the right kind of weapons (in case they use them on Israel):

"In the wake of a narrowly averted civil war here last month, the United States now has a unique opportunity to help build something that all the parties to the conflict have said they very much want: a strong Lebanese Armed Forces.

"Unfortunately, even though the Bush administration has provided more than $300 million in tactical aid to Lebanon since the Syrian withdrawal of 2005, it still apparently refuses to provide the kind of strategic weapons — guided rockets, tanks, modern artillery and intelligence-gathering equipment — that are desperately needed in this task.

"During her visit to Beirut this week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice didn’t even mention the issue.

"Moreover, when Russia stepped in to offer the Lebanese military essentially anything it wanted, free of charge, according to one former military official involved in the discussions, the Bush administration prohibited the Lebanese government from accepting the offer."

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